Today’s edition of quick hits:
* A pleasant surprise: “After investing 10 years and $7 billion in the American Arctic, Shell said on Monday that it would shelve plans to tap the potentially vast oil reserve, leaving “for the foreseeable future” after a disappointing drilling season.”
* Mars: “A new study provides the ‘strongest evidence yet’ that salty liquid water sometimes flows on modern-day Mars, researchers said on Monday in a discovery that holds implications for future expeditions to the Red Planet.”
* Afghanistan: “After months of besieging the northern Afghan provincial capital of Kunduz, Taliban fighters took over the city on Monday just hours after advancing, officials said, as government security forces fully retreated to the city’s outlying airport.”
* United Nations: “The leaders of the United States and Russia traded blunt criticisms on Monday at the United Nations, essentially blaming each other for the catastrophic war in Syria and the refugee crisis it helped to spawn.”
* Iran: “Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Monday blamed the United States for the spread of terrorism in the Middle East, saying America’s dual post-9/11 wars — and its alliance with Israel — allowed extremist ideologies to flourish.”
* ISIS: “Six French jet fighters targeted and destroyed an Islamic State training camp in eastern Syria in a five-hour operation on Sunday, President Francois Hollande announced, making good on a promise to go after the group that he has said is planning attacks against several countries, including France.”
* On a related note, the CIA and the military’s Joint Special Operations Command have launched a “combined effort” to “find and kill ‘high value’ targets” from al Qaeda and ISIS.
* Latest FBI findings: “This latest report reveals that the estimated number of violent crimes reported by law enforcement to UCR’s Summary Reporting System during 2014 decreased 0.2 percent when compared with 2013 data. And the estimated number of property crimes decreased 4.3 percent from 2013 levels.”
* A striking speech: “Senator Elizabeth Warren embraced the Black Lives Matter protest movement in a forceful speech in Boston on Sunday, calling on police departments to train their officers in the de-escalation of violence and to outfit them with body cameras.”
* A sad attempt: “Lewiston, Maine, has long been home to one of the nation’s more liberal colleges. It can also lay claim to having one of America’s more conservative mayors. Mayor Robert Macdonald (R) wants the state to start publishing the names and home addresses of everyone who receives public assistance benefits in Maine.”
* Incredibly, this didn’t happen in Florida: “A South Dakota man is currently in custody after telling police officers he was shot in the penis by a ‘black guy’ when he actually shot himself while attempting to purchase a gun illegally, reports the Argus Leader.”
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.