PODCAST: Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed wins 2019 Nobel Peace Prize (Urban Christian News Network 10.11.19)

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According to the Associated Press, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed won the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019 in recognition of his efforts to end his country’s two-decade border conflict with Eritrea. The Norwegian Nobel Institute on Friday also praised the “important reforms” that Abiy, Ethiopia’s leader since April 2018, has launched at home. The prize comes as Abiy faces pressure to uphold the sweeping freedoms he introduced, and critics warn that his ability to deal with rising domestic unrest may be slipping. The Nobel committee said some people may consider it too early to give him the prize, but “it is now that Abiy Ahmed’s efforts need recognition and deserve encouragement.” The award, the 100th Nobel Peace Prize, reflects the committee’s taste for trying to encourage works in progress. Abiy said he was “humbled and thrilled.” In a call with the Nobel committee, he laid out his hope that the award will be taken “positively” by other African leaders “to work on (the) peacebuilding process on our continent.” Abiy, 43, took office after widespread protests pressured the longtime ruling coalition and hurt one of the world’s fastest growing economies. Africa’s youngest leader quickly announced dramatic reforms and “Abiymania” began. On taking office, Abiy surprised people by fully accepting a peace deal ending a 20-year border war between the two East African nations that saw tens of thousands of people killed. Ethiopia and Eritrea had not had diplomatic ties since the war began in 1998, with Abiy himself once fighting in a town that remained contested at the time of his announcement last year. Within weeks, the visibly moved Eritrean president, Isaias Afwerki, visited Addis Ababa and communications and transport links were restored. For the first time in two decades, long-divided families made tearful reunions. The improving relations led to the lifting of United Nations sanctions on Eritrea, one of the world’s most reclusive nations. But Ethiopia’s reforms do not appear to have inspired any in Eritrea, which has since closed border posts with its neighbor. The Nobel committee also pointed to Abiy’s other efforts toward reconciliation in the region — between Eritrea and Djibouti, between Kenya and Somalia, and in Sudan.

According to NBC News, after days of speculation surrounding the shooting of Joshua Brown, a witness in the Amber Guyger trial, Dallas police identified three suspects Tuesday in connection with Brown’s death. Tuesday evening, NBC News reported that the second of the three, Michael Diaz Mitchell, had been taken into custody in Louisiana. Earlier that day, Assistant Chief Avery Moore said that one of the suspects, Jacquerious Mitchell, 20, was in custody at Parkland Hospital. During that news conference, held at Dallas police headquarters, officials said Brown was fatally shot Friday in a drug deal gone bad at an apartment complex on Cedar Springs Road. All three suspects came from Alexandria, La., to purchase drugs from him, police said. The third suspect, Thaddeous Charles Green, 22, remains at large. The announcement of the suspects’ names came as pressure increased from community leaders for an independent investigation into Brown’s case. Brown had testified in the murder trial of Guyger, a former Dallas police officer convicted of murder last week and sentenced to 10 years in prison. The timing of Brown’s death raised public speculation about whether the shooting was somehow tied to his testimony. Brown’s family declined a request for an interview through civil rights attorney Lee Merritt on Tuesday but said in a statement the department should not continue to lead this investigation. The statement did not refute any details from police officials. “A cloud of suspicion will rest over this case until steps are taken to ensure the trustworthiness of the process,” the family said in a written statement. Moore gave condolences to the Brown family and said the department was working “diligently” to find the remaining suspects. Moore then addressed the conspiracy theories and said they “simply are not true.” Without pointing to specific statements, he issued a warning to community leaders. “I encourage those leaders to be mindful of their actions moving forward because their words have jeopardized the integrity of the city of Dallas as well as the Dallas Police Department,” he said.

According to Christian Headlines, The Minnesota Attorney General has summoned Christian filmmakers Carl and Angel Larsen back to court over their refusal to create a wedding video for a gay couple. For three years, the Larsen’s have fought in court to defend their freedom of speech, finally achieving victory by the 8th Circuit Court, which reversed Minnesota’s chief federal judge’s dismissal of their claims. The Circuit Court ruled that “the First Amendment allows the Larsens to choose when to speak and what to say,” according to CBN. But Attorney General Keith Ellison and Human Rights Commissioner Rebecca Lucero announced last week that they will take the couple back to court instead of appeal the decision. In an op-ed in the Star Tribune, the pair stated that they believe the ruling “amounts to a license to discriminate against LGBTQ folks.” They continued: “People have the right to believe whatever they want to believe. What they don’t have is the right to deny you the same service they’re offering to everyone else. No Minnesotan should be afraid that might happen to them. The Human Rights Act protects all of us from that.” Senior Counsel Jeremy Tedesco of the Alliance Defending Freedom, however, believes that the couple “won a great free speech victory.” In a statement, he also said, “This principle protects everyone. It means the state can’t threaten the Larsens with jail time for declining to create a film promoting a view of marriage that violates their religious beliefs. It also prevents the government from forcing an atheist musician to perform at an evangelical church service or a Democratic speechwriter to write speeches for a Republican.”

