1. According to the Christian Post, time is running out for two Christian pastors facing a possible death penalty in Sudan, the American Center for Law and Justice is warning as it launches a global petition asking the world to help save the two men. The Rev. Hassan Abduraheem and Rev. Kuwa Shamal have been arrested, transferred, and re-arrested on multiple occasions this past year in the Islamic-majority country of Sudan, with government officials accusing them of national security crimes. ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow is arguing, however, that the imprisonment and the threat of a death penalty punishment are directly linked to the pastors’ Christian faith, and has warned that if other believers don’t speak up, the government of Sudan will send them to their deaths.
2. According to the Chicago Sun Times, Chicago’s onetime political power couple appears to be a couple no more. Former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. has filed for divorce from his wife, former Chicago Ald. Sandi Jackson, after 25 years of marriage, Cook County court records show. Jackson Jr. filed a certificate of dissolution of marriage on Monday, according to the county’s electronic court docket. Citing “irreconcilable differences” with his wife, he began the proceedings to divorce in Cook County in July, as Sandi Jackson was wrapping up a prison term she completed in October. Sandi and Jesse Jackson both pleaded guilty in August 2013 to various schemes relating to the looting of his congressional campaign fund. The former South Side 7th Ward alderman and the former 2nd Congressional District lawmaker each went to prison for diverting $750,000 from campaign funds for their personal use between 2005 and 2012.
3. According to Konbini, Canada will continue its streak of social progressivism under the leadership of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. This past week, Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced the treasury’s redesigned $10 banknote will feature a portrait of a black woman: Nova Scotian businesswoman, socialite and activist Viola Desmond (1914-1965). Viola Desmond is often referred to as “Canada’s Rosa Parks.” The new $10 note is expected to enter circulation in late 2018. This will mark the first time that a portrait of a Canadian woman (let alone a black woman) will be featured on a regularly circulating Bank of Canada note.
4. According to the Washington Post, starting Dec. 19, the National Museum of African American History and Culture will make free, same-day passes available online rather than requiring visitors to line up in person. The museum is also allowing a limited number of walk-up visitors after 1 p.m. on weekdays, crowds permitting. The museum announced that advance timed passes for April will be distributed online and by phone beginning Jan. 4, while passes for May will be available starting Feb. 1. The passes are available by visiting nmaahc.si.edu or calling 866-297-4020. Passes obtained online may be printed or displayed on smartphones. The changes to the visitor policies come after some 600,000 guests have visited the museum since it opened Sept. 24.
5. According to the International Business Times, days after offering controversial rhetoric about African-American voters, President-elect Donald Trump has scheduled a meeting to address issues having to do with black people, according to a new report. While it was not immediately clear exactly what issues would be discussed at the meeting, the president-elect was reportedly going to be accompanied by two former professional football greats who have checkered pasts and are decidedly against the Black Lives Matter social justice movement. Ray Lewis, the retired Baltimore Ravens linebacker who agreed to a plea deal and testified against two co-defendants after he was charged with murder in 2000, was expected to be with Trump Tuesday, according to a tweet from ABC News reporter Candace Smith. Not to be outdone, Hall of Fame former Cleveland Browns running back Jim Brown, who has been accused of rape multiple times and admitted to beating women, was also expected to be at the meeting. Both Lewis and Brown are African-American.
6 . According to the Associated Press, Louisville sophomore quarterback Lamar Jackson has been voted AP College Football Player of the Year. The youngest Heisman Trophy winner received 42 of 61 first-place votes from AP’s panel of media voters. Jackson received 153 points overall, more than twice that of Clemson quarterback and runner-up Deshaun Watson (73). Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen third (32). Watson received 10 first-place votes and Allen three. Jackson’s runaway selection seemed fitting in a season in which he outraced defenders and into the record books en route to collecting a truckload of highlights and hardware.
7. According to Billboard, not only is John Legend ending 2016 with a bang, but he’ll be starting off the new year with a bang too. Legend, who just released his fifth album Darkness and Light on Dec. 2, is slated to be the halftime performer for the 66th NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans. The 10-time Grammy Award-winning singer, whose album’s single “Love Me Now” reached No. 41 on the Billboard Hot 100, will provide the halftime entertainment at the All-Star Game on Sunday Feb. 9 at the Smoothie King Center. Coverage of the game will begin at 8 p.m. ET on TNT.