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Turkey in Turmoil Following Referendum

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18 Apr 2017
Turkey in Turmoil Following Referendum
Turkey’s political scene was in an uproar Tuesday following a referendum over the weekend in which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won new authority which some observers said was tantamount to dictatorship. European and UN observers called the vote, which split almost evenly with 51.4% in favor and 49.6% opposed, deeply flawed by multiple irregularities.

Opposition leaders were reportedly demanding a recount of nearly 60% of ballots cast in dozens of precincts around the country, while Erdogan dismissed his opponents as lackeys of the "crusader mentality" of the West. However, even supporters of Erdogan were urging caution, noting the closeness of the vote and the geographic concentration of the opposing camps.

Presidential Election Underway in Iran
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani filed his paperwork on Friday to run for re-election in May, joining several hundred other candidates including former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. "I am urging all Iranians to vote for Iran and for Islam," Rouhani told reporters. The thousands of candidates now face a vetting process by the Guardian Council composed of senior Shi’ite clerics, who will announce in a few weeks which will be allowed to run.

Bodies Recovered in Sea of Galilee Drowning Incident
Israeli police announced on Monday evening that the search for three young men who were blown far from shore by strong winds as they relaxed on inflatable mattresses off Lavnun Beach last Wednesday had produced the bodies of two of them, located in the Sea itself with assistance from a naval sonar unit. Police issued a statement urging extreme caution for people enjoying the water in the wake of the tragedy.

Israelis Headed Outdoors Over Holiday Break
Israel’s Parks and Recreation agencies reported over the weekend that around 2 million people enjoyed the great outdoors during the Passover/Easter holiday, despite forecasts of rain and chilly weather. At several venues, cultural events, arts and crafts fairs and barbecues were organized to add to the enjoyment of visitors.

“Despite the challenging weather forecasts, which indicated less than ideal weather for hikes, we saw over the course of the holiday and the intermediate days of the holiday about a million travelers at national parks and nature reserves, similar to last Passover, which broke records for travelers, who voted with their feet once again and chose to celebrate the holiday in nature and at heritage sites,” said Raya Shurki, community director for the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. “Without a doubt it was a Passover for hikers, and we thank the people of Israel who chose to travel this holiday in the nature reserves and parks and enjoy the landscape and heritage of our country.”

Slain British Student Commemorated
20-year old British student Hannah Bladon was commemorated this week following her murder on Friday by Jamil Tamimi, a 57-year old Palestinian terrorist who stabbed her to death as she rode past the Old City on the Jerusalem Light Rail train. Bladon had been studying archeology and religion at the Hebrew University’s Rothberg International School to complement her studies at Birmingham University in the UK.

“On behalf of the Diocese of Lichfield, I would like to express my deep sadness at Hannah’s death and offer my sympathy and prayers for her family at this terrible time,” said Bishop of Lichfield Reverend Dr. Michael Ipgrave. “Hannah played an active part in the life of her local church in Burton, where she was a server. My thoughts are with her church family in Burton.”

Similar tributes were posted by her professors at Hebrew University, Birmingham University, the Israel Antiquities Authority and others who knew and worked with her.

Today’s media shows the architecture in Tel Aviv and the Resurrection Sunday sermon at Christchurch Jerusalem


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