Friday’s Mini-Report

Updated
 

Today’s edition of quick hits:

* A highly unusual warning: “A worldwide alert has been issued for all U.S. citizens traveling abroad due to an unspecified al Qaeda threat, State Department officials warned Friday. The terror group and their affiliated organizations ‘may focus efforts to conduct attacks in the period between now and the end of August,’ a statement said.”

* Pentagon: “Sixty troops have been fired as sexual assault counselors, recruiters or drill instructors after the military investigators found they had committed violations ranging from alcohol-related offenses to child abuse and sexual assault, USA Today has learned.”

* Zimbabwe: “The party of Robert G. Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s long-ruling president, appeared to be on track to win a huge majority in Parliament after Wednesday’s elections, the Zimbabwe Election Commission announced Friday, allowing it to recapture parliamentary control from its main challenger, the Movement for Democratic Change.”

* Filner: “San Diego Mayor Bob Filner’s office canceled a scheduled new employee and management sex harassment training session in his first months in office according to a published report.”

* Shield law: “In the wake of the many different scandals surrounding the government’s surveillance of journalists, senators are attempting to craft a new federal shield law that would ramp up some of the protections for reporters. But, as McClatchy reported on Thursday night, the politicians have hit a bit of a snag: they can’t agree on who is a journalist and who isn’t.”

* House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) wants the chamber to forgo its four-week break to get work done. “This is an aimless Congress,” she said. “It’s falling into chaos. It’s a make-matters-worse Congress.”

* Affordable Care Act: “Personal health care costs rose in the 12 months ending in May at the slowest rate in the last 50 years, as spending on hospital and nursing home services declined, the White House announced Monday.”

* Confirmations: “The Senate confirmed Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Martin Dempsey to a second two-year term by voice vote on Thursday…. The Senate also approved Joint Chiefs Vice Chairman Adm. James Winnefeld and a host of other military nominations.”

* Overdue: “Two high-ranking senators released a bipartisan measure to overhaul the Postal Service (USPS) this week, as lawmakers search for an elusive deal to stabilize an agency losing billions of dollars a year.”

* Finally: “Women’s health advocates have fought for over-the-counter access to emergency contraception for more than a decade, and their efforts were finally realized this week. Thursday, August 1 marked the day that pharmacies and grocery stores across the country were supposed to begin stocking Plan B on their shelves, available for purchase without a prescription.”

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Friday's Mini-Report

Updated