Tractors line up at Berlin’s famous Brandenburg Gate
Tractors line up at Berlin’s famous Brandenburg Gate (Credit: X/LSN)

Massive gridlock as farmers protest

Tens of thousands of German farmers blocked highways in January in a massive protest against the left-wing government’s cuts to agricultural subsidies.

They are also angry at their government’s intention to ban fossil fuels.

A week-long campaign from 8 to 15 January ended with a large demonstration in Berlin. About 19,000 tractors and 25,000 other vehicles were used to block roads across the country, including the A2 highway – one of the busiest roads in Europe. Berlin’s landmark Brandenburg Gate saw 500 tractors blocking traffic for hours in the government district.

“We’re sick of the lies”

LifeSiteNews reported that a farmer on the A2 said: “We’re sick of the lies. We’re sick of [them] trying to get rid of our jobs. It’s not only farmers. It’s the lorry drivers. It’s the normal workers. Everybody is sick of politicians who have no idea what they are talking about, who have no education to tell us how our lifestyle should look.” In response, Economy Minister Robert Habeck tried to discredit the farmers by calling them “enemies of the constitution” and “right-wing extremists”, which the farmers refuted.

Jimmy Lai outside The Court of Final Appeal in December 2020
Jimmy Lai outside The Court of Final Appeal in December 2020 (Credit: Pakkin Leung @Rice Post/Wikimedia)

Christian tycoon needs ‘something miraculous’

A Christian businessman imprisoned for three years by Hong Kong’s ruling Chinese authorities is now facing charges that could result in a life sentence.

Jimmy Lai, born in China but also a British citizen, has been detained in Hong Kong on several small charges, but the 75-year-old pro-democracy tycoon may never see freedom again if he is convicted of more serious crimes. The Communist regime wants him silenced.

Premier reports that Lai converted to Christianity in the 1990s and started the Apple Daily newspaper, which was the leading pro-democracy Chinese language newspaper in Hong Kong.

“Pray for his health, his family and his spiritual strength”

Benedict Rogers, chief executive of Hong Kong Watch and a friend of Lai, says: “Pray for him, for his health, for his spiritual strength and ultimately, for his release. Pray for his family and for something miraculous, that is hard to see in worldly terms, but it’s possible through prayer.”

Evangelist David Hathaway (centre) at the United Day of Prayer for Ukraine in Lviv
Evangelist David Hathaway (centre) at the United Day of Prayer for Ukraine in Lviv (Credit: Eurovision Mission to Europe)

British mission leads day of prayer in Ukraine

Around 3,000 people attended a United Day of Prayer for Ukraine in the city of Lviv, organised by British evangelist David Hathaway’s organisation Eurovision.

“We call for the Lord to intervene”

The prayer meeting was held at Holhofa Church on Sunday 17 December and over 20,000 joined in online. The Ukrainian army helped the event to go ahead by securing the area.

Vadim Preobrazhenskiy, Eurovision’s representative in Kyiv, told Premier: “To reinforce our faith as Christians, we organised a united prayer for Ukraine… we still encourage the world to support Ukraine, because the next year is going to be, we all believe, victorious here. We know that total victory is possible only as an answer of the Lord, so we call for the Lord to intervene… all our hopes are in his hands.”

New government closes state media

New Polish PM Donald Tusk is accused of stifling the media
New Polish PM Donald Tusk is accused of stifling the media (Credit: Shutterstock)

Poland’s government is liquidating the state television, radio and news agency, claiming it wants to restore impartiality to the media.

After a pro-EU coalition led by Donald Tusk (of the “there must be a special place in hell for Brexiteers” fame) won the general election in October, he took state news channel TVP off air in January.

“Tusk’s government is destroying the media”

Tusk had pledged to overhaul public media, which according to critics had become the propaganda arm of the Law and Justice (PiS) party which ran the country for eight years.

In reply the PiS says the government has undemocratically avoided standard parliamentary procedure to achieve its goal, because it wanted to remove a conservative voice  in media. PiS lawmaker Joanna Lichocka said: “Tusk’s government is destroying the
Polish media.”

Meanwhile the Daily Express reported that Tusk was accused of “turning the clock back to Communism”. Tensions also mounted after Polish police arrested two members of the Sejm, the lower house in the nation’s bicameral legislature, who had been convicted of abuse of power. January saw mass demonstrations organised by the PiS.

Polish truckers also joined the German farmers’ protests in January, after reaching an agreement with the Polish government to end their own protests. Polish drivers had been blockading the Poland/Ukraine border since November, angered by an EU deal that allows easy access for much cheaper Ukrainian drivers into the bloc.

 Doctors’ group criticises WHO gender guidelines

The WHO headquarters in Geneva
The WHO headquarters in Geneva where transgender guidelines are
being discussed (Credit: I, Yann/Wikimedia)

The Society for Evidence Based Gender Medicine (SEGM) is “deeply concerned” about gender guidelines published by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in December.

The international doctors’ association says the WHO guidelines encourage gender transition through hormones and surgery, and promote self-identification of gender.

The WHO guidelines encourage gender transition through hormones and surgery

Also, the WHO panel developing the guidelines consists almost entirely of LGBT activists, transgender or non-binary people, and includes some members of gender transition organisations. The panel will review the guidelines in Geneva from 19 to 21 February.

According to Christian Network Europe, the WHO announced the guidelines just a week before Christmas and only allowed public comment until 8 January. The SEGM commented that the process had been rushed: “The WHO wants to avoid public scrutiny as no one opens their laptop during the Christmas holidays.”

SEGM added: “The decision to promote gender transition in the social arena has already been made before the group has even met to review and interpret the evidence.”

Peter Vlaming, a Frenchlanguage teacher fired for
declining to use pronouns
inconsistent with biological sex
Peter Vlaming, a French language teacher fired for
declining to use pronouns inconsistent with biological sex (Credit: ADF)

Sacked teacher wins trial over pronouns

A Christian teacher who refused to use ‘trans’ pronouns has been vindicated by the Virginia Supreme Court.

Peter Vlaming, was fired by the West Point School Board for refusing to use a transgender student’s preferred personal pronouns.

Vlaming tried to avoid causing offence by not using any pronouns at all, but the school still sacked him. His case was supported by religious freedom organisation Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) who accused the school board of violating Vlaming’s rights.

He tried to avoid causing offence by not using any pronouns at all

The court agreed that Vlaming was dismissed for his refusal to contradict his religious beliefs, which was a violation of Virginia’s constitution. The judgement stated that no government should force citizens to endorse beliefs that are in conflict with their own faith.

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