Tuesday’s Mini-Report, 8.12.14

Today’s edition of quick hits:
 
* Iraq: “After two days of defiant speeches and special security units deployed in the Iraqi capital, raising the specter of a coup, Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki appeared to back away on Tuesday from his implied threat to use force to stay in power, issuing a statement saying that the army should stay out of politics.”
 
* More out of Iraq: “The UN says up to 35,000 refugees have escaped Iraq’s Mount Sinjar and are ‘exhausted’ and ‘dehydrated.’ The refugees, mostly from the minority Yazidi sect, managed to reach northern Iraq’s Kurdistan region through Syria over the past three days.”
 
* Ukraine: “An enormous Russian convoy of about 280 trucks carrying humanitarian aid has left Moscow for southeastern Ukraine, Russian television and news agencies reported Tuesday. The Russian aid has been an object of suspicion for Ukraine and its Western allies, which accuse the Kremlin of trying to use it as a stealth method to invade its smaller neighbor with armed forces to support the besieged separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk.”
 
* Ferguson: “The parents of slain teen Michael Brown Jr. on Tuesday joined national civil rights leaders in Ferguson, Missouri, to appeal to the community for calm following two nights of clashes with police – and to demand that authorities release the name of the officer responsible for Saturday’s fatal shooting.”
 
* President Obama this afternoon issued a written statement on Brown’s death. It read in part, “I know the events of the past few days have prompted strong passions, but as details unfold, I urge everyone in Ferguson, Missouri, and across the country, to remember this young man through reflection and understanding.  We should comfort each other and talk with one another in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds.  Along with our prayers, that’s what Michael and his family, and our broader American community, deserve.”
 
* U.S. policy in Syria: “President Obama got angry at lawmakers who suggested in a private meeting that he should have armed the Syrian rebels, calling the criticism ‘horses**t.’”
 
* W.H.O.: “The World Health Organization on Tuesday said it has endorsed the use of experimental drugs to help treat victims of the Ebola virus, which more than 1,800 people have contracted in several countries in Africa.”
 
* Social Security’s finances are pretty stable “thanks in part to the more than 3.1 million people who are working and paying taxes in the U.S. using fake or expired social security numbers. Every year, undocumented immigrants have collectively paid as much as $13 billion into the system while only receiving $1 billion in benefits in return.”
 
* Keystone: “Building the Keystone XL pipeline could lead to as much as four times more greenhouse gas emissions than the State Department has estimated for the controversial project, according to a new study published in Nature Climate Change that relies on different calculations about oil consumption. “
 
* The fact that Mikey Dickerson will be in charge of this is a good sign: “A core part of the President’s Management Agenda is improving the value we deliver to citizens through Federal IT. That’s why, today, the Administration is formally launching the U.S. Digital Service. The Digital Service will be a small team made up of our country’s brightest digital talent that will work with agencies to remove barriers to exceptional service delivery and help remake the digital experience that people and businesses have with their government.”
 
* So long, Donald Sterling: “The NBA announced that Steve Ballmer’s $2-billion purchase of the Clippers had closed on Tuesday, making the former Microsoft CEO the undisputed owner of the team.”
 
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.
 

Tuesday's Mini-Report, 8.12.14