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A sign, flag and flowers are seen outside a home honouring victims of the Newtown shooting. (SHANNON STAPLETON/Reuters)
A sign, flag and flowers are seen outside a home honouring victims of the Newtown shooting. (SHANNON STAPLETON/Reuters)

Morning Briefing: A moment of silence for Newtown victims Add to ...

A summary of what you need to know today, compiled by The Globe’s news desk on Dec. 21 , 2012

Top court to rule on whether police can vet jurors

The Supreme Court of Canada will rule today on whether it is acceptable for police to vet potential jurors. The case revolves around the practice in some jurisdictions of police doing background checks on potential jurors and providing guidance to prosecutors. While many provinces support the vetting, opponents say is it little more than an effort to stack a jury against the accused.

The ruling comes a day after the court rendered its decision on issue of whether a witness could wear a niqab during testimony.

NRA to break silence over Newtown massacre

One week after the Newtown rampage, the National Rifle Association will break its near-silence today. The powerful gun lobby has been largely silent since the massacre, saying only that it is prepared to “offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again.” But few expect the NRA to make any significant concessions at this morning’s press conference.

Meanwhile, thousands of Americans will pause this morning to mark the one-week anniversary of the Newtown killings. At least 29 states have called for a moment of silence at 9:30 a.m. EST to reflect on the massacre, which claimed the lives of 20 children and seven adults.

Is that a cliff over there?

With the clock ticking down to zero hour, the scuttling Thursday night of a key Republican proposal has injected a new element of uncertainty in efforts to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff. Republicans withdrew the proposal to allow tax increases on the very rich after it became clear they didn’t have the votes to pass the measure. While the proposal to allow tax increases only on Americans making more than $1-million was a non-starter for the White House and the Democrat-controlled Senate, its passage would have given House Speaker John Boehner leverage to forge a compromise and avoid the broad tax hikes and spending cuts set by law to kick in Jan 1. Mr. Boehner has called a press conference this morning to discuss next steps.

The heightened uncertainty has sent stocks lower around the world.

Aboriginal rally in Ottawa

Supporters of the growing Idle No More movement are planning a large rally today in Ottawa, where Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Spence is on a hunger strike. For more on the aboriginal protests, read this story by The Globe’s Gloria Galloway.

Indian authorities want life sentences for Delhi bus rapists

Facing rising public anger over the brutal gang rape of a young woman on a bus, the Indian government pledged today to seek life sentences for her attackers while better protecting women in New Delhi. Five men have been arrested and a hunt is under way for the sixth suspect.

Not the end of the world as we know it

Turns out it was a nonpocalypse, or possibly just a typo on the Mayan calendar. As you were.

Follow on Twitter: @jillsmahoney

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