LISTEN: Urban Christian News Network #557 with Daniella Whyte

1. According to The Associated Press, The U.N. Security Council is condemning the recent escalation of attacks by the Nigerian extremist group Boko Haram in the strongest terms and expressing deep concern that its activities are undermining peace and stability in central and West Africa. The presidential statement approved Monday was the council’s first formal reaction to Boko Haram’s activities, which have increased in ferocity. It comes on the eve of Tuesday’s meeting in Niger’s capital, Niamey, to discuss regional military action to respond to the threat posed by the Islamic militant group. The council demanded that Boko Haram immediately halt all hostilities and demobilize.

2. According to VOA News, The European Union is launching new anti-terrorism projects with Muslim countries and increasing its intelligence sharing in the aftermath of deadly attacks in France and violent confrontations in Belgium. EU foreign ministers met Monday in Brussels with the Arab League’s secretary general, Nabil Elaraby. Afterwards, EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said the EU will be sharing information on suspected terrorists and possible attacks with many countries throughout the Arab world, Africa and Asia. The ministers said they would avoid writing new legislation or a prolonged military presence on the streets of Europe.

3. According to The Washington Post, Lebanon and Israel braced Monday for possible retaliation by Hezbollah for the deaths of six of the group’s fighters in an alleged Israeli raid in Syria, as Iran confirmed that one of its senior military commanders was also killed in the attack. The strike on Sunday, in which Israeli helicopters fired missiles at Hezbollah vehicles traveling in a Syrian-controlled portion of the Golan Heights, sent regional tensions soaring at a critical time, prompting fears of another war such as the one that erupted in 2006 with sudden and unexpected ferocity. What form such retaliation might take — or whether there would be any at all — was the subject of intense speculation as the potential for spillover from Syria’s war took yet another unpredictable twist.

4. According to The Associated Press, Witnesses say rebel Houthi militiamen are battling soldiers near Yemen’s presidential palace. The status of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi was not immediately clear. The battle began Monday morning. Witnesses say they heard heavy machine gun fire and mortars falling in the neighborhood. Civilians in the area fled the fighting. There was no word on state media about the violence as Sanaa was suffering a power outage at the time. The Houthis seized large areas of Yemen, including Sanaa, last year as part of their protracted power struggle with Hadi. Critics say the Houthis are a proxy for Shiite Iran, charges the rebels deny.

5. According to The Root, Liberal billionaire George Soros has donated $33 million to social-justice groups in recent months in an effort to draw attention to police violence in the black community in cities like Ferguson, Mo., according to the Daily Mail, citing a report at the Washington Times. Ferguson ignited a national debate about police violence in August after then-Police Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed unarmed black teen Michael Brown. The donations came to light after the Washington Times conducted an analysis of the latest tax filings by Soros’ Open Society Foundations. The director of Soros’ fund said that it has no direct control over the groups it gives to, and said that they are all trying to improve accountability.

6. According to USA Today, A new CBS poll should make Mitt Romney smile: 59% of Republicans say they’d like to see their 2012 presidential nominee run for the White House again. The findings by CBS come as Romney is being met with skepticism from some donors and potential Republican rivals. In the survey, 26% say they don’t want Romney in the GOP field. The poll also brings good news to Jeb Bush, who would likely compete with Romney for the same support from within the GOP establishment. Half of Republicans say they’d like to see the former Florida governor in the presidential race, while 27% think Bush shouldn’t run.

7. According to The Washington Examiner, Dr. Ben Carson, the neurosurgeon who has gained a substantial following among conservative Republicans despite having never run for office, is in no hurry to announce a bid for president. In an interview with C-SPAN on Monday, Carson said he “will have made a decision by May 1.” Carson has made no secret of his desire to potentially run for president, and he has been methodically expanding his networks in the key states of Iowa and New Hampshire to lay the groundwork for such a bid. In Iowa in particular, Carson has polled strongly in early public surveys.

8. According to Xinhuanet, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called on Monday for international talks to settle the crisis in the country’s east region and implement the Minsk peace deal, as the country saw a sharp decline in its industrial output. Poroshenko said during a meeting with Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz, “Ukraine is striving for peace. We are ready to immediately summon the trilateral contact group in order to ensure the elaboration and signature of the schedule of the Minsk agreements’ implementation.” The Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine, which includes representatives from Ukraine, Russia, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, was created as a means to facilitate a diplomatic resolution to the tensions in eastern Ukraine.

9. According to The Associated Press, Investigators have found no evidence so far that terrorism was involved in the crash of AirAsia Flight 8501, according to reports. The lead investigator told The Wall Street Journal on Monday that investigators listening to the cockpit voice recorder did not report any indications of threats or gunfire. He said, “So far, there’s no sign of terrorist activity.” The flight’s cockpit voice recorder and the other black box — the data recorder — were retrieved by divers last week, followed by the plane’s fuselage, the examination of which has been hampered by bad weather. Many bodies of the 162 people on board are believed to be inside.

10. According to The Associated Press, Rain “flash-freezing” on roads and sidewalks left an icy glaze under feet and tires across much of the northeast on Sunday, causing crashes that claimed at least five lives. A crash involving 30 to 50 vehicles on Interstate 76 outside Philadelphia killed one person, and two others died in a crash involving multiple vehicles on nearby Interstate 476, police said. In northeastern Pennsylvania, a man was killed after his car overturned on an icy road and he was thrown from it and hit by a commercial vehicle. In Connecticut, police cited slippery conditions in a crash that killed an 88-year-old woman who struck a utility pole in New Haven.

As you go throughout this day, keep this word in mind: James 1:2-3 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”

Paulo Coelho said, “When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.”

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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