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Israel and its main militant Gaza adversary weighed an Egyptian cease-fire proposal late Monday, signaling a possible de-escalation of a week-old aerial battle that has left nearly 200 Palestinians dead from Israeli bombs and has sent hundreds of Gaza rockets deep into Israeli territory.

A senior government official in Israel, which has been preparing for the possibility of a ground invasion of Gaza, said it was seriously considering the Egyptian proposal. The initial reaction of Hamas, the dominant militant group in Gaza, was less committal, but was not an outright rejection.

The proposal envisioned a cease-fire beginning at 9 a.m. local time on Tuesday. It called for border crossings to Gaza to “be opened,” with the movement of people and goods to be “facilitated once the security situation becomes stable on the ground.” Within 48 hours of the initial cease-fire taking hold, talks are to be held in Cairo with the Israelis and the Palestinian militant factions on conditions for a longer-term truce, according to the text of the proposal.

An Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Ambassador Badr Abdelatty, said: “We hope it will be acknowledged. We are in close contact with everyone.”

Adding weight to the efforts, Secretary of State John Kerry was expected in Cairo as early as Tuesday, according to officials in the region and the Egyptian state news agency.

The New York Times, "Israel and Hamas Consider Egyptian Proposal for Cease-Fire in Air Attacks"

BVT News Roundup 24 January 2014.

Four separate bombings rocked the Egyptian capital on Friday on the eve of the third anniversary of the Arab Spring revolt, killing at least six people, injuring more than 70, and evoking comparisons to Baghdad in a city that for decades has been among the most stable in the Arab world.

The bombings, all targeting the police, were devastating evidence that neither of what the current military-backed government calls Egypt’s “two revolutions” — one ending the 30-year rule of President Hosni Mubarak in 2011 and the other the one year in office of President Mohamed Morsi in 2013 — has delivered on their promises of either democracy or stability. Instead, the bombings appeared to mark the fruition of fears that the military ouster of Mr. Morsi, of the Muslim Brotherhood, would set off a militant Islamist insurgency against the government installed by Gen. Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi.

Although Mr. Mubarak was faced with an Islamist insurgency more than a decade ago, the insurgents never struck a blow as unnerving as the four bombs detonated on a single day in the capital when security was already high because of Saturday’s anniversary.

The New York Times, "Deadly Cairo Bomb Blasts Raise Fears of New Insurgency"

Evening News Wrap Monday 2 December 2013.

(Photos: Mary Altaffer / AP via NBC News)

(Waaaaaay late) Weekend News Read 24 November 2013.

(This is not Captain James A. Kirk of the USS Zumwalt.  Sigh.)

Afternoon News Read 12 November 2013.


(Photo of One World Trade Center by Mark Lenihan / AP via NBC News)

Morning News Read 4 November 2013.

Morning News Read 30 October 2013.

Morning News Read 9 October 2013

(Hilarious stock photo by Shutterstock via the Post)

Michele Bachmann, whose failed presidential 2012 run embroiled her in allegations of ­campaign-finance violations, has chosen not to run for a fifth term in Congress. This week, the controversial Sixth District congresswoman’s reckless statements broadcast during a recent trip to Egypt served up a reminder of why Minnesota and the nation will be better off once she’s left office.

Bachmann, whose presidential campaign is now the subject of a federal grand jury investigation, has lost none of her capacity in these waning months in Congress to astonish us with her dubious grasp of the truth and careless disregard for potential consequences of statements made in her official capacity.

In most cases, Bachmann’s zest for conspiracies — anti-Americans stalking the halls of Congress, the census being used to round up U.S. citizens — simply leads to a few headlines and leaves people in Minnesota and elsewhere shaking their heads.

But in some situations, Bachmann’s words cross a critical line and have the potential to do real harm. Her 2011 claim that the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine causes mental retardation was one of those occasions, since unvaccinated boys and girls face a higher risk of dying from certain cancers.

Bachmann crossed the line again during a visit to Egypt in which she heaped praise on the new, military-led government that not only ousted the nation’s democratically elected president two months ago but in doing so, slaughtered at least 1,000 of its own people.

The New York Times’ account of the witless ramblings from Bachmann and two Republican U.S. House colleagues reads like something out of the best of the Onion.

According to the Times, Bachmann and Reps. Louie Gohmert of Texas and Steve King of Iowa — both of whom are in the running to become the new face of the fringe element in Congress once Bachmann departs — were in Cairo on Sunday. In an interview, they conveyed a jaw-dropping message to the new government. “Keep up the good work” is how the Times summed it up.

“We are here as members of Congress to say, ‘We are with you, and we encourage you,’ ” said Bachmann, who also inaccurately implied that the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s main political opposition party, led the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

… Bachmann’s office did not respond to an editorial writer’s requests for comment, but did send out a news release saying she was traveling with a bipartisan delegation to discuss security and economic issues with world leaders.

While such congressional travels aren’t unusual, few require damage control. Bachmann’s lack of common sense in Cairo is another reminder of why she won’t be missed here or in Washington when her term ends.

From an editorial in the Star Tribune (Minneapolis / St. Paul)

Morning News Read Labor Day Edition, 2 September 2013

Morning News Read 23 August 2013.