1. “A Deadly Mix in Benghazi.” The New York Times reports that Al Qaeda may well have had no involvement in the Benghazi attack that killed four Americans in Sept. 2012, and that anti-Muslim propaganda may hold some of the blame.
“Months of investigation by The New York Times, centered on extensive interviews with Libyans in Benghazi who had direct knowledge of the attack there and its context, turned up no evidence that Al Qaeda or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault. The attack was led, instead, by fighters who had benefited directly from NATO’s extensive air power and logistics support during the uprising against Colonel Qaddafi. And contrary to claims by some members of Congress, it was fueled in large part by anger at an American-made video denigrating Islam.”
2. ”GMA’s Robin Roberts Acknowledges Same-Sex Relationship in New Disclosure.” The popular morning-show co-anchor thanked her longtime girlfriend, massage therapist Amber Laign, in a Facebook post on Sunday.
“Roberts’s disclosure comes just days after a furor over anti-gay remarks made by Phil Robertson, head of the clan featured in A&E’s reality series Duck Dynasty. During an interview with GQ magazine, Robertson cast aspersions on people in same-sex relationships and African-Americans, prompting a suspension by the cabler’s parent, A+E Networks, and a quick reversal of the decision—drawing anger from supporters of both Robertson and the groups he offended. As co-host of what is arguably the nation’s favorite morning program, Roberts may help fuel more discussion and debate in this latest clash of cultural values.”
3. “Britney Spears in Las Vegas: 5 Best and 5 Saddest Moments.” The pop princess netted a lot of raves for Britney: Piece of Me, her Vegas revue that debuted Friday night, but Rolling Stone says some of it was a little too toxic.
“Viewed through a lens of diminished expectations (Britney’s bar for success was reset in 2007 after her well-publicized breakdown), Britney: Piece of Me is an entertaining tour through the 32-year-old star’s nearly 15-year recording career. Compared to pop spectacles staged by Madonna and Beyoncé (and even Katy Perry, who was in attendance for Spears’ opening night along with Miley Cyrus), however, the weaknesses that remain in Spears’ live act are stark.”
4. “Netflix Reportedly Plans Streaming Purge for January 1.” According to a list posted to Reddit, you’d best get some of your Netflix fixes while you can, as the service will soon dump a trove of titles including Being John Malkovich and Do the Right Thing.
“A Netflix representative said the company routinely adds and deletes titles from its streaming service due to licensing contracts for exclusive content. It wasn’t immediately clear where the list came from, but a quick review of the site confirmed that streaming for each of the titles listed above will vanish on Wednesday. In the wake of what some in the media dubbed ’streamaggedon’ earlier this year, Netflix made alterations to its API that made it harder for third-party tools such as InstantWatcher.com to determine when titles will expire. However, the service promised that users will still have access to each movie’s streaming expiration date via each individual title’s page.”
5. “Year in Review: Top 20 Films of 2013, Part I.” The gang at In Review Online unveils numbers 11 through 20 in its countdown of the year’s best films.
“Just as the year in movies seemed all but over by early December, Martin Scorsese roared onto the landscape with The Wolf of Wall Street, not only upending many a Top 20 list on our own staff at the last minute, but inspiring the kind of intense critical debate that hearteningly reminds us that cinema—despite all the crowing to the contrary from certain quarters—is still as healthy an art form as it ever was. As usual, you just have to know where to look for some of the best experiences.”
Video of the Day: Snoop Dogg makes the Obamas and others put their hands in the air during a Herbie Hancock tribute performance at last night’s Kennedy Center Honors:
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