In Beirut Said Deeb is a pastor working at a centre which runs children’s clubs and provides food to refugees. He doesn't know why he did it, but on the day of the explosion he told everyone to go home and get some rest because he was worried about coronavirus. There are normally 34 people and 240 children at the centre each day. He said, ‘I thank God no one was here; if there had been here they would be dead because the windows flew from the side, from one wall to another wall, and took everything in between - the curtains, the air conditioning, the tables, the computers, the televisions.’
King Alfred the Great wrote, ‘There is only one way to build my kingdom, and that is on the sure and certain foundation of faith in Jesus Christ crucified.’ We thank God for the heritage of faith that lies within the foundations of this nation. We can pray for new movements of His people to be born, movements filled with those who have encountered Jesus, been impacted by His radical love, and are running with deep-seated obedience to His Spirit. May all who are activated by the Spirit of God, to lead or to follow, step beyond fear and doubt and take hold of all that He has put within their grasp. We can pray for all God’s people, old and young, to be equipped and empowered for the season ahead. May His presence rest on them in great measure. (These prayers are based on Transforming Declarations by Suzanne Ferrett of Passion for the Nation)
Marvin Rees, the mayor of Bristol, has urged residents to take asylum-seekers into their homes so that they don't end up living on the streets during a housing crisis. He has given his support to a scheme whereby volunteers host refugees in their spare bedrooms - adding that the city should be a place 'where everyone feels welcome and safe'. The city council has provided housing for a number of asylum-seekers during the coronavirus pandemic, covering the cost, but the arrangement is due to finish. The charity Bristol Hospitality Network (BHN) has asked for twenty volunteers to offer a room for three months or more. The network provides accommodation and board to destitute asylum-seekers, and has helped to host over 100 people from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Sudan since 2009, giving them the safety and security to rebuild their lives in the UK. Refugees are evicted from Home Office accommodation 21 days after being refused.
Severe flash floods closed schools, caused rivers to burst their banks, flooded homes, blocked roads, disrupted train services, and caused a train crash. Lightning, heavy rain showers and large hailstorms are forecast for Scotland, with a ‘danger to life’ warning over the entire country for the next two days. Pray for strength and resolve to be poured out on those experiencing flooded properties, for the safety of vulnerable and elderly in dangerous situations, and for the various rescue services. A passenger train was derailed by a landslide in Aberdeenshire, in what was described as a ‘major incident’. The train driver, conductor and a passenger were killed when the front carriage plunged down an embankment bursting into flames, then the other carriages piled on top of each other. The train had avoided a similar incident minutes earlier when a landslip was reported to be blocking the line. See
Health minister Robin Swann has warned that NI is facing the most dangerous point of the Covid-19 pandemic. He is concerned that some people have stopped following even the most basic guidance. The current daily average of reported new cases is 27, compared to three last month. ‘If we get this wrong now, if we don't keep our controls in place, if we don't see people actually respecting the guidance and regulations, we could see a further increase of Covid outbreaks, more hospitalisations, more people going into ICU and more deaths.’ He added that complacency was setting in among some people even though it is now compulsory to wear face coverings in shops. In addition, he would like to see executive daily Covid briefings on the pandemic to be reinstated.
A Royal Air Force P-8 Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) has completed its first operation in the North Sea, shadowing a Russian warship as it passed close to UK waters. The Poseidon, from 120 Squadron (based in Scotland), completed a prolonged watch over Russian warship Vasily Bykov recently. It did so while being supported by multiple aircraft, including Typhoon fighters based at RAF Lossiemouth and a VIP Voyager refuelling aircraft from RAF Brize Norton. Earlier this year the minister of state for defence, Baroness Goldie, said, ‘In an increasingly unstable world of persistent challenge and competition, it is important that the UK Armed Forces possess cutting edge technology to meet threats wherever they emerge.’
A coronavirus contact-tracing app for England has edged a step closer with the launch of a new public trial, after months of delays. From 13 August, the Isle of Wight will be in the trial forefront once again, alongside NHS volunteer responders across England, followed shortly by the London borough of Newham. It comes after the government ditched efforts to develop its own technology in June amid accuracy issues and concerns about privacy. Despite initial hype, officials have warned that contact-tracing apps are not a ‘silver bullet’ for coronavirus, but could support the NHS test and trace effort.