This is the Urban Christian News podcast. Here are the top stories you need to know about today.
According to NBC News, A white gunman motivated by hate and dressed in tactical gear killed 10 people and wounded three others Saturday afternoon at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket. The suspect, an 18-year-old man, shot 13 people — 11 of whom are Black and two who are white — at the Tops Friendly Market. Officials said he streamed the attack on a social media platform. A Twitch spokesperson said the platform has investigated and confirmed that the stream was removed “less than two minutes after the violence started.” Erie County Sheriff John Garcia said at a news conference, “This was pure evil. Straight up racially motivated, hate crime from somebody outside of our community — outside of the City of Good Neighbors, as the mayor said — coming into our community and trying to inflict evil upon us.” An apparent manifesto with the suspect’s name, a shared birthdate, and biographical details in common with the suspect, was posted to Google Docs on Thursday night. In it, the shooter claimed to have been radicalized online and appeared to adhere to the false replacement theory, which has been used by white killers to justify violence against Muslims, Latinos, and Jewish people around the world. The apparent manifesto espouses the “great replacement” conspiracy theory that falsely alleges Jews are working to replace white Americans with people of color. It also says Buffalo was targeted because it’s the city with the most Black residents that’s nearest to the author’s residence. The manifesto also repeatedly references the gunman in the 2019 shooting at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand. The suspect, Payton S. Gendron, of Conklin, New York, was arraigned Saturday evening in Buffalo City Court on one count of murder in the first degree, the Erie County District Attorney’s Office said. He was remanded without bail and a felony hearing was scheduled for Thursday morning, according to the office. Four store employees, including a security guard who was a retired Buffalo officer, were among the victims. ECMC Hospital in Buffalo said it was treating three victims and all were stabilized. One patient was discharged Saturday night. In a written statement, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said the Justice Department is “is investigating this matter as a hate crime and an act of racially-motivated violent extremism.”
According to the Daily Mail, Hundreds of people in Nigeria’s northwestern city of Sokoto demonstrated Saturday over the arrest of two students following the murder of a Christian student accused of blasphemy. In the early morning of Saturday, Muslim youths took to the streets of the city, lighting bonfires and demanding the release of the two detained suspects despite the earlier deployment of policemen to maintain order. The irate mob retreated downtown where they attempted to loot shops belonging to Christian residents but were dispersed by security patrol teams. Student Deborah Samuel was killed by a mob in northern Nigeria who stoned, beat and set fire to her for a voice note that they considered to be blasphemous against the Prophet Muhammad. The angry mob pulled Deborah out of a security room she was hiding in at the Shehu Shagari school in Sokoto, northwestern Nigeria, and carried out the horrific killing, according to police. Days earlier, Deborah, who is Christian, had left a voice note in her class WhatsApp group complaining that there were too many religious posts in a group intended for academic updates. According to a translation, she said: “The group is not created for sending nonsense things. It is created to send past questions, if there is a test, or if we are given assignments, not all these nonsense things.” A fellow student replied with a voice note saying that Deborah had just blasphemed, and the original voice note began to circulate among Muslim students in the community. An angry mob formed to hunt Deborah down, and the student took refuge in the security room of the school under the protection of security guards. Unfortunately they were unable to keep her safe. Deborah was dragged out, beaten and then stoned. Once she had died her body was set on fire and the school building burnt down as well. There have been two arrests, thought to be the individuals in a video which shows them celebrating with a box of matches. The murder has sparked outrage in the enormous African country split along religious and ethnic lines that sees regular conflict, often prompted by the terrorist group Boko Haram.
According to Euronews, Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö has formally notified Vladimir Putin of the country’s application to join NATO, in a phone call on Saturday. The militarily non-aligned Nordic country that shares a long border and history with Russia “will decide to apply for NATO membership in the coming days”, said a statement from the president’s office. The statement explained, “President Niinistö told President Putin how fundamentally the Russian demands in late 2021 aiming at preventing countries from joining NATO and Russia’s massive invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 have altered the security environment of Finland.” President Niinistö said, “The conversation was direct and straight-forward and it was conducted without aggravations. Avoiding tensions was considered important.” The Kremlin responded by saying that relations between the two neighbours could be “negatively affected” if Finland follows through with plans to apply for NATO membership. Niinistö has been Finland’s president since 2012 and is one of few Western leaders who has held regular dialogue with Putin over the past ten years. He said he had told the Russian leader that Finland was seeking to strengthen its security by joining NATO, and still wanted to engage with Moscow practically and professionally.
