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 the Associated Press, It’s not uncommon for audiences at the Sundance Film Festival to give standing ovations, but the ceremonial act took on a solemn air as two men who accuse Michael Jackson of molesting them as boys walked onstage following the festival’s only screening of “Leaving Neverland,” a documentary about their stories. Wade Robson, who says Jackson abused him from ages 7 to 14, and James Safechuck came forward as adults with their abuse allegations after Jackson’s death in 2009. “We can’t change what happened to us. And we can’t do anything about Michael,” Robson said in a Q&A with the audience. But he said he hopes it makes other survivors feel less isolated and raises awareness for anyone who is responsible for children. Jackson’s estate sharply denounced the film Friday night, calling it “the kind of tabloid character assassination Michael Jackson endured in life, and now in death.”
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 the Associated Press, Some legal experts believe there’s a reasonable chance the prison sentence of less than seven years imposed on a white Chicago police officer last week for second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald 16 times could be tossed out and a new sentencing ordered. Van Dyke went to trial charged with first-degree murder, which carries a mandatory minimum prison term of 45 years. But jurors in October opted to replace it with second-degree murder after finding Van Dyke shot McDonald out of fear for his life, though that fear was unreasonable. If he is not resentenced, Van Dyke will almost certainly serve just half of his second-degree murder sentence and end up behind bars for only around three years when credit for good behavior is factored in. Many community activists have called the sentence a mere slap on the wrist.
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 Associated Press, Venezuela’s political showdown moves to the United Nations Saturday where a Security Council meeting called by the United States will pit backers of President Nicolas Maduro against the Trump administration and supporters of the country’s self-declared interim leader Juan Guaido. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to address the meeting along with Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza and the other council members, which include supporters of both dueling presidents. The session focusing on Venezuela’s crisis comes a day after Guaido vowed to remain on the streets until his country has a transitional government, while Maduro dug in and accused his opponents of orchestrating a coup.
According to the Associated Press, The number of confirmed measles cases near Portland grew to 31 on Friday — an outbreak boosted by lower-than-normal vaccination rates in what has been called an anti-vaccination U.S. “hot spot.” Public health officials in southwest Washington, just across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon, said people may have been exposed to the dangerous disease at more than three dozen locations , including Portland International Airport, a Portland Trail Blazers game, an Amazon Locker location and stores such as Costco and Ikea. Twenty-six of the confirmed patients had not been vaccinated against measles, and the vaccination status of four others who were infected is unknown. One child has been hospitalized. Authorities say nine additional cases are suspected.
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.
According to the Associated Press, A military base deep inside Saudi Arabia appears to be testing and possibly manufacturing ballistic missiles, experts and satellite images suggest, evidence of the type of weapons program it has long criticized its archrival Iran for possessing. Further raising the stakes for any such program are comments by Saudi Arabia’s powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who said last year the kingdom wouldn’t hesitate to develop nuclear weapons if Iran does. Ballistic missiles can carry nuclear warheads to targets thousands of kilometers (miles) away. Officials in Riyadh and the Saudi Embassy in Washington did not respond to requests for comment.
You can read these stories and more at UrbanChristianNews.com
In closing, remember, God loves you. He always has and He always will. John 3:16, “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 so much for listening and may God bless your day!