Stuff YOU Should Know

Posted by on Jun 2, 2017 in Stuff You Should Know

Latest Developments in Manchester Bombing

Last Monday, a bomb went off inside Manchester Arena in England immediately following an Ariana Grande concert, killing 22 people and wounding 116 more.

Salman Abedi, the 22-year-old suicide bomber responsible for the attack, has been described by those who knew him as having been, until recently, a normal teenager–though he was quiet and often teased and bullied at school. He was also a talented soccer player. Born and raised in Manchester to Libyan parents, Abedi’s father returned to Tripoli, Libya after the fall of Colonel Qaddafi, the nation’s dictator, while the rest of the family remained behind in England. During this time, according to some of the other congregants of his families mosque, Salman Abedi began expressing increasingly extremist views. It seems that Abedi began secretly making connections with other members of the Islamic State.

On the night of May 22, Abedi carried the bomb into Manchester Arena in a small red backpack and lingered for a few minutes by a stand selling merchandise. He telephoned his mother to say goodbye and to apologize for anything he may have done wrong, and then he detonated the weapon. Among those who were killed in the blast were an off-duty police officer; several teenagers, including an eight-year-old girl; parents who had arrived at the concert venue to pick up their children; and an aunt who died shielding her eleven-year-old niece from the blast.

British authorities have searched seventeen properties and arrested a network of eleven other individuals in connection with the bombing, all of them men aged 18 to 44. Abedi’s father and brother are also in custody in Libya. On Saturday, Britain’s terrorist threat was finally lowered from “critical” to “severe,” as officials encouraged citizens to not let fear stop them from celebrating the long holiday weekend. Despite the presence of armed police, ninety thousand fans celebrated the FA Cup soccer final at London’s Wembley Stadium, one of the nation’s major annual sporting events. Before kickoff, Prince William placed a wreath in memory of the Manchester bombing victims, accompanied by a handwritten note. Fans also observed a minute of silence before the game began.

In a letter to her fans, Ariana Grande announced that she will be returning to Manchester to hold a benefit concert for the families of the victims, though details of the concert have not yet been released.

What Do You Think? Have you ever attended a concert before? Do you think the events in Manchester will influence any decisions you make about whether or not to attend a concert by Grande or another popular performer in the future? Why or why not?

 Statue of Justice Removed

Until recently, a statue of a woman personifying justice stood outside the Supreme Court building in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The statue, made of two and a half tons of stainless steel, depicts a woman holding scales in one hand and a sword in the other. It was put up only five months ago at the cost of about $22,000. Now, religious extremists within the country have demanded the statue’s removal, and the government has complied.

Though Bangladesh is a secular (non-religious) nation, with secular views stated in its Constitution, it has seen a recent rise in religious extremist groups. The group that demanded the removal of the statue is called Hefazat-e-Islam and is based in Chittagong. They wanted the statue removed because art depicting living beings is forbidden by strict Islamic doctrine. Now, the group is demanding that other statues be removed and that no new ones be built in Bangladesh.

Other groups within Bangladesh protested the removal of the statue, which they fear is the government bowing down to the demands of Hefazat. Police were present and had to use force to control the crowd while the statue was removed.

Dig Deeper Locate Bangladesh on a map or globe. Then use internet resources to determine what nation Bangladesh used to be a part of, and when it separated, and most importantly, why. How has the history of Bangladesh been affected by religion in the past? Do you think it’s possible for Bangladesh to ever be a truly secular nation? Explain your point of view.

2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season Worse Than Usual?

Government forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have predicted that the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season will see an above-normal number of potentially dangerous storms.

Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30. This year, forecasters have predicted a 45 percent chance of an above-normal season. An average season produces 12 named storms, six of which become hurricanes, and three of which are considered major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher). In 2016, NOAA predicted 10 to 16 named storms. Fifteen developed, four of which were considered major (Category 3 or higher). For the 2017 season, they predict a 70 percent likelihood of 11 to 17 named storms, five to nine of which could become hurricanes, two to four of which will be considered major (Category 3 or higher).

This change is caused in part by suppressed El Nino activity, and because of warmer sea surface temperatures. Of course, forecasters are quick to point out that these numbers cannot predict if, when, and how storms will make landfall, or how much damage they could potentially cause. Some of the most devastating hurricanes, such as Andrew in 1992, happened during otherwise relatively quiet hurricane seasons. Still, they urge residents along the Atlantic coast to do what they can to prepare for stormy weather ahead.

Dig Deeper Working with a partner, explore the NOAA Web site. What are some things that people can do to prepare for dangerous storms such as hurricanes? With your partner, compile a list of at least five actions that you would recommend people take in order to protect themselves in advance.