ROBERT SIEGEL, host: The agreement between Israel and Hamas, to exchange over a thousand Palestinian prisoners for the captured soldier Gilad Shalit, was brought about thanks to a couple of intermediaries. The Egyptians were involved, so were the Germans. But the agreement also depended on some back channel communications between Israelis and Palestinians in Hamas.
Middle East correspondent Patrick Martin of the Canadian newspaper the Globe and Mail has written about those communications, and he joins us now from Jerusalem. Welcome to the program.
MELISSA BLOCK, host: This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, host: And I'm Robert Siegel. Hundreds of thousands of Greeks marched in Athens today and there were some clashes between police and protesters wearing masks. It was the first day of a 48 hour general strike and it brought the entire country to a standstill. Protesters objected to yet more austerity measures demanded by Greece's international creditors.
MELISSA BLOCK, host: Now to the last night's Republican presidential debate. Voters might have questions about some of the claims the candidates made, so we've invited Bill Adair back to the program. He's the editor of the nonpartisan fact-checking website, PolitiFact.com. Bill, welcome back.
South Carolina is one of several states that passed laws this year requiring voters to show a government-issued photo ID at the polls. The South Carolina measure still needs approval from the U.S. Justice Department to ensure that it doesn't discriminate against certain voters.
Voting rights advocates say the requirement will be a big burden for some, especially the elderly and the poor, who can have a difficult time getting a photo ID — even in this day and age.
In 1985, my friend Johnny suffered a tragic loss in a crime that went unsolved until this year. While reporters tell us that justice has finally brought closure, the story endures, and it raises an unsettling question: What compels us toward tales about violence, about murder?
Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that all artful stories humanize us as surely as they humanize their characters. They allow us to transcend crime-scene voyeurism and courtroom media hype, to bear witness to those who survive, after the book is slid back onto the shelf.