Trending In Our News Feeds – Syria condemns Israel for air raids near Damascus. The Syrian government publicly condemned Israel on Sunday after two air raids rocked Damascus over the weekend, saying the strikes “opened the door to all possibilities.” The first strike targeted the Damascus International Airport on Friday and the second hit a military facility on Sunday which American officials suspect is the country’s main chemical weapons factory. Israel has not confirmed the attacks, but analysts say the Israeli government is likely trying to stop weapons shipments from Iran, through Syria, to Hezbollah militants in Lebanon.
The incident sparked renewed debate about whether the Obama administration should intervene more forcefully in Syria. Former NY Times executive editor Bill Keller argues that Obama should arm Syrian rebels and put pressure on Assad to step down. However, the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson writes that U.S. intervention in Syria would be a mistake and could lead radical Muslims to dominate in a post-Assad Syria. U.N. investigators have gathered testimony that the Syrian rebels may have also used chemical weapons during the country’s civil war.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry heads to Russia today to discuss Syria with President Vladimir Putin. Robert Naouss, the Deputy Director of Communications with the Carnegie Middle East Center, says the U.S. and Russia must pressure both sides in the Syrian conflict to negotiate in order to resolve the conflict. Russia’s ties with the Assad regime mean that Putin could convince the Syrian government to negotiate with opposition forces. But first, Kerry and President Obama must convince Putin that a post-Assad Syria would protect Russian interests in the Middle East.
Fundamentalists riot for Islamic law in Bangladesh. Clashes between rioters from the fundamentalist group Hifazat-e-Islam and police in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka killed at least 15 on Sunday. Members of Hifazat-e-Islam, a coalition of about 12 Muslim groups, took to the streets to demand that the Bangladeshi government pass Islamist laws, including a provision that would punish blasphemy with the death penalty. 10,000 officers ended the majority of the rioting but minor clashes continue in Dhaka today. Authorities have removed Hifazat-e-Islam’s leader, Allama Shah Ahmad Shafi, from Dhaka. He has not been arrested.
Germany puts neo-Nazi on trial. The trial of a neo-Nazi accused of 10 racially-motivated murders in Germany began in Munich today. Beate Zschaepe is the last surviving member of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Underground group. She and four accomplices are on trial for the murder of eight Turks, a Greek, and a German policewoman. The lawyers representing the family of one of the victims said, “With its historical, social and political dimensions the NSU trial is one of the most significant of post-war German history.” The trial may bring as many as 600 witnesses to the stand and could last over a year.
3D-printed gun fires first bullet. The leader of the gun rights group Defense Distributed fired the first bullet from a 3D-printed gun this Saturday, in Austin, Texas. Cody Wilson sees 3D printing as a way to sidestep government regulations and says he plans to put the blueprints for the gun online. Those looking to buy a gun will probably not turn to 3D printing for now because of the cost of the technology, but that could change as 3D printers become cheaper. Wilson says, “I recognize the tool might be used to harm other people – that's what the tool is – it's a gun. But I don't think that's a reason to not do it – or a reason not to put it out there.”
Obama delivers Ohio State University commencement address. President Obama encouraged students to actively engage in politics and told graduates to be optimistic, but to also recognize the challenges they will face in his commencement address to OSU graduates on Sunday. “As you’ve studied and worked and served to become good citizens, the fact is that all too often the institutions that give structure to our society have, at times, betrayed your trust,” he said. You can watch the President’s entire speech here. PolicyMic’s Liam Boylan-Pett rounds up five of the greatest speeches in graduation history to get you ready for commencement. If you’re looking for more awesome commencement speeches, check out Dick Costolo’s address to the University of Michigan and David Foster Wallace’s legendary speech at Kenyon.
Status Updates – Get to know pundit of the week Adam Hogue. Superstar PolicyMic pundit Adam Hogue tells you what it’s like to be a teacher in South Korea, what it takes to write an excellent culture post, and why he likes the PolicyMic community so much. Make sure to check out Community Editor Caira Conner’s entire interview with Adam.
PolicyMic pundits in the press! Congratulations to all our writers whose stories were featured in media outlets like Al Jazeera, Feministing, and TowleRoad last week. Read the entire list here.
Are you active in politics, art, or business? Let us know what you’re up to and we’ll feature you in this section!
Must Reads From PolicyMic – 3 Simple Charts That Explain What Muslims Believe (Areej Elahi-Siddiqui, @andareejsays) – These charts show that the few who interpret Islam in a radical and dangerous way are in no way indicative of the overwhelming majority who don't.
[13 Mics, 13 Comments, 23 Shares]
Why I Gave Up On 5-Year Plans (Marielle Mondon, @mariellemondon) – You should give up the checklist-driven life in exchange for reality. Think of it this way: What 23-year-old would take advice from an 18-year-old on how to live their life?
[10 Mics, 8 Comments, 16 Shares]
The Graduation Speech Someone Should Give Millennials, But Won't (James Banks, @jamesbanks2287) – Mediocrity was good for your parents and it is good for you as well. Remember, it is okay to be okay.
[5 Mics, 1 Comments, 14 Shares]
Meet the 15-Year-Old Girl Who Will Probably Be the First Astronaut On Mars (Yumi Araki, @yaraki) – PolicyMic chats with Abigail Harrison about how she uses social media to achieve her goal of becoming the first astronaut on Mars.
[5 Mics, 3 Comments, 21 Shares]
4 Ways Humanities Majors Can Learn How to Code (Ashwin Mudaliar, @theashwineffect) – Humanities majors can take advantage of the hiring boom in the tech industry by learning how to code. Here are four ways to make that happen.
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What We’re Sharing – Why aren’t the world’s 130 million smartphones making us more productive? (WSJ)
How pro-business decisions are defining this Supreme Court (NY Times).
What really happened when Facebook bought Instagram (Vanity Fair).
Only 58% of college presidents say that graduation rates are very important (Atlantic).
This journalist is living on Bitcoin for a week (Forbes).
New Zealand won’t let you name your kid “4Real” or “Lucifer” (Washington Post).
Why Macklemore is the future of the music industry (NPR).
Dessert – You’re about to laugh at a boy with cerebral palsy, and that’s okay.
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