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Media disinformation

‘Fake news’ threatens honest debate and democracy. Donald Trump’s favourite term was named 2017's word of the year by Collins Dictionary (described as false, often sensational, information disseminated under the guise of news reporting). Facebook has employed a UK fact-checking service to help it deal with the spread of fake news. Full Fact, a charity founded in 2010, will review stories, images and videos for accuracy, focusing on misinformation that could damage people's health or safety, or undermine democratic processes. If something is fake, it will appear lower in the news feed but will not be deleted. Pray for proven misinformation to be removed completely. Brexit and the 2017 UK general election were both found to be tarnished by fake news. On 11 January Nigeria held a ‘Beyond Fake News’ summit in Abuja to examine ways of combatting fake news ahead of February’s election. See

Pray: for balanced honest facts to replace hollow comments and lies. (Proverbs 12:17a, 18)

More: www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-46836897

Africa: elections, poverty and potential

This year, 24 of Africa’s 54 countries are scheduled to hold legislative, general, or presidential elections. Extreme poverty and state fragility prevail in parts of Africa. This year, the World Data Lab estimates that by 2030, 70% of the world’s poor will live in Africa (notably in Nigeria and the Congo) and by that date 13 African countries will have seen an increase in the number of those living in extreme poverty. Based on these forecasts, poverty will continue to strain government institutions and threaten stability. Climate change is expected to exacerbate the challenge, with disproportionate effects on the Sahel and other unstable areas. However, massive opportunities exist for many to enter greater prosperity. The middle class is expanding, businesses are growing to meet consumption needs, and a young fast-growing population with rapid technology adoption is making the continent fertile for innovation. Pray for institutional changes and new approaches to eliminate poverty so that no country is left behind.

Pray: for the African continent to step into its God-given identity and do great things. (Jeremiah 29:11)

More: www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/BLS18234_BRO_book_007_WEB.pdf

Elections needing prayer in 2019

The results of forthcoming elections will be important in many ways - domestic, religious, regional and global. El Salvador elects a president on 3 February: security, corruption and migration will be campaign issues. On 16 February President Buhari seeks re-election in Nigeria, where electoral violence remains a real concern. Ukraine’s presidential election on 31 March will focus on security and the economy. Afghanistan’s fourth presidential election since 2001, on 20 April, will test its capacity to conduct a credible, orderly process amid deteriorating security conditions. In South Africa the ruling ANC, dogged by record-high unemployment and corruption, faces an election test in May following the resignation of President Zuma. European parliamentary elections between 23-26 May will see anti-Europe and Euro-skeptic forces capitalising on anti-immigration and populist economic issues post-Brexit. In Guatemala, general elections in June will focus on the economy, reforms to public administration, migration, and anti-corruption issues that have divided the country over recent years.

Pray: for political and social stability across the nations. (Deuteronomy 1:13)

More: www.ifes.org/news/elections-watch-2019

Christmas: a dangerous season for some

In France the security alert system is at its highest level, after an extremist gunman opened fire at a Christmas market in Strasbourg, killing two people and injuring at least twelve. Christmas can be a dangerous season for many. Last year suicide bombers killed nine and wounded over 50 people attending pre-Christmas church services in Pakistan. In Nigeria, Boko Haram have often carried out Christmas attacks. In the West, Christmas can mean financial strain, pressures, loneliness or simply a time with relatives where old tensions come to the fore and explode, sometimes with devastating results. For example, last year in Canada a father who had custody of his daughters (aged six and four) on Christmas Day killed them both and attempted suicide. Pray for peace to replace turmoil, restraint to replace violence, and harmony to replace disagreement wherever it threatens. Pray that police and other agencies can detect and remove danger from vulnerable community spaces.

