1. AP – U.S. forces in Afghanistan on Thursday struck an Islamic State tunnel complex in eastern Afghanistan with “the mother of all bombs,” the largest non-nuclear weapon every used in combat by the U.S. military, Pentagon officials said. The bomb, known officially as a GBU-43B, or massive ordnance air blast weapon, unleashes 11 tons of explosives. When it was developed in the early 2000s the Pentagon did a formal review of legal justification for its combat use. The U.S. military headquarters in Kabul said in a statement that the bomb was dropped at 7:32 p.m. local time Thursday on a tunnel complex in Achin district of Nangarhar province, where the Afghan affiliate of the Islamic State group has been operating.

2. AP – The first black woman appointed to the state’s highest court has been found dead on the bank of the Hudson River. Sheila Abdus-Salaam’s body was discovered along the riverside near Harlem on Wednesday, a day after she was reported missing. Police said her body showed no obvious signs of trauma, and they declined to speculate on the cause of her death. The medical examiner planned to study her body to try to determine what killed her. Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who appointed Abdus-Salaam to the state’s Court of Appeals in 2013, called her a “trailblazing jurist.” “As the first African-American woman to be appointed to the state’s Court of Appeals, she was a pioneer,” Cuomo said. “Through her writings, her wisdom and her unshakable moral compass, she was a force for good whose legacy will be felt for years to come.”

3. AP – A misdirected airstrike by the U.S.-led coalition earlier this week killed 18 allied fighters battling the Islamic State group in northern Syria, the U.S. military said Thursday. U.S. Central Command said coalition aircraft were given the wrong coordinates by their partner forces, the predominantly-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces, for a strike intended to target IS militants south of their Tabqa stronghold, near the extremists’ de facto capital, Raqqa. The strike hit an SDF position instead, killing 18. Central Command said the strike was launched Tuesday.

4. CP – A California church that raised nearly $200,000 to purchase a home for the family of Pastor Saeed Abedini while he was imprisoned for his faith in Iran in 2013 filed a lawsuit in order to settle a dispute over the money. Joshua Springs Calvary Chapel, located in Yucca Valley, California, had raised the funds for Abedini’s wife, Naghmeh, and their two children who were living in Boise, Idaho. But matters became complicated following Abedini’s release from prison in January 2016 and the couple’s divorce proceedings. According to the lawsuit, the church claims that Abedini implicitly demanded that the funds be given to him. But given that he and his wife are now separated and that the church had collected donations to buy a house for Naghmeh and their children, the church says that “a substantial controversy exists concerning entitlement to the charitable donations.” “Plaintiff (Joshua Springs Calvary Chapel) cannot distribute the benefits because it cannot determine which of the competing claimants, if any, is entitled to the said funds,” the lawsuit states.

5. Washington Examiner – President Trump’s evolving positions on China, NATO and other issues can be chalked up to either circumstances moving closer to Trump’s positions or his desire to improve the lives of Americans, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Thursday. Trump has been slammed Thursday for flip-flopping on a number of positions. In recent days, he’s deemed NATO no longer “obsolete” as he did on the campaign trail and said China is not a currency manipulator, despite making that a regular part of his stump speech. He’s also praised Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and supported the Export-Import Bank, positions he felt the opposite on during the campaign. Spicer said Trump’s feelings on certain issues continue to evolve, or in some cases, others are evolving toward his positions.

6. Orlando Sentinel – A Christian student was suspended because of comments he made on social media to another student — not after he clashed with his Muslim professor, Rollins College’s president said Monday. Nevertheless, the professor, Areej Zufari, has resigned, President Grant Cornwell said in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel. “She resigned this semester because of the hateful threats and emails and phones messages she was getting,” Cornwell said. “I think it’s a terrible injustice, but I do respect her decision.”

7. The Root – Colson Whitehead, author of the 2016 National Book Award-winning novel The Underground Railroad, won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction Monday. Whitehead’s novel has been heralded by everyone from Oprah Winfrey to Barack Obama since being published in August 2016. According to Doubleday, The Underground Railroad has sold more than 825,000 copies in the U.S. The novel tells the story of Cora and Caesar, two slaves on a Georgia plantation who escape but find themselves caught up in a murder while navigating the Underground Railroad, where engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath Southern soil.

