Today’s edition of quick hits:
* EPA: “The Environmental Protection Agency director overseeing a region that includes Flint, Michigan, is stepping down after contaminated water in that city exposed residents to lead poisoning.”
* Wall Street: “U.S. stocks closed higher Friday, for their first positive week of the year, helped by a recovery in oil from multi-year lows and hopes of stimulus overseas.”
* Pakistani officials now believe “a deadly assault on a university this week was orchestrated by militants in Afghanistan, part of a pattern of cross-border terrorism that is undermining peace efforts in the region.”
* Economy: “U.S. home sales rebounded December after new federal regulations had delayed the completion of purchases in November. And total sales in 2015 were the most in nine years.”
* DeKalb County, Georgia: “A white police officer was indicted here Thursday on six counts, including felony murder, in the fatal shooting last year of an unarmed black man who was naked and described as acting in an erratic manner.”
* Clean Power Plan: “In what environmentalists hailed as a victory for efforts to curb climate change, an appeals panel in Washington on Thursday rebuffed efforts to delay enforcement of President Barack Obama’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions until legal challenges are resolved.”
* Defense Secretary Ash Carter published a new op-ed on this being the “time to accelerate” the fight against ISIS. After reading the piece, I’m not altogether sure what that entails.
* It’s interesting that Republicans are blocking a qualified Secretary of the Army nominee during a war and there is no controversy: “Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) is vowing to keep a hold on President Obama’s nominee for secretary of the Army until the president leaves office and is no longer in a position to close the Guantanamo Bay prison.”
* The right’s strategic genius: “Russia has fallen victim to two of the classic blunders. The most famous is never get involved in a land war in Asia—oops—but only slightly less well-known is this: never think an oil-exporting business can substitute for having an actual economy. Double oops.”
* Supreme Court: “Justice Stephen Breyer reiterated his call for the Supreme Court to reconsider the constitutionality of the death penalty on Thursday night, just hours before the justices are due to consider hearing a case that could do just that.”
* Really? “Saudi Arabia’s top cleric has declared the playing of chess ‘forbidden,’ calling it a waste of time and money that creates hatred between players.”
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.