News Summary

Crowds react with joy and wariness to Floyd verdict

Black Americans from Missouri to Florida to Minnesota cheered, marched, hugged, waved signs and sang jubilantly in the streets after former police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty over the death of George Floyd. But they also tempered those celebrations with the knowledge Chauvin’s conviction was just a first, tiny step on the long road to address centuries of racist policing in a nation founded on slavery. Many said they had prepared for a different result after watching countless deaths of people of colour at the hands of police go unpunished. The shooting death of another Black man, Daunte Wright, by officers in suburban Minneapolis during the trial and of 13-year-old Adam Toledo in Chicago last month heightened tensions and muted the court victory for many. “We are relieved but not celebrating because the killing continues,” the Reverend Jesse Jackson, who travelled to Minneapolis for the verdict, said in a telephone interview. “We hope this is the breaking point to stop legal lynching.” In St Louis, Missouri, a police association of predominantly black officers called the verdict important but “a pebble in the ocean”.

Priti Patel accuses Facebook

Priti Patel will on Monday accuse Facebook of putting profits before children’s safety, as she says tech giants have a “moral duty” to prevent abuse. The Home Secretary will take the unusual step of singling out Facebook for its “unacceptable” plans to encrypt all messages, which she says will hamper law enforcement agencies’ ability to prevent “abhorrent” online child abuse. She will tell a conference of industry and child protection experts that Facebook and other social media platforms need to start treating children’s online safety as seriously as they do selling advertising, phones and online games. Her comments comes as the Government prepares to unveil its draft duty of care legislation to force social media platforms to do more to protect children from online harms including suicide, self-harm and bullying. The Telegraph has campaigned for more than two years for the landmark legislation that will give the new internet regulator, Ofcom, the powers to impose multi-billion pound fines on social media giants that persistently fail to protect children from online harms. Ms Patel fears Facebook’s encryption plans will not only enable child abusers to escape detection but will also allow terrorists and criminals to draw a cloak over their communications, putting lives at risk. A senior source said Ms Patel wants to engage and collaborate with Facebook on its encryption plans to find an agreed solution but was prepared to take even tougher legislative measures to prevent any weakening in the safeguards for children. “All options remain on the table,” said a source. Home Office analysts estimate Facebook’s plans will remove 12 million reports of child abuse to the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) every year, which lead to more than 2,500 arrests in the UK and 3,000 British children being safeguarded.

Idris Elba says ‘we must not pull back

Idris Elba has appeared to respond to comments made by the BBC’s diversity chief claiming that Luther wasn’t “authentic”. On Wednesday (14 April), Miranda Wayland made headlines after criticising the BBC crime drama, which ran for five series from 2010 to 2019. “When it first came out everybody loved the fact that Idris Elba was in there – a really strong, Black character lead,” she said. “But after you got into the second series you got kind of like, OK, he doesn’t have any Black friends, he doesn’t eat any Caribbean food, this doesn’t feel authentic.” Wayland’s comments were met with criticism online, with some social media users claiming that she was leaning on “stereotypes”. On Wednesday night, Elba spoke out for the first time following her comments, sharing a quote to Instagram Stories that he attributed to himself. “We must not pull ourselves backwards, only push ourselves forwards.

Palestine hit by another COVID-19 wave

Palestinians have suffered through a severe wave of COVID-19. Haytham Dieck with Bethlehem Bible College says many people connected with the school have fallen sick or seen loved ones die. Worse yet, Palestine has not received any large numbers of vaccines yet. Dieck says, “The Ministery of Health says they have some, but it’s only a limited number. I mean, in the West Bank you speak about three million people, in the Gaza strip you speak about 2 million. So about 5 million people [need vaccines]. People who were in their 20s and 30s, unfortunately, died because of COVID-19. It’s one of the saddest events ever, for someone alive today in the 21st century, to see all of this going on.” The loss of tourism Bethlehem thrived on tourism before the pandemic. “This is the petrol of Bethlehem,” says Dieck. “This is what makes Bethlehem actually alive.” The lack of tourists for over a year has crushed many families economically. Dieck says, “That means families live on tourism, either if they are working in the hotel business, or tour guide agencies. You speak about at least thousands of families that are living because of tourism. Now, they don’t have any income. And what makes it complicated is if you are infected by COVID-19, this will cost lots of money for treatment.” Ask God to comfort your Palestinian brothers and sisters. Pray they would show the hope of the risen Jesus during a difficult time. And pray Palestine would get access to large numbers of vaccines soon.

St. Vincent volcano threatens food and water supplies

Some 16,000 residents living near La Soufriere were told to evacuate on Friday following the volcano’s first explosion. An unknown number refuses to depart, The Associated Press reports, leaving officials concerned for residents’ well-being. “It’s destroying everything in its path,” Erouscilla Joseph, director of the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Center, told the AP following a massive blast. “Anybody who would have not heeded the evacuation, they need to get out immediately.” The ongoing volcanic activity puts essential supplies like food and water at risk. Falling ash contaminates water sources, while fast-moving lava flows wipe out citrus crops. Authorities met yesterday afternoon to discuss food difficulties, while Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves says it could take months for the island nation to recover. Pastor Al Blake of Harvest Bible Chapel in Arnos Vale, St. Vincent, discussed the disaster with Trans World Radio’s Bill Early. “Ash plumes up to eight kilometers were observed, and ashfall has been recorded as far down as the Argyle International Airport. That can go on for days, for weeks,” Blake says. The St. Vincent volcano last erupted on April 13, 1979, and an explosion in 1902 killed some 1,600 people. Authorities have not reported any casualties from the latest eruption, but approximately 3,200 people stay in temporary shelters. “The evacuation centers here on the island are mainly schools and churches,” Blake explains. “Schools and churches don’t have beds; they don’t have all of the normal comforts of a domestic home.” Ask the Lord to comfort believers in St. Vincent during this tumultuous time. Pray for wisdom for Pastor Blake and other leaders as they seek ways to help people in need. “Psalm 46 shows us God is our refuge and strength; He’s a very present help in times of trouble,” Blake says. “Even though the mountains quake, God is able to save and deliver.” As people choose whether to stay in place or evacuate, pray God would give them wisdom and discernment