Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Iran: “After day one of resumed nuclear talks between negotiators from Iran, the United States, Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany, Iran’s Foreign Minister tells NBC News that ‘a piece of paper’ could be signed tomorrow to seal a ‘first step’ in a deal.”
* Terrifying: “Thousands of villagers fled as the most powerful storm on the planet this year approached the Philippines on Thursday. Super typhoon Haiyan had wind speeds of up to 170 mph and was rated as a category-five storm early Thursday, according to Weather Channel lead meteorologist Michael Palmer.”
* Figures that cry out for action: “The Pentagon says reports of military sexual assault increased by an unprecedented 46% last year. According to figures released Wednesday, there were 3,553 reported sexual assaults between July 1, 2012 and June 30, which represents a 46% increase over the same period last year.”
* A remarkable waste: “The 16-day government shutdown last month cost at least $2 billion due to salary retroactively paid to furloughed federal government workers, the Office of Management and Budget said Thursday. Budget director Sylvia Burwell said the total cost to the government is ‘significantly’ larger than the $2 billion baseline but a total amount is not available.”
* Here’s hoping it pays off: “Unlike Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State Kerry has upended his schedule to manage the peace process.”
* Pakistan: “In a surprise choice that bodes poorly for proposed peace talks, the Pakistani Taliban on Thursday appointed as its new leader the hard-line commander responsible for last year’s attack on Malala Yousafzai, the teenage Pakistani education activist.”
* Remarkable: “A bizarre new video of Rob Ford surfaced on Thursday showing the embattled Toronto mayor, who admitted to smoking crack-cocaine earlier this week, threatening to kill an unidentified person in a fit of rage.”
* Cruel and unusual: “Medical experts say two new execution methods may cause inmates to seize, vomit, spasm, or suffocate in deaths that go on for hours.”
* Oops: “The editor of Guns & Ammo magazine apologized to readers and resigned immediately, earlier than planned, after he published a column advocating gun control, enraging his readers.” It was, for the record, a fairly mild column, not exactly something written by Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.