Can Iran’s New U.S.-Educated Foreign Minister Mend Ties with Washington?


The U.S. and Iran maintain no formal diplomatic ties. Neither country stations an ambassador in the other’s capital nor do their top diplomats talk to each other all that much. Three decades of tensions mean both American and Iranian politicians are far more practiced at demonizing the other than reaching compromise. But Mohammad Javad Zarif has long proved an important exception to the rule: the Iranian career diplomat received a doctorate at the University of Denver, his children were born in the U.S., and his fluent English carries little trace of an accent. As Iran’s ambassador to the U.N. from 2002 to ’07, he built up a world of contacts in Washington, even once taking a train on his own from New York City to call on a Senator in the U.S. capital. Here’s an Iranian who can speak American. And here is Iran’s next Foreign Minister.

Zarif’s appointment was…

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Taco Bell Expanding Test of Waffle Taco

In Egypt, U.S. Senators Label Morsi’s Ousting a ‘Coup’ as Tension and Confusion Reigns


Cairo has always been a popular site to mediate the many disputes of the Middle East. A regional crossroads and the home of the Arab League, Egypt has hosted numerous rounds of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations as well as intra-Palestinian talks between rival factions Fatah and Hamas. In 2003, it served as the nerve center for last-minute attempts by the Arab League and Gulf states to convince Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to seek exile ahead of the eventual U.S.-led invasion.

But the past month of political turmoil following the military’s ousting of Mohamed Morsi from the presidency has flipped that script. Now international envoys are packing into Cairo from multiple directions in order to mediate the Egyptian crisis. The past few days have seen overlapping visits from U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, U.S. Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, E.U. envoy Bernardino León and the Foreign Ministers…

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Hasan: ‘I switched sides’

This Just In

The Army psychiatrist charged with killing 13 comrades and wounding more than 30 delivered his own opening statement in his court-martial Tuesday, declaring, “I am the shooter.”

Maj. Nidal Hasan is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder in the 2009 massacre at Ford Hood, the largest U.S. Army installation. Testimony in his long-delayed court-martial began Tuesday morning at the post, with Hasan representing himself.

“The evidence will clearly show that I am the shooter,” Hasan told the panel that will decide his fate. “The evidence presented with this trial will show one side. The evidence will also show that I was on the wrong side. I then switched sides.”

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Drone strikes kill militants in Yemen

This Just In

A pair of suspected U.S. drone strikes killed four al Qaeda militants in Yemen as the United States maintained a heightened security alert in the country and urged all Americans to leave immediately.

Security sources told CNN about the strikes but didn’t offer additional details. A Yemeni official said four drone strikes have been carried out in the past 10 days.

None of those killed on Tuesday were among the 25 names on the country’s most-wanted list, security officials said.

It is unclear whether the strikes were related to the added security alert in the country after U.S. officials intercepted a message from al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri to operatives in Yemen telling them to “do something.” The message was sent to Nasir al-Wuhayshi, the leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the terror group’s Yemeni affiliate. U.S. intelligence believes al-Wuhayshi has recently been appointed the overall terror organization’s…

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George W. Bush gets heart stent

This Just In

Former President George W. Bush, 67, underwent a procedure Tuesday morning to have a stent placed in his heart one day after a blockage was discovered in an artery, according to a statement from his office.

In the statement released by Bush’s spokesman, the procedure was “performed successfully,” without complication, at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.

“President Bush is in high spirits, eager to return home tomorrow and resume his normal schedule on Thursday. He is grateful to the skilled medical professionals who have cared for him,” the statement read.

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Two-Year-Old Best Man Dies Two Days After His Parents Marry


A toddler who served as the best man at his parents’ wedding over the weekend, died Monday due to complications associated with Fanconi anemia, a rare blood disorder, the Today Show reports.

Logan Stevenson had been suffering from leukemia and malignant tumors on his kidneys since December 2011. When doctors recently told his parents, Christine Swidorsky and Sean Stevenson, that their son only had a few weeks to live, the couple decided to get married this past Saturday instead of next July, as they had planned, so that their son could be there.

During a backyard wedding at the family’s home in Jeannette, Pennsylvania, east of Pittsburgh, the terminally-ill boy, dressed in a tan, pinstripe suit and orange shirt, held his favorite teddy bear while his mother carried him down the aisle before passing him off to his grandmother. Being all together as a family was “a dream come true,” Swidorsky 

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“Joan Baez – The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”


Dedicated to Reince Priebus

This Exists: A Summer Camp Based on The Hunger Games


Making lanyards, roasting marshmallows and taking swim lessons are all standard fare at summer camp, but what about a post-apocalyptic death match where campers hunt each other to their doom? That’s just what participants are doing at one Florida summer camp. Inspired by the wildly-popular The Hunger Games book-turned-movie trilogy, the Country Day School in Largo, Florida, established a Hunger Games summer camp with a twist sure to reassure parents: There’s no actual killing.

While the books focus on the harrowing ordeal of 16-year old Katniss Everdeen who is forced to fight gladiator-style against other teenage killers in a frightening glimpse at a dystopian future, at summer camp, the games are more akin to flag football. The campers collect flags from other children to signify a “killing.” When counselors balked at the violent rhetoric, the camp opted to alter the meaning of the flags to the more euphemistic “collecting lives.”

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The Holy Catholic Church

Thinking Out Loud

“…I believe…in the holy catholic church…”

…Wait a minute, the what?

Those words in the Apostles Creed have been a tripping point for both young and old Evangelicals. We even made a last minute modification in our worship slides on Sunday to avoid the terminology. At the blog Internet Monk, in a classic Michael Spencer re-post from 2006, we’re reminded that many Baptists solve the problem by simply dropping the creed altogether.

The article is lengthy, and I know some of you won’t wade through it. But if you desire, especially if you’ve always wondered about that phrase, the link is here. For the record, “catholic” in this sense means “universal.”

Here’s how the article wraps up:

…We need a generous catholicity.” Not a competition where the winner plays the role of the brat, but a humble and sincere attempt to see Christ in his church, and…

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