This is the Urban Christian News podcast. Here are the top stories you need to know about today.
According to AFP, Kidnappers holding a group of 17 US and Canadian missionaries in Haiti including five children are demanding a ransom of $1 million for each of their hostages, security sources said Tuesday. The kidnapping by one of Haiti’s brazen criminal gangs has underlined the country’s deepening woes following the assassination of president Jovenel Moise in July, with lawlessness mounting in the Western hemisphere’s poorest nation. A gang known as 400 Mawozo, which for months has controlled the area where the missionaries and members of their families were abducted, wants a total of $17 million, sources told AFP. Haitian Justice Minister Liszt Quitel confirmed that the gang was behind the kidnapping of 16 Americans and one Canadian.
According to the Associated Press, Nikolas Cruz pleaded guilty to murder on Wednesday in the 2018 high school massacre in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 dead. Cruz, 23, entered his pleas in a courtroom attended by a dozen relatives of victims after answering a long list of questions from Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer aimed at confirming his mental competency. He was charged with 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted first-degree murder for those wounded in the Feb. 14, 2018, attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, located just outside Fort Lauderdale. A penalty trial will determine if Cruz will receive a sentence of death or life in prison without parole. Scherer plans to begin screening jurors next month in hopes testimony can begin in January.
According to FOX 5 DC, A group of Howard University students gathered Wednesday for day two of protests over poor housing conditions on campus. Students say rats, roaches and mold are just some of the things they’ve had to deal with in on-campus housing. Videos sent to FOX 5 also show water pouring out of pipes, expired air filters with mold and mildew and mushrooms growing on ceilings and walls. With tuition being nearly $50,000 a year, students say they’re frustrated with how Howard’s administration has handled the situation. The group Live Movement, a coalition of students from historically Black colleges and universities, originally invited faculty and school officials to a town hall Tuesday night to address their concerns. Instead, police arrived on campus to try and remove students. Students are now demanding an in-person meeting with administrators by the end of the month, voting power for student representatives on the Board of Trustees and further discussion of housing plans for future students.
According to NBC DFW, Texas is poised to become the latest and most populous state to tighten restrictions on transgender athletes in public high school sports. State lawmakers on Sunday approved a measure that requires transgender athletes to play on teams that align with the gender listed on their original birth certificate, not their current gender identity. The bill pushed by the legislature’s Republican majority now goes to GOP Gov. Greg Abbott, who is expected to sign it into law. Texas would join at least five other states that have passed similar measures in recent months and the bill may yet face legal challenges.
According to CNN, The family of 19-year-old Miya Marcano, who went missing from her apartment in Florida and was later found dead in a wooded area, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against her apartment complex and the company that operates the complex in connection with her death. The lawsuit, filed Monday, alleges negligence by companies that own and operate the Arden Villas Luxury Apartments in Orlando, where Marcano lived and worked. The lawsuit names Arden Villas Apartments LLC, which owns and operates the property, and The Preiss Company, which operates and manages the complex, according to the court filing. It also alleges battery by Armando Manuel Caballero, who was a maintenance worker at the Arden Villas apartments and took his own life after Marcano’s disappearance, investigators said. Marcano went missing September 24 and her body was found October 2 in a wooded area near an apartment complex where Caballero once lived. Marcano’s hands and feet were bound and her mouth covered in tape, officials said.
According to the New York Post, Burger chain In-N-Out slammed San Francisco’s vaccine mandate after one of its stores was temporarily closed by city health officials — ripping the “offensive” order as “clear governmental overreach.” The company said the San Francisco Department of Public Health closed one of its stores last week because it found that employees “were not preventing the entry of customers who were not carrying proper vaccination documentation.” The “store properly and clearly posted signage to communicate local vaccination requirements,” In-N-Out’s chief legal and business officer Arnie Wensinger said in a statement. “After closing our restaurant, local regulators informed us that our restaurant Associates must actively intervene by demanding proof of vaccination and photo identification from every customer, then act as enforcement personnel by barring entry for any customers without the proper documentation. In-N-Out Burger strongly believes in the highest form of customer service and to us that means serving all customers who visit us and making all customers feel welcome. We refuse to become the vaccination police for any government. It is unreasonable, invasive, and unsafe to force our restaurant associates to segregate customers into those who may be served and those who may not, whether based on the documentation they carry, or any other reason,” Wensinger added. The store has since reopened, but without indoor dining.
According to Assist News Service, “Needtobreathe: Into The Mystery,” a documentary feature, directed by Chris Phelps and produced in partnership with Elektra Records and Foundations Music, will be released by Greenwich Entertainment in over 500 movie theaters nationwide on Wed., Nov. 3. The film release will follow the band’s 38-city tour across the United States. Fans can now watch the theatrical trailer. “We’re big fans of music documentaries where you get to actually watch the artist creating in the space where the record is made,” said Needtobreathe. “Getting to see an idea stretch and grow into a finished song is really inspiring, but we’ve never really let our fans see behind the curtain. Now people will get to pull up a chair and become a part of the process as we create our eighth studio album in an old house in the hills of Tennessee.” “Needtobreathe: Into The Mystery” chronicles the recording of Needtobreathe’s latest album, “Into The Mystery,” which was released by Elektra Records on July 30. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, without telling a soul, the band decamped to a remote, historic house-turned-recording studio in Tennessee to work on new music. Over three weeks, they resided under one roof and handcrafted an album reflective of the turbulent moment that may contain the most important music of the band’s storied career.
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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!