FROM Conal Urquhart
Alan Johnston's Release and the Role of Hamas BBC journalist Alan Johnston was released yesterday after four months as a hostage in Gaza. Britain's foreign secretary acknowledged the critical role played by Hamas, considered a terrorist group by the West. "The international community's support for Mahmoud Abbas as the legitimate President of Palestine should not preclude contact with Hamas" says a motion in the British Parliament, introduced by members of all political parties, including the First Minister of Scotland. Has Hamas earned the right to another look? Conal Urquhart, Middle East correspondent for the Guardian , has just returned from a party for Johnston.
Hamas Website Posts Audio/Video of Palestinian Captives One year ago, Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was snatched by gunmen who had tunneled across the border from Gaza to Israel. BBC journalist Alan Johnson was kidnapped in March. Both have now been heard from on the Internet. In an audio message posted today and verified by his father, Shalit says his health is deteriorating and that Israel has "a lack of interest" in his plight. In a video that appeared yesterday, Johnson says he's been strapped with explosives that will be detonated if Hamas carries out threats to free him by force. Conal Urquhart, Middle East correspondent for the Guardian newspaper, has the details.
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.
What is Trump's plan for Middle East peace? On his first foreign tour, President Trump has promised "peace" between Israel and the Palestinians. Are there any details for re-starting talks that have been stalled for the past three years?
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.