According to El Pais, Debanhi Escobar, 18, was sexually abused and murdered, according to a forensic report requested by the family. This opinion, which reviews the first official autopsy, rules out the hypothesis of an accident that the Nuevo León Prosecutor’s Office had been suggesting in recent weeks. The autopsy has determined that the young woman, who went missing on April 9 and whose body was found almost two weeks later in a motel water tank on the outskirts of Monterrey, Mexico, was hit on the head several times with a “blunt object” and died before falling or being dropped into the tank. The report concludes, “This was a violent homicidal death.” The body also presented “traces of a violent sexual relationship.” The Debanhi case has become a symbol of the disappearances and murders of women in Mexico and has opened deep cracks in a collapsed justice system. The Prosecutor’s Office had added this information to the investigation, although the details about Escobar’s death had not been revealed until now. Since the discovery of the body on April 21, the Prosecutor’s Office has only reported on the cause of death: traumatic brain injury. However, no details were provided about whether or not she had suffered abuse, if she had drowned or had already fallen dead into the water tank of the motel. The absence of official information made it possible to justify the hypothesis that Debanhi had fallen into that water tank all by herself. While the Escobars were burying their only daughter, more questions began to arise. It was then that her father, Mario Escobar, requested a second autopsy — dated April 25 — and later handed it over to the authorities.
According to the New York Post, A Wisconsin school district has filed sexual harassment complaints against three middle schoolers for calling a classmate by a wrong pronoun. The school district in Kiel, a city of 3,600 residents, has charged the three eighth-graders at the Kiel Middle School with sexual harassment after an incident in April in which the students refused to use “they” to refer to a classmate who had switched pronouns a month before the alleged incident, according to reports. Rosemary Rabidoux, whose 13-year-old son Braden is one of the students charged with sexual harassment, said, “I received a phone call from the principal …forewarning me, letting me know that I was going to be receiving an email with sexual harassment allegations against my son. I immediately went into shock. I’m thinking sexual harassment? That’s rape, that’s inappropriate touching, that’s incest. What has my son done?” The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty is defending the accused students, and claims that misuse of pronouns is not covered by Title IX, the US Education Department’s statute that protects people from discrimination based on sex in education.
According to the Associated Press, Federal prosecutors in the U.S. have charged the leader of a notoriously violent Haitian gang in connection with the kidnapping of 16 Americans last year. Germine Joly, 29, who is also known as “Yonyon,” is accused of leading the 400 Mawozo gang and is the first person charged by Justice Department prosecutors with having any involvement in the kidnapping of the Christian missionaries. He was extradited to the U.S. last week and faces separate firearm trafficking charges. The indictment says Joly was in a Haitian prison during the kidnapping but was nonetheless able to direct his group’s operations, including ransom negotiations for the captives’ release. One of the stated goals of the hostage-taking was to get the Haitian government to release Joly from prison. A total of 17 people from the missionary group — 12 adults and five minors — were abducted Oct. 16 shortly after visiting an orphanage in Ganthier, in the Croix-des-Bouquets area, the group has said. The group included 16 Americans and one Canadian. Twelve of the captive missionaries escaped during a daring overnight caper, eluding their kidnappers and walking for miles over difficult, moonlit terrain with an infant and other children in tow. The group navigated by stars to reach safety after a two-month kidnapping ordeal, according to officials with the Christian Aid Ministries, the Ohio-based agency that the missionaries work for. Their captors from the 400 Mawozo gang initially demanded millions of dollars in ransom. Five other captives had earlier reached freedom. It is still unclear if any ransom was paid. The 12 hostages who escaped were flown to Florida on a U.S. Coast Guard flight, and later reunited with the five hostages who had been released earlier. Joly is due to make his first court appearance Wednesday.
According to the Daily Mail, A Texas teenager and her boyfriend were found dead in her bedroom on the day her mother was going to take her rehab after she allegedly struggled with addiction for years. Irene Sunderland, 18, and her boyfriend Grant Blodgett, 17, both of Woodlands, overdosed inside Sunderland’s home on May 5. Phone records from their cellphones lead to the arrest of Abdulbaaith Abiodun Adewale, 19, who has been charged with two counts of manufacturing or delivering a controlled substance causing death or serious bodily injury. His bond has been set at $150,000. Both Sunderland and Blodgett had been struggling with addiction for years and Sutherland’s mother Mandy was planning on taking her to rehab on the day she died, according to an arrest warrant. Her mother found the pair in the teenager’s bedroom surrounded by drugs. The drugs had been laced with fentanyl. Toxicology reports confirmed the teen’s death were from overdoses, the Sheriff’s Office reported. They were only weeks away from graduation. Under Texas law, if someone experience serious injury or death, the person who manufactured or delivered the drug can be charged. Investigators discovered texts between the couple and Adewale showed the 19-year-old telling them someone had already died from heroin he had given them, according to KHOU 11. Authorities said Adewale knew the drugs ‘could and would likely kill them.’ Adewale had previously been charged with three counts possession of a controlled substance and had completed a program and had the charges dropped.
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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!