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.

An Arrest and Scotland Yard Resignation Roil Britain
Sarah Lyall and Don Van Natta, Jr., The New York Times | An Arrest and Scotland Yard Resignation Roil Britain | July 18, 2011

Britain’s top police official resigned on Sunday, the latest casualty of the phone-hacking scandal engulfing British public life, just hours after Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive of Rupert Murdoch’s News International, was arrested on suspicion of illegally intercepting phone calls and bribing the police...

Two Studies Show Pills Can Prevent H.I.V. Infection
Donald G. McNeil, Jr., The New York Times | Two Studies show Pills Can Prevent H.I.V. Infection | July 14, 2011

Two new studies released on Wednesday add to the growing body of evidence that taking a daily pill containing one or two AIDS drugs can keep an uninfected person from catching the fatal human immunodeficiency virus. The studies were the first to show protection in heterosexuals; the only earlier one with similarly encouraging results involved gay men...

Amazon Takes On California
Matt Richtel and Verne G. Kopytoff, The New York Times | Amazon Takes On California | July 14, 2011

Amazon, the world’s largest online merchant, has an ambitious and far-reaching new agenda: it wants to rewrite tax policy for the Internet era. Amazon said this week that it would push a voter initiative in California that could eliminate sales tax for virtual sellers with only a modest physical presence in the state. Its move instantly escalated the company’s long-running battle with many states over collecting sales tax...

Women's World Cup: Abby Wambach Propels the U.S. Women to 3-1 Win Over France in Semifinals

For the U.S. women’s soccer team, the 2011 World Cup has been a series of triumphs over a number of obstacles, some their own making. On Wednesday, the problem came in the form of sloppy midfield play against a relentless French team that dominated possession after falling behind early. But, sparked in part by the 65th-minute entrance of substitute Megan Rapinoe, the Americans were able to repel France’s attack, and in the 79th minute, Abby Wambach struck again...

Betty Ford, Pioneer
Rick Perlstein, New York Times Opinion | Betty Ford, Pioneer | July 12, 2011

The obituaries for Betty Ford, who died Friday at the age of 93, were filled with colorful stories about an incongruous life: former Martha Graham dancer, dispenser of scandalous comments to the media, alcohol and drug addict. So colorful, in fact, that they may crowd out her historical importance — which may well have been greater than those of her husband, President Gerald R. Ford...

Murdoch's Dark Arts
Tina Brown, The Daily Beast | Murdoch's Dark Arts | July 12, 2011

News of the World shuttered, consigliere Les Hinton and the BSkyB deal at risk -- can Rupert still prevail as he always has in the past?...

Obama's Quiet Gun Crackdown
Daniel Stone and John Solomon, The Daily Beast | Obama's Quiet Guns Crackdown | July 12, 2011


Just 48 hours before his premiere gun-fighting agency took a public flogging in Congress last month, Attorney General Eric Holder sent a memo that escaped much public notice but left federal prosecutors with an unmistakable message.

People who buy guns at U.S. shops with the intent of secretly transferring them to someone else–a tactic known as “straw buying” that is at the heart of Mexican border violence–should face new, stiffer prison sentences, Holder declared...

Grace Dent: 100 Thiings About Me and Twitter
Grace Dent, The Guardian | Grace Dent: 100 Things About Me and Twitter | July 8, 2011

When the writer joined the social network three years ago, she used it to share random thoughts about TV and life. Since then, she has become a Twitter addict. In an extract from her new book, she explains what she loves -- and hates -- about it...

In Japan, Baseball Brings Normalcy
Chico Harlan, The Washington Post | In Japan, Baseball Brings Normalcy | July 8, 2011

After his family recovered the bodies of his grandparents and moved into the cramped prefabricated home where they all sleep in the same room, Toshiki Onodera, 17, decided that the old goals should still matter. So Onodera started talking, once again, about baseball. He practiced normalcy, as if hoping to trick it to return. He posted his high school team’s spring practice schedule on the living room wall and said, “I can’t be sad for the rest of my life.”...

South Sudan, the Newest Nation, Is Full of Hope and Problems
Jeffrey Gettleman, The New York Times | South Sudan, the Newest Nation, Is Full of Hope and Problems | July 8, 2011

After five decades of guerrilla struggle and two million lives lost, the flags are flapping proudly here in this capital. The new national anthem is blasting all over town. People are toasting oversize bottles of White Bull beer (the local brew), and children are boogieing in the streets."Free at Last," reads a countdown clock...