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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.

Beneath a Temple in Southern India, a Treasure Trove of Staggering Riches
Vikas Bajaj, The New York Times | Beneath a Temple in Southern India, a Treasure Trove of Staggering Riches | July 5, 2011

A court-ordered search of vaults beneath a south Indian temple has unearthed gold, jewels and statues worth an estimated $22 billion, government officials said Monday. The treasure trove, at the 16th century Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple, is widely believed to be the largest find of its kind in India, catching officials in the state of Kerala by surprise and forcing the government to send two dozen police officers to the previously unguarded shrine for round-the-clock security...

Osama Bin Laden's Hunter: CIA Analyst Examined
Adam Goldman and Matt Apuzzo, The Huffington Post | Osama Bin Laden's Hunter: CIA Analyst Examined | July 5, 2011

After Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden, the White House released a photo of President Barack Obama and his Cabinet inside the Situation Room, watching the daring raid unfold.

Hidden from view, standing just outside the frame of that now-famous photograph was a career CIA analyst. In the hunt for the world's most-wanted terrorist, there may have been no one more important. His job for nearly a decade was finding the al-Qaida leader...

How the Complete Meaning of July Fourth Is Slipping Away
Gordon S. Wood, The New Republic | How the Complete Meaning of July Fourth Is Slipping Away | July 5, 2011

At least one of the Founders thought that Independence Day would become important. When the Continental Congress voted for independence on July 2, 1776, John Adams, who more than any other single Founder was responsible for that vote, was ecstatic. America’s declaring of independence from Great Britain, he told his wife Abigail, marked “the most memorable Epocha in the History of America.” He hoped that the day would be “celebrated by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated,” he said, “as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one end of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”...

As Shuttle Era Ends, Dreams of Space Linger
Dennis Overbye, The New York Times | As Shuttle Era Ends, Dreams of Space Linger | July 5, 2011

By April 1981 it seemed that the space shuttle Columbia had been part of the Florida landscape forever. Gleaming white in the sun by day and the floodlights that bathed it all night, the cluster of rockets, space plane and giant egglike fuel tank looked like a craggy Matterhorn transposed to the humid coast...

Fall of the House of Busch
Susan Berfield, Bloomberg Businessweek | Fall of the House of Busch | July 3, 2011

It took four generations to build Anheuser-Beusch, one of the most celebrated companies in America. and only one for it to come apart...

Roger Ailes' Secret Nixon-Era Blueprint for Fox News
John Cook, Gawker | Roger Ailes' Secret Nixon-Era Blueprint for Fox News | July 3, 2011

Republican media strategist Roger Ailes launched Fox News Channel in 1996, ostensibly as a "fair and balanced" counterpoint to what he regarded as the liberal establishment media. But according to a remarkable document buried deep within the Richard Nixon Presidential Library, the intellectual forerunner for Fox News was a nakedly partisan 1970 plot by Ailes and other Nixon aides to circumvent the "prejudices of network news" and deliver "pro-administration" stories to heartland television viewers...

Managed Care Enters The Exam Room As Insurers Buy Doctors Groups
Christopher Weaver, Kaiser Health News / WaPo-Bloomberg | Managed Care Enters The Exam Room As Insurers Buy Doctors Groups | July 3, 2011

Even if UnitedHealth Group isn’t your insurance company, there’s a good chance it touches you in some way. The $100 billion behemoth sells technology to hospitals and other insurers, distributes drugs, manages clinical trials and offers continuing medical education, among other things, through the growing web of firms it owns.

Now, that touch could get a lot more personal. United health services wing is quietly gaining control of doctors who treat patients covered by United plans — buying medical groups and launching physician management companies, for example...

Forever Dirty: Zimbabwe and Its Diamonds
The Economist | Forever Dirty: Zimbabwe and Its Diamonds | July 2, 2011

Robert Mugabe is being favored once again, to the detriment of his people...

One Simple Rule: Why Teens Are Fleeing Facebook
David Martin, Forbes | One Simple Rule: Why Teens Are Fleeing Facebook | July 1, 2011

It was reported earlier this week that for a second month in a row Facebook is losing users in the U.S., Britain and Canada.  The news has investors, advertisers and media companies all scratching their heads simply because it’s so unusual. We’ve all been following the meteoric rise of Facebook for just over seven years now, and the thought of it slowing down is a very difficult idea to digest...

A Safety Valve for Inmates, the Arts, Fades in California
Adam Nagourney, The New York Times | A Safety Valve for Inmates, the Arts, Fades in California | July 1, 2011

Fifteen men darted across the room, their faces slathered in greasepaint, reciting lines from “Tartuffe.” The stage, such as it was, was a low-ceilinged recreation room, and the cast was a troupe of felons who had just stepped in from the dusty yard of the California Rehabilitation Center. For four hours, they conducted workshops under the direction of the Actors’ Gang, an ensemble from Los Angeles, which goaded them into acting out emotions that could be put to use in the 17th-century Molière farce about, appropriately enough, a con man working a swindle...