Chinese Christian pastor sentenced to 1 year; Jesse Jackson Jr. to be released from prison (UCNN #603)

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1. According to The New York Times, A Christian pastor who defended local churches when the Chinese authorities removed church crosses was sentenced to one year in prison on Tuesday night by a court in Zhejiang Province. The pastor, Huang Yizi, was sentenced by the People’s Court in Pingyang County after being convicted of “gathering crowds to disturb social order,” said Mr. Huang’s lawyer, Zhang Kai. Mr. Zhang said that he would appeal the court’s verdict.

2. According to USA Today, Former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. will be released from a federal prison camp on Thursday and serve the final months of his sentence in a Washington, D.C. halfway house. Former Rep. Patrick Kennedy, a Rhode Island Democrat and longtime mental health advocate, told USA TODAY that he spoke with Jackson while visiting him on Monday at a minimum security federal prison camp in Montgomery, Ala. The news of Jackson’s pending release was first reported by the Associated Press. A federal official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told the AP that Jackson would be released on Thursday.

3. According to Fox News, Search teams found a “black box” from the plane that crashed early Tuesday in a remote section of the French Alps, providing the first possible clue as to what caused the Dusseldorf-bound aircraft to suddenly lose altitude and crash, likely killing all 150 people aboard. The French Interior Ministry Bernard Cazeneuve confirmed searchers had recovered the flight data recorder in a debris field where “everything is pulverized.” He told French media, “A black box that we found a few hours after the crash will immediately be examined to help the investigation move forward quickly.”

4. According to WJTV, It was an ugly scene outside of a Jackson, MS church Sunday. Members demanded that their pastor vacate the pulpit at New Galilean Baptist Church. The leader in question is the relatively new Pastor Orlando D. Franklin. About 300 people signed this petition to remove him from the church. That petition was going to be delivered Sunday morning, instead, Pastor Franklin along with certain deacons and trustees stayed in his office. Although Pastor Franklin declined to comment, he does have some supporters in the church. A message was left for his attorney.

5. According to The Gospel Herald, Televangelist Benny Hinn was admitted to the intensive care unit in an Orange County, California hospital this weekend after suffering heart problems in Brazil last week. The 63-year-old healing evangelist is expected to make a full recovery, but recognizes that he may have overdone it during a week-long crusade in South America.

6. According to Bloomberg News, Islamist militant group Boko Haram may have abducted hundreds of residents from the northern Nigerian town of Damasak before it was driven out two weeks ago, according to a local politician. Maina Lawan, a senator from the northern part of Borno province, said in an interview Tuesday that the number of abductions wasn’t clear, though it wouldn’t be a surprise if it was as high as 500. Reuters reported on Tuesday that at least 400 women and children were taken, citing a local resident and a commander of the forces from Niger and Chad that recaptured the town on March 9.

7. According to RT, At least 400 children have been recruited in Syria by Islamic State militants over the past three months. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the so-called ‘Cubs of the Caliphate’ have received military and religious training. The monitoring group said that children under 18 have been recruited near schools, mosques and other public areas. It also added that the children are taught being to fire live ammunition, fight in battles and drive in the training camps.

8. According to The Telegraph, Several Germanwings flights were cancelled on Tuesday after their crews refused to fly, as it emerged that the aircraft which crashed in the French Alps had been grounded for an hour for repairs the day before the accident. Pilots and cabin crew refused to fly over concerns the crash may have been linked to a repair to the nose-wheel landing doors on Monday, according to an unconfirmed report in Spiegel magazine. Lufthansa denied that there was any link between the repair and the cancelled flights.

9. According to Reuters, Saudi Arabia is moving heavy military equipment including artillery to areas near its border with Yemen, U.S. officials said on Tuesday, raising the risk that the Middle East’s top oil power will be drawn into the worsening Yemeni conflict. The buildup follows a southward advance by Iranian-backed Houthi Shi’ite militants who took control of the capital Sanaa in September and seized the central city of Taiz at the weekend as they move closer to the new southern base of U.S.-supported President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

10. According to the AP, Authorities say a Wisconsin state trooper was shot and killed in an exchange of gunfire with a person who matched the description of a bank robbery suspect. Police said the suspect also was killed. Fond du Lac police said late Tuesday that the incident occurred about 5:30 p.m. No details were available about the trooper or the suspect.

As you go throughout this day, keep this word in mind: Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Thomas a Kempis said, “A life without a purpose is a languid, drifting thing. Every day we ought to renew our purpose, saying to ourselves: This day let us make a sound beginning, for what we have hitherto done is nought.”

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.”

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