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President of Zimbabwe praying in Jesus name for deliverance from Corona

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A unique multi-faith prayer service at State House was the centre of the National Day of Prayer yesterday with the full spectrum of Christian groups — Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Evangelical and indigenous — plus representatives of the Islamic, Jewish and Hindu faiths converging to seek healing from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Day of National Prayer and Fasting was called by President Mnangagwa for Zimbabweans to commit themselves to repentance and deliverance in the face of the pandemic and the measures needed to confront it and beat it.

Presiding over the occasion, the President urged religious leaders to lead the way in nourishing souls of the people at a time of great adversity. He said in love, peace and unity Zimbabwe shall overcome.

The special service upheld the strict coronavirus guidelines, which include social distancing, the wearing of face masks and gatherings of people in small groups, with each faith group having a single representative.

First Lady Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa, Vice Presidents Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi and several Cabinet ministers were also in attendance.

In his short address, the President said while he had declared June 15 as the National Day of Fasting and Prayer, the Bible implored people to observe God’s commandments by praying regularly.

“Today we come boldly before the heavenly throne of grace standing on the scripture, as I highlighted in the declaration of this day; found in 2nd Chronicles 7 v 13-15 which reads . . . ‘if I send pestilence among my people and people who are called by my name shall humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now mine eyes shall be open and my ears attend to the prayer that is made in this place’.

“We therefore gather in prayer, in the total belief and knowledge that the word of God is true for indeed ‘Heaven and earth will pass away but his word, shall not pass away’ (Matthew 24 v 35). We are also confident that God watches over his word, to perform it,” President Mnangagwa said.

The President said God’s word is clear that pestilences such as Covid-19 would come as a warning to people to leave their sinful ways. As such, President Mnangagwa said Zimbabweans had two choices to make in light of the pandemic; either to repent and seek God’s help or continue to live in defiance of his word.

“In Zimbabwe we have chosen to be part of the first category of those who humble themselves, acknowledging God and glorifying him as God,” he said.

So far the global pandemic has killed four people in Zimbabwe with 383 infections and 54 recoveries but statistics worldwide are grimmer with close to half a million fatalities and close to 10 million confirmed cases along with millions more that were never tested.

Although Zimbabwe has kept the disease at bay, largely due to a raft of measures that were rolled by the Government such as social distancing, wearing masks and limiting movements — the President said the country still has to pray to God for total deliverance.

“We have chosen to repent and to seek his mercy, help, healing and healing in the face of this deadly coronavirus pandemic. I as your President have no hesitation in leading and calling us all to this path of seeking divine help.”

President Mnangagwa then led the nation in prayer asking for God’s forgiveness for the country’s sins, idol worshipping and worshipping of false gods, immorality and injustice and corruption that have made the poor die.

After the President’s address, religious leaders took turns to offer prayers.

The Master of Ceremonies, Reverend Andrew Wutawunashe, emphasised the importance of prayer as he appealed to the nation to observe a few moments of devotion to the Lord, so that all sins are forgiven, and new avenues are opened for the good of the nation. Declaring that God is the Lord, he asked for the nation’s protection against the ravaging coronavirus.

Patron of the indigenous churches Nehemiah Mutendi thanked President Mnangagwa for convening such a gathering. He described President Mnangagwa as a rare breed of God-fearing presidents he had met.

“I would like to thank the President for this service. Of all the presidents I have seen, he is the only one that has shown respect and acknowledged that there is a higher authority than him,” Bishop Mutendi said.

He added that because of the Day of Fasting and Prayer, Zimbabwe had overcome the Covid-19 pandemic.

“As the Bible says, any commitment made here on earth would be bound in heaven. This service is a proclamation of the defeat of the pandemic,” Bishop Mutendi added.

Mrs Egnes Sithole, who joined the session under the banner of the Zimbabwe Interdenominational Council of Churches, said she believed life could never be the same again as the nation joined in prayer against the pandemic, and all other ills bedevilling the Motherland.

On the other hand, Madzibaba Moses Gwasira of Johane Masowe WeChishanu in Highfield said it was important for Zimbabweans to know that God had all solutions to life’s challenges.

