Today’s edition of quick hits:
* A different kind of Iraqi crisis unfolds: “Iraq’s president formally nominated a candidate on Monday to replace Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki. The step broke a monthslong political deadlock, but it also seemed to take Iraq into uncharted territory, as Mr. Maliki gave no signal that he was willing to relinquish power.”
* The White House hasn’t left much doubt that it supports the Iraqi president, Fuad Masum, nominating a new prime minister. In this case, it’s Haider al-Abadi, a member of Maliki’s Shiite Islamist Dawa Party.
* Another ceasefire: “As a new temporary truce took hold, negotiators from Israel and the Hamas militant group resumed indirect talks Monday to reach a long-term cease-fire in the Gaza Strip.”
* Kurds: “The U.S. government has begun to funnel weapons directly to Kurdish forces fighting Islamist militants in northern Iraq, deepening U.S. involvement in a conflict that the Obama administration had long sought to avoid.”
* Related news: “With American strikes beginning to show clear effects on the battlefield, Kurdish forces counterattacked Sunni militants in northern Iraq on Sunday, regaining control of two strategic towns with aid from the air.”
* Ukraine: “NATO said on Monday there was a “high probability” that Russia could launch an invasion of Ukraine, where the government said its troops have been closing in on Donetsk, the main city held by pro-Russian rebels.”
* The right predicted double-digit increases. They were wrong: “Premiums on ObamaCare’s health insurance exchanges will rise by an average of 7.5 percent next year, according to a new analysis.”
* Was the Obama administration wrong to pursue its high-speed rail initiative? No, as Michael Grunwald explained, it wasn’t wrong at all.
* The New York Times, at the urging of its reporters, will start calling torture “torture,” rather than the “enhanced interrogation” euphemism preferred by many on the right.
* Matt Yglesias makes a compelling case that President Obama’s foreign policy “isn’t very exciting, but it is working.”
* And conservative Halbig Truthers won’t want to hear this, but the latest reports from Abbe Gluck and Brian Beutler make clear that the right is full of it.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.