Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Syria: “President Barack Obama has authorized a contingent of less than 50 commandos to deploy into northern Syria and work with moderate opposition forces who are fighting the militants. While the White House has consistently said it would not put U.S. boots on the ground, spokesman Josh Earnest insisted that they will be there in a ‘train, advise and assist mission’ – and not in a combat role.”
* St. Louis: “David Lopez Jackson, 35, was charged Friday afternoon with two in a string of seven church fires this month. He also is reported to be suspected of trying to burn a relative’s home along the 5300 block of Wilborn in Jennings, a source said. Police responded to a call for an attempted arson there shortly after 4 p.m. Thursday.”
* Guantanamo: “Shaker Aamer, whose detention at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba attracted the attention of human rights lawyers, political leaders and rock stars, was freed on Friday after more than 13 years in captivity, British officials announced. Mr. Aamer, a Saudi citizen and British resident, was flown to London.”
* Turkey: “Five months after Turkey held its general election in June, voters will go at it again Sunday with the country once more holding its breath.”
* Iran “has arrested another American holding dual citizenship, bringing to four the number of Iranian Americans imprisoned in Tehran after they came under suspicion by hard-line security forces.”
* The bipartisan budget compromise passed the Senate last night and is scheduled to be signed into law by President Obama on Monday. The final Senate vote was 64 to 35, with each of the top GOP presidential candidates – Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Rand Paul – voting against it.
* Interesting tidbit of history: “The fact that Barack Obama woke up today marks a major historical milestone – yet it’s likely to go largely unnoticed. It’s now been 18,967 days since a US president died in office. That means the nation has now entered its longest period without losing a president to an assassin or illness” (thanks to my colleague Will Femia for the heads-up).
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.