As you go throughout this day, keep this word in mind: 2 Samuel 22:33 says, “God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect.”

Harriet Tubman said, “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”

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!
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1. BBC – The head of the Coptic Christian Church has led a Good Friday service in the cathedral in Cairo in the aftermath of last Sunday’s deadly bomb attacks. Pope Tawadros II had been in one of the two churches targeted on Palm Sunday when 45 people were killed in attacks claimed by so-called Islamic State. Security has been tightened at churches across Egypt and Easter celebrations have been scaled back. Both suicide bombers were Egyptians. A three-month state of emergency was imposed following the bombings in Alexandria and the Nile Delta city of Tanta.

2. NYT – China warned on Friday that tensions on the Korean Peninsula could spin out of control, as North Korea said it could test a nuclear weapon at any time and an American naval group neared the peninsula in a show of resolve. “The United States and South Korea and North Korea are engaging in tit for tat, with swords drawn and bows bent, and there have been storm clouds gathering,” China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, said in Beijing. “We urge all sides to no longer engage in mutual provocation and threats…No matter who it is, if they let war break out on the peninsula, they must shoulder that historical culpability and pay the corresponding price for this.”

3. CP – While some may take Easter for granted, for others it is a reminder that the resurrected Christ will bring justice for Christians who have been beheaded, crucified, and face extermination, the American Center for Law and Justice said. Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the ACLJ, which advocates for Christians facing persecution around the world, stated on Thursday ahead of the holiday that people in America may often take the “freedom to celebrate Easter for granted,” but many other Christians around the world are facing extreme persecution for their faith. The ACLJ has called upon the United Nations to take action against the “historical atrocities” Christians are facing and has asked why so little is currently being done to help.

4. AP – Two Georgia police officers were fired Thursday, a day after authorities say one punched a man who had his hands up and the other kicked the man in the head once he was handcuffed on the ground. The Gwinnett County Police Department said Thursday afternoon that Master Police Officer Robert McDonald violated department policy and the law. Video showed McDonald assaulting the handcuffed man, identified as Demetrius Bryan Hollins, while assisting a supervisor who had called for backup during a traffic stop about 4 p.m. Wednesday. “We acknowledge that the actions of these two officers have implications that will be felt for some time,” a police department statement says. “However, we also believe that our decisive action in terminating both officers speaks volumes about what is expected of each officer that wears a Gwinnett County Police badge.”

5. CP – Mariam Ibraheem, the Sudanese Christian mother who was sentenced to death in 2014, says she’s “disappointed” by Pastor Saeed Abedini’s public “attacks” against leading evangelist Franklin Graham, church leaders, his ex-wife and others. The 29-year-old Ibraheem, who was the center of her own international human rights outcry when she was sentenced to death in May 2014 because she married a Christian and was the daughter of a Muslim man, told The Christian Post this week that she is disheartened to see Abedini use social media to broadcast his personal issues. She suggested that even if some of the allegations Abedini made are true, it’s crucial to remember that no one is perfect and everyone needs forgiveness.

6. KABC – A 27-year-old motorcyclist has been identified after he was decapitated in a bizarre accident at an intersection in San Bernardino. Fabian Zepeda was riding his motorcycle southbound on Macy Street about 9:10 a.m. Tuesday, when he drove into a tension wire stretched across the road, according to a statement from the San Bernardino County Coroner. The collision was preceded minutes earlier by another crash, in which a Ford Taurus slammed into a wooden telephone pole. The pole snapped in half, with the loose wire spanning the street. Zepeda drove into the wire and was beheaded.

7. AP – The shooting that killed a man and wounded three other riders Thursday on an Atlanta public transit train appears to be a “targeted, isolated incident,” officials said. Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority police Chief Wanda Dunham said in a statement late Thursday that officers arrested a suspect in the death of Zachariah Hunnicutt at the West Lake station. She did not release the suspect’s name or details about what led to the shooting. The shooting happened about 4:30 p.m. Thursday near the station, which was closed for several hours afterward.

As you go throughout this day, keep this word in mind: Matthew 10:16 says, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”

Epicurus said, “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”

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!