Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Lebanon: “A powerful bomb shook central Beirut on Friday morning, killing at least six people, officials said, and injuring dozens more. Among the dead was Mohamad B. Chatah, a former Lebanese finance minister and ambassador to the United States who was a vocal critic of the government in neighboring Syria and its ally Hezbollah, the Shiite Lebanese militia.”
* Staggering totals: “The number of reported sexual assaults across the military shot up by more than 50 percent this year, an increase that defense officials say may suggest that victims are becoming more willing to come forward after a tumultuous year of scandals that shone a spotlight on the crimes and put pressure on the military to take aggressive action.”
* South Sudan: “As clashes between government troops and rebels continued in South Sudan on Thursday, diplomats moved swiftly to drag the warring sides to the negotiating table but announced none of the breakthroughs they had hoped for.”
* On a related note, Philip Roessler has a good overview piece explaining why South Sudan has exploded in violence.
* Sandy Hook: “Police in Connecticut released thousands of pages of documents Friday from the investigation into last year’s school massacre in Newtown, which could shed additional light on the world of the 20-year-old gunman.”
* Important diplomatic progress: “A long-simmering dispute between the United States and Japan over the fate of a Marine base on Okinawa was apparently resolved on Friday when the Okinawan governor gave his approval to move the base to a remote area.”
* The Target story gets a little worse: “Target Corp. said Friday that PIN data of its customers’ bank ATM cards were stolen as part of the massive data breach at the third-largest U.S. retailer, but it was confident that the information was ‘safe and secure.’”
* Gun violence: “A southern Louisiana man attacked his former in-laws, his current wife, and the head of a hospital where he’d worked, killing three before killing himself, authorities said.”
* NDAA: “President Obama signed a sweeping defense policy law here Thursday that cracks down on sexual assault in the military and eases restrictions on transferring detainees from the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the custody of foreign countries.”
* David Leonhardt is assembling an impressive data-driven journalism project, as evidenced by him stealing Neil Irwin away from Wonkblog.
* Why, yes, it is odd to be approaching New Year’s Eve without any real drama or crises unfolding on Capitol Hill.
* And a new court ruling says Sherlock Holmes is now in the public domain and licensing fees need no longer go to Arthur Conan Doyle’s estate. Good to know.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.
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