Monday’s Mini-Report, 2.1.16

Today’s edition of quick hits:
 
* Syria: “A triple bombing killed at least 50 people in a predominantly Shiite suburb south of the Syrian capital of Damascus on Sunday even as a U.N. mediator held his first meeting with members of the main opposition group that seeks progress on humanitarian issues before it will join formal talks on ending the five-year civil war.”
 
* Nigeria: “Members of the radical Islamist group Boko Haram burned children alive as part of an assault in Nigeria that killed 86 people, a survivor of the attack alleged. The incident happened Saturday night in the village of Dalori in northeastern Nigeria.”
 
* WHO rings the alarm: “The spread of Zika virus across the Americas is a public health emergency of international concern and deserves urgent attention, the World Health Organization said Monday.”
 
* Sweden: “Scores of masked men dressed in black, some carrying wooden weapons, descended on the center of Stockholm, gathering near the entrance to the city’s main subway station. They had come, the authorities said, to beat and terrorize young migrants, large numbers of whom have been arriving in Sweden since late last year. A flier had served as a sort of call to arms. Because of that, the police were waiting for them.”
 
* Afghanistan: “The United States has carried out at least a dozen operations – including commando raids and airstrikes – in the past three weeks against militants in Afghanistan aligned with the Islamic State, expanding the Obama administration’s military campaign against the terrorist group beyond Iraq and Syria.”
 
* Stories like these are worth watching: “A U.S. warship conducted a patrol Saturday around an island in the South China Sea claimed by China and two of its neighbors, another in a series of operations challenging Beijing’s recent efforts to enforce maritime and territorial claims in the region.”
 
* Capital punishment: “California lifted a moratorium on executions in November and is now set to execute Kevin Cooper – even though several federal judges say he may be innocent.”
 
* Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos “will meet with Obama in Washington on Thursday, and the pair will celebrate Plan Colombia, the nearly 16-year-old U.S. aid program that’s helped strengthen the country’s economy and government and brought it to the brink of a peace deal with the leftist rebels of the FARC movement.”
 
* Trouble in Venezuela: “The only question now is whether Venezuela’s government or economy will completely collapse first. The key word there is ‘completely.’ Both are well into their death throes.”
 
* The West Wing isn’t kidding about its “moonshot”: “The White House will propose spending close to $1 billion over the next two years on a ‘moonshot’ to fight cancer, officials said Monday. President Barack Obama will ask Congress for $755 million for fiscal year 2017, and will try to spend $195 million this year to get things started.”
 
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.
 
 

Monday's Mini-Report, 2.1.16