The complicated Turkey-Saudi Arabia relationship

I mentioned in an earlier post my puzzlement as to why Turkey and its president were taking such an aggressive role in revealing information about the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi after he entered a Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey. There has been a steady release of information from Turkish authorities saying that they had information that Khashoggi was murdered and his body dismembered by a hit squad that came from Saudi Arabia, and this had led to worldwide outrage.
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Death penalty declines around the world

October 10th was the World Day Against the Death Penalty. One of the most encouraging signs is how the use of the death penalty is declining around the world. According to Amnesty International, “142 countries have either abolished the death penalty in law or in practice and that in the past five years 33 countries have carried out at least one execution.” In 2017, just 23 countries out of the 193 member states of the UN executed someone.
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Film review: The Seagull (2018)

I am not by any means an expert on Russian theater and so seized the chance to see a film adaptation of Anton Chekov’s acclaimed play The Seagull starring Annette Bening. It was an enjoyable film, but as I watched it I could not help noticing that it conformed to the popular view of Russian plays where no one is happy and everyone complains to one another about their unhappiness.
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Turkey’s surprising role in the Khashoggi case

As worldwide condemnation grows, the Saudi Arabian government definitely acts like it is guilty in the alleged murder of journalist Jamal Khasshoggi.

The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, on Tuesday said police who entered the consulate for the first time on Monday had found some surfaces had been painted over. “My hope is that we can reach conclusions that will give us a reasonable opinion as soon as possible, because the investigation is looking into many things such as toxic materials and those materials being removed by painting them over,” he told reporters.

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Great moments in Israeli law

The New Zealand singer Lorde had scheduled a concert in Israel but later canceled it when Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab, two young women in New Zealand, one Jewish and the other Palestinian, started a petition that asked her to not go because of Israel’s apartheid-like policies against Palestinians in Gaza and the Occupied Territories.

So what happened? Three young Israelis filed a legal case against Sachs and Abu-Shanab, claiming that “their “artistic welfare” was damaged because of the cancellation and that they suffered “damage to their good name as Israelis and Jews”.

No, really!

Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab

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The story of Edwins

Close to my home is a French cuisine restaurant called Edwins where I have eaten a couple of times. What is different about this restaurant is that all the workers are ex-convicts, some of whom were convicted of serious crimes. Shannon Carrier visited Cleveland and found Edwins through recommendations on Yelp and describes her experience eating there. She also talked with the owner Brandon Chrostowski, who as a young man was jailed for drug possession and evading arrest but thinks that because he was white, he got off more easily with a probation sentence.
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The morality of atheists

That atheists can be virtuous is so obvious that it is not something that needs to be stated. But we know that it was not always thought so, especially in early modern times. And even now, we often hear the specious argument being advanced that since god is the source of moral values, an atheist cannot be expected to have any. I won’t even bother to respond to that silly argument. But I came across this interesting article by Michael Hickson, a professor of philosophy, who describes the evolution of attitudes towards atheists.
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Peter Norman finally gets his due in Australia

I have written before about Australian sprinter Peter Norman who joined with Tommie Smith and John Carlos in their dramatic gesture against racism at the 1968 Olympics. All three were vilified for their actions, with Norman suffering at the hands of the Australian sports authorities long after he had been embraced by US athletes for his act of solidarity. Carlos and Smith considered him a close friend and flew to Australia to be pall bearers at his funeral. But finally, on the 50th anniversary of that event, Australia is honoring Norman.
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