Here are the topics we're covering today:
In world news ...
• China's Web police. Peter Ford in Beijing sees Chinese are pushing back against a recent government edict that all computers come with internet-filtering software, which it says will screen pornography but could also censor other websites.
• The Susan Boyle effect. Ben Quinn in London notes that Susan Boyle finished second in “Britain’s Got Talent,” but you don’t have to win to be successful. This TV show—and others like it—are becoming the music industry’s premier platforms for launching new talent.
• Ukraine's rising prostitution. James Marson in Kyiv reports that an economic meltdown is resulting in an uptick in women turning to prostitution. A local group, however, is pushing back and working to educate women while also trying to shame foreign customers.
• Cuban embargo. Kristen Chick on our world desk has assembled a briefing page answering basic questions.
• Trashy oceans. Kristen Chick also explains the huge amount of Atlantic debris first mistaken for the Air France crash site.
In US news ...
• Gasoline forecasts. Ron Scherer on a new survey showing that more new car buyers expect gasoline prices to skyrocket and that it will affect their spending habits.
• End of rabbits ears, take two. Greg Lamb on what you need to know in case your antennae TV set goes bonkers today.
• Marines exit Iraq. Gordon Lubold reports that the US Marines will be gone from Iraq by spring of 2010, a move that allows the Corps to go back to its expeditionary roots. How will their departure affect security?
• Household balance sheets. Mark Trumbull has put together a briefing on the state of household finances in the US. Is debt shrinking? Savings rising? Earnings at least holding their own? And what about the ultimate Atlas of the economy: spending?
• Recession road trip. Bill Glauber, talks of the Old West told on the walls of a New Mexican town.