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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.

Libya Counts More Martyrs Than Bodies
Rod Nordland, The New York Times | Libya Counts More Martyrs Than Bodies | September 17, 2011

Officially, according to Libya’s new leaders, their martyrs in the struggle against the government of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi should number 30,000 to 50,000, not even counting their enemies who have fallen. Yet in the country’s morgues, the war dead registered from both sides in each area so far are mostly in the hundreds, not the thousands...

Sarah Palin is Defended by 'Lamestream Media'
Molly Ball, Politico | Sarah Palin is Defended by 'Lamestream Media' | September 16, 2011

They kicked her around, victimized her, tried to destroy her. But all of a sudden, the lamestream media is coming to Sarah Palin’s defense...

Unfurling a Life of Creative Exuberance
Holland Cotter, The New York Times | Unfurling a Life of Creative Exuberance | September 16, 2011

The Museum of Modern Art has never known quite what to do with Willem de Kooning. You can package Jackson Pollock as drips and Barnett Newman as zips, but de Kooning, who painted both opulent abstractions and big, blowsy dames, resists easy branding. So, apart from a show of late work in 1997, the museum has neglected him, until now...

Solyndra is the Next 'Climatgate'
David Roberts, Grist | Solyndra is the Next 'Climategate' | September 16, 2011

What actually happened, how it could have been prevented, who's responsible -- these things are orthogonal to the battle taking place in political circles. That battle has nothing to do with the facts....

Al Qaeda Chief of Operations in Pakistan Killed
Jake Tapper and Pierre Thomas, ABC News | Al Qaeda Chief of Operations in Pakistan Killed | September 15, 2011

Al Qaeda's chief of operations in Pakistan was killed earlier this week, senior administration officials said today.

Abu Hafs al-Shahri, killed in Pakistan's Waziristan region, "played a key operational and administrative role for the group," a senior official told ABC News...

Marine Sgt. Dakota Meyer Receives Medal of Honor
David Nakamura, The Washington Post | Marine Sgt. Dakota Meyer Receives Medal of Honor | September 15, 2011

On Sept. 8, 2009, Marine Cpl. Dakota Meyer, then 21, defied the orders of his superiors while on duty in a remote province in eastern Afghanistan, raced into a “killing zone” and rescued 36 U.S. and Afghan troops.

When President Obama recently called to tell Meyer he would be awarded the Medal of Honor, the military’s highest honor, Meyer didn’t take the call. Meyer, now 23, was working a new job in construction and asked the president to call him back another time.

“He told me, ‘If I don’t work, I don’t get paid,’ ” Obama recounted with a chuckle Thursday afternoon in the medal ceremony for Meyer in the gilded East Room of the White House.

“Dakota is the kind of guy who gets the job done,” Obama said...

After a Long March, Chinese Surrender to Capitalist Shrines
Steven Erlanger, The New York Times | After a Long March, Chinese Surrender to Capitalist Shrines | September 15, 2011

It was once the Americans, then the Japanese, then the Russians. Now it’s the Chinese.

In recent months, Paris has been dominated by the Chinese, who have begun to travel abroad in large numbers, and who come here less to eat than to shop. According to Atout France, the French tourism development agency, individual visas are still expensive and restricted for Chinese visitors. So they come mostly on bus tours organized back home, usually for trips of 10 to 15 days that often start in Germany, with stops in Switzerland, Italy or the Netherlands. They almost always end in Paris, and it is in Paris that most do their shopping...

The Forgotten Victims of 'Russia's 9/11'
Fred Weir, The Christian Science Monitor | The forgotten Victims of 'Russia's 9/11' | September 14, 2011

Those injured or who lost loved ones in a wave of Sept. 1999 bombings in Russia feel that they have been abandoned by the Russian public, media, and government...

Bill Gates, Others Push for Energy Innovation
Darius Dixon, Politico | Bill Gates, Others Push for Energy Innovation | September 14, 2011

Bill Gates and several other formidable technology industry leaders brought a simple message to Capitol Hill on Tuesday: Invest in a more expansive energy and technology policy.

At a briefing hosted by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Gates and other captains of industry unveiled a new report on “energy innovation and proposed reforms of government programs to yield greater economic benefits...

North Korean Cruise Seeks Tourists, 8 To A Room
Edward Wong, The New York Times | North Korean Cruise Seeks Tourits 8 To A Room | September 14, 2011

It was billed as a cruise ship, but the creaking, nearly-40-year-old vessel that set sail from the remote North Korean town of Rajin had more of the trappings of a tramp steamer. With its cramped cabins, cut-rate cuisine and foul, water-deprived bathrooms, it was not about to compete anytime soon with Cunard or Carnival in the leisure industry...