“As Zimbabweans we should know that God has the answers to the problems and challenges we face so I thank the President for dedicating this day to praying and seeking God’s healing.

“Going forward we should have a day like this where we dedicate our country to God and not to only think of him when we have problems,” he said.

In his remarks VP Mohadi thanked the President for leading from the front in the fight against the pandemic. He said: “Our guest of honour President Mnangagwa has led from the front in the fight against the pandemic and believes that our culture and religion are at the centre of people’s lives.”

VP Chiwenga said yesterday’s prayer session would deliver the nation from the effects of the pandemic: “There is also no known cure for this pandemic to date but we know there can be a cure from God if we pray and submit to him like we have done today.”

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Netanyahu Met Saudi Prince on Secret Trip, Israeli Media Say

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Jerusalem: Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held secret talks in Saudi Arabia Sunday with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, media said, in the first reported trip by an Israeli premier to the kingdom.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was in Israel last week, was also at the reported talks, a diplomatic correspondent at Israeli public broadcaster Kan said on Monday.

The broadcaster cited unnamed Israeli officials as saying that Netanyahu and the head of the Mossad spy agency Yossi Cohen “flew yesterday to Saudi Arabia, and met Pompeo and MBS in the city of Neom”, referring to Prince Mohammed’s initials.

Multiple other Israeli media outlets reported similar information on Monday morning.

Netanyahu’s office was not immediately available to comment on the reports.

The meeting comes after Israel agreed historic deals to normalise ties with two Saudi allies in the Gulf, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

Those accords were brokered by outgoing US President Donald Trump’s administration.

US and Israeli officials have repeatedly indicated that more Arab states were set to forge ties with Israel.

Publicly, Saudi Arabia has said it would stick to the decades-old Arab League position of not having ties with Israel until the Jewish state’s conflict with the Palestinians is resolved.

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Joe Biden appoints Indian-American Mala Adiga as policy director of incoming First Lady

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Washington: US President-elect Joe Biden has appointed Indian-American Mala Adiga as the policy director of his wife Jill, choosing an experienced education policy hand as the incoming First Lady focuses on education and plans to continue teaching community college classes.

Adiga was a senior adviser to Jill and senior policy adviser for Biden’s 2020 campaign. She previously worked for the Biden Foundation as director for higher education and military families.

Before that, during Obama’s administration, she was deputy assistant secretary of state for academic programmes at the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and worked in the State Department’s Office of Global Women’s Issues as chief of staff and senior adviser to the ambassador-at-large.

“Future First Lady Jill Biden’s Policy Director will be Mala Adiga, who served as her senior advisor and a senior policy advisor on the Biden-Harris campaign. Adiga will work for a First Lady who has said she intends to prioritise education and military families,”

Biden on Friday announced another round of White House staff positions to be filled by longtime aides to the Bidens.

Louisa Terrell, who served as Executive Director for the Biden Foundation, will become Director of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs. She comes to the position with an experience that includes acting as the Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs in the Obama-Biden administration, the report said.

Carlos Elizondo, who was social secretary for Jill Biden during the Obama administration, will be White House Social Secretary. Ambassador Cathy Russell will assume the role of Director of the White House Office of Presidential Personnel, it said.

Adiga served as Director for Human Rights in the National Security Staff’s (NSS) Multilateral and Human Rights Directorate. Prior to joining NSS, she was an attorney at the Department of Justice, where she served as Counsel to the Associate Attorney General.

Before entering government service, Adiga volunteered and then worked for the Obama presidential campaign for nearly two years, according to her biography on the US State Department website.

She earned her JD from the University of Chicago Law School and her MPH from the University of Minnesota. She graduated from Grinnell College in Iowa with a B A in Spanish.

The new announcements come just days after Biden revealed his first round of top White House staff, including the appointment of his campaign manager, Jen O’Malley Dillon, to serve as deputy chief of staff, and campaign co-chair Cedric Richmond as director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.

Late week, he announced that his aide Ron Klain will serve as his chief of staff.

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