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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.

Lawsuit Says Military Is Rife With Sexual Abuse
Ashley Parker, The New York Times | Lawsuit Says Military Is Rife With Sexual Abuse | February 16, 2011

A federal lawsuit filed Tuesday accuses the Department of Defense of allowing a military culture that fails to prevent rape and sexual assault, and of mishandling cases that were brought to its attention, thus violating the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights...

Iraqi Says He Made Up Tale of Biological Weapons Before War
James Risen, The New York Times | Iraqi Says He Made Up Tale of Biological Weapons Before War | February 16, 2011

The Iraqi defector whose claims that Saddam Hussein’s government had biological weapons became part of the Bush administration’s justification for the 2003 invasion of Iraq has admitted that he fabricated his story. The defector, Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, who was code-named “Curveball” by the Central Intelligence Agency and German intelligence officials, told the British newspaper The Guardian on Tuesday that he had concocted his tale that Iraq was hiding mobile bioweapons laboratories. He did so, he said, in hopes that his lies would lead to the eventual overthrow of the Iraqi ruler...

Tehran Beats Back New Protests
Farnaz Fassihi, The Wall Street Journal | Tehran Beats Back New Protests | February 15, 2011

Iranian police used tear gas and electric prods to crack down on the country's biggest antigovernment protests in at least a year, as demonstrators buoyed by activism across the Middle East returned to the country's streets by the tens of thousands Monday...

WikiLeaks Angry About Ex-Staff Member's Book
Ravi Somaiya, The New York Times | WikiLeaks Tell-All | February 15, 2011

WikiLeaks said it is taking “legal action” over a tell-all book to be released Friday by a former staffer that is critical of its founder, Julian Assange, and says the Web site was disabled by a spate of defections last year. In Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World’s Most Dangerous Website, the former staffer, Daniel Domscheit-Berg, a German computer scientist who was WikiLeaks’ second-in-command before falling out with Mr. Assange last summer, writes of tensions between WikiLeaks’ core members and Mr. Assange. They disagreed, he writes, over Mr. Assange’s leadership style, his paranoia — he asserts that Mr. Assange began to travel with bodyguards in late 2010 — and the way he managed WikiLeaks’ finances...

Man, Machine and a Trivial Pursuit
Alessandra Stanley, The New York Times | Man, Machine and a Trivial Pursuit | February 15, 2011

It’s not the match of the century, it’s more like the letdown of a lifetime. The first round on Monday in this week’s “Jeopardy!” competition between two former champions and Watson, the I.B.M. computer, was supposed to be a man vs. machine, guys against gadget, brain vs. Braun showdown. It was closer to “Bambi vs Godzilla.”...

Up Telescope! Search Begins For Giant New Planet
Paul Rodgers | Search Begins For Giant New Planet | February 14, 2011

If you grew up thinking there were nine planets and were shocked when Pluto was demoted five years ago, get ready for another surprise. There may be nine after all, and Jupiter may not be the largest...

No Argument: Thomas Keep 5-Year Silence
Adam Liptak, The New York Times | No Argument: Thomas Keeps 5-Year Silence | February 13, 2011

The anniversay will probably be observed in silence. A week from Tuesday, when the Supreme Court returns from its midwinter break and hears arguments in two criminal cases, it will have been five years since Justice Clarence Thomas has spoken during a court argument...

Arrest Warrant Issued For Former Pakistani President Musharraf

A court in Pakistan issued an arrest warrant Saturday for former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in connection with the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, a public prosecutor told CNN...

The Hunt For Mubarak's Billions
Philip Shenon, The Daily Beast | The Hunt For Mubarak's Billions | February 13, 2011

With the old pharaoh gone, the hunt for his gold begins. A senior Western intelligence official tells The Daily Beast that European spy agencies have detected efforts in recent weeks by former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and his family to shift their assets, believed to total in the billions and perhaps tens of billions of dollars, to bank accounts and investments where they cannot be easily traced in a post-Mubarak Egypt...

As Mubarak Resigns, Yemenis Call For A Revolution Of Their Own
Laura Kasinoff, Christian Science Monitor | Yemenis Call For A Revolution Of Their Own | February 12, 2011

Thousands of secessionists protested in Yemen today in an example of how disparate movements across the Middle East are tapping the anti-regimne fervor for their own disparate aims...