Monday, November 22, 2010

WHILE AMERICA WAS SLEEPING I fixed a 'news breakfast' for you -- ready each weekday morning at 6am Eastern to satisfy your media craving [feature permalink here]. These must-reads will help you kick start the day:

CHICAGO - DECEMBER 22:  A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) worker Denise Thieben (L) checks a traveler at her security post at O'Hare International Airport December 22, 2005 in Chicago, Illinois. The TSA announced today that their passenger screening process has been amended to once again allow items such as scissors and small tools to be carried onto planes.  (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

Complain All You Want, But They'll Keep Touching Your Turkey: "Despite the uproar over intrusive pat-downs for some airline travelers, the policy will not change heading into the holiday travel season, the head of the Transportation Security Administration said." (LA Times)

Or Will They? "But within hours, TSA issued a statement clarifying that the door is open to changes. It said security procedures 'will be adapted as conditions warrant' to be 'as minimally invasive as possible.'" (CBS)

5 Seats Still To Be Claimed: "Republicans gained at least 61 House seats in the Nov. 2 election, but they are positioned to win more. While Democratic incumbents hold leads in three of the five still-contested races, they trail in two others." Details at the link.

Jim DeMint Still Battling to Keep Murkowski From Senate: " Even as DeMint says he would welcome fellow Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski back to the Senate, the South Carolinian is still urging conservative activists around the country to donate money to replace the Alaskan incumbent with tea party favorite Joe Miller." (McClatchy)

Hil Says No: "'I am not in any way interested in or pursuing anything in elected office,' Clinton said on 'Fox News Sunday.' Clinton laughed off speculation that she might run for president in 2012." (Political Ticker)

Some Accord in Debate Over Deficit: "A debate is raging over the size and shape of those changes, particularly the wisdom of cutting Social Security benefits. But a surprisingly broad consensus is forming around the actions required to stabilize borrowing and ease fears of a European-style debt crisis in the United States. As a presidential commission struggles to build political momentum for such a package, even Republicans who initially opposed the commission's creation are still at the negotiating table." (WaPo)

View From Mideast -- Obama's a Problem: "Vowing to change a region that has resisted the best efforts of presidents and prime ministers past, Barack Obama dove head first into the Middle East peace process on his second day in office. He was supposed to be different. His personal identity, his momentum, his charisma and his promise of a fresh start would fundamentally alter America’s relations with the Muslim world and settle one of its bitterest grievances.  Two years later, he has managed to forge surprising unanimity on at least one topic: Barack Obama. A visit here finds both Israelis and Palestinians blame him for the current stalemate – just as they blame one another." (Politico)

47 Years Ago Today: "After mostly avoiding the spotlight for decades, many of the former U.S. Secret Service agents who were assigned to protect President John F. Kennedy are now offering their accounts of the day he was assassinated." (CNN)

Irish Taoiseach Brian Cowen reacts to a question as he speaks to the media in Government Buildings in Dublin November 21, 2010. Ireland requested an international bailout on Sunday to tackle its banking and budget crisis, the euro zone's second bailout this year as Brussels moves to protect Europe's wider financial stability. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton (IRELAND - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS)

Officials To Mull Ireland Bailout Details: "Negotiations on the shape of the rescue package from the EU and IMF are expected to continue for several weeks. However, it is understood Ireland's controversially low 12.5% corporation tax will not be touched - but income tax will go up.
In addition the government will set out a plan of austerity measures, which could also see a rise in VAT and a cut in public sector jobs and wages. A four-year plan will provide a reduction of 15 billion euros by 2014." (Sky News)

Stock Index Futures Up, Nevertheless: "U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wall Street on Monday, with futures for the S&P 500 up 0.45 percent, Dow Jones futures up 0.37 percent and NASDAQ 100 futures up 0.71 percent at 4 a.m. ET. . . . The news boosted the euro against the dollar, while oil rose to above $82 a barrel, bouncing back from two straight weeks of losses, helped by the weakening dollar. European stocks rallied early, led by banking stocks such as Societe Generale (SOGN.PA) and Barclays (BARC.L)." (Reuters)

