Dec 24, 2011

Gingrich, Perry Booted from Virginia Ballot



Today: Protesters Flood Moscow Streets, CIA Suspends Drone Strikes: Report, Cuba Releases 2,900 Prisoners
The Daily Beast Cheat Sheet: Morning

December 24, 2011
OOPS

The Virginia primary is looking pretty lonely. Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich failed to submit the required ten thousand signatures to get on the ballot, the Republican Party of Virginia announced last night. The Perry campaign claimed to have submitted 11,911 signatures and Gingrich said he submitted 11,050, but the state said it wasn't enough. They weren't the only ones left out in the cold: Jon Huntsman, Rick Santorum, and Michele Bachmann also failed to qualify.

RUSSIA

Protesters are back in the streets of Moscow to protest an allegedly rigged election that gave victory to Prime Minisdter Vladimir Putin's party. They're joined by Alexei Navalny, a blogger central to the protest who was recently released from prison. "I see enough people here to take the Kremlin and [Government House] right now but we are peaceful people and won't do that just yet," said Navalny. At least 28,000 people have turned out despite the sub-zero temperatures, according to government estimates, but activists expect 50,000 to appear. President Dmitry Medvedev announced intended political reforms this week but not the re-vote protesters are demanding.

CEASEFIRE

Apparently the U.S. hasn't been launching drone strikes for the last six weeks, U.S. officials tell the Los Angeles Times. The U.S. has never officially acknowledged the strikes to begin with, so it's hard to say what the policy is, but several anonymous State Department and National Security Council officials say the strikes were suspended in an effort to ease tensions with Pakistan, which have been growing worse since the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound. Some officials also say the strikes were counterproductive and, despite killing militants, also increased support for al Qaeda.

FREEDOM

Merry Christmas to 2,900 prisoners in Cuba who have been granted amnesty by President Raul Castro. Castro said the release was partly prompted by an upcoming visit by Pope Benedict XVI and was "a demonstration of the generosity and strength of the revolution." The prisoners are mostly over 60 years old and ailing, or young with short criminal records. But Alan Gross, the 62-year-old U.S. contractor arrested for crimes against the state in 2009, will not be among those freed.

SCARE

Doctors say the Duke of Edinburgh, 90, was successfully treated for a blocked artery Thursday, after what was likely a heart attack. The Queen visited him at the hospital Saturday along with the royal couple's children Edward, Andrew, and Anne. The Daily Beast's Tom Sykes says the dramatic day at Sandringham that will cast a long shadow over the kingdom's Christmas traditions.


TITLES
Kim Jong-un Dubbed "Supreme Commander"
Kim Jong Il's parting gift: lots of fish.
ECONOMY
Minimum Wage Increasing in 2012
In eight states.
SPAT
Turkey Accuses France of Genocide
After France criminalized denial of Armenian genocide.
CHRISTMAS
Gift Wrap Sales Boom
Sign of economic recovery.
SAD
Last Christmas for the Post Office?
It's $5 billion in debt, but could still be saved.
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