Dec 21, 2011

Biden Draws Fire for Taliban Remarks




Today: Kim Jong-un to Share Power: Report, Senate Republicans Slam the House, U.S. Asks Journals to Censor Flu Study
The Daily Beast Cheat Sheet: Morning

December 21, 2011
BACKLASH

Did Joe Biden put his foot in his mouth again? The vice president is taking heat from comments about the Afghanistan war he made in a Newsweek interview. "Look, the Taliban per se is not our enemy," Biden told the magazine, adding that Obama has never said so either. The Daily Beast's Howard Kurtz reports on how the GOP is pouncing on the remarks. Plus, an Afghan war vet and a 9/11 responder weigh in.

NORTH KOREA

Kim Jong-un may not enjoy absolute power, after all: A source tells Reuters that he will share power with his uncle, Jang Song-thaek, and military leaders. Kim will still head the ruling committee, but it is nevertheless the first time since 1948 that the country is not ruled by a single, authoritarian ruler. Reuters says Kim Jong-il made the arrangement before his death. Kim Jong-un's uncle with whom he will share power, Jang Song-thaek, is married to Kim Jong-il's sister, Kim Kyong-hu, a woman characterized by her rivals as a "mean drunk."

ON THE HILL

President Obama is still in Washington but Republicans in the House have begun heading home after they rejected the Senate's bipartisan compromise to extend the payroll-tax cut Tuesday. Their Senate counterparts, meanwhile, are fuming. "It is harming the Republican Party," Senator John McCain said on CNN. An anonymous senior Senate aide is harsher in a quote to Politico: "This is a colossal fumble by the House Republicans. Their inability to recognize a win is costing our party our long-held advantage on the key issue of tax relief. It's time for Boehner and [House Majority Leader Eric] Cantor to look these rookies in the eye and explain how the game is won or lost."

BIOTERRORISM

This is a new twist on the peer review process. The U.S. government has asked the journals Science and Nature not to publish crucial details of biomedical experiments that created an extremely transmissible form of bird flu. The National Science Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity does not want terrorists to get hold of "experimental details and mutation data that would enable the replication of the experiment." Essentially, the papers show the way the virus can evolve into a form which is easily spread through coughing and sneezing. Coincidentally, Hong Kong has begun slaughtering thousands of birds after a chicken tested positive for the H5N1 virus.

CYBERATTACK

Something that's definitely bad for business: Chinese hackers. A group of Chinese hackers attacked the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the country's largest pro-business lobby, in 2009 and 2010, according to The Wall Street Journal. The hackers apparently gained access to everything stored on the lobby's systems, including information about its 3 million members. They honed in on the work of four Chamber employees who worked on Asia policy and stole six weeks of their emails. It is possible that the hackers had access to the Chamber's network for more than a year when the breach was discovered and shut down in May 2010. Since then, the Chamber has overhauled its security system.


2012
Newt Lashes Out at 'Smear Campaign'
As he fades in the polls.
INVESTIGATION
Local Cops Ready for War
Armed with military-style equipment.
THIRD PARTIES
Gary Johnson to Run as Libertarian
Drops out of GOP primary.
REAL ESTATE
22 Year Old Buys $88M Apartment
Daughter of Russian billionaire.
FILM
The Hobbit Trailer Released
Peter Jackson returns to Middle Earth.
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