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Being Muslim in the NBA

According to the Pew Research Center, by 2020 the United States is expected to have a population that is 78.3 percent Christian and a mere 0.9 percent Muslim. As the NBA season opens Tuesday night, at least 12 of its returning players are Muslim: Kanter, Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried, Minnesota Timberwolves center Gorgui Dieng, Miami Heat guard Dion Waiters, Portland Trail Blazers forward Al-Farouq Aminu and center Jusuf Nurkic, New Orleans Pelicans center Omer Asik, Atlanta Hawks forward Ersan Ilyasova and guard Dennis Schroder, Dallas Mavericks center Salah Mejri, Milwaukee Bucks forward Mirza Teletovic and Brooklyn Nets forward Rondae-Hollis Jefferson, according to the online magazine Muslim Matters and other media outlets.

Will Turkish Film "Ayla" Make the Cut on January 23rd?

Jimmy Cuneyt Gurkan - Los Angeles, CA – A record 92 countries have submitted films for consideration in the Foreign Language Film category for the 90th Academy Awards®. Haiti, Honduras, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Mozambique, Senegal and Syria are first-time entrants. Turkey has selected Can Ulkay's debut feature Ayla: The Daughter of War as its candidate in the race for best foreign-language film in the Oscars. Turkey has submitted films for the foreign-language Academy Award regularly since 1989, with Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Three Monkeys making the shortlist of nine in 2008. No Turkish film has yet won an Oscar.

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Turkish Cinema Goes to Hollywood

The Hollywood Turkish Film Festival will be held on October 20, 21 and 22 at the world famous Paramount Studios for the first time in Turkish cinema history. The event is supported by the Ministry of Culture and the Tourism General Directorate of Cinema in a bid to reunite Turkish cinema with the global market. The festival is organized by journalist Barbaros Tapan, the Doğan Media Group’s Los Angeles representative and a member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association on behalf of Turkey, together with the Hollywood-based Turkish director Tekin Girgin.

Golden Thread Productions Announces Biennial Short Play Program

Golden Thread Productions, the first American theatre company devoted to the Middle East, is proud to present its biennial signature program: ReOrient 2017 Festival of Short Playsfeaturing plays and artists from Armenia, Iraq, Iran, Japan, Lebanon, Palestine, Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the U.S. all on one stage. Think you know the Middle East? Think again. An Arab-American couple must choose a name for their unborn child. A troupe of actors rehearse a political play under the watchful eye of the government. A leftie Iranian-American and a Trump supporter find themselves together at a Thanksgiving dinner. These are just some of the stories of ReOrient 2017, which will turn San Francisco into a mecca for innovative, spirited, and thought-provoking theatre from or about the Middle East. ReOrient 2017 runs November 17-December 10, 2017 at Potrero Stage (formerly Thick House, 1695 18th Street, San Francisco) and performs Thursdays-Saturdays at 8pm, and Sundays at 3pm. (No performance on Thanksgiving Thursday, November 23). Opening night is Monday, November 20, 2017 at 8pm. For tickets ($15-$36) and more information on the festival, please visit goldenthread.org.

If Santa Is Buried in Turkey, Who Has Been Delivering the Presents?

Turkish archeologists announced this week that they may have discovered the bones of St. Nicholas, the saint better known to the world as Santa Claus. The remains were unearthed beneath a 4th-century structure in Demre (ancient Myra), the traditional location of Nicholas’ birth. The discovery of St. Nicholas raises a whole host of unpleasant bedtime questions. If Santa is buried in Turkey, who has been delivering the presents?  The discovery was made after digital analysis of the ground beneath the church. Archaeologists currently believe that the tomb has gone undisturbed since antiquity, but the mosaics on the floor make it difficult to excavate there. Cemril Karabayram, the head of Antalya’s Monument Authority, explained that specialists are unable to confirm the story until the floor of the church (which depicts scenes from the life of Nicholas of Myra) can be carefully removed.

Thomas Cook: British Holidaymakers Are Returning to Egypt and Turkey

Turkey and Egypt are attracting more British holiday bookings, as prices in destinations seen as safer continue to increase. Both countries have seen a slump in visitor numbers due to a series of terror attacks, together with the closure to UK airlines of the main Egyptian resort airport, Sharm el Sheikh. But Peter Fankhauser, Chief Executive of Thomas Cook, said demand had picked up “as customers look for quality and value”. He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Both destinations are wonderful countries, with great hotels, great beaches, nice people, and it’s really good value.



“People want to go back. We are not a security company; as long as we have the advice of the Foreign Office that we can fly to Egypt and Turkey, we offer a great product.”

Many holidaymakers have switched from the eastern Mediterranean to destinations perceived as “safe”, notably Spain.

Sales to Spain were unchanged, with “a very competitive trading environment” — due to the sheer number of aircraft seats from the UK to Spanish airports. Average selling prices for seat-only tickets are down 3 per cent, while holiday prices overall have risen by 7 per cent.

“Spanish hoteliers are taking advantage a bit of the increased demand, and prices went up because we have not enough beds for all the demand,” said Mr Fankhauser. He predicted “A 5 to 10 per cent price increase we’ll have for sure in Spain” for summer 2018.

Thomas Cook has faced criticism from some holidaymakers caught up in the extreme weather in the Caribbean and Florida earlier this month, in particular travellers who were in Cuba as Hurricane Irma approached and who say Thomas Cook was slow in responding.

But Mr Fankhauser said: “I am proud of how fast we acted in the wake of Irma to support our customers, and offer them alternative destinations for their winter sun.” (Simon Calder / independent.co.uk)

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Archaeologists Home in on Homeric Clues as Turkey Declares Year of Troy

Rüstem Aslan, Troy’s chief archaeologist, grows more animated as he enters the fenced-off area just beyond the southern gate of the ancient city’s ruins. To him it offers tantalising clues that may add to the evidence that this was the scene of the war detailed in Homer’s epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey. “Priam, Achilles, Hector: [whether] they lived and died here, we cannot prove that 100%,” said the affable Aslan, who started working at the site as a student in 1988. “But if you work inside for 30 years, night and day, winter or summer, surrounded by this landscape, you can feel it. You start to believe.”

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‘Kilia Idol’ Will Not Be Returned to Turkey

The Kilia Idol, a 23-centimeter statuette that has been smuggled from Turkey, was sold at an auction in New York. According to a court order, the idol will not be returned to Turkey since the ministry was too late in taking action. The New York District Court has rejected the return of the “Kilia Idol,” a 23-centimeter statuette that has been smuggled from Kulaksızlar in the western Turkish province of Manisa’s Akhisar district and was sold at a New York auction on April 28.

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