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FROM THIS EPISODE

Despite three brain surgeries in less than a week, Ariel Sharon shows signs of life. He is able to breathe on his own and has responded to pain tests, but his own surgeon says he will not return as Prime Minister of Israel. It will take days to awaken him from an induced coma and doctors will then pass their assessments to Attorney General Meni Mazuz. Until Sharon is finally declared incapacitated, his chair will be left empty at cabinet meetings as it was yesterday with Ehud Olmert presiding as Acting Prime Minister. Though Palestinians may be glad to see him go, for Israelis Sharon created the hope of unity behind unilateral withdraw from Gaza and parts of the West Bank. We hear about prospective successors and their chances of holding Israelis together, get a Palestinian perspective and look at the options available to the Bush Administration.
  • Making News: Confirmation Hearings for Samuel Alito Begin
    Appellate Judge Samuel Alito got a White House send-off from President Bush this morning. Then he listened as Judiciary Committee members of both parties made their opening statements. After the Committee members have held forth, Alito will get his turn, and Senior Editor Dahlia Lithwick is watching it all for Slate.com.
  • Reporter's Notebook: Microsoft Censors the Internet in China
    Though the Internet has provided an opportunity for millions of Chinese to express their opinions in public, their leaders still require service providers to monitor web logs, erase banned content and report offenders. At the government's request, Microsoft is shutting down an Internet journal that talked about sensitive issues. Rebecca MacKinnon, Harvard research fellow and co-founder of Global Voices Online, discusses the cost of free expression and the role of western business in enforcing government censorship.

US Supreme Court Nominee Samuel Alito

President Bush on Alito confirmation hearings

Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on Judge Alito

Slate's coverage on Alito confirmation hearings

Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's remarks to Israeli cabinet

State Department on Middle East Peace

US Middle East Peace Partnership Initiative (Road Map to Middle East Peace)

Halevi's article on Israel after Sharon

MacKinnon's blog on Microsoft censoring Chinese blogger

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