A flag and a nameplate: Those seemingly innocuous items were apparently the reason that Afghan President Hamid Karzai abruptly refused to participate in peace talks also involving the Taliban and the U.S.
The flag was the same white flag the Taliban used when they ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001. The nameplate bore the words "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan," the name used by the old Taliban government.
Gay-rights activists have welcomed a decision by a Christian ministry dedicated to "curing" homosexuals to shut its doors, praising the organization's president for his "integrity and authenticity" in offering an apology for the group's actions.
The Orlando, Fla., based Exodus International, which calls itself the oldest and largest Christian ministry dealing with faith and homosexuality, announced Thursday that it would cease its operations.
To look at Jonathan Wilson is to know where he's coming from. There's the long, straight hair tied back; the well-kept but not exactly neat beard; the army-green coat over a well-worn band T-shirt: It all evokes '70s hippie chic, tempered by a contemporary sense of taste.
Journalist Jonathan Alter sees the 2012 presidential contest as the most consequential election of recent times. In his new book, The Center Holds, Alter argues that President Obama's re-election prevented the country from veering sharply to the right.
Now we want to talk about the way people are getting new music across the globe. Earlier this week, hip-hop mogul Jay-Z announced he's teaming up with Samsung to release his next album "Magna Carta Holy Grail." Here he is advertising that release.
(SOUNDBITE OF JAY-Z COMMERCIAL)
JAY-Z: The idea is to really finish the album and drop it, giving it to the world at one time and then letting them share it when it goes out.
Over the past several weeks, we checked in with our colleagues and friends in a series of conversations called "Looking Ahead," today, poet Nikky Finney. Two years ago, she riveted the audience as she accepted a National Book Award for her poetry collection "Head Off & Split."
Ever so quietly this week, the national arts scene became a bit more fragmented, a bit more stratified and a lot more invisible. The Associated Press has just spiked a chunk of its opera, dance and off-Broadway coverage. And in this case, no news is bad news.
In an email, AP chief theater writer Mark Kennedy described the decision to me: