FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
Stats of our lives
January 30, 2013

27
Percentage of Americans who believe God plays a role in the outcome of sporting events

53
Percentage who believe God rewards faithful athletes with good health and success

50
Percentage who approve of athletes expressing their faith by thanking God on the field

Source: Public Religion Research Institute 

  Samantha Rollins

taliban
8:30 p.m. ET

The Taliban said in a statement Monday that it suffered an "incorrigible loss" on April 23, 2013, when leader Mullah Mohammed Omar died.

The news of Omar's death leaked in July, but the date of his passing remained a mystery until Monday. In the statement, which was written in several languages and posted on the Taliban's website, the organization said his death was kept a secret in order to keep spirits and morale high at a time when foreign fighters were leaving Afghanistan. Only a few of the Taliban's higher ups knew about the "depressing news."

The communication also included information on Omar's successor, Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor. Many rank and file members of the Taliban are not supportive of Mansoor, The Guardian reports, and Omar's family is not backing him. The statement said Mansoor fought against the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s and "particularly loves and has interest in marksmanship." Catherine Garcia

turkey
7:31 p.m. ET

Two Vice News journalists were charged Monday in a Turkish court with "aiding a terrorist organization."

Correspondent Jake Hanrahan and cameraman Philip Pendlebury, both Brits, and their Turkish assistant were detained Thursday while in Diyarbakir, The Associated Press reports. Al Jazeera says the men have been accused of being members of the Islamic State. Diyarbakir is in an area that has seen an uptick in fighting between Kurdish rebels and security forces, and several people have been killed.

Vice calls the charges "baseless and alarmingly false" and an "attempt to intimidate and censor their coverage." It's not uncommon for journalists working in Turkey's mostly Kurdish regions to be taken into custody while reporting on situations, accused of having links to Kurdish rebels, AP reports. Catherine Garcia

Higher Ed
6:33 p.m. ET
Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

President Obama is reportedly going back to college after he leaves the White House.

On Monday, Lee Bollinger, president of Obama's alma mater Columbia University, announced during an event on campus that the school is looking forward to hosting Obama in 2017, the Columbia Spectator reports. Bollinger didn't say what role the president will have, but before becoming commander in chief, Obama was a professor at the University of Chicago Law School. Catherine Garcia

By the numbers
5:57 p.m. ET
(Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

Despite turning out a buzzy show filled with Miley Cyrus' skimpy costume changes and even a feud between Cyrus and Nicki Minaj, MTV's Video Music Awards experienced a 5 percent drop in viewership from last year. The awards show brought in 9.8 million viewers Sunday night — down from 2015's 10.3 million — despite its airing on an additional six networks. The VMAs still churned out a healthy amount of Twitter chatter, however. According to Nielsen, this year's show was the most tweeted non-Superbowl program since it began tracking social media. Samantha Rollins

Wall Street
4:47 p.m. ET
Andrew Burton/Getty Images

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 115 points Monday, closing out the biggest monthly percentage drop since May 2010, CNN Money reports. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq also posted big monthly slides amid concern over China's market.

A week earlier, U.S. stocks had tumbled 1,000 points, but largely recovered over the next few days. After the turmoil, the Federal Reserve is reportedly on track to raise interest rates as early as September.

Meanwhile, U.S. oil prices continued a three-day surge back to nearly $50 per barrel Monday after plummeting earlier in August. Julie Kliegman

This doesn't look good
4:17 p.m. ET

Israeli visitors who stopped by the Auschwitz concentration camp museum in Poland on Sunday were surprised to find mist showers that resembled Holocaust gas chambers, Ynet News reports.

Museum management told Time the sprinklers were intended to cool down visitors on a particularly brutal day of Poland's latest heat wave, a solution they maintain was not intended to cause offense. But that didn't stop museumgoers from raising concerns about the link between the showers they saw Sunday and the showers built to execute their friends and family en masse during World War II. Staff reportedly apologized, to which Meyer Bolka responded, "there is no way to apologize to the victims of the Holocaust," according to the Jersualem Post.

"I think that in a place like this they should have thought about the type of connotation this would raise," Bolka told Ynet. "If you want to cool the people down, you need to find another solution. It was not a pleasant sight to see those sprinklers." Julie Kliegman

Taking the screaming out of ice cream eating
4:06 p.m. ET
LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images

A team of scientists in the U.K. may have finally put an end to the particular frenzy that is trying to eat your ice cream before it melts on a hot day. Researchers from universities in Edinburgh and Dundee have discovered a naturally occurring protein that could slow ice cream's melting process, ensuring a longer lasting freeze and preventing ice crystals from wrecking ice cream's texture.

"The protein binds together the air, fat, and water in ice cream, creating a super-smooth consistency," the scientists said in a statement from the University of Edinburgh. While the slow-melting product will eventually melt, scientists say that the addition of the protein will keep it stable for longer, giving us all more time to actually savor that cone before it's reduced to a soupy mound.

It gets better: The new development could also enable the production of ice cream that has less saturated fat and fewer calories. Because the new protein would simply be replacing the ice cream's fat molecules, scientists predict that it "shouldn't taste any different," the BBC reports.

But don't start screaming for ice cream just yet. The new and improved ice cream product won't hit shelves for at least another three to five years. Becca Stanek

See More Speed Reads