According to the Daily Beast, A 48-year-old man has been charged with murder after authorities say someone found a memory card containing multiple photos and videos of him beating and killing a woman in an Anchorage, Alaska, hotel room. A woman called the Anchorage Police Department on Sept. 30 and said she had found a discarded SD card on a downtown Anchorage street containing pictures and videos of another woman being strangled, beaten, and raped, according to an affidavit of the criminal complaint. Detectives recognized the suspect, Brian Steven Smith, from the videos because Smith is involved in a separate ongoing investigation, Anchorage Police Department spokesman MJ Thim told the Anchorage Daily News. Some of the videos showed the woman being strangled and struggling to breathe as a man laughed about it, according to the affidavit. The SD card was labeled “homicide at midtown Marriott,” authorities said. The slain woman’s body was found last week along the Seward Highway, south of Anchorage, the Daily News reports. Her identity is unknown at this time.

According to Daily Mail, Two teenagers were stabbed to death in the space of just four hours in London yesterday, as the capital’s murder toll hits 117 so far this year. Onlookers watched in horror as two teenage boys were stabbed, one fatally, outside the McDonald’s in east London’s Stratford Centre at 3.20pm on Thursday. Paramedics battled to save the two 15-year-olds, but one was pronounced dead at the scene at 3.49pm. The other was rushed to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Less than four hours later police were scrambling to the scene of another stabbing on the Brandon Estate in Camberwell. Just after 8pm they found an 18-year-old man with knife wounds. He was pronounced dead at the scene an hour later. No arrests have been made in either case and police have told MailOnline there is no suggestion the two incidents are linked.

According to The Christian Post, Adam Tyson, the pastor who is invigorating and inspiring audiences across the U.S. at rapper Kanye West’s “Sunday Service” events, has revealed some fascinating details about West’s newfound faith. “He is living and walking with God,” Tyson told “The Pure Flix Podcast,” noting that he’s seen noticeable changes in the rapper’s life. “He’s in the Bible. He’s in prayer.” Tyson, pastor of Placerita Bible Church in Santa Clarita, California, said West won’t even allow people to curse around him — and he confirmed that the performer only wants to sing gospel music moving forward. The preacher also shared the story behind how he first met West, explaining that the rapper randomly visited his church of around 300 members in May, and the two quickly struck up a friendship. It was during some private conversations that West told Tyson he had recently become a Christian. “[West said], ‘I was just under the weight of my sin and I was being convicted that I was running from God, and I knew I needed to make things right, so I came to Christ — I came out of darkness and came into the light,'” Tyson recounted. The pastor recalled spending three hours with West during their first meeting. Tyson said he went through the gospel and explained “that Christ came to die” for sinners and that “by repenting and believing in him we can have eternal life.” The rapper’s response to this message was fascinating. He reportedly told Tyson, “I told you I’ve been radically saved. I believe that message and I want to get that message out to the world.” And that’s exactly what West appears to be doing now, hosting “Sunday Service” events at churches and locations across the U.S. — musical events that also feature gospel messages from Tyson. As for Tyson, he has kept his commitment to help Kanye. “[I told him], ‘As long as you’re professing Christ and living for him, I’m here to help you,'” he said. In addition to traveling the U.S. to deliver the gospel at West’s “Sunday Service” events, Tyson hosts Tuesday Bible studies with West and his staff, traveling to Cody, Wyoming, each week where West now lives. “He’s so excited about studying the Bible,” he said. “How can you say no?”

According to USA Today, It was a game the WNBA Finals deserved. The Washington Mystics, with the best record in the league, and the Connecticut Sun, with the second-best record, locked in a two-possession, back-and-forth contest with four minutes left in a winner-take-all Game 5. Relying on scoring from WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne, stellar two-way play from Emma Meesseman off the bench and a fourth-quarter scoring burst from Natasha Cloud, the Mystics defeated the Sun 89-78 on Thursday. It was the Mystics’ first championship, the first title for Delle Donne and the first WNBA championship for Mystics coach and basketball lifer Mike Thibault, who was an NBA assistant before deciding to switch leagues 16 years ago. “A lot of people questioned why I went to a team that hadn’t been to the playoffs in a while,” said Delle Donne, who requested a trade from the Chicago Sky to the Mystics following the 2016 season. “And I saw it in Coach, I knew he was building something really special. That’s why this means so much to get this with him.” Thibault, the WNBA’s winningest coach, initially made his mark with the Sun, taking that franchise to back-to-back Finals in 2004 and 2005, but coming up short in both attempts. Washington also won the title in front of a sellout crowd at Washington’s made-for-WNBA Entertainment and Sports Arena. In attendance: Wizards guards Bradley Beal and John Wall – both wearing Kristi Toliver jerseys – Wizards coach Scott Brooks and representing the highest court in the land, Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan. While Delle Donne, who played a portion of this series with a herniated disk, had 21 points and nine rebounds, Meesseman was the star of the game and the series. The Belgian forward scored 15 of her team-high 22 points in the second half, including 11 in the third quarter, on her way to earning WNBA Finals MVP honors. Meeseman averaged 17.8 points and shot 57.1% from the field, including 9-for-13 in Game 5.

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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!