“Who am I to judge?” —Pope Francis

cross and lily


“Israeli, Palestinian negotiators break bread”


WASHINGTON – With a cast of characters that has presided over numerous failed Middle East peace efforts, the Obama administration launched a fresh bid Monday to pull Israel and the Palestinians into substantive negotiations.

Despite words of encouragement, deep skepticism about the prospects for success surrounded the initial discussions, which were opening with a dinner hosted by Secretary of State John Kerry. He named a former U.S. ambassador to Israel to shepherd what all sides believe will be a protracted and difficult process.

Former envoy Martin Indyk, who played key roles in the Clinton administration’s multiple, unsuccessful pushes to broker peace deals between Israel and Syria and Israel and the Palestinians, will assume the day-to-day responsibility for keeping the talks alive for the next nine months.

Kerry called Indyk a “seasoned diplomat” and said he “knows what has worked and he knows what hasn’t worked.” Neither Kerry nor the State Department would say what has worked in the past, although the fact that there is no peace deal now would seem to indicate that nothing has worked in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian standoff.

President Obama echoed Kerry’s hopeful sentiment in a White House statement that said Indyk “brings unique experience and insight to this role, which will allow him to contribute immediately as the parties begin down the tough, but necessary, path of negotiations.”

The Israeli side will be led by chief negotiator Tzipi Livni, a former foreign minister who was active in the Bush’s administration’s ill-fated Annapolis peace talks with the Palestinians, and Yitzhak Molcho, a veteran adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who was part of the Israeli team involved in Mr. Obama’s two previous attempts to broker negotiations. Those two efforts relied heavily on Dennis Ross, a former Indyk colleague and Mideast peace envoy, and veteran negotiator George Mitchell.

The Palestinian team will be led by chief negotiator Saeb Erekat and President Mahmoud Abbas’ adviser, Mohammed Shtayyeh, both of whom have been major players in failed negotiations with the Israelis since 1991.



Why Oranges Need Saving and Other Fascinating News on the Web

Originally posted on NewsFeed:

  1. The Disease Killing Oranges

    Ricke Kress is the president of Southern Gardens Citrus. You may not know those names, but there’s a decent chance you’ve ingested the fruits of their labor since the company manages two and a half million orange trees and squeezes those oranges for some of the largest juice companies. But like many orange growers, Kress has a big problem. His orange trees are suffering from a disease known as citrus greening. And even after chopping down hundreds of thousands of trees, growers can’t seem to stop it. So the latest plan is to alter the DNA of oranges. Will consumers stand for an orange that isn’t quite an orange anymore? Kress insists says that “the consumer will support us if it’s the only way.” The debate (even among growers) is heated, and how we handle the orange situation could have a big impact on the future…

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Giant Panda Cam Launches in China

Originally posted on NewsFeed:

Pandaphiles everywhere just got a whole lot more to obsess over.

Right when you thought you couldn’t get enough of cute and cuddly pandas — whether they are sneezing, being cared for by their Mom, or simply sleeping — get ready for the world’s newest panda cam.

The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, located in the Sichuan province in Southwest China, has just launched a live internet stream of its panda bears. (Click here to watch.) The substantial undertaking, done in collaboration with China Network Television (CNTV), features footage from 28 cameras in 5 different locations. Additionally, control rooms have been built on the base to observe where the panda action may be, to ensure there’s never a dull moment on the cam.

The research facility was established in 1987 with 6 pandas. As of 2008, the population had grown to 83, giving you more than…

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Originally posted on Bell Book Candle:

English: Alfonso Soriano of the Chicago Cubs -...

English: Alfonso Soriano of the Chicago Cubs – 2009-07-29 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, earns $2.25 million per month, every month. That is $13,400.00/hour for an average month of 168 hours. Alfonso Soriano, left fielder for the Chicago Cubs, earns $100,000.00 for each game or an average of $33,333.00/hour for the average three-hour game. I can’t play big-league baseball, but I’ll bet that I could perform Dimon’s duties as well as he does for 30 days. I would be happy to replace him for 30 days, draw his $2.25 million salary and then resign.

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