Some say that failure to plan for the millions of people coming to Britain is behind our current woes. Twenty years ago, Migration Watch UK said Britain could expect over two million immigrants every ten years unless curbs were introduced. The Home Office denounced the prediction, but the actual increase is far greater. Since 2002, the UK's population has grown by eight million. 80% of which is attributed to immigration: but no one talked about it. At the 2001 general election, parties promised ‘not to play the race card’ during their campaigns, so the impact of extensive immigration was closed. By the 2005 election it could not be ignored. Population increase is now the fastest in history. Recruiting overseas professionals (doctors, teachers, etc.) helps support our growing needs. However, the extra hospitals, schools, GP surgeries, houses, transport links and the like that are required for such a large number of people have not been provided in sufficient quantity.

Ukraine's nuclear agency Enerhoatom says the Russians are ‘blackmailing the entire world’ with threats to blow up the Zaporizhzhia power plant. In a post on messaging app Telegram, Enerhoatom says Maj Gen Valery Vasiliev - the head of Russia's radiation, chemical and biological defence forces - has said, ‘There will be either Russian land or a scorched desert. We have mined all the important facilities of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.’ UN secretary general António Guterres has called for international inspectors to be given access to the power plant, after Ukraine and Russia accused each other of shelling the site on 7 August. One of Putin's closest allies, former president Medvedev, has been telling the media that Russia will achieve its aims in the conflict in Ukraine on its own terms. He warns the West has a long-term plan to destroy Russia.

Mercenary group Wagner does not officially exist, but billboards in Russia’s cities depicting three men in military uniform next to the words ‘Wagner2022.org’ are inviting fighters to join its ranks in Ukraine. They have transformed from a secretive mercenary organisation to an extension of Russia’s efforts in Ukraine. Wagner was established in 2014 to support pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine and is funded by a businessman linked to Putin. On paper, it doesn’t exist, with no company registration, tax returns, or organisational chart to be found. Russia’s senior leadership, including Vladimir Putin, has repeatedly denied any connections between Wagner and the state. Currently Wagner has lowered recruitment standards, hiring convicts and blacklisted individuals, which impacts military effectiveness. Before the conflict less than 30% of Wagners were professionals. Now this recruitment push threatens to diminish its overall military standards.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) is backed by Iran, and its headquarters are in Syria. From 5 to 7 August it fired 600 rockets and mortars into Israel. Israel retaliated with jets, drones, helicopters, tanks, artillery and elite commando units against PIJ military bases, weapon production sites, rocket launching sites, and observation posts. Two PIJ cells were hit, killing twelve operatives and several civilians. Israeli military called this operation Breaking Dawn and said it could last a week. At 11.30 am on 7 August a truce was called. Israel had inflicted significant losses on PIJ in those three days, including killing two senior commanders. By the 11th a further eight individuals with ties to terrorism were arrested in Gaza. PIJ was still insisting on the release of prisoners from Israeli jails, warning that their continued custody was grounds for violence to breakout again.

China sees the self-ruled island of Taiwan as a part of its territory and insists it be unified with them, by force if necessary. Taiwan has its own constitution, democratically elected leaders, and 300,000 troops; also, the USA is available to provide it with the means to defend itself. After Beijing recently conducted air and sea military drills with live ammunition around Taiwan, the US accused it of ‘provocative’ actions. Taiwan said China is using military exercises to disrupt regional stability, and responded by launching a two-day exercise, simulating a Chinese invasion, to show it is ready to defend the island from any attack. China is signalling to Taiwan that it is ready to invade, while Taipei is telling China ‘You can hurt us, but we will also hurt you.’ Beijing’s extended drills are disrupting air travel and trade in the Taiwan Strait, one of the world's busiest waterways. The aggression could spill into the South China Sea, where many countries which rely on China economically would have to contend with a more geopolitically belligerent Beijing.

Haiti: war zone

12 Aug 2022

Haitians are surrounded by gang warfare. One of the largest gangs is 400 Mawozo who kill police officers. Outmanned and outgunned by well-armed gangs, police are demanding that the government back them up with better support and more equipment. The G9 is an alliance of nine gangs led by an ex-policeman. They control coastal ports and oil terminals, seize goods lorries, and extort money from businesses. An estimated 60% of Haiti’s capital is classed as ‘lawless’ by human rights groups. The city, similar in size to Los Angeles, is paralysed by dozens of gangs battling for power and territories. Once buzzing with nightlife, it now looks and feels like a ghost town. Shops are shut and residents have vacated homes, fearing of being caught in the crossfire. On city outskirts, huge swathes of the community are living from hand to mouth, without electricity or access to clean water.

Global: refugees

12 Aug 2022

The UN expects five million people to flee Ukraine. The world was already facing the highest levels of displacement on record. The war in Syria killed 400,000 and destroyed healthcare, education, and infrastructure, forcing millions to cross treacherous waters to safety. An estimated 745,000 people crossed the border from Myanmar into Bangladesh after violence erupted in Rakhine state. The rapid movement and huge influx of Rohingya refugees put massive strain on existing refugee camps like Cox’s Bazar and on the host communities who are supporting new arrivals. Every day 37,000 people across the world flee their homes due to persecution or conflict; 26 million people flee their homes annually due to climate-related disasters; and one in five refugee or displaced women are estimated to have experienced sexual violence. In this season of global recessions, pray for adequate financial donations to be given to agencies delivering life-saving aid to refugees. Pray for ample food, water, sanitation, blankets and shelters to reach the vulnerable.

In 2017 Fulani militants seized a Christian mother’s land and burned down her house, forcing her and her family to move closer to the city for safety. Loss of their farmland forced the family of seven into deep poverty, living and sleeping in one room. On 8 August Fulani militants attempted to rape her 16-year-old daughter while they were out walking. A missionary visited the family after the attack and the mother said, ‘They told us to stop, then they beat me as I tried to stop them from raping my daughter.’ She showed the deep gash in her arm she received from the militants, and said God used her to protect her daughter from public disgrace and shame, which is how victims of rape are viewed in their society. ‘I have nothing to say but thank God. Please tell Christians to pray for us. Pray that we will return to our village one day. Life is too expensive in the city.’

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