Daily Briefing

Deep buzz for the content-deprived

Every weekday, while you get showered and dressed, we pluck these dewy- fresh, breaking stories from the info-clogged byways of the datasphere. Pour yourself a cup of coffee and stoke up on everything you need to know, or at least enough to fake it.

The Guantanamo Docket: A History of the Detainee Population

Documents and research related to the 779 people who have been sent to the Guantanamo Bay prison since 2002...

Royal Wedding: Route & Guest List
The Sun | Royal Wedding: Route & Guest List | April 25, 2011

With just four days to go, The sun gives you the lowdown on Friday's Royal Wedding at Westminster Abbey...

Tsunami Warnings, Written in Stone
Martin Fackler, The New York Times | Tsunami Warnings, Written in Stone | April 24, 2011

The stone tablet has stood on this forested hillside since before they were born, but the villagers have faithfully obeyed the stark warning carved on its weathered face: "Do not build your homes below this point!"...

The Crash and Burn of an Autism Guru
Susan Dominus, The New York Times | The Crash and Burn of an Autism Guru | April 23, 2011

As people streamed into Graceview Baptist Church in Tomball, Tex., early one Saturday morning in January, two armed guards stood prominently just inside the doorway of the sanctuary. Their eyes scanned the room and returned with some frequency to a man sitting near the aisle, whom they had been hired to protect.

The man, Andrew Wakefield, dressed in a blazer and jeans and peering through reading glasses, had a mild professorial air. He tapped at a laptop as the room filled with people who came to hear him speak; he looked both industrious and remote. Broad-shouldered and fair at 54, he still has the presence of the person he once was: a conventional winner, the captain of his medical school’s rugby team, the head boy at the private school he attended in England. Wakefield was a high-profile but controversial figure in gastroenterology research at the Royal Free Hospital in London when, in 1998, he upended his career path — and more significant, the best-laid plans of public-health officials — by announcing at a press conference that he had concerns about the safety of the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (M.M.R.) and its relationship to the onset of autism. Although Wakefield did not claim to have proved that the M.M.R. vaccine (typically given to children at 12 to 15 months) caused autism, his concerns, not his caveats, ricocheted around the world...

Middle East Quiz
Jacob Turcotte | Middle East Quiz | April 23, 2011

Think you know the Middle East? Take our geography quiz...

Family Physician Can't Give Away Solo Practice
Gardiner Harris | Family Physician Can't Give Away Solo Practice | April 23, 2011

“So there we are, miles from shore, fishing since 11 o’clock at night, and we haven’t gotten one single bite until finally we gaff one that’s about this big.” Dr. Ronald Sroka held his hands about three feet apart, and John Mayer — fishing buddy and patient — smiled from the examination table. Dr. Sroka shook his head, glanced at a wall clock and quickly put his stethoscope to his ears.

“All right, deep breaths,” Dr. Sroka said. It was only 10 a.m., but Dr. Sroka was already behind schedule, with patients backed up in the waiting room like planes waiting to take off at La Guardia Airport. Too many stories; too little time.“Talking too much is the kind of thing that gets me behind,” Dr. Sroka said with a shrug. “But it’s the only part of the job I like.”...

Iraq Troop Talks Falter
Adam Entous and Julian E. Barnes, The Wall Street Journal | Iraq Troop Talks Falter | April 22, 2011

Senior U.S. and Iraqi military officials have been in negotiations about keeping some 10,000 American troops in Iraq beyond the scheduled withdrawal of all U.S. forces at year's end, according to officials familiar with the talks...

The Raj Trial and Wall Street's South Asian Elite
Gary Weiss, The Daily Beast | The Raj Trial and Wall Street's South Asian Elite | April 22, 2011

The trial of hedge-fund billionaire Raj Rajaratnam has riveted the financial world and shined a light on the phenomenal success and insularity of the Indians, Pakistanis, Bengalis, and Sri Lankans flooding the American financial sector...

Coming Home, as an Interpreter
First Lt. Holly Hernandez, The New York Times At War | Coming Home, as an Interpreter | April 22, 2011

It was 1 in the afternoon. I was looking through the mess hall in Bagram Airfield north of Kabul, scanning the faces to find Parween. I had met her a few days before as she commented on a book I was reading about Afghanistan; her first name was the same as that of the main character. The book was “Lipstick in Afghanistan” by Roberta Gately, a fictional account of an American nurse volunteering in Bamiyan Province after 9/11. Unlike the nurse in my book, Parween had grown up in Kabul in a highly educated family. Her father had attended Columbia University and worked as an ambassador for Afghanistan to Ethiopia. Now, she worked as a translator for American military forces in Afghanistan...

Shale Gas Fracking Q&A
Fiona Harvey, The Guardian UK | Shale Gas Fracking Q&A | April 21, 2011

Never mind the spin, what do we know for sure about the controversial process of fracking?...