NYPD ON HIGH ALERT AFTER TWO OFFICERS SLAIN AP: “ Big-city police departments and union leaders around the country are warning the rank and file to wear bulletproof vests and avoid making inflammatory posts on social media in the days after a man ambushed two officers and shot them to death inside their patrol car. The slayings of Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu on Saturday afternoon in Brooklyn heightened fears about the safety of law enforcement officials nationwide, though there is no evidence any threats are imminent. The gunman, 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, had vowed in an Instagram post to put "wings on pigs" as retaliation for the slayings of black men at the hands of white police.” [AP]
UN CHALLENGING NORTH KOREA ON HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES AP: “ An angry North Korea, now on the defensive over a U.S. accusation of hacking, is refusing to take part in a groundbreaking U.N. Security Council meeting Monday where the country's bleak human rights situation will be discussed for the first time. International pressure has built this year on Pyongyang after a sprawling U.N.-backed inquiry of alleged crimes against humanity and warned that young leader Kim Jong Un could be held accountable. And attention has focused on the North in recent days, as the Obama administration on Friday blamed it for the devastating hacking attack on Sony over the film ‘The Interview,’ which portrays Kim's assassination. Now the 15-member Security Council is being urged to refer North Korea's human rights situation to the International Criminal Court, seen as a court of last resort for atrocities. It's the boldest effort yet to confront Pyongyang over an issue it has openly disdained in the past.” [AP]
U.S. HOPES TO INFLUENCE POST-CASTRO CUBA WaPo: “If the overarching goal of the old U.S. policy was to precipitate a collapse of the Communist government, Obama’s new approach reflects a conclusion that such instability is no longer in the best interests of the United States. With the announcement last week, Washington acknowledges that, like Havana, it wants a managed, orderly transition to a post-Castro future. What that future will look like is the game going forward. ‘Do we want a hard landing or a soft landing?’ Arturo Valenzuela, who served as assistant secretary of state for Latin America during Obama’s first term, asked in an interview. ‘It’s not in our interest nor in the interest of the Cuban people to see a total collapse.’” [WaPo]
U.S. MULLING OPTIONS AGAINST NORTH KOREA WSJ: he White House is considering an array of options for responding to North Korea’s alleged hacking of Sony Pictures, including measures that would intensify financial pressure on Pyongyang by targeting banks and trading companies controlled by leader Kim Jong Un and his ruling elite, according to senior administration officials.The consideration of such tough measures, as well as a White House review of whether to redesignate North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism and a U.S. effort to persuade China to intervene, comes as Republicans in Congress are ramping up pressure on President Barack Obama to back sanctions legislation targeting the Kim regime. Mr. Obama is mounting his own push for lawmakers to pass cybersecurity legislation he says would better guard against attacks like the one on Sony Pictures, but said North Korea’s actions didn’t amount to “an act of war.” [WSJ]
BITTORRENT URGES SONY TO RELEASE ‘THE INTERVIEW’ HuffPost: “Filing-sharing giant BitTorrent is urging Sony Pictures to release ‘The Interview’ on its new, paid service. The software company, synonymous with illegal music and movie pirating, had several talks this week with the embattled movie studio about debuting the canceled Seth Rogen action-comedy as a "bundle" of links to files that can be controlled and sold to users legally. Sony scrapped plans to debut the picture in theaters next week after suffering a devastating cyberattack by hackers linked to North Korea -- apparently in retaliation for the film's depiction of the fictional assassination of the country's leader, Kim Jong Un. ‘A group of hackers stopped an American company from releasing a commercial film -- this should not stand,’ Matt Mason, the chief content officer at BitTorrent, told The Huffington Post on Saturday. ‘This is wrong and we can help make it right.’” [HuffPost]
TOM BROKAW’S CANCER IN REMISSION HuffPost: “Tom Brokaw revealed some good news on Sunday: he is officially in remission from cancer. In a statement posted to NBCNews.com,Brokaw celebrated the prognosis. ‘A year ago my future was more uncertain than I cared to acknowledge but now I face the New Year with very encouraging news,’ he said. ‘The cancer is in remission and I will shortly go on a drug maintenance regimen to keep it there.’ The veteran newsman in February divulged that he had been diagnosed with myeloma last summer. In September, he said that the cancer was ‘mostly gone.’” [HuffPost]
SPANISH ROYAL TO BE TRIED FOR FRAUD A Spanish judge on Monday ordered the king's sister, Princess Cristina, to be tried along with her husband on charges of tax fraud — making her the first member of the country's royal family to face charges in court since the royalty was restored in 1975. In issuing the indictment, Judge Jose Castro went against a prosecutor's Dec. 9 recommendation that Cristina should be fined and only her husband, Olympic handball medalist turned businessman Inaki Urdangarin, should be tried. He set bail for her at 2.7 million euros ($3.3 million) and 15 million euros for her husband. If convicted, the 49-year-old Cristina could face up to four years in prison. Suspected abuse of company funds to cover the couple's expenses at their Barcelona home, salsa dancing classes and stays at luxury hotels is among evidence Castro has compiled about Aizoon, a real estate and consulting firm Cristina co-owned with her husband.”[AP]
ON THE BLOG: BREAST CANCER RISK IS BOTH NATURE AND NURTURE - DR. DEAN ORNISH “To say that diet and lifestyle may play a role in breast cancer does not mean that people who change their lifestyle are blaming themselves or that you can always prevent breast cancer by eating and living more healthfully. You do what you can even though there is not certainty. Having the BRCA mutation significantly increases the risk of breast cancer, but it is not always the only factor. Lifestyle choices may increase or decrease the risk of breast cancer, but that knowledge is an opportunity to empower ourselves, not to blame.” [HuffPost]
BEFORE YOU GO
~ ICYMI: Dr. Evil made an appearance on “Saturday Night Live” to discuss North Korea.
~ Elf faces drunk driving charges. Happy holidays!
~ Rachel McAdams looks a lot different now.
~ Dog sequesters himself to his kennel.