Are Peace Negotiations hosted by Russia and France in the cards? Today, President Obama is meeting with Israeli PM Netanyahu and the Palestian Authority's Abbas and then hosting a three-way meeting with both leaders. Officially all parties claim they have "low expectations." [more inside]
So we've already learned how babies are made in Germany. But we haven't seen Russia or Israel. Could be NWS if you work with people who don't know where babies come from.
Massive tunnels for peace. Russia is considering building a tunnel under the Bering Strait that would include pipelines, high-speed rails, and a highway, though earlier plans have not gotten far, at least for the last ten millennia. Another large tunnel project under consideration that hopes to encourage mutual understanding is the Red-Dead Canal, which would irrigate the deserts of Jordan and Israel, generate electricity, and refill the Dead Sea using water flowing from the Red Sea to the lowest point on Earth.
The Best Investigative Reporter You've Never Heard Of died Wednesday from a rare blood disease he picked up reporting in the slums of Bombay. Robert Friedman was beaten by religious zealots after writing about Rabbi Meir Kahane, had a contract taken out on his life after writing about "The Most Dangerous Mobster in the World" and got a Valentine's card threatening rape and murder after writing about Russian organized crime links to the NHL. This December article about the Israel/Palestine situation, which may be the last piece he wrote, is detailed, balanced and yet pulls no punches -- a good example of his hard-hitting style. His death leaves a gaping hole in journalism.
The good news is that there is no religious war, the bad news is that a time bomb blast killed 7 in a Russian market; 14 Christians were killed in Indonesia; a 5 year old killed and three other under 15 injured in Israel. All in one day.
Pot criticises kettles for chromatic similitude. Now, on the one hand, it's refreshing that the US State Department acknowledges the human rights abuses of allies such as Israel; but this annual catalogue of the world's foibles smacks just a little of sanctimonious short-sightedness. But I'm torn on this one: are such state-sponsored surveys a useful basis on which to judge the "ethical" basis of foreign policy, or are they propaganda exercises, designed to direct attention away from domestic failures and to paper over the hypocrisies of policy?