LISTEN: Pope warns against stigmatizing migrants (BCNN1 01/26/19)

According to Reuters, President Donald Trump agreed under mounting pressure on Friday to end a 35-day-old partial U.S. government shutdown without getting the $5.7 billion he had demanded from Congress for a border wall, handing a political victory to Democrats. The three-week spending deal reached with congressional leaders, quickly passed by the Republican-led Senate and the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives without opposition and signed by Trump, paves the way for tough talks with lawmakers about how to address security along the U.S.-Mexican border. The Republican president’s agreement to end the shuttering of about a quarter of the federal government without securing wall money – an astonishing retreat – came three days after he had insisted, “We will not Cave!”

According to Reuters, Pope Francis said on Friday it was “senseless and irresponsible” to stigmatize migrants and see all of them as threats to society, weighing in again on one of the most divisive issues in the United States. Francis, who has made migration a key theme of his trip to Panama, spoke to several hundred thousand young people at a religious service on the waterfront of the country’s capital, one of the key events of the Roman Catholic Church’s World Youth Day.

According to Reuters, A longtime ally of U.S. President Donald Trump was arrested on Friday for lying to Congress about the 2016 campaign’s efforts to use stolen emails to undercut his Democratic rival in the latest arrest of the Special Counsel probe into possible election manipulation. Roger Stone, a 66-year-old self-proclaimed Republican “dirty trickster,” declared himself innocent hours after a large team of FBI agents raided his home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He is one of the closest Trump associates to be charged in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to help win the election.

According to Reuters, Brazilian rescuers continued searching on Saturday for some 200 missing people after a tailings dam burst at an iron ore mine owned by Vale SA, just over three years after the miner was involved in a similar disaster nearby. Seven bodies were found in the hours after the Friday dam burst, but the toll was expected to rise sharply, said Avimar de Melo Barcelos, the mayor of the hard-hit town of Brumadinho in the mining-intensive state of Minas Gerais.

According to the New York Times, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg is planning to unify the underlying messaging infrastructure of the WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger services and incorporate end-to-end encryption into these apps. The three services will, however, continue as stand-alone apps, the report said, citing four people involved in the effort. Facebook said it is working on adding end-to-end encryption, which protects messages from being viewed by anyone except the participants in a conversation, to more of its messaging products, and considering ways to make it easier for users to connect across networks.

According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Kim Porter’s cause of death has been released. On Friday, the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner announced the former model and actress died of lobar pneumonia, a type of pneumonia that often occurs after a cold or flu and affects one part of the lung. An initial autopsy back in November did not clearly reveal how she died, and her death certificate previously stated the manner of death was “pending investigation.”

According to Religion News Service, Two reports on extremist attacks in the United States document a marked decline in the number of Muslim Americans associated with extremist acts. Extremists in the U.S. killed 50 people in 2018, according to a new report from the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, which looked at fatalities from all groups. Only one of those attacks was perpetrated by someone associated with a radical Islamist group. The rest were carried out by right-wing extremists of various ideologies, mostly white supremacists like Robert Bowers, who killed 11 members of Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue in October.

According to People Magazine, Days after Kevin Barnett died in Mexico, the late comedian’s cause of death has been revealed. Barnett died from complications caused by pancreatitis at age 32, E! News reports. The Chief of the Forensic Medical Service said, “The corresponding autopsy was carried out, which determined that the cause of death was: Non Traumatic Hemorrhage, caused by pancreatitis.” Barnett’s body was reportedly received on Jan. 22 at 5:50 a.m.

According to Christian Post, Just months after he was quietly removed from his role last June, the Matt Chandler-led, Village Church in Texas has revealed that a former children’s minister, Matthew Tonne, has been charged with sexual assault involving a minor from his church. The assault reportedly took place at a camp for kids in 2012. The church said, “The Dallas County District Attorney filed charges in this case against a former employee of The Village Church, Matt Tonne, who was indicted by the Dallas County Grand Jury and is being prosecuted by the District Attorney’s office. Matt turned himself in and is now out on bond. The outcome is pending

According to Christian Post, A day after the New York state Legislature passed a bill Tuesday that made it legal for abortionists and other health care professionals to perform abortions up to birth for any reason, conservative anti-abortion advocates have ramped up criticism of the measure as liberals defend it. “They have no idea the damage this will cause,” Jim Harden, president of CompassCare Pregnancy Services told WHAM about the controversial “Reproductive Health Act.” Harden’s organization works with pregnant women considering abortion and encourages them to having their baby by providing them with baseline medical services. It was not immediately clear how the newly passed RHA will directly affect his work.

You can read these stories and more at

In closing, remember, God loves you. He always has and He always will. 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.” If you don’t know Jesus as your Saviour, today is a good day to get to know Him. Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead for you. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Thanks for listening and may God bless your day!