Pray: for all affected by the Strasbourg attack to have comfort and support. (2 Corinthians 1:4)

More: www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/strasbourg-terror-manhunt-live-update-cherif-chekatt-shooting-christmas-market-police-france-a8679036.html

Christian ministry to seafarers

The Sailors' Society, an international charity based in Southampton, started a crisis response network (CRN) in South Africa in 2015, providing trauma care and counselling wherever necessary. This network provided support to its 100th case this week, with piracy, death at sea and abandonment accounting for 59% of those supported. 26% of those seeking crisis response were affected by piracy. The CRN now has 52 chaplains trained to offer crisis support to seafarers around the world. The International Maritime Bureau saw 107 actual or attempted attacks in the past six months, up from 87 in the same period of last year, with Nigeria and Indonesia the main piracy hotspots. On 31 October, eleven seafarers were seized by pirates off the Nigerian coast. Piracy, and the fear of piracy, is a massive issue for seafarers.

Pray: for Sailors' Society chaplains to experience God's presence and protection. (Psalm 16:11)

More: www.christiantoday.com/uk/seafarers-in-crisis-how-a-christian-ministry-is-dealing-with-the-fallout-from-piracy-and-abandonment/130831.htm

Nigeria: aid workers killed, hostages held

Hauwa Liman, a midwife with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), was killed days after her kidnappers set a deadline. Ms Liman was taken with two others in the northern town of Rann last March. Fellow-midwife Saifura Ahmed Khorsa was killed last month. Ms Loksha remains a hostage. A 15-year-old schoolgirl is also still being held by the same group, which is affiliated to a faction of Boko Haram. Most of the other 110 students who were kidnapped have now been freed but the girl, who reportedly refused to convert to Islam, remains in captivity. The ICRC's regional director said there was no justification for the execution of innocent young healthcare workers, and feared for its implication on their work in the region. The information and culture minister said that the government would ‘keep the negotiations open’ and continue to work to free Ms Loksha and the schoolgirl. Pray for this work.

Pray: for better security for all helping internally displaced people. (Psalm 119:45,46)

More: www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-45871361

Nigeria: action needed

Reconciliation seems far away between Christian farmers and Muslim herdsmen in Nigeria’s middle belt areas. Christians fled to Plateau and Benue states because of discrimination and attacks from Boko Haram in the north,but now they are being killed and having their homes torched by Muslim Fulani herdsmen. Over 56 villages have been attacked this year, three in the past week. It is a religious battle and a battle over land. There is no reconciliation in sight, and the attitude of government is not helping. Governments should protect their people, but this government has allowed the people to be continuously attacked. Some Christians are having their faith eroded, while many are holding on trusting in God. A local farmer said, ‘We believe God will come through for the church as believers stand with us worldwide in prayer - He will sort out these issues’. Pray for those carrying the burden of housing people who have fled persecution.

Pray: for God to give Nigeria’s leaders compassion. May they promote justice. (Micah 3:1,2a)

More: www.premierchristianradio.com/News/World/Something-needs-to-be-done-or-the-church-will-be-destroyed-says-Nigerian-Christian

Nigeria: massacres shatter peace efforts

Christian leaders in the central Plateau State argue that there is a religious dimension to Fulani attacks on villages; unless politicians acknowledge this, they cannot properly address the conflict. On 28 August in Jos, a Christian peace summit for the northern regions was ending. 100 miles away, at the same time, Fulani militants set ablaze Rev Adamu Wurim Gyang and his three children. They were burnt beyond recognition. His wife Jummai was left to die in a pool of blood. 95 houses were torched, 225 crops awaiting harvest were destroyed, at least 14 were killed, and many wounded. CSW said that after the perpetrators had gone the military arrived, killing a woman who tried to stop them detaining local youths who wanted them to go after the Fulani militia instead. A video verified by World Watch Monitor shows people holding up her body, and Rev Ezekiel Dachomo appealing for assistance from the US, UK, and the UN, saying, ‘An Islamic agenda is taking over the nation’.

