LISTEN: Central African Republic, rebel groups sign deal to end violence (BCNN, 06/23/17)


1. According to Religion News Service, the government of the Central African Republic and 13 of the 14 armed groups in the country signed an accord aimed at ending an ethnic and religious conflict that has killed thousands of people. The deal, which was mediated by the Roman Catholic Sant’Egidio peace group and signed on Monday (June 19) at the group’s headquarters in Rome, calls for an immediate end to hostilities and recognition of the results of last year’s presidential elections. The country has been plagued by interreligious and intercommunal conflict since 2013, when the mainly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power, prompting reprisals from the anti-Balaka militia, many of whose fighters are nominally Christian.

2. According to the Christian Post, in the harrowing moments after her boyfriend, Philando Castile, was shot during a routine traffic stop in Minnesota last summer, a distraught Diamond Reynolds begged Jesus to let him live as her frightened 4-year-old daughter encouraged her to stay calm so she wouldn’t get shot too. Newly released video from the scene of the shooting shows that Reynolds was handcuffed and placed in the back of a police squad car along with her daughter, Dae’Anna, after they both witnessed Officer Jeronimo Yanez shoot Castile seven times. Officer Yanez, who was acquitted of all charges last week related to Castile’s shooting, testified that he shot the late nutrition services supervisor for St. Paul Public Schools because he feared for his life after Castile told him he had a gun. Castile, 32, had a permit to carry the gun. Reynolds told investigators that Castile was shot while reaching for his wallet.

3. According to Christianity Today, Sanya Richards-Ross won Olympic Gold medals in 2004, 2008, and 2012 and was considered the best 400-meter female runner for over a decade. Her latest book, Chasing Grace: What the Quarter Mile Has Taught Me about God and Life (Zondervan), explores her spiritual journey through both victories and failures—losing and winning races, facing disappointments in relationships on and off the track, enduring the pain of Behçet’s disease, and making the decision to have an abortion just before the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China. Richards-Ross said: “When I was in my valley, in my pit, and I felt so far out of God’s grace and had so much guilt and so many negative emotions—which the devil uses to trick us—I realized that nothing can separate us from the love of God. It’s so different from track, where you are chasing for one spot. But God just wants us to yearn for him, and that for me is the biggest lesson I learned. I’m just so glad I ran into grace.”

4. According to Page Six, just days after a mistrial was declared in his sex assault trial, Bill Cosby is planning a motivational speaking tour — to warn young athletes and even “married men” about the dangers of sex crime allegations. On “Good Day Alabama,” his spokesman Andrew Wyatt said, “Mr. Cosby wants to get back to work. We’re now planning town halls and we’re going to be coming to this city [Birmingham] sometime in July … to talk to young people because this is bigger than Bill Cosby.” Cosby is charged with drugging and sexually assaulting former Temple University basketball manager Andrea Constand in 2004. Prosecutors have vowed to retry him.

5. According to Cinema Blend, many of us are looking forward to seeing Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther, but before that happens, he’s playing a real-life superhero. Marshall tells a story about the early career of Thurgood Marshall, the man who would become the first African-American Justice of the Supreme Court and the man who successfully fought for desegregated schools. While the new movie will focus on a much younger man during a very different part of his career, the story looks to be no less impressive. The first trailer was recently released online.

6. According to Reuters, the Philadelphia 76ers selected University of Washington guard Markelle Fultz with the first overall pick in the NBA Draft on Thursday, launching an infusion of talented youth into the league. The first seven picks of the draft entered as college freshman and 18-year-old Frenchman Frank Ntilikina was taken by the New York Knicks with the eighth choice. The first player taken who had spent a sophomore year in college was 12th pick Luke Kennard of Duke, taken by Detroit. A record 16 freshman were selected in the first round. First-pick Fultz bolstered the 76ers young core as a 19-year-old playmaker. Philadelphia went all out to get their man, trading their third overall pick plus a future first-round pick to the Boston Celtics to secure the Maryland native. Known for his all around offensive ability and athleticism, Fultz starred in his lone year at the University of Washington, averaging 23 points per game, along with more than five rebounds and five assists.

7. According to Reuters, Magic Johnson revolutionized the point guard position during his career with the Los Angeles Lakers and on Thursday, in his new role of running the team, picked a player in his own image to lead them back to contention. With the second overall pick of the NBA Draft, the Lakers selected 19-year-old local standout Lonzo Ball of UCLA, a player capable of reviving the fast-paced ‘Showtime’ style that Johnson made famous. At 6-foot-6, Ball is tall for his position, like Johnson was, and similarly heralded for his brilliant passing and ability to push the pace and run the fast break. In his lone college season, Ball led the nation with 7.6 assists per game and earned first team All America honors. Ball told reporters he was eager to ramp up his hoops education under Johnson.

That’s all for today. You can read these stories and more online at BCNN1.com

In closing, remember, the good news of God’s love. John 3:16 says, “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.”

Thanks for listening. May God bless your day.