OND is a community feature on Daily Kos, consisting of news stories from around the world, sometimes coupled with a daily theme, original research or commentary. Editors of OND impart their own presentation styles and content choices, typically publishing each day near 12:00AM Eastern Time.
OND Editors consisting of founder Magnifico, regular editors jlms qkw, maggiejean, wader, Oke, rfall, and JML9999, alumni editors palantir and ScottyUrb, guest editor and annetteboardman, and current editor-in-chief Neon Vincent, along with anyone else who reads and comments, informs and entertains
Syria conflict: Twin bomb blasts shake Damascus suburb
State media said "terrorists" were behind the blasts in Jaramana and broadcast pictures showing several charred vehicles and damaged buildings.
The district is predominantly Druze and Christian, two communities which have so far not joined the uprising.
Earlier, there were clashes between security forces and rebels in Jaramana.
There has been fierce fighting in recent days in eastern parts of the countryside around Damascus, known as the Ghouta.
BBC:BP faces temporary ban from new US contracts
BP faces temporary ban from new US contracts
BP has been temporarily suspended from new contracts with the US government, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has said.
While it is unclear how long the ban will last, it follows BP's record fine earlier this month over the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The EPA said it was taking action due to BP's "lack of business integrity" over its handling of the blowout.
But BP said it had spent $14bn (£8.8bn) on its response to the spill.
BBC:Wheat genome's key parts unlocked in new study
Wheat genome's key parts unlocked in new study
Scientists have unlocked key parts of the complex genetic code of wheat, one of the world's most important crops, which could help improve food security.
The team hopes the data will accelerate the development of varieties more resilient to stresses, such as disease and drought, that cause crops to fail.
The 2012 wheat harvest was hit by extreme weather events around the globe, causing a sharp rise in prices.
Details of the findings have been published in the journal Nature.
BBC:William Hague says UK may abstain in Palestinian UN vote
William Hague says UK may abstain in Palestinian UN vote
Foreign Secretary William Hague has said UK may abstain in a key vote on upgraded diplomatic status at the UN for Palestinians.
He said the UK would not oppose moves to recognise the Palestinians as a "non-member observer state".
But he said he needed a number of assurances, principally that the Palestinians would seek negotiations with Israel "without pre-conditions".
Palestinian diplomats said they had rejected the "unrealistic" demands.
BBC:Afghan girl's beheading: Two arrested in Kunduz province
Afghan girl's beheading: Two arrested in Kunduz province
Afghan police have arrested two men accused of beheading a teenage girl with a knife in northern Kunduz province, officials say.
Prior to the attack, the girl's father had rejected a marriage proposal for his daughter.
"Our investigation shows those who killed her were people who wanted to marry her," police told the BBC.
Earlier this month, four policemen were jailed for 16 years for raping a young woman in the same province.
BBC:Tunisians wounded in Siliana clashes over unemployment
Tunisians wounded in Siliana clashes over unemployment
More than 200 people have been wounded in a second day of clashes in the Tunisian town of Siliana, medical officials have said.
Security forces used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters demanding jobs, with reports of people also being treated for gunshot wounds.
Trade unions have called for further protests on Thursday.
Tunisia was the birthplace of the Arab Spring, deposing its long-time president in January 2011.
Reuters:SAC Capital says it could be charged by SEC
SAC Capital says it could be charged by SEC
(Reuters) - The U.S. government is considering filing civil charges against SAC Capital Advisors over an insider trading case as regulators tighten the screws around Steven A. Cohen, the $14 billion hedge fund's founder and one of the industry's most famous traders.
Cohen and a top SAC executive told investors on a 20-minute conference call on Wednesday that the Securities and Exchange Commission recently had issued a formal warning called a Wells notice to the firm indicating charges are likely, according to two sources, who listened to the call.
The move by the SEC comes a week after federal prosecutors and regulators charged one of SAC Capital's former employees with running one of the most lucrative insider trading schemes ever. Authorities have not charged Cohen with wrongdoing but they contend he signed off on the trades.
For years, Cohen and SAC have been dogged by allegations that the firm has relied on insider information to deliver an average annual return of 30 percent since Cohen founded it in 1992. Until this point, the SEC had taken no steps toward bringing a civil complaint against the hedge fund.
Reuters:Appeals court gives Argentina reprieve in debt case
Appeals court gives Argentina reprieve in debt case
(Reuters) - Argentina has won a reprieve against having to pay $1.33 billion next month to "holdout" investors who rejected a restructuring of its defaulted debt and have waged a long legal battle to get paid in full.
A U.S. appeals court granted an emergency stay order on Wednesday that gives Argentina more time to fight a debt ruling favoring the holdout creditors and eases investor fears of a new default as early as next month.
Last week, U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa ordered Argentina to deposit the $1.33 billion payment by December 15 for investors who rejected two restructurings of bonds left over from its massive 2002 default.
