Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Turkey: “A Syrian suicide bomber set off an explosion in the historic central district of Istanbul on Tuesday, killing 10 people and wounding at least 15 others, in an attack that the Turkish government attributed to the Islamic State. All of the dead were foreign citizens; eight were German and one was Peruvian.”
* Hoping for a quick resolution: “Iranian military forces seized two U.S. Navy boats Tuesday and are holding them in custody on Iran’s Farsi Island in the middle of the Persian Gulf, senior U.S. officials told NBC News…. One senior official told NBC News the Iranians understand it was a mistake and have agreed to release the Americans in international waters within hours.”
* Done deal: Louisiana became the 31st state to expand Medicaid after Gov. John Bel Edwards signed an executive order Tuesday (Jan. 12) that will make more than 300,000 people eligible for the federal health care program.
* The lowest price since the crash: “Oil fell briefly below $30 a barrel on Tuesday, extending a relentless selloff that has wiped almost 20 percent off prices this year amid deepening concerns about fragile Chinese demand and the absence of output restraint.”
* Cologne: “Tensions in Germany, already high over the more than 1 million migrants and refugees who entered the country last year, have gotten exponentially worse since the disturbing wave of possibly coordinated violent assaults on women in Cologne on New Year’s Eve. Eighteen of the 31 people identified as suspects in the attacks, which included hundreds of sexual assaults and robberies, were asylum-seekers.”
* Iraq: “More than 16 months after Iraqi and Kurdish forces reclaimed Mosul Dam from Islamic State fighters, the structure faces a new threat: the danger that it may collapse because of insufficient maintenance, overwhelming major communities downstream with floodwaters.”
* A not-so-subtle message over Korean skies: “A powerful U.S. B-52 bomber flew low over South Korea on Sunday, a clear show of force from the United States as a Cold War-style standoff deepened between its ally Seoul and North Korea following Pyongyang’s fourth nuclear test.”
* FOIA: “The House on Monday passed legislation that would create the most sweeping reforms to federal open records laws in nearly a decade. Approved by voice vote, the measure would limit exemptions under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that now allow federal agencies to hold back information.”
* Luis Felipe Restrepo’s judicial nomination was delayed for 425 days. He was confirmed yesterday by a vote of 82 to 6. If Restrepo faced so little opposition, why was his nomination delayed for such a ridiculously long time? Because Senate Republicans too often like playing reckless games.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.