Gas stations are drying up in the Gaza Strip as smuggler's routes between the region and Egypt have been shut down, in addition to an Israeli blockade and ongoing instability in Egypt, leaving many with few resources to continue their daily lives.
Pope Benedict XVI held two ceremonies over the weekend, leading the mass in Solemnity of the Chair of St. Peter with newly-appointed Cardinals at the Vatican on Feb. 19, 2012. The Cardinals had been appointed the previous day in the Consistory, where 22 members of the church were appointed to their new positions at St. Peter's basilica.
Preparations are underway to present the first International Ice Festival in Jerusalem. Hundreds of tons of ice blocks are being made and sculpted into an exhibition whose themes include Jerusalem, fairy tales, and the Bible. The Ice Festival opens in March and runs through April.
Matthew VanDyke, 32, gained international attention last year when he was captured by the military of former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. VanDyke left Baltimore Feb. 26, 2011, was captured March 13 near Brega and jailed in Tripoli's Abu Salim prison for 166 days. When he was freed in August, he said he returned to fighting before heading back to the United States in November.
As many contend that the country is rapidly approaching a full-blown civil war, protesters in Syria continued their efforts to destabilize President Basha al-Assad's regime, while Assad's forces continued their shelling of the city of Homs on Feb. 14, 2012.
President Obama's 2012 budget proposal, unveiled on Feb. 13, 2012, includes $4 trillion in cuts over 10 years, in addition to $350 billion in stimulus and $476 billion for transportation and infrastructure.
President Barack Obama awarded National Medals of Arts and Humanities to Al Pacino, Mel Tillis, Will Barnet, Charles Rosen, Emily Rauh Pulitzer, Teofilo Ruiz, Cathy Gorn, Andrew Delbanco, Martin Puryear and Rita Dove on Feb. 13, 2012.
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