Today’s edition of quick hits:
* The latest from Europe: “A passenger plane carrying 150 people crashed in a remote part of the French Alps on Tuesday, officials said, warning that there are not expected to be any survivors…. The French interior ministry confirmed to NBC News that one of the black boxes from Germanwings Flight 4U9525 had been found as rescue teams converged on the crash site.”
* Afghanistan: “President Obama announced Tuesday that the United States and Afghanistan had made changes to the drawdown schedule for the nearly 10,000 U.S. troops remaining in the country. Some troops will remain in Afghanistan longer under the new schedule, but will not serve in combat roles, according to the president. The troops, Obama said, would serve as advisers and trainers of afghan security forces.”
* Yesterday in Iraq: “Multiple bombings in the Iraqi capital killed at least 19 people and wounded 36, as Iraqi forces continued preparing for a large-scale operation to recapture the city of Tikrit from the Islamic State group.”
* Repeal seems like a bad idea: “There are more insured Americans now than there have been in over 15 years, thanks to President Obama’s signature health care law. The number of uninsured U.S. residents fell by 11.4 million since the president signed the Affordable Care Act into law in 2010, according to new figures released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).”
* Responding to a threat: “Security was increased at Monday night’s Princeton-Maryland NCAA tournament women’s basketball game after a phone message was received detailing a threat against President Obama’s niece, according to a person with knowledge of the threat who was not authorized to speak publicly because of security issues.”
* Reform advocates should probably lower expectations: “When it comes to overhauling pot policy in the U.S. Senate, the young pols are running headfirst into the old guard.”
* Does the budget plan from the Congressional Progressive Caucus deserve attention, even if it’ll never be considered in a Republican-led Congress? Actually, yes, it does.
* A step backwards in Utah: “Utah became the only state to allow firing squads for executions Monday when Gov. Gary Herbert signed a law approving the controversial method’s use when no lethal-injection drugs are available.”
* Scientists take a stand: “Three dozen scientists sent an open letter to museums of natural history calling on them to cut ties with the Koch brothers and anyone else with connections to the fossil fuel industry.”
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.