1. According to Reuters, Arkansas lawmakers passed a Religious Freedom Restoration Act on Tuesday that critics said would allow businesses to deny service to gays and lesbians, drawing a swift demand from Wal-Mart Stores Inc for the governor to veto the bill. Arkansas followed Indiana, which passed a similar act last week. They are the first to do so since same-sex marriage became legal in many states last year. Corporations have criticized the measures. At present 37 of the 50 states and the District of Columbia permit gay marriage.
2. According to AFP, Holding Israel accountable. This is what Yasser al-Qassas and thousands of Gazans hope to see with the Palestinian accession to the International Criminal Court on Wednesday. Palestinians joined the ICC with the goal of trying Israeli leaders for alleged war crimes in the fighting in and around the Gaza Strip in summer 2014, and alleged crimes relating to the occupation of the West Bank and east Jerusalem. Approximately 2,200 Palestinians were killed, of them 1,500 civilians, according to a UN report. On the Israeli side 73 people were killed, 67 were soldiers.
3. According to the AP, Amid anger over an Islamic insurgency that has claimed thousands of lives, Nigerians threw out the incumbent and elected a 72-year-old former military dictator Tuesday in a historic transfer of power following the nation’s most hotly contested election ever. President Goodluck Jonathan conceded defeat to former Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, paving the way for an unprecedented peaceful transfer of power in Africa’s most populous nation. It will be the first time in Nigeria’s history that an opposition party has democratically taken control of the country from the ruling party – considered a sign of the West African nation’s maturing young democracy.
4. According to the AP, With stubborn disputes unresolved, negotiators extended nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers past a self-imposed Tuesday midnight deadline in an effort to hammer out the outline of an agreement. Enough progress had been made to warrant the extension until Wednesday, according to State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf. Secretary of State John Kerry, who had planned to leave the talks on Tuesday, was remaining. And an Iranian negotiator said his team could stay “as long as necessary” to clear the remaining hurdles. The decision came after six days of marathon efforts to reach a preliminary understanding, drawing in foreign ministers from all seven nations at the table — Iran, the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.
5. According to Baptist Press, Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd has named the members of the Committee on Resolutions for the June 16-17 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Columbus, Ohio. Floyd, pastor of Cross Church, in Springdale, Ark., appointed the committee in keeping with the provision in SBC Bylaw 20 that its members be named 75 days prior to the start of the annual meeting. Floyd named Steve Gaines of Tennessee as committee chairman. Gaines is senior pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova. Other committee members named are listed on BaptistPress.com
6. According to The Washington Post, Iraqi forces claimed to have seized the city of Tikrit from Islamic State militants on Tuesday after U.S.-led airstrikes cleared the way for ground operations, an advance that would mark the government’s most significant victory over the extremists since their summer blitz. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced that Tikrit had been liberated after security forces and “popular mobilization” units made rapid inroads into the city. The recapture of Tikrit would constitute the first time that Iraqi security forces have wrested back a major population center from the militant group, boosting hopes for an offensive targeting the larger city of Mosul.
7. According to Reuters, Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey signed a law on Monday that requires doctors to tell women that drug-induced abortions can be reversed and that blocks the purchase of insurance on the Obamacare health exchange that includes abortion coverage. The requirement that patients be told that the effects of abortion pills may be undone by using high doses of a hormone was the most hotly contested provision during legislative debate. The bill cleared the Republican-controlled Legislature last week, largely along party lines.
8. According to The Independent, A nationwide blackout across Turkey has thrown the country into chaos. Power outages have been reported in dozens of cities throughout the country due to a fault on power transmission lines. Prime minister Ahmet Davuto?lu said that a crisis-desk at the Ministry of Energy has been established. Energy minister Taner Y?ld?z said, he “cannot confirm whether power outage was a cyber or terrorist attack.” Istanbul’s metro, tram and Marmaray services have come to a halt due to the blackout.
9. According to USA Today, President Obama commuted the sentences of 22 convicted federal prisoners Tuesday, shortening their sentences for drug-related crimes. Eight of the prisoners who will have their sentences reduced were serving life sentences. All but one of the 22 will be released on July 28. The White House said Obama made the move in order to grant to older prisoners the same leniency that would be given to people convicted of the same crimes today.
10. According to AFP, The bodies of victims from the Germanwings plane disaster have all been recovered from the crash site in the French Alps, authorities said Tuesday. Lieutenant-Colonel Jean-Marc Menichini told AFP, “There are no more bodies at the crash site. Tomorrow 20 mountain troops will head up with the teams to recover the personal belongings.” He added that the search was still going on for the plane’s second black box.
As you go throughout this day, keep this word in mind: Psalm 14:1 says, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.”
C.H. Spurgeon said, “We ought to be Martha and Mary in one; we should do much service, and have much communion at the same time.”