Rays of hope

Behind The News
July 17, 2008 1:53:58 PM PDT
Sometimes, in the midst of all the bad news that is transmitted 24/7, there is a glimmer of hope. Or a couple. They can come out of context and be embraced perhaps for more than they really are. But it seems sometimes we are so anxious for good news, for a spark of hope, that we cling to these good-news stories, no matter how fragmented they actually may be.

I'm clinging to a few shards of positive news today. The first is the prisoner exchange between Israel and the Lebanese militia Hezbollah -- although "prisoner" may not be entirely accurate, since the Israelis who were exchanged today came back in two black coffins.

Nonetheless, we cling to hope.

In exchange for the remains of the two Israeli soldiers - Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, captured a couple of years ago during the raid that sparked a month-long war between Hezbollah and Israel -- the Jewish state turned over five Lebanese prisoners, including a convicted murderer named Samir Kuntar, who has been held for nearly 30 years. Also handed over by Israel were the bodies of dozens of infiltrators, so the blood is on everyone's hands.

By the way, until today, Israel didn't know if their two captured soldiers were dead or alive.

Still, two adversaries talking is a good thing. And many people tonight are embracing it.

The second ray of hope also involves adversaries talking. And a 180-degree change of policy by the Bush Administration in its policy to Iran.

A senior American diplomat - William Burns, the under secretary of state for political affairs - is meeting face-to-face with Iran officials this weekend in Geneva.

Before this, the White House said it would meet with Iran only if that country stopped its uranium enrichment program.

We'll have the latest on both developments, tonight at 11.

Also at 11, and I suppose not to be outdone by the incredible pre-game ceremony and extra-innings All Star game at Yankee Stadium last night, Shea Stadium is playing concert hall tonight to Long Island's Billy Joel, for what's being billed as the final concert at the less-than-magnificent Mets ballpark.

A columnist in Newsday today summed it up perfectly: "Shea Stadium is the perfect place for Billy Joel and Billy Joel is the perfect guy for this place. If Frank Sinatra is Yankee Stadium, shiny and formal and proper, singing 'New York, New York' after every win, then Joel is Shea, a little out of shape, a little scruffy, a little like you and me."

Jen Maxfield is at Shea for us tonight, for the Billy Joel concert.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Scott Clark with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa (in for Liz Cho) and me, tonight at 11.