TO-ing and FRO-ing in the MIDDLE EAST

 

 

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“Abbas Takes Defiant Step, and Mideast Talks Falter.”

 

 

 “Bill Clinton sticks his foot in Syrian quagmire.”

 

 

Going out on a limb, Pope Francis met to pray with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. The Rev. Thomas Reese, a veteran Vatican analyst for the National Catholic Reporter noted “In the Middle East, symbolic gestures and incremental steps are important.”

 

 

“Palestinians to walk away from peace talks.”

 

 

“Powers seek ‘first-step’ nuclear deal with Iran in Geneva talks.”

 

 

“Rouhani’s victory in 2013 is the Iranian equivalent to Obama’s victory in 2008: an electorate that voted overwhelmingly for hope and change, understanding that the process will be a marathon, not a sprint,” said Reza Marashi, research director at the National Iranian American Council in Washington.

 

 

[U.S. Secretary of State John] Kerry told reporters he was flying home to Washington to meet with President Obama to reassess the peace negotiations and whether there was a path forward. “There are limits to the amount of time and effort that the United States can spend, if the parties themselves are unwilling to take constructive steps in order to be able to move forward.”

 

 

“Syria chemical arms: ‘Global red line’ crossed – Kerry”

 

 

“For U.N. Chief, a Dance of Diplomacy Is Halted by a Misstep. Ban Ki-moon… choreographed a precise diplomatic sequence on Syria that relied on others to perform their roles equally precisely. The choreography did not go as planned, and Mr. Ban stumbled under the spotlight.”

 

 

Women in Saudi Arabia: Unshackling themselves

 

 

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A 75.4 Block Marathon in Brooklyn

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Andy Newman and Barnaby, his basset hound with a trace of beagle, set out on a marathon walk around his block in Brooklyn. He was never more than 416 feet from home “a feat that has never been attempted in the history of extreme sport.”  Barnaby made it through the first 22 laps. Newman devised this adventure during a routine outing to accommodate Barnaby’s ‘call of nature’. He timed it for the day after New York’s 2009 marathon of 40,000 people running, walking or wheeling their way through five boroughs.

Newman’s marathon was a frame by frame contemplation of the static and active aspects of his neighborhood.  What he discovered that marathon day were the stuff of small “L” life:

  • Remembering neighbor’s names, reflecting on their homes, on long surviving businesses alongside new ones, on a rocking Pentecostal church, on and on as he went.
  • The gentle tap of construction hammers on a new building louder as he approached, dimmer after passing by
  • A young girl walking her dog while reading a book
  • People who simply stare out from their homes
  • An ice cream lady 100 feet from his house
  • A box of books open to takers, gradually diminishing
  • A suspicious man, a woman nursing a beer, a hipster in headphones
  • The number of steps from his house to the intersections
  • That a newly opened spa could do a pedicure on lap 50 – “digging 18 miles of road from under his toenails.”

 For the last lap, Newman roused Barnaby from a deep sleep to join him.  Halfway around the ultimate block, Newman met a man walking his dachshunds and he announced completion of the 75 block effort.  The man’s response: “And he still won’t go?”

Adapted from:   http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/01/nyregion/01marathon.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0