Pray: for God to prompt the nations to stand with and for the persecuted in Nigeria. (Isaiah 14: 24, 25b)

More: www.worldwatchmonitor.org/2018/09/nigeria-pastor-and-three-sons-burned-alive-among-at-least-20-killed-in-latest-plateau-massacre/

PM visits Africa ahead of Brexit

Theresa May visited Africa on a major mission to build up new trade relations ahead of Brexit. Pray that every detail of conversations with South African, Nigerian and Kenyan leaders will be used to re-engage with a fast-growing continent which some feel British business and politicians have neglected in recent years. Pray that the delegates who travelled with her (trade minister George Hollingbery, minister for Africa Harriett Baldwin, secretary of state for Wales Alun Cairns, a Stock Exchange representative, and the Lord Mayor of London Charles Bowman) will in the future be able to build on the links made. A Government statement before the visit stated, ‘This comes at a time of enormous change across Africa with a unique opportunity, as the UK moves towards Brexit, for a truly global Britain to invest in and work alongside African nations, with mutual benefits.’

Pray: for wide-ranging trade to be established and built on in the coming years. (Jeremiah 29:11)

More: www.gov.uk/government/news/theresa-may-to-lead-ambitious-three-nation-trip-to-africa

Cameroon: growing violence

The World Council of Churches (WCC) has called on the Cameroonian government to stop using force to punish its people in the English-speaking region. The authorities should immediately cease using ‘disproportionate and deadly force against civilians and protect everyone’s human rights’. The UN described the situation as ‘an unprecedented complex humanitarian crisis’ caused by violence between the government and both English-speaking separatists in the west of Nigeria and Boko Haram in the north-east. The country has been affected by the mass displacement of hundreds of thousands of Nigerians and Cameroonians; also by insecurity, malnutrition, and a ‘very disturbing’ risk of epidemics, because of the ongoing conflict. The WCC particularly condemned escalating violence against women and children. Paul Biya, who has been president since 1982, intends to run for a seventh term.

Pray: for God to protect the vulnerable, and bring change through October’s elections. (Judith 9:11)

More: www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2018/10-august/news/world/world-council-of-churches-condemns-growing-violence-in-cameroon

Nigeria: KILLINGS - Let the truth be told

The National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) commented on a press release by the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA). Their opening comments were, ‘On 5 July, 2018, the NSCIA published an article titled LET THE TRUTH BE TOLD. In our candid estimation, rather than tell the truth, the article is the exact opposite of the truth. It might have been more proper to have titled it ‘Let the Taqiyya  be told.’ Taqiyya is religious deception and the article they refer to said that Muslims were the targeted victims of herdsmen. NCEF stated categorically that this statement is untrue and Muslims were not victimised, Christians are the victims while the government consents to ongoing genocide and ethno-religious cleansing of communities. NCEF said that the government deliberately obscures the truth as the targets of the Fulani herdsmen are natives of Middle Belt who are mainly Christians. See also next article - Five Christian youths to be hanged.

Pray: for God to intervene and end rural religious volatility in Nigeria. (Psalm 7:9)

More: http://csmnigeria.org/blog/393-killings-let-the-truth-be-told?utm_source=newsletter_192&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=killings-let-the-truth-be-told

Nigeria: Five Christian youths to be hanged

Muslim Fulani herders do not make the headlines as often as Boko Haram. Christians in the northeast state of Adamawa have fled because of Boko Haram, only to return and find their property occupied by Muslim Fulani herders. Five Christian youths have been sentenced to hang for killing one Fulani herdsman who in turn had allegedly killed 48 people. Who is stopping the violence? Where is the government's protection for citizens? Where is justice? The lack of response by Nigeria's security services is seen as complicit in crimes against Christians. The Numan Federation in Adamawa is the only predominantly Christian area remaining in northern Nigeria. In recent years migration of Muslim Fulani herdsmen into that area has increased. The judicial, military, and security agencies are all controlled by non-Christians and many fear that the Muslim President may use the violence as an excuse to cancel the 2019 elections and remain in power.

Pray: for world leaders/countries to exert pressure on President Buhari to protect of all of Nigeria's citizens, particularly the minority Christians. (Ezra 9:9)

More: http://win1040.com/post.php?id=44190&cat=EPA

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