The latest news on Mideast peace
The six candidates for the Republican presidential nomination sparred last night over economic and national security issues during a 90-minute debate in South Carolina. The debate, sponsored by Fox News, was a relatively tame affair, with substantial policy disagreement but few personal attacks. One notable exception: a tit-for-tat between former Sen. Fred Thompson and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. At one point, Thompson warned that Huckabee, if elected, would take the country in the direction of "liberal economic policies." Huckabee responded: "The Air Force has a saying that if you're not catching flak, you're not over the target. I'm catching the flak. I must be over the target."
Former track star Marion Jones has now become just the fourth American in history to be stripped of Olympic hardware by the International Olympic Committee. Today, the IOC formally revoked Jones's claims to the five medals—three gold and two bronze—that she won during the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Earlier this year, Jones admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs during her peak athletic years.
Syria's ambassador to the United States says Syria welcomes the apparent revival of interest in pursuing a Syrian-Israeli peace track coming out of the Annapolis Mideast conference, along with the Palestinian-Israeli track the meeting focused on.
A day after Palestinian and Israeli leaders agreed in Annapolis to resume peace talks, President Bush will bring together Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas today at the White House. Bush will meet with each leader separately initially and then later this afternoon bring them together to formally announce that the first direct negotiations in years have begun.
Negotiators face a short timeline and many tough issues.
President Bush today commenced an unusually intense round of personal diplomacy, meeting with Israeli and Palestinian leaders in the Oval Office in preparation for a first in his administration: playing host to a Middle East peace conference.