Tuesday’s Mini-Report, 12.27.16

Today’s edition of quick hits:

* Japan: “Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s rare visit with President Barack Obama to Pearl Harbor on Tuesday seems aimed at sending a message that former enemies can mend bonds and form powerful alliances that outlive the devastating effects of war.”

* Italy: “It was a routine identity check, the kind Italy has relied on to stem the flow of illegal migration deeper into Europe. But the man stopped by two police officers around 3 a.m. Friday outside the northern city of Milan was anything but an ordinary drifter. He turned out to be perhaps Europe’s most wanted man, Anis Amri, the chief suspect in the deadly terrorist attack on a Christmas market in Berlin that killed 12 people.”

* A Russian plane “with more than 90 on board – including members of a famous military band – crashed into the Black Sea on its way to Syria soon after takeoff from the resort city of Sochi on Sunday.”

* Ebola: “In a scientific triumph that will change the way the world fights a terrifying killer, an experimental Ebola vaccine tested on humans in the waning days of the West African epidemic has been shown to provide 100 percent protection against the lethal disease.”

* Personnel news: “Donald Trump on Tuesday announced that Thomas P. Bossert would serve in the newly created position of Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism.”

* Police in Australia “have detained five men suspected of planning a series of Christmas Day attacks using explosives, knives and a gun in the heart of the country’s second-largest city, officials said Friday.”

* ”Booking fees” seem difficult to defend: “An unusual coalition of civil rights organizations, criminal defense lawyers and conservative and libertarian groups have challenged these sorts of policies, saying they confiscate private property without constitutional protections and lock poor people into a cycle of fines, debts and jail.”

* A case worth watching: “Penn State’s Michael Mann will be permitted to proceed with a lawsuit against writers from the conservative National Review and the Competitive Enterprise Institute after an appeals court ruling in his favor Thursday. Mann, the scientist behind the ‘hockey stick’ graph, has been a frequent target of climate change deniers’ harassment.”

* Some people believe weird things: “A widely shared story claiming President Barack Obama ordered a ban on Christmas cards sent to the military is not true.”

* Newt Gingrich is confident Republicans will be able to repeal the Affordable Care Act, “but we’re going to keep key things that people really like.” Yeah, good luck with that.

* Moral relativism, circa 2016: “A South Carolina House member who rebuked his colleagues in a Christmas card for lacking morals when they took down the Confederate flag is accused of beating his wife and pointing a gun at her, deputies said.”

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.


Tuesday's Mini-Report, 12.27.16