LISTEN: Urban Christian News Network #614 with Daniella Whyte

1. According to USA Today, Iran’s president on Thursday said Tehran will not sign a final nuclear deal unless world powers lift economic sanctions imposed on the country immediately. The United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and Germany — the so-called P5 +1 group — reached an understanding with Iran last week on limits to its nuclear program in return for lifting crippling economic sanctions, after extended talks in Lausanne, Switzerland. The U.S. has previously said the sanctions would be lifted in phases, but the details have not yet been negotiated.

2. According to USA Today, The central U.S. is under the gun this week for what could be the worst severe weather outbreak so far this season. There were reports of tornadoes Wednesday night in Kansas. The storm bypassed the city but was reported six miles northwest of Goddard. The National Weather Service said another twister may have touched down at Potosi, Mo., about 70 miles from St. Louis. Tornado warnings were in effect in Missouri and Indiana. About 30 million people live in the risk area, which includes Kansas City, St. Louis, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Indianapolis and Cincinnati.

3. According to Baptist Press, In an attempt to counter the fear, suspicion and anxiety that followed last week’s terrorist attack at Garissa University in eastern Kenya, Christian students at the University of Nairobi are organizing a day of fasting and prayer on their campus. A Christian worker in Kenya shared his belief that even terrorists can be reconciled to God. He said, “The only way to stop terrorism is by the Gospel transforming the would-be attackers. As in the case of Paul the Apostle, these men once transformed could turn the world of terror upside down for the glory of God.” The Christian worker said Campus Baptist Fellowship, a new church plant at the University of Nairobi, is hosting the special day of prayer April 9. Fellowship leaders believe a war on terror requires unconventional tactics: fasting, prayer and evangelistic witness.

4. According to UPI, Conversion therapy, a mental treatment intended to “repair” members of the LGBT community is not an effective or ethical use of psychiatry among minors and should be abandoned and prohibited at the state level, the White House said Wednesday. President Obama will this week advocate legislation banning conversion therapy applied to persons under 18, five months after a 17-year-old transgender girl, Leelah Alcorn, committed suicide following the treatment. The proposed ban of conversion therapy, called Leelah’s Law, is the Obama administration’s latest show of support for American gay rights. Wednesday, the White House responded to a petition seeking the end of the therapy.

5. According to USA Today, Bob Schieffer, anchor of CBS News’ “Face the Nation” and a familiar face to millions of Americans through nearly half a century as a journalist with the television network, said Wednesday he will retire this summer. Schieffer, 78, who has interviewed every president since Richard Nixon, is in his 24th year of anchoring the network’s Sunday morning news program. “Face the Nation” celebrated its 60th anniversary last year. He announced the decision at the annual Schieffer Symposium at Texas Christian University, his alma mater.

6. According to the AP, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was convicted on all charges Wednesday in the Boston Marathon bombing by a jury that will now decide whether the 21-year-old should be executed or shown mercy for what his lawyer says was a crime masterminded by his big brother. The former college student folded his arms, fidgeted and looked down at the defense table in federal court as he listened to one guilty verdict after another on all 30 counts against him, including conspiracy and deadly use of a weapon of mass destruction. Seventeen of those counts are punishable by death.

7. According to New York Observer, Rev. Al Sharpton called for national policing legislation akin to the Civil Rights Act this morning at the kickoff his National Action Network’s annual convention, just after the arrest of a white South Carolina police officer for murder in the shooting of an unarmed black man. Mr. Sharpton said, “There must be national policy and national law on policing. We can’t go from state to state, we’ve got to have national law to protect people against these continued questions.” Mr. Sharpton’s comments, coming on the heels of multiple instances of police killings of unarmed men of color around the country, were met with applause from the crowd which was packed with elected officials including Mayor Bill de Blasio, Congressman Charles Rangel, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, city Comptroller Scott Stringer and state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

8. According to Reuters, Iran sent two warships to the Gulf of Aden on Wednesday, state media reported, establishing a military presence off the coast of Yemen where Saudi Arabia is leading a bombing campaign to oust the Iran-allied Houthi movement. The Alborz destroyer and Bushehr support vessel sailed from Bandar Abbas on a mission to protect Iranian shipping from piracy. Saudi Arabia and several Arab allies have imposed an air and naval blockade on Yemen as part of a two-week campaign to oust the Houthis, who have taken most of the country and forced President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to flee to Riyadh.

9. According to Reuters, President Barack Obama arrived in Jamaica on Wednesday to attend a Caribbean summit seeking to reassert U.S. leadership in the region at time when oil-producing Venezuela’s economic clout may be receding. As the first U.S. president to visit Kingston since Ronald Reagan in 1982, Obama faces the challenge of convincing Caribbean island leaders that Washington is genuinely re-engaging after a long period of perceived neglect of its smaller, poorer neighbors.

10. According to the AP, A gunman opened fire in a Milan courtroom on Thursday, killing a judge and as many as two other people before being captured as he tried to flee on a motorbike. Witnesses reported barricading themselves inside their offices and taking cover under their desks as police hunted for the gunman. The employees trickled out, women first, followed by the men who had their IDs checked. Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said the suspect was caught by police as he tried to escape.

As you go throughout this day, keep this word in mind: Hebrews 1:3 says, “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:”

Catherine Booth said, “The Gospel that represents Jesus Christ, not as a system of truth to be received, into the mind, as I should receive a system of philosophy, or astronomy, but it represents Him as a real, living, mighty Savior, able to save me now.”

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