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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:
Freddie Grayâ€™s relatives arrived for the trial in the afternoon, after the prep-school kids had left. By their dress, they seemed to have just gotten off work in the medical and clerical fields. The family did not appear at ease in the courtroom. They winced and dropped their heads as William Porter and his fellow officer Zachary Novak testified to opening the doors of their police van last April and finding Freddie paralyzed, unresponsive, with mucus pooling at his mouth and nose. Four women and one man mournfully listened as the officers described needing to get gloves before they could touch him.
The first of six Baltimore police officers to be brought before the court for their treatment of Freddie Gray, a black twenty-five-year-old whose death in their custody was the immediate cause of the cityâ€™s uprising last spring, William Porter is young, black, and on trial. Here in this courtroom, in this city, in this nation, race and the future seem so intertwined as to be the same thing.
Average speed of Heinz ketchup, from the mouth of an upended bottle, in miles per year:
After studying the fall of 64,000 individual raindrops, scientists found that some small raindrops fall faster than they ought to.
The Playboy mansion in California was bought by the heir to the Twinkie fortune, and a New Mexico man set fire to his apartment to protest his neighborsâ€™ loud lovemaking.
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â€śMatt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'Iâ€™m glad everyoneâ€™s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supportsÂ my lifestyle.'â€ť