News Buzz: Senator Kennedy Leaves Hospital, Israel-Syria Peace Talks, and More

Sen. Kennedy was released from the hospital after being diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor.

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Senator Kennedy Goes Home

Sen. Edward Kennedy was released from the hospital this morning and headed back to his home in Cape Cod, Mass., after being diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor. Kennedy was hospitalized Saturday after having a seizure. The 76-year-old Massachusetts senator is recuperating from a biopsy conducted after the seizure and is waiting for more test results so that doctors can figure out a treatment plan.

Surprise Peace Talks

Israel and Syria today said they were holding indirect peace talks through Turkish mediators—the first official confirmation of renewed formal contacts between the longtime enemies. In statements issued minutes apart, the two governments said they "have declared their intent to conduct these talks in good faith and with an open mind," with a goal of reaching "a comprehensive peace." On another front, Israel is also holding indirect talks with Hamas, the radical Palestinian group that controls the Gaza Strip, to try to negotiate a cease-fire.

Obama Nears the Magic Number

After a win in Kentucky last night for Hillary Clinton and a win in Oregon for Barack Obama, both Democrats are in Florida today paying attention to a state whose primary status is still in question. Obama is close to clinching the nomination and today was just 66 delegates shy of the 2,026 needed for the nomination. However, Clinton has vowed to fight on and insists that the delegations from Florida and Michigan should be seated. Both states scheduled their primaries too early and thus lost all of their allocated delegates for the Democratic National Convention this summer in Denver.

Myanmar Obstructs U.S. Aid

Myanmar's isolationist government turned down a proposal for U.S. Navy ships to deliver aid to survivors of the country's devastating cyclone today as United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged Myanmar to drop the politics and save lives instead. "This is a critical moment for Myanmar," Ban said earlier in Bangkok, Thailand. "The government itself acknowledges that there has never been a disaster on this scale in the history of their country...The issues of assistance and aid in Myanmar should not be politicized." The U.N currently reports that 2.5 million survivors are facing disease, hunger, and homelessness.

Pakistan's Badlands

Pakistan's ungoverned tribal region has been both a Taliban haven and a constant headache for NATO partners throughout the war. But their frustration with the area is growing, as cross-border attacks coming from the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas of Pakistan, commonly known here as the FATA, doubled from 20 in March 2007 to 41 in March 2008 in eastern Afghanistan alone.

California Budget Squeeze

Arnold Schwarzenegger's budgetary swing for the fences last week, which included a risky plan to borrow against the state's future lottery revenue to close the state's $17 billion budget shortfall, may already be drifting foul. The Legislative Analyst's Office, the state's nonpartisan fiscal and policy adviser, has issued a sobering assessment of the governor's proposal, declaring many of its projections "overly optimistic."