(South Park)

• Mel Gibson is producing a movie about Judah Maccabee. Joe Eszterhas is writing the script; Gibson may direct and even star. There is no joke to be made. This is the joke. [24 Frames LAT]

• President Abbas said that U.S. entreaties to halt the U.N. statehood gambit were “too late.” [NYT]

• Talks over captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit remain deadlocked, said a Hamas official. Meanwhile, Shalit’s father insisted that the United Nations should not recognize Palestine until his son is free. [Ynet/Vos Iz Neias?/AP/WP]

• Weird story: eight people aboard a yacht in the Strait of Tiran—including four security men—were arrested by Egypt Wednesday, interrogated, and then released today. [Ynet]

• Five judges have been named to try those indicted for the 2005 assassination of Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri. [AP/WP]

• Excellent review of Lucette Lagnado’s new memoir, The Arrogant Years, by our fearless editor in chief Alana Newhouse. [NYT]