**Abbas, Palestinian Officials to Discuss Possible Peace Talk Resumption**
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is set to meet Thursday with other Palestinian leaders to discuss the possible resumption of peace talks with Israel.
The talks with leaders of the Palestinian Liberation Organization come a day after Mr. Abbas met with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who is expressing optimism about a possible return to negotiations.
Kerry told reporters in Jordan on Wednesday that his meetings with Israeli and Palestinian officials have been able to narrow differences between the two sides.
Kerry spoke after briefing Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby and representatives of Arab states that support a comprehensive peace plan. He urged Israel and the Palestinians not to take steps that would undermine the peace process.
**Anti-Apartheid Icon Mandela Turns 95, Health 'Improving'**
South Africa says former president Nelson Mandela's health is "steadily improving" as he turns 95 years old Thursday.
President Jacob Zuma wished Mr. Mandela happy birthday in a statement, saying South Africa is proud to call the international icon its own.
Mr. Mandela has been hospitalized for more than a month with a recurring lung infection. Officials describe his condition as "critical but stable."
South Africans have big celebrations planned for his birthday Thursday, which has been designated an international day of service.
Known as "Mandela Day," people are asked to give 67 minutes of their time doing something charitable, or one minute for each year he dedicated to his struggle for social justice.
U.S. President Barack Obama, who visited South Africa last month, said in a statement late Wednesday that people everywhere can honor Mr. Mandela by "heeding his example" through acts of service.