The management team of Face Activities extends our condolences to the victims, and their families, of the Istanbul airport attack.
Following a horrific terrorist attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk international airport, at least 36 are dead (earlier reports soared to as many as 50) and dozens were injured, possibly as many as 147. At this time official sources indicate ISIS terrorists are most likely to blame, though there’s been speculation that Kurdish separatists could be responsible.
Three attackers used automatic weapons to assault airport travelers in the bustling airport, but when police returned fire, they detonated explosive devices, killing themselves and many innocent bystanders. The police may have stopped the terrorists before they entered an even more crowded part of the airport, which could have lead to even greater casualties.
Learn about Istanbul airport attack (BBC)
Photo: by Josef Moser, (Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International)
The world of college athletics has lost a true giant. Pat Summitt, a college basketball coach with 1,100 wins spanning a 38-year-long career, has passed away. In 2011 Summitt announced that she’d received a diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer’s disease, and in 2012 she retired from the game.
Described as legendary, she started coaching at the incredibly young age of 22, and by the time she retired, she had the winningest record in college basketball, of any coach, male or female. And her student athletes, who completed eligibility, had a 100% graduation rate.
Learn more about the career of Pat Summit (CNN)
The uncompromising extremism, and willingness to both kill and die for their cause, are characteristic of ISIS fighters, and terrorists. Though their barbarity is unconscionable, their will to fight is remarkably strong, rivaled only by the kurds, who meet them in battle with minimal weaponry, and an equal zeal for victory. But why are they so willing to go to such lengths ?
A study in Iraq, lead by anthropologist Scott Atran of the University of Michigan, attempts to get to the bottom of this vexing question by studying the will to fight on both sides of the conflict. The researchers identified two crucial components: closely held “sacred values” that a fighter is willing to die for, and a strong collective identification with his fighting group, often greater than the fighter’s own family.
These powerful motivators are present both in ISIS extremists, and defending kurds who have opposed them successfully in battle. They are noticeably absent, or present at much weaker levels, in a sample group of Europeans that Atran studied. It’s important to note that the sacred values can be negative, apocalyptic values, like those that drive terrorists to enslave others, or the positive, life-affirming values of defenders like the kurds, who possess a strong faith that they are right to protect their homes from invasion–a sacred charge.
There have been relatively few serious studies of the characteristics and motivations of those who join extremist and terrorist groups, but more are necessary. It’s vital to understand the motivations and tipping-points of those who join ISIS, who are often ordinary people from middle or upper class homes with no previous signs of radicalization, in order to help curb the spread of these violent jihadist organizations.
Learn more about study researching jihadist motivations (Science News)
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
During a heated 2014 referendum, Scotland voted against independence from the UK, opting to stay. But now, following the results of the Brexit referendum, in which Her Majesty’s Subjects chose to leave the European Union by a narrow but definitive margin, experts believe Scotland will likely call a second referendum for independence, and then pursue EU membership on its own.
The UK comprises England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland, and 62% of Scotland’s people voted to stay in the EU. In addition, the current party in power in Scotland, lead by first minister Nicola Sturgeon, had vowed to revisit the issue of independence in the event their EU status was jeopardized. With such a dramatic socio-economic change looming, the Scotts will want to return to the poles to reevaluate their status as members of the UK.
The remain camp had wide-spread support throughout the nation, particularly among younger voters, but at the end of the day didn’t have quite enough clout to pull off a win. Older voters were much more likely to vote in favor of the leave proposition. National pride, jingoism, and the fear and loathing of immigrants have all been cited by the disappointed opponents to Brexit.
Following the historic vote, droves of UK citizens searched the internet for clues regarding the future under Brexit. Many even googled “What is the EU,” triggering sarcastic swipes at the public’s general competence, by pundits and social media enthusiasts alike.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Crown copyright, released by the Controller of HMSO
Musical Performance: Mashrou’ Leila
NPR – tiny desk
June 24, 2016 • “A rock band from Beirut performs songs that mix hedonism and hyper-literate lyrics.” (NPR)
Photo: NPR (screen capture)
It was a close vote, but it appears the leave campaign has won, and the United Kingdom will leave the European Union: the first country to do so since its inception. And in the wake of this revelation, the pound has fallen in relation to the dollar to its lowest level since 1981. Watch live coverage of the unfolding political drama on this live BBC feed!
Watch Live coverage: UK votes to leave the EU (BBC.com)
Photo: BBC (screen capture)
The management team of Face Activities supports the sincere efforts of the Democratic members of Congress to promote gun control, including their sit-in to call for a vote on banning gun sales to those on the No Fly List (people under investigation for possible connections to terrorism.)
In the U.S. Congress, Democrats and Progressives are demanding gun-control reforms following the tragic mass shooting in Orlando, while conservative law-makers are stonewalling in an effort to maintain the status quo. Currently Democrats have staged a sit-in on the floor of the House. They want Congress to pass a Bill that would ban the sale of guns to people on the Government’s Terrorism Watch List.
UPDATE: The House Democrats have just announced that they are ending their sit-in, and will resume gun control efforts after the July 4th recess. Face Activities continues to support all ongoing efforts to pass sensible gun control measures in the U.S. Congress.
Photo: Kevin McCoy (GNU Free Documentation License)
Musical Performance: Brandy Clark
NPR – tiny desk
June 20, 2016 • “The country singer-songwriter has a rare gift for making any room feel warmly human.” (NPR)
Photo: NPR (screen capture)
Today, Monday, June 20, is a very special day. It’s both the Summer Solstice, and the Strawberry Moon–a very rare occurrence. The last time the Strawberry Moon fell on the same day as the Summer Solstice happened in 1967!
The Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year, when the northern hemisphere receives the most direct sunlight, due to the tilt of our planet as it revolves around the sun. The Summer Solstice falls between June 20 and June 22, varying from year to year. The Summer Solstice had great significance in many ancient pagan religions, and is still marked by parades and other celebrations in many places.
The Strawberry Moon was named by Native American Tribes, and it’s a full moon that marks the beginning of the strawberry season, which always occurs sometime in June.
Learn about The Summer Solstice and The Strawberry Moon (Vox.com)
Photo: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic, 2015 Summer Solstice parade, Fremont, Seattle, Washington.
Fans of the band Radiohead were roughed up and frightened in Turkey, during a release party for the band’s recent album. Angry men burst in, demanding that the store close and shut down the party. The men were angry because alcohol was being served at the event during Ramadan.
Shouts of “I kill you” and “I will burn you alive inside,” were heard, which evoked memories of a tragic Islamist attack in 1993, during which 30 intellectuals were burned alive. Also one man was forcibly pulled from the store into the street, and another was hit on the head with a bottle, requiring stitches. But fortunately nobody was more seriously hurt during this week’s frightening episode.
However, there’s a very disturbing trend: more and more, Turkish Islamist groups are responsible for an increasing number of threats against secular groups and citizens, including ominous threats that have lead to the cancellation of the country’s 13th Gay Pride Parade, scheduled for next week. These threats to liberty are a serious cause for concern, and members of secular Turkish society are very worried.
Learn about Islamist threats to liberties in Turkey (CNN)
Photo: Wikimedia Commons