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Daily Briefing

Deep buzz for the content-deprived

Every weekday, while you get showered and dressed, we pluck these dewy- fresh, breaking stories from the info-clogged byways of the datasphere. Pour yourself a cup of coffee and stoke up on everything you need to know, or at least enough to fake it.

China Reins in Liberalization of Culture
Sharon Lafraniere, Michael Wines and Edward Wong | China Reins in Liberalization of Culture | October 27, 2011

Political censorship in this authoritarian state has long been heavy-handed. But for years, the Communist Party has tolerated a creeping liberalization in popular culture, tacitly allowing everything from popular knockoffs of “American Idol”-style talent shows to freewheeling microblogs that let media groups prosper and let people blow off steam. Now, the party appears to be saying "enough."...

Neil Gaiman, Gloria Steinem, and Other Writers Weigh in on Occupy Wall Street

Earlier this month, the writer Jeff Sharlet emailed novelist Salman Rushdie to suggest a petition for writers who support Occupy Wall Street. Rushdie loved the idea. So Sharlet enlisted the help of fellow journalist Kiera Feldman, plus the assistance of literary magazines n + 1 and Tin House. The website for Occupy Writers went live on October 13. At first a petition and list of signatories, the site soon began publishing: poems by Alice Walker, prose by Francine Prose, and more...

Lethal Virus From Salmon Farms Seen In Wild Sockeye
Peter Fimrite, San Francisco Chronicle | Lethal Virus From Salmon Farms Seen In Wild Sockeye | October 27, 2011

The discovery in British Columbia of an infectious virus that has devastated salmon farms on the East Coast, in Europe and Chile has alarmed conservationists, some of whom blame the aquaculture industry, but fishery scientists say it is too early to panic...

China Takes a Loss to Get Ahead in the Business of Fresh Water
Michael Wines, The New York Times | China Takes a Loss to Get Ahead in the Business of Fresh Water | October 26, 2011

Towering over the Bohai Sea shoreline on this city’s outskirts, the Beijiang Power and Desalination Plant is a 26-billion-renminbi technical marvel: an ultrahigh-temperature, coal-fired generator with state-of-the-art pollution controls, mated to advanced Israeli equipment that uses its leftover heat to distill seawater into fresh water.

Herman Cain and the Top 10 Most Bizaare Political Ads
Chris Cillizza, The Washington Post | Herman Cain and the Top 10 Most Bizarre Political Ads | October 26, 2011

The whole political world is talking about an odd political Web ad released by Herman Cain’s presidential campaign...

Occupy Oakland: Clashes Last Into Night After Pre-Dawn Radi On Encampment
Kristin J. Bender, Scott Johnson, Sean Maher and Cecily Burt and Angela Woodall, Oakland Tribune | Occupy Oakland: Clashes Last Into Night After Pre-Dawn Radi On Encampment | October 26, 2011

Occupy Oakland demonstrators clashed all over downtown Oakland on Tuesday night with police who lobbed tear gas at least three times in futile attempts to fully disperse the more than 1,000 people who took to the streets after the early-morning raid of the movement's encampment...

Papers From Iraqi Archive Reveal Conspiratorial Mind-Set of Hussein
Michael R. Gordon, The New York Times | Papers From Iraqi Archive Reveal Conspiratorial Mind-Set of Hussein | October 26, 2011

On Nov. 15, 1986, Saddam Hussein gathered his most senior aides for an important strategy session. Two days earlier, President Ronald Reagan had acknowledged in a televised address that his administration had sent weapons and spare parts to Iran. “It can only be a conspiracy against Iraq,” said Mr. Hussein...

Jobs's Apple TV Vision Could Come Next Year
Adam Satariano, Bloomberg | Jobs's Apple TV Vision Could Come Next Year | October 25, 2011

Apple Inc. (AAPL) is turning to the software engineer who built iTunes to help lead its development of a television set, according to three people with knowledge of the project...

Bangkok Flooding: Waters Creep Further Into The City -- In Pictures

Thailand declared a three-day holiday in Bangkok and other flood-affected areas as high tides are forecast to flow up the city's main river and worsen floods creeping into the city...

U.S. Agencies Infiltrating Drug Cartels Across Mexico
Ginger Thompson, The New York Times | U.S. Agencies Infiltrating Drug Cartels Across Mexico | October 25, 2011

American law enforcement agencies have significantly built up networks of Mexican informants that have allowed them to secretly infiltrate some of that country’s most powerful and dangerous criminal organizations, according to security officials on both sides of the border...