Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Syria: “The international chemical weapons watchdog said on Thursday that Syria had met an important deadline for the “functional destruction” of all the chemical weapons production and mixing facilities it declared to inspectors, rendering them inoperable, under a deal brokered by Russia and the United States.”
* Iraq: “Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki said on Thursday that Iraq once again faces a terrorist threat and that additional American weapons and intelligence are needed to roll it back.”
* Political/tech story #1: “Experts from top technology and Internet companies including Google Inc, Oracle Corp and Red Hat Inc have joined the Obama administration’s effort to fix its troubled HealthCare.gov website, a U.S. official said on Thursday.”
* Political/tech story #2: “Facebook, Google, Apple and three other leading technology companies on Thursday called for substantial reforms to the U.S. government’s surveillance programs, which have drawn new scrutiny in the aftermath of revelations by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.”
* In related news: “The Senate Intelligence Committee approved a bill aimed at responding to the outcry over the mass surveillance practices of the National Security Agency on Thursday, but critics dismissed it as a minor reworking of the law. The panel voted 11-4 for the FISA Improvements Act, which would put limits on the use of bulk data collection by the NSA and impose new reporting requirements on the agency’s activities.”
* Saudis: “Secretary of State John Kerry will begin a nine-day trip to the Middle East, Europe and North Africa on Sunday by stopping in Saudi Arabia for talks with King Abdullah, a major ally who apparently has been simmering with anger over what he sees as Obama administration failures on Syria, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and relations with Iran.”
* Who can blame him? “President Obama said Wednesday that he feels ‘enormous frustration’ with Republicans in Congress and their efforts to block his legislative agenda.”
* If you read one long-form piece today, make it this powerful piece on reproductive rights and Oklahoma from my MSNBC colleague Irin Carmon.
* Mayor Booker is now officially Senator Booker.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.
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