Griesa's order raised the risk of a technical default on about $24 billion worth of debt because it meant Argentina would have been unable to repay bond holders who agreed to take a severe haircut in two debt exchanges in 2005 and 2010 without also repaying those who did not.
Reuters:New York lobbies for $42 billion in Sandy disaster aid
New York lobbies for $42 billion in Sandy disaster aid
(Reuters) - New York state is seeking $42 billion in aid to deal with damage from superstorm Sandy, but there is no assurance Congress will move quickly as it grapples with a budget crisis, officials from the state said on Wednesday.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg lobbied Congress on Wednesday, saying he was confident that lawmakers would agree to help pay for damage from Sandy, the second-costliest disaster in U.S. history, even as they deal with the looming "fiscal cliff" of tax hikes and automatic spending cuts.
"Given the scale and impact of the storm, federal assistance is clearly warranted," Bloomberg, who was flanked by New York Democratic Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, said after meeting congressional leaders.
Schumer said Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, the White House's point man on Sandy relief, had said the administration would send a first supplemental spending package to Congress early next week.
Reuters:Exclusive: Power company CFOs blitz Congress on dividend taxes
Exclusive: Power company CFOs blitz Congress on dividend taxes
(Reuters) - Some chief financial officers blitzing the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday to lobby for low dividend tax rates suggested they might be able to stomach a small increase to pre-empt a huge jump due to kick in at year's end if Congress does not act.
Finance chiefs from the biggest U.S. power companies - including Duke Energy Corp and Southern Co - were in Washington to meet top lawmakers looking for ways to avert a $600 billion "fiscal cliff" of taxes and spending cuts.
Without action from Congress, the tax rate on dividends will rise to the ordinary income tax rate, as high as 39.6 percent for the wealthiest Americans. Dividends are now taxed at 15 percent for the top four tax brackets and zero at the bottom.
Five energy company CFOs told Reuters they were lobbying for the lowest dividend rate possible but stressed parity with taxes on capital gains and the need for lawmakers to compromise to avoid going over the fiscal cliff.
Reuters:Egypt's Mursi to urge unity in face of political crisis
Egypt's Mursi to urge unity in face of political crisis
(Reuters) - Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi will address the nation on Thursday, calling for unity as he pushes through a new constitution he hopes will defuse a crisis prompted by his decision to grant himself sweeping powers.
The assembly tasked with writing the constitution ended its session in the early hours on Thursday, wrapping the final draft it will put to vote later in the day.
But as Mursi's opponents pressed on with their week-old protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square, critics said the Islamist-dominated assembly's bid to finish the constitution quickly could make matters worse.
Two people have been killed and hundreds injured in countrywide protests set off by Mursi's decree since it was issued last week.
Reuters:Fisker pushes back China launch to 1st-quarter 2013
Fisker pushes back China launch to 1st-quarter 2013
(Reuters) - Fisker Automotive will start selling its $100,000-plus Karma plug-in hybrid in China during the first quarter of next year to take advantage of the country's rapidly growing market for luxury cars, company executives said on Wednesday.
Fisker said earlier it would launch in China by the end of this year. But the company encountered a slight delay in obtaining final certification to sell cars in China and decided to focus on the Middle East first, spokesman Roger Ormisher said.
Tackling growing markets like China and the Middle East, where Fisker launched sales earlier this year, is a big part of the fledgling automaker's growth strategy after it suffered a series of financial setbacks and quality problems with the Karma launch.
"We still aren't in all the markets where we want to be," Henrik Fisker, the company's founder and executive chairman, said in an interview during the Los Angeles Auto Show. "Part of our adjustment is also to keep on entering new markets."
NY Times:Despite Powerball Odds, a Mad Rush to the Registers
Despite Powerball Odds, a Mad Rush to the Registers
NEW ORLEANS — All across this recession-weary country on Wednesday, Americans of every rank and station lined up at convenience stores and delis, placed their hard-earned dollars on countertops and took part in a venerated national tradition: trying to get really rich without doing anything.
“You want to retire tomorrow?” Vijay Patel asked his customers at Lanzilli’s Groceria in East Boston, where Powerball tickets were constantly being churned out by the lottery machines. “A lot of action today. Good luck.”
At $550 million, the Powerball jackpot on Wednesday was the second-largest lottery jackpot in United States history. In March, the Mega Millions prize was $656 million, which was and still is, in the words of Michael Jones, the superintendent of the Illinois Lottery, the “largest lottery prize in the history of the solar system.”
Both of these sums are of such a scale that they seem to muddle a person’s ability to calculate probabilities. A woman in Denver bought $450 in tickets on Tuesday. People in Nevada, which does not participate in Powerball, have been calling the Arizona Last Stop, a bar/restaurant/gas station right across the state line, to ask about sending busloads of ticket buyers from Las Vegas.