LISTEN: Urban Christian News Network #583 with Daniella Whyte

1. According to The New York Times, Three residents of Brooklyn were arrested and charged on Wednesday with providing material support to the Islamic State, a terrorist organization that controls large parts of Iraq and Syria and has been actively recruiting young people from around the world to its fight. One of the men was arrested early Wednesday morning at Kennedy International Airport, where he was trying to board a flight to Istanbul and then planned to travel to Syria. At least two of the men threatened to carry out attacks on targets in the U.S. if they failed in their attempt to travel overseas.

2. According to National Review, Two prominent House committee chairs are “deeply disappointed” in Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler for refusing to testify before Congress as “the future of the Internet is at stake.” Wheeler’s refusal to go before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday comes on the eve of the FCC’s vote on new Internet regulations pertaining to net neutrality. The committee’s chairman, Representative Jason Chaffetz and Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Fred Upton criticized Wheeler for lacking transparency on the issue. The vote on the new Internet regulations is scheduled for Thursday.

3. According to Reuters, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rebuffed criticism in Washington of his plans to speak in Congress, accusing world powers of forsaking a pledge to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Netanyahu said in a speech, “I respect the White House and the President of the United States but on such a fateful matter, that can determine whether or not we survive, I must do everything to prevent such a great danger for Israel.” He said world powers had pledged to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, adding that “from the agreement coming together it appears they have given up on this commitment”.

4. According to Charisma News, A group of pastors were kicked out of the U.S. Capital Visitor Center over a prayer meeting with an Appeal to Heaven theme. The pastors were granted the use of the CVC for an event on Feb. 25 dedicated to racial reconciliation but five days before the meeting they were told they could not proceed unless they removed the words “An Appeal to Heaven” from the theme. Bishop E.W. Jackson, who organized the meeting said, “We never misled anyone about the theme. The event was created as a positive and unifying response to the incidents in Ferguson and Staten Island which sparked protests and riots around the country.”

5. According to Baptist Press, A state law that restricts marriage to a man and a woman does not express hostility toward same-sex couples, the SBC Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and four other religious organizations say in a new brief filed with a federal appeals court. The ERLC and four other members of a diverse coalition called Feb. 23 for the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis to uphold the right of the citizens of Missouri to define marriage as only a heterosexual institution. In November, a federal judge struck down a state constitutional amendment limiting marriage to the union of a man and a woman. The Eighth Circuit has scheduled oral arguments May 11 in Omaha, Neb., to rule on the marriage laws of Missouri, Arkansas and South Dakota.

6. According to the AP, The Egyptian president has issued a law that broadens the state’s definition of terrorism to include anyone who threatens public order “by any means,” and gives authorities powers to draw up lists of alleged terrorists with little judicial recourse. Under the new law, prosecutors can name someone a terrorist, freezing their assets, and barring them from public life or travel, with only simple approval from a panel of judges, and without a trial. The listing is valid for three years and can be renewed. The legislation was signed in the form of a decree by President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi last week and was distributed to reporters on Tuesday.

7. According to Defense News, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced a deal for unspecified military and technical cooperation with the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday, and said negotiations are ongoing with the United States and unspecified European nations. The deal is a sign that Ukraine is not only seeking, but finding defense industry partners outside the region as it wages an uphill fight against Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.

8. According to the New York Daily News, President Obama’s National Security Adviser blasted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming address to a joint session of Congress as “destructive” to the relationship between the two traditionally allied nations. Susan Rice said Tuesday on PBS’ nightly “Charlie Rose” program about the Israeli premier’s speech, scheduled for next Tuesday, “What has happened over the last several weeks — by virtue of the invitation that was issued by the speaker and the acceptance of it by Prime Minister Netanyahu two weeks in advance of his election — is that on both sides, there has now been injected a degree of partisanship. It’s destructive of the fabric of the relationship.” The comments are the harshest yet from a White House official and suggest the administration is far angrier than it’s led on about Netanyahu’s decision to visit Washington just weeks ahead of his reelection race, which is expected to be tight.

9. According to Baptist Press, LifeWay Christian Resources, continuing to move toward selling its 14.5-acre downtown Nashville complex, signed a letter of intent Feb. 23 with “a firm that represents a group of local and national developers.” A letter of intent, according to a LifeWay statement issued Feb. 24, is “a temporary legal arrangement allowing the seller and potential buyers time to concentrate their negotiations.” The LifeWay statement, issued by Marty King, director of corporate communications, noted that talks are ongoing.

10. According to UPI, United States and South Korean governments announced they will start their annual joint military drills on March 2, reigniting a constant source of tension with North Korea. The drills, code named Key Resolve and Foal Eagle, are some of the largest and most widespread, with hundreds of thousands of troops involved. The drills, which end April 24, include field exercises and computer simulations. The Key Resolve war games will include 10,000 South Korean troops and 8,600 U.S. troops from March 2 through March 13. Foal Eagle, which will last until April 24, will include 200,000 South Korean and 3,700 U.S. soldiers.

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