Thursday’s Mini-Report


Today’s edition of quick hits:

* Geneva: “Secretary of State John Kerry opened high-stakes talks with his Russian counterpart Thursday on the Syria crisis and insisted that the government of Bashar Assad must move quickly if it is serious about giving up chemical weapons.”

* Syria: “Mr. Assad announced for the first time publicly that he had endorsed the Russian disposal plan and had formally applied for Syrian membership in the chemical weapons treaty, which gives him 30 days to declare his stockpiles of banned munitions for sequestering and destruction under international supervision.”

* Korean peninsula: “New satellite photographs showing steam emerging from a newly reconstructed nuclear reactor in North Korea suggest that the country may be making good on its promise to resume the production of plutonium for its small nuclear arsenal, six years after it reached an agreement with the Bush administration to dismantle the facility. “

* Tick tock: “The recess planned for the last week of September may be canceled to deal with fiscal issues, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said on the floor Thursday.”

* The law is working: “A new report released today by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) shows that 6.8 million consumers saved an estimated $1.2 billion on health insurance premiums in 2012, due to the “rate review” provision of the Affordable Care Act, which brought unprecedented accountability to slow the growth of health insurance premiums.”

* The second was a nullification bill: “Missouri’s Republican-dominated state legislature was dealt a stinging blow on Wednesday when lawmakers failed to override the Democratic governor’s vetoes on two emotionally charged measures: one for sweeping tax cuts, and another preventing the enforcement of federal gun laws in the state. “

* New FBI Director James Comey “has been telling field agents that he will publicly fight sequestration cuts that could cost them two weeks’ pay. In a series of visits to FBI offices this week Mr. Comey has been telling agents he will speak out publicly to try to convince Congress or the administration to soften the cuts for the bureau.”

* If congressional Republicans think they can kill immigration reform and blame the debate over U.S. policy in Syria, they’re mistaken.

* An amazing moment: “A spacecraft from Earth has left its cosmic backyard and taken its first steps in interstellar space, NASA says. After streaking through space for nearly 35 years, NASA’s robotic Voyager 1 probe left the solar system in August 2012, a study published Thursday in the journal Science reports.”

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Thursday's Mini-Report