Lunchtime Links: August 20, 2010

Israeli and Palestinian leaders have agreed to resume direct talks for the first time in nearly two years.

Oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill formed an underwater plume of hydrocarbons the size of Manhattan, scientists said Thursday, raising fears of a lingering cloud of trace chemicals in the Gulf with an unknown long-term impact.

In the wake of a Pew Forum study which showed an increasing number of Americans were either unsure of President Obama’s religious beliefs or believed he was a Muslim, the White House reiterated the largely private nature of Obama’s faith and his belief in Christianity. Alan Cooperman, the Pew Forum's associate director for research, said that with the public hearing little about Obama's religion, “maybe there's more possibility for other people to make suggestions that the president is this or he's really that or he's really a Muslim.”

An Indian man died when a cell phone exploded next to his ear.

Donors have pledged more money for flood-stricken Pakistan following appeals at an emergency meeting of the U.N. General Assembly.

Scenes featuring smoking is on the decline in large Hollywood productions.

Roger Clemens is facing multiple federal charges for allegedly lying during Congressional testimony.

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