Thursday’s Mini-Report


Today’s edition of quick hits:

* Syria: “The White House said Thursday that the U.S. believes ‘with some degree of varying confidence’ the Syrian government has used chemical weapons – specifically the nerve agent sarin – against its own people. A letter from the White House to members of Congress said the assessment was based on ‘physiological samples’ but called for a United Nations probe to corroborate it and nail down when and how they were used.”

* Dzhokhar Tsarnaev: “The surviving Boston Marathon suspect has told investigators that he and his brother decided after the attack to set off more of their arsenal – as many as six bombs – in Times Square, authorities in New York said Thursday.”

* Deteriorating conditions in Iraq: “In the face of an armed rebellion by disgruntled Sunni Muslims against his Shiite-led government, Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki on Thursday urged dialogue to calm tensions but vowed to continue military operations in a growing sectarian conflict that he warned could lead to a civil war like the one raging in Syria.”

* Sunil Tripathi: “A missing Brown University student wrongly rumored to be involved in the Boston Marathon bombings was confirmed dead Thursday, after his body was pulled from the Providence River earlier this week.”

* A brutal tragedy in Bangladesh: “Search crews on Thursday clawed through the wreckage of a collapsed building that housed several factories making clothing for European and American consumers, with the death toll rising to at least 238 and many others still unaccounted for.”

* What went wrong in West, Texas? ProPublica takes a closer look.

* Multiple injuries in Alabama: “Fires ignited by a series of at least seven explosions aboard two fuel barges on the Mobile River in Alabama burned themselves out Thursday morning, the authorities said.”

* Keep an eye on this one: “A pair of lawmakers want the nation’s largest banks to sock away more capital to guard against a fresh economic downturn, making them less dependent on government bailouts.”

* Is the fight over reducing gun violence over? The NRA doesn’t seem to think so. On a related note, check out the interesting story about a powerful gun-safety campaign targeting lawmakers opposed to reforms.

* And while there’s quite a bit of worthwhile commentary on George W. Bush’s presidency today, I found Jon Chait’s take especially compelling: “The general reckoning of Bush is not too harsh. It is too kind.”

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Thursday's Mini-Report