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North Korea bombarded the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong with 180 artillery shells, killing two marines and two civilians in one of the largest skirmishes on the Korean peninsula since the end of the Korean War. New York TimesThe U.S.-led war in Afghanistan turned older than the Soviet Unionâ??s 3,339-day campaign in the country. A new Defense Department assessment of the war cited “modest gains” in security and governance but listed a number of ongoing challenges. “In no way, shape or form is anyone guaranteeing success,” a Pentagon official said. Peace talks between the Afghan government, the Taliban, and NATO forces proved to be futile when a key participant thought to be a leading member of the Taliban was revealed to be a Pakistani shopkeeper. “Itâ??s not him,” said a Western diplomat involved in the talks. “And we gave him a lot of money.”APWashington PostNew York TimesNew York TimesA 19-year-old Somali-born U.S. citizen was arrested for trying to bomb a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in Oregon, and the Department of Homeland Security announced plans to drop its color-coded terror-alert system. The Oregonian (Oregon Live)AP (via Time)Rey Decerega, the Director of Programs for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, elbowed President Barack Obama in the lip during a post-Thanksgiving basketball game, causing the president to receive twelve stitches. “I enjoyed playing basketball with him,” said Decerega.New York TimesTalking Points MemoNew York Times
Wikileaks released more than 250,000 classified U.S. diplomatic cables, which revealed that U.S. officials have been tasked with spying on U.N. leadership and that Arab leaders are pushing for an attack on Iran. The GuardianExiled members of Iraq’s Baath party are hoping to use Wikileaks to sue the U.S. government.The NationalIreland agreed to a $90 billion bailout package from the IMF and the EU to rescue the nation’s floundering banking sector; a British pensioner lost his life savings, about $125,000, when he drove away with the money in a bag on the roof of his car; and a 21-year-old woman in Madison, Wisconsin, was arrested by police after she threatened to shoot fellow Black Friday shoppers who refused to let her move to the front of the line at a Toys-R-Us.Washington PostDaily MailWisconsin State JournalHundreds of Americans, nicknamed the “Amazon Gypsies,” arrived in Cambellsville, Kentucky, in RVs and campers to fill holiday orders at an Amazon warehouse offering temporary $10-an-hour jobs. “We are among the economic refugees,” said one temporary worker, named April McFail. “We are lucky to earn enough to get our laundry done and eat macaroni and cheese.”USA Today
Canadian actor Leslie Nielsen, star of “The Naked Gun” and “Airplane!,” died at the age of 84.PeopleAmericans largely opted out of a “National Opt-Out Day” protest against invasive airport security measures. A woman stripped naked on a flight from Chicago to New York. Washington PostNBCSarah Palin released a new book, and her daughter Bristol finished last in the final round of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.” CBSNew York PostA gonorrhea outbreak in Alaska continued to trouble state officials.Alaska Daily NewsThree teenagers were rescued after drifting for 50 days in the Pacific Ocean and surviving on coconuts, rainwater, and a seagull.APSinger Willie Nelson was arrested in Texas for marijuana possession, and authorities discovered 20 tons of marijuana inside a 2,200-foot-long tunnel (equipped with a rail system and ventilation) running from a Tijuana kitchen to two San Diego warehouses. CMTAP (via MSNBC)Oxygen was found on one of Saturn’s moons, and it was revealed that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is studying a rare breed of flying Asian snakes.The GuardianWashington PostEnglish physicist Sir Roger Penrose found evidence to suggest that there has been a cycle of Big Bangs and that our universe (or aeon) is neither the first nor the last. “This aeon is one of a succession of such things,” said Penrose, “where the remote future of the previous aeons somehow becomes the Big Bang of our aeon.”BBC
More from Nicholas Kimbrell:
Fleming awoke in the dark and his room felt loose, sloshing so badly he gripped the bed. From his window there was nothing but a hallway, and if he craned his neck, a blown lightbulb swung into view. The room pitched up and down and for a moment he thought he might be sick. The word â€śhallwayâ€ť must have a nautical name. Why didnâ€™t they supply a glossary for this cruise? Probably they had, in the welcome packet heâ€™d failed to read. A glossary. A history of the boat, which would be referred to as a ship. Sunny biographies of the captain and crew, who had always dreamed of this life. Lobotomized histories of the islands theyâ€™d visit. Who else had sailed this way. Famous suckwads from the past, slicing through this very water on wooden longships.
A welcome packet, the literary genre most likely to succeed in the new millennium. Why not read about a community you donâ€™t belong to, that doesnâ€™t actually exist, a captain and crew who are, in reality, if that isnâ€™t too much of a downer on your vacation, as indifferent to one another as any set of co-employees at an office or bank? Read doctored personal statements from underpaid crew members â€” because ocean life pays better than money! â€” who hate their lives but have been forced to buy into the mythology of working on a boat, separated now from loved ones and friends, growing lonelier by the second, even while they wait on you and follow your every order.
Rank of Detroit among major U.S. cities whose residents give the largest portion of their income to charity:
A South Dakota researcher concluded that only scant blood spatter results when chain saws are used to dismember pigs.
Four people were arrested for using a remote-controlled hexacopter to fly two pounds of tobacco to prisoners inside the yard at Calhoun State Prison in Georgia.
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Our congratulations to Alice Munro, winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature