Two Israeli soldiers were killed and seven more were injured during a Hezbollah missile attack against a Israeli military convoy near the Lebanon border Wednesday morning, according to Israeli officials. Retaliatory shelling from Israel reportedly killed a Spanish U.N. peacekeeper stationed in a village in southern Lebanon.
At its best, the Miss Universe contest is like a (more) superficial United Nations, complete with flawed solutions to tough policy questions. Just like the real UN, however, sometimes there's just no seeing eye to eye, as was the case with this week's spat over a controversial selfie showing Misses from warring Israel and Lebanon.
A United Methodist minister who was convicted under church law of officiating his son's same-sex marriage was suspended for 30 days on Tuesday. The Rev. Frank Schaefer refused to apologize for his actions, telling jurors that the church "needs to stop judging people based on their sexual orientation."
One of Lebanon's senior security officials, Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hassan, was killed along with seven others this morning in a massive explosion in an affluent section of Beirut. According to the New York Times, the explosion—the origin of which is still unclear—overturned cars and shattered windows for blocks. To judge from the pictures, the death toll is likely to rise.
The owner of a Beirut bargain store closed up shop earlier than usual on Friday after a crowd began protesting his sale of some cheap-ass flip-flops featuring this Halloweenish design: a bat-haunted graveyard dotted with cross-shaped tombstones. The crosses made the shoes offensive to Christians, the protesters said.
An Ethiopian aircraft has plummeted into the sea, mere minutes after its takeoff from Lebanese capital Beirut. The Lebanese army and U.N. Interim Force are searching the coast. Among those aboard was the wife of France's ambassador to Lebanon. The flight was en route to Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. [CNN]
Not sure what's gotten into international booze purveyors out there, but Absolut vodka joins Johnnie Walker scotch in the Lebanese postwar regeneration frenzy with its own series of recovery-themed ads. In addition to these eager tourists arriving in liquor-bottle form, you also have an Absolut-shaped dollop of cement on a rebuilt cinderblock wall. Sure are lots of thirsty Caucasians in this tourist crowd! And we can only assume that rebuilt wall is part of a bar, as opposed to say, a hospital. To their credit though, Absolut has rebuilt more walls in Lebanon than the United Nations. At least conceptually.
Continuing coverage of the revelation that is CNN correspondent Karl Penhaul: We nearly yipped with joy when it seemed that Penhaul, waiting for the go-sign on this segment from today's CNN coverage, inscrutably said, "Stylin' it." Repeated viewing made it seem more likely he was just saying, "It's dialin' in." Regardless, those new to Penhaul can enjoy a few seconds of His Baldness hanging out on a Lebanese beach, sunburned and frisky. We particularly love how he says "fresh barrages."
The fine folks at Animal point to this interesting bit on News Hounds, detailing how Hezbollah issued a "directive" to Fox News in particular and the media in general "not to show outgoing Katyusha rocket fire." Such a reaction might have been prompted by segments like the above, where Fox's Bill Hemmer points out (from the Israeli side) where such rockets had likely been fired from, and where they likely landed. Apparently Hezbollah believes that such coverage helps the Israelis target their positions. Since Fox has personnel on the Lebanese side of the border who might, you know, get all dead and stuff if one of those rockets "accidentally" went the wrong way, Fox agreed to abstain from rocket spotting.