The United Nations' International Telecommunication Union convened a conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in December to finalize a 1988 telecommunications treaty that would give governments the ability to block Internet spam and inspect the content of online messages to determine if they can be blocked to alleviate "network congestion." Opponents say the pact is a step toward international control of the Internet. The United States and 54 other nations refused to sign the updated treaty, saying new provisions could allow Internet regulation and censorship by governments. The agreement, which 89 nations did sign, would not go into effect until 2015.

nSEnSHow deep in the hole is the city of Baltimore?

A new report projects the city will accumulate $745 million in budget deficits over the next decade because of a widening gap between projected revenues and expenditures. If you add in the city's infrastructure needs and its liability for retiree health care benefits, the total shortfall reaches $2 billion over 10 years, according to an analysis commissioned by the city from the Philadelphia-based consulting firm Public Financial Management Inc. Baltimore's annual operating budget is $2.2 billion.

nSEnSHow big was the world's longest cat?

Stewie, a Maine Coon cat who measured 48.5 inches from the tip of his nose to the tip of his tail, held the title of longest cat, according to Guinness World Records. The 8-year-old house pet from Reno, Nev., died Monday of cancer.