Thursday’s Mini-Report, 7.23.15

Today’s edition of quick hits:
 
* Sandra Bland: “Medical examiners ruled the death of Sandra Bland a suicide by hanging, and the autopsy uncovered no evidence of a violent struggle, a Texas prosecutor said Thursday.”
 
* Important: “Turkey has agreed to allow the United States to use Turkish soil to launch attacks against the Islamic State, signaling a major shift in policy on the part of the once-reluctant American ally, U.S. officials said Thursday.”
 
* Iraq: “The defense secretary, Ashton B. Carter, made an unannounced visit to Iraq on Thursday morning as American and Iraqi military officials finished plans for an assault meant to retake Ramadi from the Sunni militant group known as the Islamic State.”
 
* Saudi Arabia: “Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter gave a surprisingly upbeat assessment on Wednesday of American relations with Saudi Arabia, asserting that the kingdom welcomed the international nuclear deal reached with its regional rival, Iran.”
 
* Great economic news: “The number of people who applied for U.S. unemployment benefits slid to the lowest level since 1973 in the seven days ended July 18, another sign of strong labor-market conditions.”
 
* Michael Oren, the former Israeli ambassador to the US and now an Israeli legislator, really isn’t doing his side of the debate any favors: “Iran hawks finally presented a ‘better’ Iran deal. It’s complete gibberish.”
 
* Too bad it’s not a little closer: “NASA on Thursday announced the discovery of Kepler 452b, the most Earth-like planet ever found. Located 1,400 light-years from our planet, NASA called it ‘Earth 2.0,’ because it’s the first small, rocky planet discovered in the habitable zone of a G Star similar to our sun.”
 
* I’m always glad when politics and science fiction intersect: “Texas Sen. Ted Cruz offered some surprisingly strong opinions on the politics of ‘Star Trek’ in an interview published Thursday in The New York Times Magazine, arguing ‘it is quite likely that Kirk is a Republican and Picard is a Democrat.’”
 
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.
 

Thursday's Mini-Report, 7.23.15