LISTEN: Urban Christian News Network Report #532 with Daniella Whyte

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1. According to NBC News, Uniformed militants attacked a public school, killing at least nine students and one teacher and taking hostages on Tuesday. Ambulances were transporting wounded children from the Army Public School in Peshawar to hospital. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. Officials said at least six armed men had entered the school. About 500 students and teachers were believed to be inside and a Reuters journalist at the scene could hear heavy gunfire. Dozens of people — at least 28 of them students — were injured, a spokesperson for the nearby Lady Reading Hospital told journalists. The hospital had been instructed to make arrangements for mass casualties.

2. According to BBC News, UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has said that hundreds of British troops will be sent to Iraq in the New Year. The deployment — to help train local forces — will be in the “very low hundreds” but could also include a small protection force of combat-ready soldiers. About 50 UK troops are already training Iraqi and Kurdish forces fighting Islamic State militants in Iraq.

3. According to International Christian Concern, Christian persecution in the world’s largest democracy continues to escalate as India’s Christian community prepares for the Christmas holiday. In the latest incident of violence, a group of Christians were brutally attacked and beaten by Hindu radicals for singing Christmas carols in Hyderabad. The incident took place while Pastor Bhim Nayak, head pastor of Banjara Baptist Church, and fifteen of his church members were singing carols and visiting with other Christian families on December 13. According to the victims, around thirty Hindu radicals participated in the attack. Pastor Nayak, his wife and son were among those severely injured and have been referred to an intensive care unit in a hospital in Hyderabad.

4. According to One News Now, Bible translation is underway in areas hostile to Christianity and Westerners, but the real story may be the people doing the translation work. Bruce Smith, president and CEO of Wycliffe Associates, tells OneNewsNow about Scriptures for New Frontiers. “In this particular case, we’re talking about translation in the Middle East and other hostile areas to Christianity. Actually there are some incredibly exciting things happening, where first-generation believers are really risking their lives to bring God’s Word to their own language groups and communities and have reached out to us to help them in that process.” Smith goes on to share that some of the people in the national translation teams are former members of well-known terrorist organizations, whose objectives were to expose and eliminate Christians.

5. According to Police in Pennsylvania mounted an intense search Monday in the Philadelphia suburbs for a man suspected of killing his ex-wife and five former in-laws, the district attorney for Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, Risa Vetri Ferman said at a press conference. Bradley William Stone of Pennsburg killed his ex-wife and her mother, grandmother and sister, as well as the sister’s husband and 14-year-old daughter. She didn’t provide a motive for the slayings. Stone was described as armed and dangerous.

6. According to BBC News, The US Senate has approved Vivek Murthy as the new surgeon general, the first Indian-American to step into that role. The US has been without a Senate-confirmed surgeon general since July 2013. The surgeon general is an advocate for people’s health. Dr Murthy, 37, is a physician at a Boston hospital and an instructor at Harvard Medical School. President Barack Obama said in a statement that Dr Murthy’s confirmation “makes us better positioned to save lives around the world and protect the American people here at home”. Dr Murthy is the youngest surgeon general in US history.

7. According to Reuters, the FBI has warned U.S. businesses to be on the alert for a sophisticated Iranian hacking operation whose targets include defense contractors, energy firms and educational institutions. The operation is the same as one flagged last week by cyber security firm Cylance as targeting critical infrastructure organizations worldwide. Cylance has said it uncovered more than 50 victims in 16 countries including the United States. The FBI’s technical document said the hackers typically launch their attacks from two IP addresses that are in Iran, but did not attribute the attacks to Tehran government.

8. According to BBC News, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has paid tribute to the two hostages who died in the Sydney cafe siege. Addressing a press conference, he described them as “decent, good people” who were “caught up in the sick fantasy of a deeply disturbed individual”. The two hostages died, with the gunman, as police commandos stormed the cafe in Martin Place early on Tuesday morning. The victims have been named as cafe manager Tori Johnson, 34 and Sydney lawyer Katrina Dawson, 38. An investigation has been launched into the police operation which ended the siege.

9. According to USA Today, On Sunday, Spelman College in Atlanta indefinitely suspended the William and Camille Cosby Endowed Professorship. The prestigious visiting scholar endowment was created in 1988 when the school received a $20 million donation from Cosby and wife Camille. A statement from the school says: “The Professorship was established to bring positive attention and accomplished visiting scholars to Spelman College in order to enhance our intellectual, cultural and creative life. The current context prevents us from continuing to meet these objectives fully. Consequently, we will suspend the program until such time that the original goals can again be met.”

10. According to The Times of Israel, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says that he hopes to head off an end-of-year showdown at the UN over Palestinian statehood in meetings this week in Europe. The Palestinians are carrying out a major campaign aiming to submit to the UN Security Council a draft resolution setting out a two- or three-year timetable for an end to Israeli occupation. They have said they would like to see the text submitted before the end of the year, prompting a surprise meeting in Rome between Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well as other European officials.

As you go throughout this day, keep this word in mind: Luke 1:46-47,49 says, “And Mary said: My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for the Mighty One has done great things for me– holy is his name.”
God loves you. He always has and He always will. He loves you so much that the Bible says in 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 the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, why don’t you get to know Him today. Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose by the power of God for you. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, 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. May God bless your day.

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