Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Deals like these are never easy: “Iran’s supreme leader on Thursday challenged two of the United States’ bedrock principles in the nuclear negotiations, declaring that all economic sanctions would have to be lifted on the day any final agreement is signed and that military sites would be strictly off limits to foreign inspectors.”
* Yemen: “Houthi insurgents in Yemen defied Saudi airstrikes and enlarged their territory Thursday, Al Jazeera reported, seizing an important eastern provincial capital in the increasingly unstable country.”
* ISIS: “Canada conducted its first airstrike in Syria on Wednesday, after its government voted last week to expand its mission against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and extend it for another year.”
* Iraq: “Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. offered an upbeat assessment of the battle against Islamic extremists in Iraq on Thursday, saying the government in that country was making ‘significant and growing’ progress with help from the United States and its allies in the region.”
* South Carolina: “In the five days since North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager allegedly fatally shot Walter Scott in South Carolina, information provided by civilians and authorities has clarified some questions about the incident. But there are still several unknown facts.”
* Cuba: “A review of the U.S. list of terrorism-sponsoring countries that puts Cuba in company with Iran, Syria and Sudan is completed, President Barack Obama said hours before he was to head to Panama for a gathering of Western Hemisphere countries.”
* Secret Service: “The U.S. Secret Service suffered another embarrassing blow on Wednesday, when it was revealed that Xavier Morales, a senior supervisor in the agency, has been placed on leave and suspended amid allegations of sexual misconduct.”
* Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) is a smart and serious lawmaker, so it’s worth taking note on his conversation with Greg Sargent today about the Corker-Menendez bill on U.S. policy in Iran.
* When a scientist’s budget runs into austerity, and is forced to cut coupons to finance important medical research, that’s a problem.
* He’s still probably the wrong choice to head the Senate Judiciary Committee: “Nobody likes to be told how to behave in their own house. And they really don’t like outsiders telling them how to do their job. So you’d imagine Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) did not take kindly to a letter from the Justice Department reprimanding him about how he should conduct his committee hearings.”
* I really feel for this guy: “Last week, 26-year-old Lance Futch donned a white polo shirt and drove to Hill Air Force Base for what he believed was a chance to be in the audience during a news conference with a ‘senior White House official.’ Instead, he found himself sitting at a small table just one seat away from President Barack Obama.”
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.