Michael Bloomberg before speaking last Friday.(Michael Nagle/Getty Images)

• A leaked letter from the European Union’s chief diplomat hints that Palestinian President Abbas may agree to direct talks next week. [Reuters/Haaretz]

• The U.N. flotilla probe, which answers to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, kicked off yesterday. [JPost]

• Uri Brodsky, the only man so far arrested in connection with the assassination of Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, will appear in German court, to which he was extradited from Poland. [AP/JPost]

• Why is New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg taking so strong and vocal a stance in favor of the Ground Zero Islamic center? The reasons sure aren’t political: It polls terribly, even in New York. [NYT]

• BREAKING: August Fridays are really slow hard-news days.