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The US is going to get a new, capitalist Cuba—and it might not like it

The BriefYour world right now

8 hours ago

A denial from North Korea.

  It didn’t hack Sony, it can prove it, and the US should accept an invitation to take part in a joint investigation—or suffer “grave consequences,” North Korean state media has warned. But the US seems more interested at the moment in getting help from China.
10 mins ago

Xiaomi is now valued at $45 billion.

  That’s up from $10 billion as of August 2013. The Chinese smartphone maker’s new valuation is based on a $1 billion round of funding that could close as soon as Monday, the Wall Street Journal reports. Former Morgan Stanley analyst Richard Ji’s All-Stars Investment technology fund is said to be the lead investor.  
6 hours ago

A key Taliban commander is killed in Peshawar.

  A day after killing 32 militants in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistani security forces said they killed the commander and at least four other militants in the province’s capital of Peshawar, where scores of schoolchildren were murdered by Taliban gunman earlier this week.  
7 hours ago

The US government is seeking hefty fines against BP.

  The $18 billion it wants a judge to approve—for BP’s role in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil well accident in the Gulf of Mexico—would handily eclipse the $3.51 billion that BP had set aside as of Oct. 28 to cover its liabilities under the Clean Water Act, Bloomberg reports.
7 hours ago

Four Afghans held at Guantanamo are released.

  The men were sent home to Kabul overnight on a US military plane, bringing the number of prisoners at the US military facility in Cuba—which the Obama administration advocates closing—down to 132. It marked the first return of Guantanamo Bay prisoners to Afghanistan since 2009.
7 hours ago
Chart of the Moment

Students at US universities are surprisingly old-school.

December 19, 2014

Staples was hacked—as many as 1.16 million cards are affected.

  The office-supplies chain says 115 point-of-sales systems were infected with malware between July and September. Details on which stores were impacted haven’t come out yet, but the breach appears to have been relatively contained next to the ones that struck Target (40 million cards affected) and Home Depot (56 million cards).
December 19, 2014

Bumble Bee Tuna will be acquired for $1.51 billion.

  Thai Union Frozen Products calls the deal “the largest acquisition in the history of our company and one of the most exciting external growth propositions.” Its CEO says with the purchase, revenue will rise by 25% (paywall); the fate of San Diego, California-based Bumble Bee’s 1,300 employees is unknown.
December 20, 2014

Pay your bills, or we take the cat.

  Tax collectors in Russia have come up with an incredibly effective new tactic—threatening to seize people’s cats until they clear their debts. The Siberian region of Tomsk placed four pedigree Scottish Fold kittens “under arrest,” for example. And so, delinquents often find the money—and fast.

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