Friday, December 31, 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 kick start your day!

But, before anything else,

And, of course, the really important question: "10 Hangover Remedies: What Works?" (CNN)


Napolitano Males Surprise Visit to Afghanistan: "Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has arrived in Kabul, Afghanistan, to spend New Year's Eve with the troops and meet with top American and Afghan officials." (Politico)

Obama Ends Year with Slightly Lower Approval Rating: "Despite a strong showing during the lame-duck session of Congress, President Obama closes out his second year in office with a slightly lower approval rating than at the end of 2009, according to a Gallup tracking poll released Thursday. The poll found that the president's approval rating was 47%, down slightly from his post-midterm-election peak of 49% but close to his average of 46% during that period. During the week between Christmas 2009 and New Year's Day, Obama's approval rating ranged from 51% to 53%." (LA Times)

Wikileaks Reveals Flaws of Data-Sharing System: "Before the infamous leak, the 250,000 State Department cables acquired by anti-secrecy activists resided in a database so obscure that few diplomats had heard of it. It had a bureaucratic name, Net-Centric Diplomacy, and served an important mission: the rapid sharing of information that could help uncover threats against the United States. But like many bureaucratic inventions, it expanded beyond what its creators had imagined. It also contained risks that no one foresaw." (WaPo)

Former Car Czar Settles: "Steven L. Rattner will be barred from appearing before a public pension fund in New York for five years as part of a deal with New York attorney general Andrew M. Cuomo." (NY Times)


Ford, Chrysler Recall 1000s of Vehicles: "Ford Motor Co. is recalling 19,600 2011 model year trucks and crossover SUVs over concerns that an electrical short could cause a fire, the manufacturer said Thursday. Chrysler Group LLC also is recalling nearly 145,000 trucks and crossover wagons in three separate campaigns for steering, stalling and airbag concerns, according to letters posted this week on the website of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration." (CNN)

Dead Soul Is a Debt Collector: "Martha Kunkle died in 1995. But that didn't stop her signature from appearing on thousands of affidavits submitted by one of the nation's largest debt collectors, Portfolio Recovery Associates." (WSJ)

China's Tightening Bites: "China's industrial growth has begun to slow as a string of measures to choke excess credit and control inflation feed through the economy, threatening to curb the country's voracious appetite for commodities." (Daily Telegraph)

Paul Simon's Mama Finally Did It: "Dwayne's Photo in Parsons, Kan., is the last company in the world developing Kodachrome film, and today is the final day it's taking film. The last roll probably will be processed sometime next week, the company said." (ABC)


South Korea Says North Boosting Special Forces: "North Korea is building up the elite special forces used for quick strikes against South Korea and supporting the North's nuclear and missile programs, Seoul's defense ministry says." (McClatchy)

Bolivia's Morales Scrambles to Stem Revolt Over Fuel Price Hike: " President Evo Morales's decision to cut fuel subsidies has led to repeated protests, most recently today, by poor Bolivians who make up his political base." (CSM)

Haiti's Cholera Deaths Increase: "The cholera death toll in Haiti is rising daily, with official figures indicating that 3,333 people have died since the outbreak of the epidemic in mid-October. Official sources state that, as a result of cholera, the numbers have averaged out to around 50 new reported deaths a day." (Al Jazeera)

Tech, Science

The Year We Stopped Talking: "Americans are connected at unprecedented levels — 93% now use cellphones or wireless devices; one-third of those are "smartphones" that allow users to browse the Web and check e-mail, among other things. The benefits are obvious: checking messages on the road, staying in touch with friends and family, efficiently using time once spent waiting around. The downside: Often, we're effectively disconnecting from those in the same room." (USA Today)

Bird Flu Found in SKorea: "South Korea agriculture officials on Friday announced bird flu had been discovered in chicken flocks at two widely separated farms, prompting an emergency cull of more than 100,000 chickens and ducks and raising concerns the disease might spread to people. Several Asian countries have been monitoring the spread of the H5N1 strain of avian influenza as migratory birds flew south in recent weeks. Japan reported an outbreak of the same strain in chickens earlier this month." (WSJ)

Media, Entertainment

A Network With Her OWN View: "For decades cable channels have been built around specific interests like news, sports or classic movies. Beginning this weekend, there will be something altogether different: a cable channel shaped around a person, Oprah Winfrey." (NY Times)

Nintendo Warns on 3-D for Children: "The Japanese company said on its website that children under 6 years old shouldn't play 3-D games on the coming Nintendo 3DS hand-held game machine, due for release in Japan in February. The company said looking at 3-D images for a long period of time could have an adverse effect on the eyesight development of young children." (WSJ)