LISTEN: Urban Christian News Network #533 with Daniella Whyte

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1. According to the Associated Press, With little fanfare to mark a rare bipartisan achievement, President Barack Obama on Tuesday signed a massive, $1.1 trillion spending bill that keeps the government operating over the next nine months. The legislation was a compromise that angered liberals and conservatives alike but avoided a government shutdown and put off partisan clashes over immigration to next year. It was one of the last acts of Congress under the current Republican House and Democratic-controlled Senate. The measure retains cuts negotiated in previous budget battles and rolls back some banking regulations. But it also retains spending for Obama’s health care law and pays for the administration’s fight against Ebola.

2. According to USA Today, Taliban gunman stormed a military-run school in Peshawar on Tuesday and massacred 141 people, nearly all children, an act of barbarism that left Pakistanis in shock as they mourned the loss of relatives and friends. The attack on the Army Public School in the northwestern city near the Afghan border was one of the worst incidents of extremist violence in Pakistan since a 2007 suicide bombing in the port city of Karachi killed 150 people. Asim Bajwa, spokesman for the Pakistani military, said 132 of those killed Tuesday were children and the other nine were staff members. An additional 121 students and three staffers were wounded at the school.

3. According to the Associated Press, The Democratic-controlled Senate worked to confirm a final batch of President Obama’s judicial appointees and sent the White House legislation extending tax breaks for working-class millions and special interests alike late Tuesday as lawmakers neared the end of a two-year Congress marked more by gridlock than accomplishment. Dozens of Obama’s nominees to agency positions won approval on what shaped up as the final night of the Congress. The night effectively marked the end of an eight-year era of Democratic control of the Senate. When the new Congress convenes in January, Republicans will be in control of both houses.

5. According to AFP, the US Congress unanimously approved fresh economic sanctions against Russia and lethal weapons for Kiev, defying President Obama and hardening American lawmakers’ response to a Kremlin-backed insurgency in Ukraine. Identical texts of the Ukraine Freedom Support Act passed both the Senate and House by unanimous consent. Ukraine welcomed the bill that would allow Washington to provide lethal military assistance to the embattled country, but Russia expressed outrage at the “openly confrontational” legislation. The bill now awaits Obama’s signature or veto.

6. According to Reuters, President Barack Obama’s new plan to ease the threat of deportation for 4.7 million undocumented immigrants violates the U.S. Constitution, a federal judge found on Tuesday, handing down the first legal ruling against the plan. The ruling has no immediate impact, with the government saying there was no reason for Judge Arthur Schwab of the Western District of Pennsylvania to address the issue in the case, which concerns 42-year-old Honduran immigrant Elionardo Juarez-Escobar. Schwab is the first judge to rule on the legality of the plan Obama announced on Nov. 20.

7. According to the UK Telegraph, An overnight interest rate hike by the Central Bank of Russia led to a brief rally in the value of the rouble, but it hasn’t lasted long. Late on Monday the CBR announced that it was increasing its key rate by to 17 percent. The emergency move came as a monumental decline in oil prices and continued uncertainty over Ukraine has led the rouble to fall by more than 50pc over the course of the year. The currency’s slide has reflected a huge loss of confidence in the Russian economy. The state is heavily dependent on oil and the value of that oil has fallen by close to 48pc since its peak in June, dropping below $60 a barrel for the first time since 2009 on Tuesday.

8. According to the Associated Press, An Iraq War veteran suspected of killing his ex-wife and five of her relatives was found dead of self-inflicted stab wounds Tuesday in the woods of suburban Philadelphia, ending a day-and-a-half manhunt that closed schools and left people on edge. Bradley William Stone’s body was discovered a half-mile from his Pennsburg home, about 30 miles northwest of Philadelphia. The 35-year-old former Marine sergeant had cuts in the center of his body, and a knife was found at the scene.

9. According to NBC News, the NATO alliance’s top commander in Europe says Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Ukraine and other intimidating shows of force have created a “very different kind of scenario” for NATO. On Monday, 28 Russian military planes were intercepted over the Baltic Sea near Latvia’s border. On Tuesday, a Russian plane violated Estonia’s airspace. Gen. Philip Breedlove said the recent Russian flights were “of a different nature than we’ve seen in a while.” In its latest move to reassure nervous allies that border Russia, NATO leaders met in Germany this week to analyze the results of Exercise Trident Lance 2014. Its training scenario dealt with the hypothetical invasion of NATO member Estonia and included everything from missile strikes to cyber attacks. It was the first NATO exercise of its kind since the end of the Cold War.

10. According to Israel Today News, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in Rome on Monday with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in a bid to thwart a potential move at the U.N. to recognize a Palestinian state within two years, if peace talks fail to produce an agreement. Netanyahu also expressed his dissatisfaction with France’s support for the U.N. initiative. In the meeting with Kerry, Netanyahu requested that the U.S. use its Security Council veto against a Palestinian resolution to set a two-year deadline for the establishment of a Palestinian state and an “end to the occupation.”

As you go throughout this day, keep this word in mind: Luke 1:46-47,49 says, “And Mary said: My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for the Mighty One has done great things for me– holy is his name.”

God loves you. He always has and He always will. He loves you so much that the Bible says in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you don’t know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, why don’t you get to know Him today. Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose by the power of God for you. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Thanks so much for listening. May God bless your day.

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