Today’s edition of quick hits:
* The Sochi games are underway: “Russia raised the curtain Friday on its $50 billion Winter Games, seizing the world stage with a dazzling display of color and cultural pride that welcomed 3,000 athletes to its gleaming new Olympic stadium.”
* Hijacking: “A passenger aboard a commercial airline flight from Ukraine to Turkey tried to hijack it to Sochi, Russia, on Friday after the Winter Olympics had started, but the plane landed safely in Istanbul and the hijacker – apparently deluded by the crew into thinking he was in Sochi – was taken into custody, Turkish news reports said.”
* Three weeks: “U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew said U.S. borrowing authority may not last past Feb. 27 and urged Congress to extend the debt ceiling as soon as possible.”
* NSA: “The National Security Agency is collecting less than 30 percent of all Americans’ call records because of an inability to keep pace with the explosion in cellphone use, according to current and former U.S. officials.”
* EU: “Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany on Friday sharply criticized a senior American diplomat who disparaged European Union efforts at diplomacy in Ukraine, calling “absolutely unacceptable” remarks by Victoria Nuland, the assistant secretary of state for European affairs.”
* A story to keep an eye on: “GOP Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers faces a possible House Ethics Committee investigation over allegations by a former staffer that she improperly mixed campaign and official funds to help win a 2012 House leadership race.”
* The nation’s newest senator: “Montana Lt. Gov. John Walsh (D) will be Max Baucus’s replacement in the Senate, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) announced Friday. Walsh’s appointment of his running mate could boost Walsh’s chances at winning a full term in the fall and give Democrats a better shot at holding onto control of the Senate.”
* No need for subtlety: “President Obama said he ‘no doubt’ wanted to make clear to Russia that the United States doesn’t accept discrimination by sending gay athletes to the Olympics.”
* It’s rare when any legislative body expels a member, but the Massachusetts House yesterday expelled state Rep. Carlos Henriquez (D), following an assault conviction.
* And one of the strangest things I’ve seen all week was Fox News hosts freak out over CVS’s decision to stop selling tobacco products. Some even questioned whether a private enterprise is “legally” able to make such a decision.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.