Global Scan

Don't laugh. Are women the biggest threat to Turkish morality?


Ayse Diskaya, second from the right, laughs with another protester in Gezi Park near Taksim Square in central Istanbul June 10, 2013.


Murad Sezer/Reuters

A Turkish politician decided on Monday to lay out what he saw as the problems with Turkey right now — the situations leading to the country's moral decay.

What he focused on, though, may be surprising. In a speech to mark Eid al-Fitr, the end of the holy month of Ramadan, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç blamed Turkish moral decline on, among other things, men who don't love their children, women who talk on the phone rather than face-to-face, people who drive their cars too much and, most objectionably to other Turks, women who laugh in public.

The Hurriyet Daily News spoke with several of members of the political opposition, who all said they think Turkey needs more laughter, even from women. Arınç has served in the government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for the past 12 years — something his opponents pointed out. They suggested perhaps he should look more inward to find the source of Turkey's moral decay. And then at least one of them laughed.

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The world's worst outbreak of Ebola has led to a soccer ban in Liberia

In the face of what statistics show is the worst outbreak of Ebola the world has ever seen, Liberian authorities are taking drastic action: they're shutting down the country's soccer season. Because of the risk of spreading Ebola through incidental contact, including with sweat, Liberian authorities have ordered an end to all soccer activities in the country.

According to the BBC, soccer stars have been enlisted in a public health campaign to get residents to take new restrictions seriously, for their own protection. The country has also asked to rescheule planned visits to the country by soccer's international governing body, FIFA. So far, 672 people have died in the latest ourbreak.

Meanwhile, an American doctor's life hangs in the balance

The crush of Ebola cases in Africa has drawn dozens of international healthcare workers to the continent, to treat the sick and dying. But that effort has not been without its own costs. Two Americans, including one doctor for the Samaritan's Purse organization, have come down with Ebola and are gravely ill.

PRI's The Takeaway interviewed Ken Isaacs, a vice president at Samritan's Purse, about Dr. Kent Brantly, one of the two American doctors who's taken ill and is in serious condition in Liberia. 

Ramadan in the land of the midnight sun

During Ramadan, Muslims fast until the sun goes down. But what if you live in a place where there is no sunset? In Tromsø, Norway, the faithful have dealt with this for years, until they finally came up with a solution. But this solution has presented a whole new type of problem. Roughly 900 Muslims live in Tromsø, where the sun never sets for two months. According to Muslim tradition, the local Muslims would not be able to eat at all when Ramadan comes during the summer.

So six years ago, the local Muslim community turned to Abdullah Bin Abd al-Asis al-Muslih, a Saudi sheikh whose word carries authority with the world's Muslims. He gave them three options: follow the fasting schedule in Mecca, follow the fasting schedule in the closest city where the sun sets, or set their own schedule. Ultimately, they chose to follow the Mecca timetable, but not everyone agrees. Der Spiegel has more.

China's tainted meat scandal continues to unfold

Last week, we told you about an emerging meat scandal in China's fast food restaurants. Now, more information has emerged, and the ramifications of the scandal are becoming clear. At McDonald's around China, for example, beef is basically off the menu — leaving people to choose from Filet-O-Fish sandwiches or french fries if they want to visit the Golden Arches.

PRI's The World talked to a reporter in China who says most of the Chinese she talked to seem to be taking the news in stride, understanding that the big restaurant chains didn't know what they were getting into. But a few have vowed not to eat at these chains in China, despite assurances from the company and the food supplier, a Chinese subsidiary of a US company, that this behavior won't be tolerated again. 

What we're seeing on social

Weather around the world

Tropical Storm Halong is taking aim at the Northern Mariana islands and will scoot just north of the US territory of Guam in the western Pacific. Packing sustained winds of 92 mph and gusts of up to 115 mph, the storm will definitely cause damage. Stripes is tracking the storm on their Pacific Storm Tracker blog.

A previous version of this story misstated that Bülent Arınç was a candidate for higher office.

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