Today’s edition of quick hits:
* From G-8 to G-7: “President Obama and the leaders of six allied nations agreed Monday to boycott a planned Group of Eight summit meeting in Russia in June, effectively isolating the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin over his military intervention in Ukraine.” The decision was spelled out in a joint communique called The Hague Declaration.
* Ukraine’s power grab: “A power failure plunged much of the Crimean capital, Simferopol, into darkness on Monday, the second partial blackout in two days, as the Ukrainian government in Kiev appeared to retaliate against Russia’s occupation and annexation of the peninsula by sharply cutting electricity supplied from the mainland.”
* Venezuela: “A pregnant woman was shot dead near Caracas and a soldier was killed in the western state of Merida, officials said, as the death toll from weeks of anti-government protests in Venezuela rose to 36 on Monday.”
* Egypt: “An Egyptian court handed death sentences to more than 500 supporters of the country’s ousted president on Monday, lawyers said. The 529 members of the Muslim Brotherhood were accused of a deadly attack targeting police in Cairo last August.”
* More on this serious spill on tonight’s show: “State and federal officials in Texas are struggling to contain the effects of a major oil spill, after a barge in the Houston Ship Channel collided with another ship and dumped as much as 168,000 gallons of thick oil into the water.”
* On a related note, local reports note that the first priority is to “get the area’s shipping lanes reopened while at the same time limiting the environmental damage.”
* A horrible tragedy in Washington: “Officials at the massive mudslide in Snohomish County said this morning they have reports of 108 missing and unaccounted-for individuals as a result of the disaster.”
* Kony search: “President Obama has ordered a sharp increase in U.S. Special Operations forces deployed to Uganda and sent U.S. military aircraft there for the first time in the ongoing effort to hunt down warlord Joseph Kony across a broad swath of central Africa.”
* Afghanistan’s Serena Hotel: “As frightened hotel staff members watched from the kitchen, the young militant shot the children first before killing their mother, some of the first casualties inflicted by four Taliban attackers who rampaged through the luxurious hotel on Thursday. The assault killed at least nine people and struck at the heart of the fortified existence enjoyed here by Westerners and the moneyed Afghan elite.”
* Happy Birthday, Affordable Care Act.
* And Krugman’s latest is another gem: “America’s nascent oligarchy may not yet be fully formed – but one of our two main political parties already seems committed to defending the oligarchy’s interests…. Many conservatives live inside an intellectual bubble of think tanks and captive media that is ultimately financed by a handful of megadonors. Not surprisingly, those inside the bubble tend to assume, instinctively, that what is good for oligarchs is good for America.”
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.