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This Exists: Mustache Surgery

And it's increasingly popular among Mideast men

(Newser) - As Movember has proved , not all mustaches are the bushy stuff of legend. That's apparently a bit of a problem in the Middle East, where the facial hair signifies both wisdom and virility, and it's leading more and more men to undergo mustache surgery. Seriously. CNN reports that... More »

Troops' A/C Costs $20.2B— More Than NASA

Military spends $20B to cool tents in the Mideast

(Newser) - Which would you rather have: a space program or cool army tents in the Mideast? The US military spends $20.2 billion annually on air conditioning for tents in Iraq and Afghanistan—an amount that NPR notes tops NASA's entire budget, all damages BP has paid for the Gulf... More »

Netanyahu Doesn't Budge

He rejects Obama's backing of 1967 borders in talks

(Newser) - President Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu said reassuring things about US-Israeli relations today, but Netanyahu's list of deal-breakers made clear the two leaders remain far apart on the elements of a peace deal with Palestinians, reports the New York Times . Notably, Netanyahu rejected Obama's suggestion of a return to... More »

Obama Doctrine? He Just Borrowed Bush's

His Mideast plan is the same as his predecessor's: Charles Krauthammer

(Newser) - Analysts keep looking to define an Obama Doctrine, but after listening to the president's Mideast speech yesterday , Charles Krauthammer thinks it's easy: The Obama Doctrine is the Bush Doctrine, Krauthammer writes in the Washington Post . Bush "made the spread of democracy the key US objective in the... More »

Hamas, Fatah Strike Deal on Palestinian Government

But Israel may not deal with Hamas

(Newser) - Palestinians have reached initial agreement on reuniting their rival governments in the West Bank and Gaza, a step that would remove a main obstacle in the way of peace efforts with Israel. Fatah and Hamas officials said the plan, brokered by Egypt, calls for the formation of a single caretaker... More »

Jerusalem Blast Kills 1, Injures 24

Bomb blows out windows of 2 buses

(Newser) - Today's bombing in Jerusalem has killed one woman and injured at least 24 other people, the AP reports. Police blamed Palestinian militants. The explosion happened near the main entrance to the city about 3pm local time and blew out the windows on two crowded buses. The lone fatality so far... More »

Syria Still Unscathed —but True Test Awaits

David Ignatius: If Assad delays reforms, he could suffer Mubarak's fate

(Newser) - Syria has reason to be worried about the Arab revolution sweeping its neighbors, writes David Ignatius in the Washington Post . After all, it "has an authoritarian regime dominated by a corrupt Baath Party—a relic of the age of dictators that is being swept away in so many other... More »

As Mideast Seethes, Saudis Stand Alone

Kingdom feels encircled by enemies around the region

(Newser) - Popular unrest roiling the Middle East is is rocking the ultra-rich, ultra-conservative kingdom of Saudi Arabia, leaving its rulers feeling isolated both from regional allies and the United States alike, reports the New York Times . King Abdullah has called President Obama at least twice to voice his concerns about Egypt,... More »

Abbas Challenges Obama to 'Impose' Peace

Palestinian leader gives blunt message to US

(Newser) - Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas called on President Obama to "impose" a Mideast peace deal, reflecting growing frustration with what Palestinians see as Washington's failure to wrangle concessions out of Israel's hardline government. In an unusually blunt appeal, Abbas said that if Obama believes Palestinian statehood is a vital US... More »

Saudis to Behead TV Host as 'Sorcerer'

TV talk-show host boasted of predicting future

(Newser) - A Lebanese TV host who boasted he could predict the future is to be beheaded tomorrow in Saudi Arabia for "sorcery." Dad of two Ali Hussain Sibat hosted a popular call-in TV program in Beirut in which he doled out advice and predicted the future. He was busted... More »

In Jordan, Pope Decries 'Manipulation' of Religion

(Newser) - The top religious adviser to Jordan's king thanked Pope Benedict XVI today for his expression of "regret" after a 2006 speech that many Muslims deemed insulting to Islam's Prophet Muhammad. Benedict told the audience of religious leaders and officials at an Amman mosque that the history of the two... More »

UN Calls for Ceasefire in Gaza; US Abstains

(Newser) - The UN Security Council tonight passed a resolution—with the US abstaining—calling for "an immediate and durable" cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, the BBC reports. The vote was 14-0. It's unclear how much of an effect it will have on the ground, and Israel appeared to be resuming... More »

Gaza Fighting Rages On; Talks Set for Tomorrow

(Newser) - Israel continues to press its assault and Hamas continues to fire its rockets, but a sliver of hope emerged tonight toward an end to the Gaza hostilities, MSNBC reports. Representatives from Israel, Hamas, and the Palestinian Authority will meet—probably separately—with Egyptian officials in Cairo tomorrow to discuss a... More »

Israel Weighs Truce Proposal

(Newser) - Israel and Hamas are considering a new truce proposal floated by Egypt and France, Reuters reports. Few details emerged, but the US supports the plan, as does Europe. The development comes on the deadliest day yet of the conflict, after an Israeli missile struck a UN school and killed at... More »

Al-Qaeda No. 2: Gaza Raid Is 'Gift From Obama'

Zawahiri mocks him as a potential 'savior'

(Newser) - Al-Qaeda's No. 2 leader called the Israeli invasion of Gaza a "gift from Obama" and urged Muslims to take revenge against Israel, CNN reports. In an audio message posted on extremist websites, Ayman al-Zawahiri said that Barack Obama was portrayed as "the savior who will come and change... More »

Israel Kills Dozens of Hamas Fighters; UN Will Meet

(Newser) - Casualties are mounting in the early hours of Israel's ground invasion of Gaza. Israeli infantrymen killed dozens of Hamas fighters after crossing the border at nightfall, the Jerusalem Post reports. At least 30 Israeli soldiers were injured, some seriously. "The campaign won't be easy and it won't be short,... More »

Ferocity of Israeli Attacks Surprises West

(Newser) - It's no surprise that Israel has struck back at Hamas, but the intensity of the attacks "appeared to stun Western governments and analysts," writes Michael Abramowitz of the Washington Post. Barack Obama's camp has remained largely mum so far on the air assaults that have killed more than... More »

Bush Won't See Mideast Deal During Term

In region, Rice aims to keep process on track for Obama's team

(Newser) - Israel and the Palestinians won’t likely reach a peace agreement by the 2009 deadline set at the Annapolis negotiations a year ago, the White House said today. The Bush administration began to question the feasibility of the deadline when a corruption scandal ousted PM Ehud Olmert and set the... More »

France Warns Israel: Don't Attack Iran

'Talk, talk and more talk' to stop Iranian nuke program, Kouchner urges

(Newser) - The French foreign minister has urged Israel not to launch an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities, Reuters reports. "There are those" in Israel and the Israeli army "who are preparing for a military attack," Bernard Kouchner told an Israeli newspaper. "That's not the solution." Kouchner,... More »

Rice Refutes Carter, Says US Advised Against Trip

She clarifies opposition to Hamas meeting

(Newser) - Condoleezza Rice says the US explicitly advised Jimmy Carter not to meet with Hamas, refuting claims by the former president that no one in the government told him to scrap the trip, the Washington Post reports. "I just don't want there to be any confusion," Rice said. "... More »

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