Charleston bans protests at church shooting victims’ funerals; Confederate flag removed from Alabama state capitol grounds (UCNN #668)
1. According to the Associated Press, The Charleston City Council has unanimously passed a temporary ordinance that bans protests or picketing at funerals in advance of services this week for the nine people slain at a historic black church. The ordinance passed Tuesday evening states that no one may protest or picket within 300 feet of a church or other building holding a funeral, memorial or burial for one hour before and one hour after the service. Mayor Joe Riley said at the meeting that police recommended the ordinance after receiving information that a group may want to protest at one of the funerals. Police Chief Gregory Mullen declined to say what group or groups may want to protest. He said the information about protests wasn’t related to the Confederate flag debate.
2. According to AL.com, On the order of Gov. Robert Bentley, the Confederate battle flag which stands at the foot of the confederate memorial on the state Capitol grounds was taken down this morning. Two workers came out of the Capitol building about 8:20 a.m. and with no fanfare quickly and quietly took the flag down. They declined to answer questions. Moments later Gov. Bentley emerged from the Capitol on his way to an appearance in Hackleburg. Asked if he had ordered the flag taken down, the governor said, “Yes I did.”
3. According to CNN, The White House will release on Wednesday a presidential directive and an executive order that will allow the government to communicate and negotiate with terrorist groups holding Americans hostage. While the government will maintain its policy of not making “substantive concessions” to captors or paying ransoms, the White House will announce that officials will no longer threaten with criminal prosecution the families of American hostages who do pay ransoms to their relatives’ captors. Family members of former hostages meet at the National Counterterrorism Center on Tuesday to learn of the administration’s decisions after a months-long review of U.S. policies in dealing with American citizens held captive. The families were set to meet with President Barack Obama on Wednesday.
4. According to Reuters, Amazon.com Inc and eBay Inc on Tuesday announced they were pulling Confederate flag merchandise from their websites, following other retailers reacting to last week’s racially motivated mass shooting at a historic black South Carolina church. Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Sears Holdings Corp on Monday banned sales of products bearing the image of the Confederate battle flag. South Carolina lawmakers on Tuesday voted to open debate on removing the flag from the State House grounds, after state Governor Nikki Haley and others called for it to be taken down.
5. According to BBC News, Iran’s supreme leader has hardened his stance on the nuclear negotiations with world powers, with the deadline for a comprehensive agreement only days away. In a speech on Tuesday, Ayatollah Khamenei insisted Iran would only dismantle its nuclear infrastructure if economic sanctions were lifted first. He also ruled out a freeze on research and development for 10 years, as well as inspections of military sites. The demands appear to undercut a framework deal announced in April. They could also limit the ability of Iran’s negotiating team to make key concessions as the self-imposed June 30 deadline approaches. As supreme leader, Khamenei has final say on all state matters. The so-called P5+1 want Iran to scale back its sensitive nuclear activities permanently to ensure that it cannot build a nuclear weapon. Iran insists its nuclear work is peaceful.
6. According to KQED, Although African-Americans represent just 6 percent of San Francisco’s adult population, they are seven times as likely as whites to be arrested, according to a recent report. The report, produced for a city and county advisory council, revealed wide disparities in arrest, booking and conviction rates. It also found that black adults in San Francisco were 11 times as likely to be booked into county jail and over 10 times as likely to be convicted of a crime. Speaking at a June 23 news conference, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi described it as “a damning report” and called for the disparities to be addressed.
7. According to NBC News, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is officially running for president. The Republican governor tweeted on Wednesday that he’s jumping in to the GOP nomination race, also sending out a link to a new campaign website. He is slated to hold an official announcement event Wednesday afternoon in New Orleans.
8. According to Reuters, Pope Francis asked forgiveness on Monday for the Roman Catholic Church’s “non-Christian and inhumane” treatment in the past of the Waldensians, a tiny Protestant movement the Vatican tried to exterminate in the 15th century. Francis made his plea during the first ever visit by a pope to a Waldensian temple on the second day of a trip to Italy’s northern Piedmont region, the center of the Waldensian Church, which has only about 30,000 followers worldwide. While the movement is miniscule compared to the 1.2 billion member Roman Catholic Church, the gesture is part of Francis’ drive to promote Christian unity and it has taken on added significance ahead of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in 2017.
9. According to Reuters, About 40 people have been killed by suspected Boko Haram militants who torched houses and shot people as they fled in two villages in northeast Nigeria’s Borno state. The attackers, who arrived on motorcycles and vehicles mounted with guns, shot residents and looted shops late on Monday and into Tuesday. Details of the attack did not emerge for several hours due to poor telecommunications networks in the remote villages in northeast Nigeria, a region in which Boko Haram has killed thousands in a six-year bid to set up an Islamic state.
10. According to AFP, The government has declared a state of emergency in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest southern city, after a heatwave killed more than 800 people there and left thousands fighting for their lives at hospitals. The declaration came on Tuesday, with more than 700 dying in the port city since Friday. Doctors from army and civilian rescue agencies have set up dozens of temporary medical camps to treat people with dehydration and heat stroke. The death toll was expected to rise because about 10,000 people were being treated at hospitals.
As you go throughout this day, keep this word in mind: 2 Thessalonians 3:3 says, “But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.”
Mark Twain said, “The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.”
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.