Tuesday, December 07, 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:
A pair of handcuffs

BREAKING -- Assange Arrested: "A fresh European arrest warrant has been received by Mr Assange's lawyer - as anger grows in the US over the latest leaked embassy cables by the whistleblowing website. Sky sources have said officers from Scotland Yard detained the 39-year-old Australian at around 9.30am. Labelling the move as a "political stunt", Mr Assange's solicitor Mark Stephens said his client wants to find out what allegations he faces so he can clear his name." (Sky News)

The Revolution Will Not Be WikiLeaked: "Why the WikiLeaks cables won't bring down governments." (Anne Applebaum @ Slate)


It's A Deal! "Obama reached agreement with Republican leaders in Congress on a broad tax package that would extend the Bush-era income tax cuts for two years, reduce worker payroll taxes for one year and give more favorable treatment to business investments." (WSJ)

New Path for Obama: "The deal appeared to resolve the first major standoff since the midterm elections between the White House and newly empowered Republicans on Capitol Hill. But it also highlighted the strains Mr. Obama faces in his own party as he navigates between a desire to get things done and a retreat from his own positions and the principles of many liberals." (NY Times)
U.S. President Barack Obama announces a bi-partisan deal to extend expiring tax cuts for two years and to extend unemployment benefits in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building adjacent to the White House in Washington on December 6, 2010.   UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg Photo via Newscom

Olive Branch: "President Obama's willingness to extend all of the George W. Bush-era tax cuts is part of what White House officials say is a deliberate strategy." (WaPo)

A Bridge Too Far? "For the first time since his party’s drubbing in last month’s election, and arguably for the first time on a major domestic policy since he took office, Mr. Obama forged a deal with the Republican opposition, swallowing hard to give up a central campaign promise while maneuvering to win enough other priorities to declare partial victory. In that deal come the first clues to how he plans to govern for the next two years with a divided Congress, an anemic economy and his own re-election looming on the horizon. He made clear he was willing to alienate his liberal base in the interest of compromise, more interested in crafting measures that can pass to the benefit of the middle class than waging battle to the end over principle. And in the process, he is gambling he can convince the American people that he is the bridge-builder they thought he was." (NY Times)

Biden to Sell Deal to Angry Dems: "Vice President Biden will go to Capitol Hill Tuesday to sell Democrats on the tentative deal President Obama struck with congressional Republicans to extend the Bush tax cuts for two years. He will attend the Senate Democratic Caucus lunch at 1:30 p.m., according to his schedule." (The Hill)

Elizabeth Edwards Stops Cancer Treatment: "Elizabeth Edwards is surrounded by family and friends in her North Carolina home after being informed by her doctors that further cancer treatment would be unproductive." (CNN)


Two Bookstore Giants Might Become One Bookstoore Behemoth: "A major shareholder of Borders Group Inc. proposed that the bookseller acquire much bigger rival Barnes & Noble Inc., in a gamble to unite the two giant but struggling retailers at a time of major tumult in the book industry. The threats posed to the big store chains were underscored Monday, when Google Inc. unveiled its new online bookstore, a retailing venture that adds a major player to a crowd of digital sellers that includes Amazon.com Inc. and Apple Inc." (WSJ)

Boomers Face Job Challenges in Senior Years: "For many Baby Boomers and the generations that follow, 65 won't be retirement age. It will just be another year of work for those who have a job, and a diminished lifestyle for many of those who don't." (USA Today)

Ireland Feels Pain of Crisis in Its Purse and Its Soul: "The pained debate over a $112 billion international rescue package for Ireland will come to a crunch on Tuesday when a politically weakened Prime Minister Brian Cowen goes to Parliament seeking approval for the harshest austerity program of any government in Europe. But beyond the financial pain, the bitterest pill for the Irish may be the dawning realization that the country’s finances could fall under a foreign yoke for the next 20 or 30 years." (John Burns @ NY Times)

China Signals Rate Rise: "China is likely to raise interest rates in the coming days in a demonstration of the government's resolve to tame inflation, an official newspaper said on Tuesday. . . . An increase in rates would also put flesh on the bones of Beijing's announcement late last week that it was switching to a 'prudent' monetary policy from the "appropriately loose" stance of the past two years." (Reuters)


Gates in Surprise Visit to Afghanistan: " Defense Secretary Robert Gates visited Afghanistan on Tuesday to assess progress in the nine-year conflict, as the Obama administration measures whether it can meet its goal of beginning to withdraw U.S. forces in July. Gates' trip is touted as a holiday visit to thank close to 100,000 U.S. troops serving in the war. But his observations and meetings with Afghan President Hamid Karzai as well as top U.S. military and civilian leaders will probably provide crucial last-minute guidance for a review of U.S. military policy in Afghanistan due for completion next week." (AP)

19 Countries to Shun Xiaobo's Nobel Ceremony: "China and 18 other countries have said they will not attend Friday's Nobel Peace Prize ceremony for Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has said. Russia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iraq and Iran are among those that refused." (BBC)

Iran Nuke Talks End, No Breakthrough: "Major powers and Iran ended two days of talks on Tuesday, an official close to the meeting said, but there was no sign of any breakthrough in the long-running dispute over Tehran's nuclear ambitions. Iranian state television said Iran and the six major powers -- the United States, France, Russia, Britain, Germany and China -- would meet again in Istanbul by the end of next month." (Reuters)

Israel, Turkey Kissing And Making Up? "Diplomatic sources confirmed on Tuesday that Israeli and Turkish officials met a second time in Geneva, Turkish daily Hurriyet reported. Turkish diplomats told Hurriyet that Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu and Israel's representative to the UN probe of the Gaza flotilla incident, Yosef Ciechanover, have discussed mending diplomatic ties for the past two days."

Ruling party sweeps Egypt's Election: "Results indicate ruling party takes 80 per cent of parliament seats, which the opposition parties denounce as rigged." (Al Jazeera)

Tech, Science

An Aspirin a Day Keeps Cancer Away:  "So says a new review of studies published today. Still, many doctors say more must be known about the reasons for the possible benefit before their advice to their patients will change. Researchers found that after five years, cancer death rates were 21 percent lower in patients assigned to take an aspirin a day -- a reduction in cancer risk that persisted for 20 years -- according to pooled data on a total of 25,570 individuals participating in eight randomized studies.  The meta-analysis, led by Peter M. Rothwell of John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, England, was published online in the journal The Lancet. " (ABC)