A disturbing recent report claims that officials in Saudi Arabia plan to execute 50 people by beheading sometime in the coming days. Though the exact numbers are unclear—one outlet put it as high as 55—Amnesty International is taking the reports seriously, noting that each of the individuals was convicted of “terrorist crimes” in trials that were largely secretive. Many of them may have actually been political activists. Six were not even 18 at the time they committed their “crimes,” and Amnesty International says they only “confessed” because they were being tortured.
In a statement, James Lynch, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International said, “Saudi Arabia’s macabre spike in executions this year, coupled with the secretive and arbitrary nature of court decisions and executions in the kingdom, leave us no option but to take these latest warning signs very seriously … It is clear that the Saudi Arabian authorities are using the guise of counter-terrorism to settle political scores.” This year alone, Saudi Arabia has executed 151 people. Lynch is calling for Saudi Arabia to “lift the veil of secrecy around its death penalty cases, as part of a fundamental overhaul of its criminal justice system.” Discuss
Because reboots are basically the only thing Hollywood is doing right now, Fox has released this brief teaser trailer for their upcoming Greece: Live special. The live musical will air on Jan. 31, and appears to be pretty much just a straight-forward remake of the original, with a of cast minor TV/theater stars (Aaron Tveit—Gossip Girl, Graceland, Next to Normal—and Julianne Hough—Dancing with the Stars) and pop stars (Carly Rae Jepsen, Keke Palmer, Vanessa Hudgens). Discuss
Police in Mali have placed two individuals under arrest for their role in a recent terrorist attack on a luxury hotel that left 20 dead. The two gunmen—who stormed the Radisson Blu hotel on Nov. 20 and opened fire on guests—were both killed during a raid a on the building, but may have been working with others to plan the attack. Officials haven’t yet said what role the two individuals played in the terrorist attack, but issued a statement, explaining, “Questioning of these suspects will shed more light on the motivations of the perpetrators of the sordid terrorist attack perpetrated.” Two different groups in the country claimed responsiblity for the mass shooting: a radical Islamic group linked to al-Qaida called the Al-Mourabitoun, as well as, a militant group known as the Macina Liberation Front. Discuss
In a special Star Wars edition of one of the Internet’s greatest long-running jokes, the folks from Will It Blend give the sci-fi franchise's most notoriously annoying character the ending he’s always deserved. For reasons that may never be clear, watching an assortment of items getting shoved into Blendtec blender never gets old. Discuss
Verizon—a company that provides cellular services that powers phones, tablets and electronic devices—has released a new ad that suggests this Thanksgiving, maybe you should just shut them down for a while. The leader of Verizon’s brand creative team explained to The New York Times, “Once we get you to the people that matter the most, it’s taking that time to be present with those people once you get there. I hope what people take out of it, quite honestly, is we’re America’s most reliable network and we got you where you needed to go.” Discuss
A pizza shop in Ohio is technically closed for business today, but they still may get some visitors this Thanksgiving. This week, Bada Bing! Pizzeria posted a sign on their door that read,
We will be closed on Thanksgiving Day. However, we will be having dinner around 2 p.m. with our family, employees, and friends. If you are hungry, or don’t have any money, please come in. We will welcome you and make sure you get plenty to eat.
After news of the pizzeria’s plans spread on Facebook, locals have volunteered to come out and help serve anyone who shows up. Discuss