Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Retaliatory strikes: “Pakistani jets and ground forces killed 77 militants in a northwestern tribal region near the Afghan border, the army said Friday, days after Taliban fighters killed 148 people – most of them children – in a school massacre.”
* It’s come to this: “Officials in Moscow confirmed Friday that North Korean despot Kim Jong Un may attend ceremonies next year commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. It would be Kim’s first public foreign visit since coming to power in December 2011.”
* ISIS: “Kurdish forces, backed by a surge of American airstrikes in recent days, recaptured a large swath of territory from Islamic State militants on Thursday, opening a path from the autonomous Kurdish region to Mount Sinjar in the west, near the Syrian border.”
* An important (and familiar) debate in Kenya: “Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has signed into law a controversial security bill which saw MPs trade blows in parliament. It was passed on Thursday during a chaotic parliamentary session, with opposition MPs warning that Kenya was becoming a ‘police state.” The government has said it needs more powers to fight militant Islamists threatening Kenya’s security.”
* Bergdahl: “The Army has concluded its lengthy investigation into the disappearance of Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl in eastern Afghanistan and must now decide whether Bergdahl should face criminal charges…. Based on the investigation, the Army must now decide whether Bergdahl should be charged with desertion or a lesser charge of being ‘absent without leave,’ AWOL.”
* I know a few folks on the right who won’t be pleased: “House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today sent a letter to President Obama formally inviting him to fulfill his duty under the Constitution to report to Congress on the state of the union. A Joint Session of Congress will be held to receive the president’s address on Tuesday, January 20, 2015 at 9:00 pm ET.”
* According to Gallup, the U.S. Economic Confidence Index has now reached its second-highest point since the start of the recession in 2007.
* Higher ed: “In a report due out on Friday, the Obama administration will offer its first public glimpse of a planned system for rating how well colleges perform, saying it plans to group schools into just three broad categories – good, bad and somewhere between.”
* Law enforcement: “President Barack Obama on Thursday announced the makeup of the 11-member panel charged with examining the relationship between police forces and communities around the country. Mr. Obama signed the executive order officially creating the Task Force on 21st Century Policing, an effort first announced earlier this month.”
* This might make things a little tricky: “Members of the Wyoming legislature will debate a measure to expand Medicaid during next year’s session – but it won’t be the proposal laid out by Gov. Matt Mead (R).”
* Dr. Oz: “[H]is work has come under even greater scrutiny in the British Medical Journal, which on Wednesday published a study analyzing Oz’s claims along with those made on another medical talk show. What they found wasn’t reassuring.”
* And Dr. Vivek Murthy was sworn in yesterday as the nation’s new Surgeon General. Sabrina Siddiqui had a good piece this morning on how the process played out despite NRA opposition.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.