Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Middle East: “Rising tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia were given fresh fuel on Monday with both sides issuing tit-for-tat verbal volleys. Regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran have been trading blows in an escalating war of words since Saturday following the former’s move to execute prominent Shiite opposition cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.”
* India: “A strong earthquake with a magnitude of 6.7 was recorded before dawn Monday near the India-Myanmar border, the U.S. Geological Survey confirmed. One person was reported dead, a dozen people were injured and several buildings were damaged, Reuters reported.”
* VW: “The Justice Department sued Volkswagen on Monday over emissions-cheating software found in nearly 600,000 diesel vehicles sold in the United States.”
* An unpleasant day on Wall Street: “New data on Chinese factory activity sent a wave of financial concern across the Pacific Monday on the first day of stock trading in the new year, sending major U.S. indices sharply lower. The Dow Jones industrial average closed down about 275 points, or nearly 1.6 percent of its total value.”
* On New Year’s Day, a number of state and local minimum wages went up, delivering progress on the issue while federal action remains impossible under a Republican Congress..
* DHS raids: “Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced Monday that federal immigration authorities apprehended 121 adults and children in raids over the New Year’s weekend as part of a nationwide operation to deport a new wave of illegal immigrants.”
* Hawaii is raising its legal smoking age to 21: ”The law, which is the first of its kind in America, is intended to curb the public health impact of Big Tobacco’s well-known appeals to young people. By bumping the smoking age up, legislators have a good shot at reducing the number of people who take up smoking.”
* Another rail delay: “When Congress in October gave railroads extra time to install a badly needed speed-control system, officials at the Federal Railroad Administration vowed to move aggressively to make sure the safety technology would be in place by the end of 2018, the new deadline. This month, Congress struck again.”
* A key part of a larger indictment: “Big Oil braced for global warming while it fought regulations.”
* I never thought I’d see the day: “Not since the early years of Fidel Castro’s rule … have so many Cubans voluntarily returned.”
* A disappointing departure: “Harold Meyerson provided a progressive voice on The Washington Post’s opinion page for nearly 13 years. But a few weeks ago, Meyerson learned from editorial page editor Fred Hiatt that his contract would not be renewed for the coming year.”
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.
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