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As tensions increase between Israel and the Palestinians, Pope Francis has invited leaders from both sides to "pray for peace" in the Vatican on Sunday. Can the first Pope from outside of Europe make a difference? What's the role of the US in a changing region? Also, a record mortgage settlement is in the works, and California Chrome may win New York's Belmont Stakes tomorrow and, with it, the first Triple Crown since 1978. Will that bring new status to the State of California, which is lightly regarded by the Sport of Kings?

Banner image: This Vatican press office photo shows Pope Francis praying at Israel's separation barrier on May 25, 2014. AFP photo/Osservatore Romano

Record Mortgage Settlement Is in the Works 7 MIN, 50 SEC

Bank of America reportedly may have to pay $12 billion after negotiations with the Department of Justice. It's all about the destructive home mortgages that triggered America's financial crisis and BofA would be on the hook for the biggest penalties so far. That's according to Devlin Barrett, who broke the story for the Wall Street Journal.

Devlin Barrett, Washington Post (@DevlinBarrett)

Praying for Peace in a Hostile Climate 34 MIN, 50 SEC

Pope Francis visited the Middle East at the end of May. Now he's following up by inviting leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to "pray for peace" in the Vatican this coming Sunday. The Pontiff from Argentina is injecting a new perspective into the heart of diplomacy at a time of increasing tension. Yesterday, Israel announced more settlements in the West Bank, in response to recent "unity" between the Palestinian Authority and its "terrorist" rival Hamas. We hear how all these developments reflect changes in the region. Are Israel and the Obama Administration further apart than ever?

John Allen, Boston Globe (@JohnLAllenJr)
Hussein Ibish, Arab Gulf States Institute / International New York Times (@Ibishblog)
Jonathan Schanzer, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (@JSchanzer)
Robert Danin, Council on Foreign Relations (@robertdanin)

New Yorker on regional developments that have strengthened Abbas, weakened Hamas
Allen on the first multipolar pope showing a unique political touch
Schanzer's 'Hamas versus Fatah: The Struggle For Palestine'

Against the Tide

John Allen Jr.

California Chrome Sets Sights on the Triple Crown 8 MIN, 30 SEC

California Chrome was born on an obscure horse farm in the Golden State's Central Valley. Until recently, he trained at California's most famous racetrack. When Hollywood Park closed down, he moved across the Los Angeles Basin to Los Alamitos, a track that's never before caught the attention of the Sport of Kings. Tomorrow, he's favored in New York's Belmont Stakes, and victory would make him the first Triple Crown winner since 1978.

Holzman on California Chrome and horse racing in Southern California

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