Middle East

1:45am

Tue June 10, 2014
The Salt

Forbidding Fruit: How America Got Turned On To The Date

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 1:07 pm

How about a date?
Loomis Dean Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

In 1898, the U.S. Department of Agriculture created a special department of men called Agriculture Explorers to travel the globe searching for new food crops to bring back for farmers to grow in the U.S.

"These agricultural explorers were kind of like the Indiana Joneses of the plant world," says Sarah Seekatz, a California historian who grew up in the Coachella Valley, the date capital of the U.S.

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3:01am

Fri May 23, 2014
World

Palestinians Appeal To Pope For Help In Land Disputes With Israel

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 8:25 am

Father Ibrahim Shomali, a Palestinian priest, holds prayer vigils every Friday in the Cremisan Valley near Bethlehem. Israel is planning to build a wall, citing security needs, on agricultural land here owned by a local monastery. Shomali has asked Pope Francis to intervene.
Emily Harris NPR

When Pope Francis visits Jerusalem on Monday, he will celebrate Mass in one of the holiest Christian sites in the world.

The Cenacle, or the Upper Room, is traditionally considered the place where Christ shared his Last Supper with disciples before he was crucified.

But the spot is holy not only to Christians. Below, some Jews believe, is the tomb of King David. A mosque has also stood on this site.

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5:23am

Tue May 20, 2014
Middle East

Pope To Travel To Holy Land With Rabbi And Muslim Leader

Originally published on Tue May 20, 2014 2:24 pm

A Palestinian man works on a banner bearing a portrait of Pope Francis at a printing house in the West Bank city of Ramallah in anticipation of this week's papal visit.
Abbas Momani AFP/Getty Images

The first non-European pope in modern history will makes a pilgrimage to the Holy Land this week, a region with centuries of religious strife.

Francis — the first pope to take the name of the saint of peace — will carry far less historical baggage than any of his predecessors.

When John Paul II visited Israel in 2000, he prayed at the Western Wall and apologized for the church's sins against Jews. Nine years later, at Yad Vashem, the memorial to the Holocaust, Benedict XVI urged that the names of the victims never perish, be denied or forgotten.

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5:51am

Wed March 5, 2014
Middle East

Iranian Women Make A Push For Greater Opportunities

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 7:02 pm

Iranian women, shown here in downtown Tehran, are among groups in the country pushing for social and economic change.
Ebrahim Noroozi AP

Iran is starting to see a re-launch of activist groups following the election last year of President Hassan Rouhani. Social movements were scarce after the government crushed public protests known as the Green Movement following the 2009 elections. After the decisive vote for Rouhani, a surge of hope in Iran has attracted activists back to the political arena. Iranian women, in particular, are seizing the opportunity.

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1:21am

Thu October 3, 2013
Middle East

Israel Eases Restriction On Building Materials To Gaza Strip

Originally published on Sun October 6, 2013 7:05 am

Palestinians inspect trucks loaded with iron arriving from Israel through the Kerem Shalom border crossing into Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, on Sept. 22. The delivery of the materials to the private sector is a first since the Hamas takeover in 2007.
Hatem Moussa AP

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