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Good Reads: Amanda Knox released, Panetta in Israel, and US foreign aid cuts

With Amanda Knox's murder conviction overturned, the world's press can now return to other matters, such as the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and looming US foreign aid cuts contemplated by Congress.

By Scott BaldaufStaff Writer / October 4, 2011

US student Amanda Knox's smiles at the Leonardo Da Vinci airport in Fiumicino on Tuesday. Amanda Knox, cleared of the murder of British student Meredith Kercher, on Tuesday thanked supporters who believed in her innocence as she prepared to return home to the United States after four years in jail.

Telenews/ANSA/Reuters

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Many of today’s papers lead with the news of American exchange student Amanda Knox's release from prison after an Italian appeals court overturned her conviction for the murder of Meredith Kercher. Of the three people originally convicted of the crime, only Rudy Guede remains in jail, where he is serving 16 years.

Henry Chu of the Los Angeles Times does probably the best job of summing up the controversy surrounding Ms. Knox’s trial-conviction-appeal-freedom, noting that the controversy over Italy’s justice system is just beginning for many Italians.

As Mr. Chu writes, “the acquittals are unlikely to quell public debate, especially among Italians who feel their judicial system has been smeared by the American media and others who accuse the authorities in Perugia of railroading Knox in a staggering miscarriage of justice.”

The New York Times’ Elisabetta Povoledo captures the drama of the moment, with Knox collapsing into her lawyer’s arms after the decision was announced, capable of saying only “thank you.” (It should be noted that the Times put its Knox piece further down on its website, the most prominent space to a fascinating science article on the evolutionary adaptation of slime.

Today’s Christian Science Monitor leads with a piece by diplomatic correspondent Howard LaFranchi about the visit of US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to Israel, part of a larger jaunt through the Middle East before he attends a meeting of NATO nations. US relations with Israel – on a military level at least – have never been better, Mr. LaFranchi writes, but on a diplomatic level there is increasing disquiet over President Benjamin Netanyahu’s brinksmanship in handling Israel’s on-again off-again relationship with the Palestinian Authority.

Panetta’s predecessor, Robert Gates, notably told Israel’s leaders that the country was an “ungrateful ally” because of its intransigence on peace talks with the Palestinians, and Panetta’s comments thus far have been no more rosy, saying that Israel risks “isolation” in the region if it continues its current foreign policy stance.

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