Tuesday morning news: April 17, 2018

Second day SC prison riot » A brawl over territory and contraband— is how officials are describing a deadly prison riot in Bishopville, South Carolina. 

Seven inmates died in the fighting Sunday night. 17 others required medical attention— mostly from stab wounds.

South Carolina Corrections Director Bryan Stirling told reporters— 

STIRLING: What we believe from the initial investigation is that this is about cell phones and you’ve heard us talk about these over and over again. These folks are fighting over real money and real territory while they’re incarcerated.

Currency and cell phones are prohibited at the Lee Correctional Facility. Stirling says the state has repeatedly asked the Federal Communications Commission for permission to jam cell phone signals at the maximum security facility for violent offenders.

SWAT teams needed 8 hours to put down the fighting.

Russia sanctions » The Trump administration did a 180 Monday on imposing new sanctions on Russia.

Just a day earlier— U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley told CBS enhanced sanctions on Russia were a done deal after the latest use of chemical weapons in Syria.

HALEY: They will go directly to any sort of companies that were dealing with equipment related to Assad and chemical weapons use. I think everyone knows that we sent a strong message.

But that message was diluted Monday when the White House characterized Haley’s remarks as a misstatement

Spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement “We are considering additional sanctions on Russia and a decision will be made in the near future.”

The Washington Post cited unnamed administration officials who say Trump had not given final approval to implement the sanctions.

Brunson trial » An American evangelical pastor went on trial Monday in Turkey. WORLD Radio’s Kent Covington has details.

KENT COVINGTON, REPORTER: Pastor Andrew Brunson faces numerous terror-related charges after the Turkish government claimed he had links to a failed 2016 coup attempt.

Brunson— a North Carolina native— pastored a Protestant church in Turkey for 23 years until his arrest in October of 2016.

His attorney says the charges are quote— totally unfounded— and that his client is still hopeful of acquittal. 

Sam Brownback—the U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom—and North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis are attending the trial.

Brunson’s arrest has further strained U.S.-Turkey relations. Numerous lawmakers and administration officials have called for his immediate release. 

Reporting for WORLD Radio— I’m Kent Covington.

Gaza tunnel »

First explosions— then bulldozers—

AUDIO: Israeli bulldozer

— on Israel’s border with Gaza— as Israeli Defense Forces destroyed what they are calling the longest and most elaborate Hamas terror tunnel in history.

The IDF says the 8-by-10-foot concrete-lined tunnel extended over a mile from the Gaza strip into Israel and was nearing completion.

Israeli government officials say the Hamas tunnel cost millions of dollars to construct— money they say could be better spent on needy Gaza residents.

The Trump administration recently announced it would withhold $65 million in humanitarian aid to Palestinians— demanding reforms on how the money is spent. 

Starbucks » Protesters once again took over a Starbucks coffee shop in Philadelphia Monday—

AUDIO: We’re here to shut it down!

Protests began over the weekend after Starbucks employees called the police on two black men who were sitting at a table without ordering anything. 

Police arrested the men on a “suspicion of trespassing” charge— but it turns out the men were waiting for a business associate to join them. They were later released on lack of evidence that they’d committed a crime.

Starbucks spokeswoman Camille Hymes apologized to the men and the community. 

HYMES: This incident does not reflect the spirit of our brand. It was an unfortunate incident, and we’ll be sure to make it right.

The protesters are demanding the Starbucks manager and police officers be fired. The company has not yet specified what steps it will take. 

Tax deadline » The deadline for rendering unto Caesar is tonight at midnight. Because April 15th landed on the weekend— the IRS extended the filing deadline to tonight.

If you can’t get to the post office— the tax agency offers free electronic filing options at IRS.gov.

I’m Jim Henry. Straight ahead: Leigh Jones discusses a new plan to diversify Christian higher education. This is The World and Everything in It.

(AP Photo/Ron Todt) Protesters gather outside a Starbucks in Philadelphia, Sunday, April 15, 2018, where two black men were arrested Thursday after Starbucks employees called police to say the men were trespassing.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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