Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Ukraine: “The Russian military has moved artillery units manned by Russian personnel inside Ukrainian territory in recent days and was using them to fire at Ukrainian forces, NATO officials said on Friday.”
* Related news: “More than 200 trucks from a long-stalled Russian convoy said to be carrying humanitarian aid crossed the border into eastern Ukraine on Friday without Red Cross escorts, drawing angry accusations from Ukraine that Moscow had broken its word and mounted what a senior Ukrainian security official called a ‘direct invasion.’”
* Word choice matters: “The White House said Friday that the beheading of American journalist James Foley by ISIS militants constituted a terrorist attack against the United States. ‘When you see somebody killed in such a horrific way, that represents a terrorist attack – that represents a terrorist attack against our country and against an American citizen,’ said Ben Rhodes, the White House deputy national security adviser.”
* Gaza: “One day after three top Hamas commanders were killed in an Israeli airstrike, at least 18 Palestinians were killed Friday by firing squads in Gaza City, sentenced to death by a ‘revolutionary resistance court’ for collaborating with Israel during a time of war.”
* Ferguson: “Thousands of dollars have been raised for the officer who fatally shot unarmed teen Michael Brown. A crowdfunding website was created on Monday to raise funds for Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, who killed 18-year-old Brown on Aug. 9…. Nearly 6,000 people had raised more than $234,000 by mid-afternoon on Friday, through a GoFundMe site.”
* Protests: “Contrary to concerns about violence or vandalism, protesters held peaceful events in Washington Thursday night in response to events in Ferguson, Mo. What had been billed as a ‘Day of Rage’ in front of the White House drew about two dozen people, including D.C. and St. Louis natives, and a cadre of local press.”
* Pushing back against the GAO: “The White House on Friday rejected findings by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) that President Obama broke the law when he swapped Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five Taliban leaders from Guantanamo Bay.”
* On a related note, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) seemed delighted by the GAO report. But if Boehner considered the Bergdahl swap illegal, why didn’t he include this in his anti-Obama lawsuit?
* 30 feet is ridiculously close: “A Chinese fighter jet this week flew within 30 feet of a Navy surveillance and reconnaissance plane in international airspace just off the Chinese coast, the Pentagon said Friday. The encounter, known as an intercept, was ‘very very close, very dangerous,’ said Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary.”
* Combating poverty: “A true measure of a president’s priorities lies hidden in plain sight in his budget proposals. Under that standard, Mr. Obama has been more committed to communities like Ferguson than any Democratic president in the past half century. By looking at what percentage of the budget presidents propose to spend to fight poverty, we can compare their degree of commitment.”
* We’ll see: “House Republicans won’t shut down the government in September, Heritage Action is ‘constructive at the end of the day’ and a person can write a book without necessarily running for president. Those were some of the points Rep. Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., hit home during an exclusive interview with CQ Roll Call Wednesday afternoon from the ornate Union League Building in downtown Philadelphia.”
* Did the Affordable Care Act cause trouble at a Chicago Cubs game this week? No, which is why it’s a shame so many in the media have reported this incorrectly.
* Good move: “The Washington Post editorial board said Friday it will stop using the word ‘Redskins’ when referring to Washington’s football team, joining a growing list of other commentators who have renounced the term because they believe it disparages Native Americans.”
* On a related note, Reid needs to be far more responsible: “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is apologizing for comments he made in ‘poor taste’ about Asian people. The apology was prompted by remarks he made Thursday to the Asian Chamber of Commerce in Las Vegas and after video was posted by conservative trackers.”
* And three-and-a-half years after a catastrophic meltdown, “Fukushima is far from fixed.”
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.