Fear of EU Contagion Remains: "The fact that a deal has finally been hammered out with the Irish government is unlikely to assuage fears that other eurozone members will need a bailout in the coming weeks. Commentators have expressed serious doubts that Portugal can continue without EU and IMF assistance, with a growing number also expressing doubts about the financial strength of Spain, and even Italy." (The Independent)

FBI Visit Exposes Trade-Probe Tactics: "The Federal Bureau of Investigation's attempt to pressure an independent analyst to record his calls with a client offers a window into how the government is trying to build what could become one of the most far-reaching insider-trading cases ever." (WSJ)


Germany Races to Track Pair of Suicide Bombers: "Authorities in Berlin are racing to track two suspected suicide bombers believed to be planning to strike a prominent location, according to a person familiar with the investigation. Police are combing through travel and visa records and scrutinizing arrivals from the Mideast and South Asia as they hunt the pair, this person said." (WSJ)

BREAKING -- German Parliament Closes Reichstag Cupola to Visitors Over Security Concerns (AP)

Iran Again Postpones U.S. Hikers' Court Date: " Masoud Shafii, the lawyer for Americans Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattal, said he received a letter from Revolutionary Court Judge Abolqasem Salavati informing him the court date for the two, originally scheduled for earlier this month, had been postponed until Feb. 6." (LA Times)

Adm. Mullen -- North Korea Nukes a 'Huge Concern': "Reacting to a report in the New York Times that North Korea has made a major advance in nuclear technology, Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen told This Week anchor Christiane Amanpour that the potential the development of nuclear weapons in the region is a 'huge concern.' Mullen called the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il 'predictable in his unpredictability,' and said North Korea is a 'very dangerous country.'" (ABC)

U.S. Special Envoy -- Provocative, But No Surprise: "'This is obviously a disappointing announcement. It is also another in a series of provocative moves' by North Korea, Bosworth said. 'That being said, this is not a crisis. We are not surprised by this. We have been watching and analyzing the (North's) aspirations to produce enriched uranium for some time.' Kim also played down the facility, telling reporters: 'It's nothing new.'" (AP)

Third Most-Wanted Nazi Suspect Dies Before Trial Can Start: "A court in Germany says the world's third most-wanted Nazi suspect has died before he could be brought to trial. Bonn's state court said in a statement Monday that 89-year-old Samuel Kunz died Nov. 18. Kunz was indicted on charges he was involved in the entire process of killing Jews at the Belzec death camp: from taking victims from trains to pushing them into gas chambers to throwing corpses into mass graves. No trial date had been set." (AP)

Hezbollah Linked to Hariri's Assassination: " A Lebanese police officer and U.N. investigators unearthed extensive circumstantial evidence implicating the Syrian-backed Hezbollah movement in the February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri, according to an investigation by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. The U.N. International Independent Investigation Commission's findings are based on an elaborate examination of Lebanese phone records. They suggest Hezbollah officials communicated with the owners of cell phones allegedly used to coordinate the detonation that killed Hariri and 22 others as they traveled through downtown Beirut in an armed convoy, according to Lebanese and U.N. phone analysis." (WaPo)

Ready For Africa's Newest Country? "The time for decision is fast approaching for the people of southern Sudan, who are going to the polls to decide if the largest country in Africa will be split into two. Voter registration has begun for the long-awaited referendum that aims to end one of Africa’s worst civil wars and could lead to the creation of the newest African state." (JPost)

U-Turn or More of the Same? "Pope Benedict XVI's comments on condom use are causing confusion and debate from Manila to Mexico City." (Christian Science Monitor)

Media, Entertainment

Harry Potter a Wizard at the Box Office Too: "Well done, Potter. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1 posted the franchise’s best opening ever by grossing $125.1 million this weekend, according to studio estimates. That figure smashes the wizarding series’ prior opening-weekend record of $102.7 million, held by 2005′s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The new Potter flick also registered the sixth largest opening weekend of all time, landing just behind this year’s Iron Man 2, which debuted to $128.1 million in May." (Entertainment Weekly)