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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.

Obama F.C.C. Caves on Net Neturality -- Tuesday Betrayal Assured
Timothy Karr, Free Press and SavetheInternet.com | Obama F.C.C. Caves | December 21, 2010

Late Monday, a majority of the FCC's commissioners indicated that they're going to vote with Chairman Julius Genachowski for a toothless Net Neutrality rule. According to all reports, the rule, which will be voted on during tomorrow's FCC meeting, falls drastically short of earlier pledges by President Obama and the FCC Chairman to protect the free and open Internet. The rule is so riddled with loopholes that it's become clear that this FCC chairman crafted it with the sole purpose of winning the endorsement of AT&T and cable lobbyists, and not defending the interests of the tens of millions of Internet users..

F.C.C Is Set to Regulate Net Access
Brian Stelter, The New York Times | F.C.C. Is Set to Regulate Net Access | December 21, 2010

The Federal Communications Commission appears poised to pass a controversial set of rules that broadly create two classes of Internet access, one for fixed-line providers and the other for the wireless Net. The proposed rules of the online road would prevent fixed-line broadband providers like Comcast and Qwest from blocking access to sites and applications. The rules, however, would allow wireless companies more latitude in putting limits on access to services and applications...

Anti-Terror Police Arrest 12 in UK Raids
Adam Gabbatt, Vikram Dodd and Steven Morris, The Guardian | UK Anti-Terror Arrests | December 20, 2010

Counter-terrorism detectives today arrested 12 people amid fears of a Christmas bombing attack in the UK. The men, aged between 17 and 28, were held in Birmingham, Cardiff, London and Stoke-on-Trent on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism in the UK, police said...

GOP Digs In on Arms Treaty
Patrick O'Connor and Jonathan Weisman, The Wall Street Journal | GOP Digs In on Arms Treaty | December 20, 2010

The Senate debate over President Barack Obama's nuclear arms control treaty with Russia moves behind closed doors Monday for a briefing that could determine the fate of one of the president's year-end priorities. Prospects for ratifying the New Start treaty this year are in doubt after the Republican leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, declared his opposition on Sunday. But several other GOP senators whose support would be needed for ratification have said they are still undecided...

This Bonus Season on Wall Street, Many See Zeros
Nelson D. Schwartz and Susanne Craig, The New York Times | The Zeros | December 20, 2010

Bonus season is fast approaching on Wall Street, but this year the talk does not center just on multimillion-dollar paydays. It's about a new club that no one wants to join: the Zeros. Drawn from a broad swath of back-office employees and middle-level traders, bankers and brokers, the Zeros, as they have come to be called, are facing a once-unthinkable prospect: an annual bonus of...nothing...

Senate Vote Ends 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'
Mark Arsenault | VOTE ENDS DADT | December 20, 2010

The US Senate voted yesterday to end America's ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the US military, a historic reversal that ends one of the nation's most controversial social policies and signifies growing political tolerance for gay rights...

Praying For Rain in Iraq
Yasmine Mousa | Praying For Rain in Iraq | December 15, 2010

One day not long ago, as the sun shone relentlessly, several hundred Muslims gathered here in the Imam al-Adham Mosque to hold a special prayer associated with times of crisis. The prayer, in Arabic, is called Salat al-Istisqaa, and it is rarely held. It seeks neither mercy nor an end to violence, but rather divine intervention in another of the scourges that afflicts this country: the lack of rain...

Christian Mom Faces Execution
Asra Q. Nomani, The Daily Beast | Christian Mom Faces Execution | December 15, 2010

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Aasia Bibi, a Christian mother of five, is sitting in a Pakistani jail awaiting a death sentence for blaspheming the prophet Muhammad — and an appeal by the pope hasn't saved her...

As U.S. Assesses Afghan War, Karzai a Question Mark
Rajiv Chandrasekaran, The Washington Post | Karzai A Question Mark | December 13, 2010

For more than an hour, Gen. David H. Petraeus, U.S. Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberry and other top Western officials in Kabul urged Karzai to delay implementing a ban on private security firms. Reconstruction projects worth billions of dollars would have to be shuttered, they maintained, if foreign guards were evicted.

Sitting at the head of a glass-topped, U-shaped table in his conference room, Karzai refused to budge, according to two people with direct knowledge of the late October meeting. He insisted that Afghan police and soldiers could protect the reconstruction workers, and he dismissed pleas for a delay.

As he spoke, he grew agitated, then enraged. He told them that he now has three "main enemies" - the Taliban, the United States and the international community.

"If I had to choose sides today, I'd choose the Taliban," he fumed...

Silvio Berlusconi's Political Fight is Going Down to the Wire
Nick Squires, The Christian Science Monitor | Berlusconi's Political Fight | December 13, 2010

Silvio Berlusconi is fighting for his political life as he faces two no-confidence votes that could bring down his government and pitch Italy into an acute political crisis...