LISTEN: Urban Christian News Network #574 with Daniella Whyte

1. According to Fox News, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a cease-fire agreement for eastern Ukraine had been reached Thursday, bringing an end to marathon talks between the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France. The agreement is due to take effect at midnight Sunday, but questions remain about whether the deal will hold up after the collapse of a previous cease-fire in September. French President Francois Hollande called the agreement a “serious deal” in comments to the BBC, but noted that not every issue had been resolved. Hollande said that he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were committed to helping verify the cease-fire process.

2. According to Gallup, A slight majority of Americans, 53%, are satisfied with the influence of organized religion in the U.S. This level of satisfaction has changed little over the past three years, but remains down from what Gallup has measured previously — including higher levels measured in 2001 to 2004 — suggesting that Americans’ satisfaction with organized religion has settled in at a new baseline. The latest measurement comes from Gallup’s annual Mood of the Nation survey, conducted Jan. 5-8. Satisfaction with the influence of religion comes in sixth on the list of 27 aspects of American life that Gallup measures in the survey.

3. According to the Baptist Press, As President Obama seeks to ramp up military action against the terrorist group known as ISIS, Americans remain uneasy over the place of Islam in the United States and in the world, a LifeWay Research survey shows. More than a third (37 percent) say they are worried about Sharia law — an Islamic legal and moral code — being applied in America. One in 4 (27 percent) believe the terrorist group ISIS reflects the true nature of Islam, while 4 in 10 (43 percent) believe Islam can create a peaceful society. And most Protestant senior pastors (76 percent) say they support military action against ISIS.

4. According to Reuters, Australian counterterrorism officials say they have foiled an imminent terrorist attack after the arrest of two men at a house in western Sydney. The suspects have been charged with terrorist offenses. Police say a homemade ISIS flag was found at the house, as well as a machete, a hunting knife and “a video which depicted a man talking about carrying out an attack.”

5. According to the BBC, U.S. President Barack Obama has warned President Vladimir Putin that Russia will face greater costs if it continues its “aggressive actions” in Ukraine. Obama urged his Russian counterpart to seize the opportunity of fresh talks to find a peaceful solution to the war that has raged since April last year. Putin is due to meet with the leaders of France, Germany and Ukraine at a summit in Belarus on Wednesday. However, there was intense fighting in eastern Ukraine ahead of the talks.

6. According to USA Today, Foot soldiers in the voting rights marches of 1965 would receive the highest civilian honor awarded by Congress under legislation adopted unanimously Wednesday by the U.S. House. The bill would award the Congressional Gold Medal to thousands who marched on Bloody Sunday, Turnaround Tuesday and the final, successful 54-mile march from Selma to Montgomery in Alabama. The Senate is expected to quickly approve the measure, followed by a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in the coming weeks.

7. According to Breitbart, The Southern Poverty Law Center has announced they have removed Dr. Ben Carson from their “extremist” file. In an unsigned statement released on Wednesday, SPLC said, “In October 2014, we posted an ‘Extremist File’ of Dr. Ben Carson. This week, as we’ve come under intense criticism for doing so, we’ve reviewed our profile and have concluded that it did not meet our standards, so we have taken it down and apologize to Dr. Carson for having posted it.”

8. According to the New York Times, An Italian court on Wednesday convicted the captain of a cruise liner that capsized in 2012, killing 32 people, of manslaughter and sentenced him to just over 16 years in prison for his role in one of the worst maritime disasters in modern Italian history. The captain, Francesco Schettino, 54, was convicted of multiple counts of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning the vessel, the Costa Concordia, before all of its 4,229 passengers and crew members had been evacuated. The court also barred him from commanding a ship for five years and from ever holding public office. The captain’s lawyers said they would appeal the verdict.

9. According to Reuters, Yemenis in the capital Sanaa and the central city of Taiz held the largest protests yet against a takeover by a Shi’ite Muslim militia group on Wednesday after the United States, Britain and France shut down their embassies over security fears. Hundreds massed in the capital against the Houthi fighters, who manned checkpoints and guarded government buildings they control. The militants, bedecked in tribal robes and automatic rifles, shot in the air and thrust daggers at the crowds opposing their rule. Tens of thousands of people also carried banners and chanted anti-Houthi slogans in Taiz, which the militants have not taken.

10. According to CBS News, Bob Simon, the longtime “60 Minutes” correspondent and legendary CBS News foreign reporter died suddenly tonight in a car accident in New York City. The award-winning newsman was 73. Simon’s five-decade career took him through most major overseas conflicts spanning from the late 1960s to the present. He is survived by his wife, Françoise, and their daughter, Tanya, who is a producer for “60 Minutes” in New York.

As you go throughout this day, keep this word in mind: 1 Corinthians 13: 6-7 says, “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

Lyndon B. Johnson said, “Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.”

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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