Morning Must Reads: December 11

In the news: TIME's 2013 Person of the Year, a budget deal, Syrian war, NSA hacking, the Volcker rule, Obama's approval rating, and Nelson Mandela

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Mark Wilson / Getty Images

The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

  • Pope Francis is TIME’s 2013 Person of the Year
  • “Congressional leaders struck a deal on Tuesday to undo billions of dollars in automatic spending cuts that have frustrated both parties, a modest agreement that nevertheless raised hopes of an end to the nonstop budget battles and brinkmanship that have consumed Washington in recent years.” [TIME]
    • Are Republicans preparing to block the deal? [Roll Call]
  • “After a night of clashes with protesters in Independence Square, security forces appeared to pull back Wednesday from the central plaza in Kiev where demonstrators have been rallying against the government of President Viktor F. Yanukovich for more than two weeks.” [NYT]
  • “Barack Obama did not tell the whole story this autumn when he tried to make the case that Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the chemical weapons attack near Damascus on 21 August.” [London Review of Books]
    • “The White House is dismissing as ‘simply false’ a new report from Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh, which states that the Obama Administration ‘cherry-picked intelligence’ in order to make its case for a military strike against Syria.” [Politico]
  • NSA uses Google cookies to pinpoint targets for hacking [WashPost]
  • “A broad new government rule to limit risk-taking by Wall Street will force banks to rethink virtually every aspect of their trading activities, setting the stage for more tumult at the largest U.S. financial institutions.” [WSJ]
    • “However, it does not explicitly prohibit banks from making trades to hedge risks in specific circumstances. Banks had feared the draft might be tougher…” [Financial Times]
  • “Disapproval of Mr. Obama’s job performance hit an all-time high in the poll, at 54%, amid the flawed rollout of the health law. Half of those polled now consider the law a bad idea, also a record high.” [WSJ]
  • Nelson Mandela’s Coffin Arrives At the Union Buildings in Pretoria [BuzzFeed]