Tuesday’s Mini-Report, 3.17.15

Today’s edition of quick hits:
 
* Israeli elections: “Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is running neck-and-neck with opposition leader Isaac Herzog in Tuesday’s national elections, according to exit polls released by the country’s major television stations.”
 
* Netanyahu, it’s worth noting, has already declared victory.
 
* Unconfirmed report out of Syria: “Syria’s state news agency says the country’s air defense forces have shot down a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft…. The pilotless surveillance drone was shot down close to the border of Turkey in Ibn Hani district, a source told CBS News.”
 
* The previously bipartisan human-trafficking bill is stuck: “On Tuesday, a measure that would create a victims’ fund, using fines collected from perpetrators of sex trafficking, failed to clear a procedural hurdle, leaving a bill that once had majority support in Congress in limbo.”
 
* More on this on tonight’s show: “Lawmakers from both parties lashed out at the newly appointed director of the Secret Service on Tuesday, accusing him of doing little to restore the public’s faith in an agency jolted by embarrassing scandals and security breaches.”
 
* ISIS: “A former U.S. Air Force mechanic has been charged with attempting to go to Syria to join ISIS, authorities said Tuesday. Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh was indicted Monday by a grand jury in Brooklyn on two charges, including attempting to provide material support to a terror organization.”
 
* Yemen: “The Pentagon is unable to account for more than $500 million in U.S. military aid given to Yemen amid fears that the weaponry, aircraft and equipment is at risk of being seized by Iranian-backed rebels or al-Qaeda, according to U.S. officials.”

* Afghanistan: “The Obama administration is abandoning plans to cut the number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan to 5,500 by year’s end, bowing to military leaders who want to keep more troops there, including many into the 2016 fighting season, U.S. officials say.”
 
* Poll on Iran letter: “Americans broadly back direct negotiations with Iran about that country’s nuclear program, according to a new CNN/ORC poll…. [A]bout half (49%) say some Republican senators went too far by sending a letter to Iran’s leaders.”
 
* Former Vice President Dick Cheney has now been reduced to whining about President Obama “playing the race card.”
 
* Curtis Gans: ”a political activist who helped upend the 1968 presidential election with his role in the ‘Dump Johnson’ movement that pushed incumbent Lyndon B. Johnson from the race, and who interpreted many subsequent campaigns as a leading scholar of voter turnout, died March 15 at a hospital in Frederick, Md. He was 77. The cause was metastatic lung cancer, said his son, Aaron Gans.”
 
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.
 

Tuesday's Mini-Report, 3.17.15