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With agreement that Syria's civil war needs a diplomatic solution, 17 nations met for seven hours last week to discuss an agenda. But Syria's Assad regime and rebel forces weren't there — and the fighting continues. Is a diplomatic solution for Syria possible?

Also on the program, the Supreme Court looks at alleged racial bias and jury selection. 

Photo: Officials from 17 nations as well as the EU and UN meet in Vienna in the hopes of finding a political solution to Syria's four-year-old civil war, Octobe r30 2015. (US State Department)

Big Questions after Russian Jet Breaks Up Mid-Flight 6 MIN, 30 SEC

When a Russian passenger plane broke apart Saturday over the Sinai Peninsula, all 224 of those aboard died in the crash. The airline company has ruled out both technical malfunction and human error, but that conclusion could be premature. James Clapper, America’s Director of National Intelligence, said today that although there is as yet "no direct evidence," a terrorist attack cannot be ruled out. We hear more from former pilot Arthur Rosenberg, who is now an aviation attorney.

Arthur Rosenberg, Soberman & Rosenberg (@AIRLAW2001)

Peace Talks and Warfare in Syria 34 MIN, 40 SEC

In four and a half years, Syria's civil war has killed 250,000 people and displaced 12 million -- half the nation's entire population. Supporters of both sides agree there cannot be a military solution, but the fighting continues, now to include about 50 American Special Forces. The US and Russia joined 15 other nations last week -- including archrivals Iran and Saudi Arabia — to discuss a diplomatic solution. The al-Assad regime was not represented. The closed-door meeting produced nine points of agreement as well as plans to meet again soon, but international rivalries already threaten to derail any progress.

Laura Rozen, Al-Monitor (@lrozen)
Seth Jones, RAND Corporation (@SethGJones)
Robin Wright, US Institute of Peace / Woodrow Wilson Center (@wrightr)
Daniel Serwer, Johns Hopkins University (@DanielSerwer)

Rozen on accomplishments of Syria talks
Wright on the extent of Iran's intervention in Syria
Wright on whether Iran will cooperate on Syria
Serwer on a little-know Russian proposal for Syria

SCOTUS Considers Race and Jury Selection 8 MIN, 47 SEC

Racial bias in America's criminal justice system is an old story, one that's on the docket today at the US Supreme Court. In 1987, 19-year-old Timothy Tyrone Foster was sentenced to death by an all-white jury for the brutal murder of a 79-year old white woman in Rome, Georgia. Today, his appeal reached the US Supreme Court. Foster's lawyers examined notes made by the prosecutors during jury selection when Foster was on trial, and claim the notes prove racial bias. Maurice Chammah, who covers crime and punishment for the Marshall Project, a nonprofit news organization focusing on the criminal justice system, discusses whether courtroom prejudice can be proved.

Photo: Ammodramus

Maurice Chammah, Marshall Project (@MauriceChammah)

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