Today’s edition of quick hits:
* A human-rights nightmare: “A report released Monday by the United Nations’ Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights accuses the government of North Korea of ‘crimes against humanity,’ detailing widespread and ongoing human rights abuses by the state…. The nearly 400 page report alleged that ‘systemic, widespread, and gross human rights violations have been and are being committed by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.’ It also called on the U.N. Security Council to take matters to the International Criminal Court.”
* Low expectations: “Talks with Iran over a permanent agreement on its nuclear program begin on Tuesday in Vienna, but there is little immediate optimism over a negotiation that is expected to last up to a year.”
* More on this on tonight’s show: “Gov. Chris Christie’s office says he never spoke about September’s George Washington Bridge lane closures with a Port Authority Police lieutenant he knows personally, and whose conduct during the closures is now the subject of an internal review.” Also note, the Christie administration specifically said today in response to reporting from MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki, “The Governor has never had any conversations with either Jeff or Chip Michaels on this topic.”
* Hijacking: “Locking the pilot out of the cockpit, an Ethiopian Airlines co-pilot hijacked a plane bound for Italy on Monday and diverted it to Geneva, where he asked for asylum, officials said.”
* Uganda: “President Obama issued a statement on Sunday urging Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni not to sign a new anti-homosexuality bill into law. The legislation, which Uganda’s parliament approved back in December, would make homosexuality punishable by life imprisonment. President Obama said that he was ‘deeply disappointed’ to hear of the legislation, and that enacting it would ‘complicate’ Uganda’s relationship with the United States.”
* California: “President Obama arrived in the heart of California’s parched farmland on Friday afternoon to offer tens of millions of dollars in federal assistance to the state, where the lack of rain and snow this winter has led to the severest drought in its modern history.”
* Mixed verdict: “Michael Dunn was found guilty on three counts of second degree attempted murder on Saturday in the so-called “loud music” murder trial, as well as one charge of shooting into an occupied vehicle. But a deadlocked jury did not reach a verdict on one count of first degree murder, and a mistrial was declared on that charge.”
* Ta-Nehisi Coates published a thoughtful piece after the Dunn verdict was announced.
* Fareed Zakaria: “I have been described as a centrist. And I freely admit to believing that neither side of the political spectrum has a monopoly on wisdom or virtue. But sometimes, reality points firmly in one direction. Watching the machinations in Washington over the past two weeks, it is now impossible to talk about how both political parties are to blame for the country’s gridlock.”
* And on this Presidents Day, note that Groupon described Alexander Hamilton as “undeniably one of our greatest presidents.” It’s actually quite deniable since Hamilton was never elected president.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.