Wednesday’s Mini-Report

Updated
 

Today’s edition of quick hits:

* President Obama’s in Israel for the first time since 2008, and he held a joint press conference this afternoon with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Of particular interest was Obama’s assertion that “there is still time” to find a diplomatic solution with Iran.

* Syria: “President Obama said Wednesday that the United States was investigating claims that chemical weapons had been used in Syria the day before and that he was ‘deeply skeptical’ of the Syrian government’s assertion that the insurgency had deployed such weapons.”

* It looks like there won’t be a government shutdown: “A short-term funding measure that would ensure the government continues operating beyond this month cleared the Senate Wednesday, awaiting only final House passage on Thursday to avert any possibility of a shut-down.”

* Quantitative easing will continue: “Federal Reserve officials voted Wednesday to continue pumping money into the economy and keep interest rates near zero as they wrapped up their regular policy-making meeting amid fresh signs that their massive stimulus effort is gaining traction.”

* Cyprus: “Banks in Cyprus will remain closed until Tuesday as the country tries to avert financial meltdown after rejecting the terms of a controversial bailout, turning instead to Russia for help.”

* Guantanamo: “A hunger strike by detainees who have been held for years without trial at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has grown to involve at least 25 prisoners, the Defense Department disclosed Wednesday.”

* I hope this won’t cause another GOP freak-out: “A federal grand jury in New York has indicted a Saudi native on charges of joining al Qaeda in fighting U.S. forces in Afghanistan and conspiring to bomb U.S. diplomatic facilities in Nigeria. Ibrahim Suleiman Adnan Adam Harun, also known as ‘Spin Ghul,’ was extradited from Italy to the United States in October.”

* I’m interested in hearing much more about the Obama administration’s reported plans to shift control of its drone program from the CIA to the Defense Department.

* Obama invited House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who is Jewish, to join him on his trip to Israel, but Cantor declined, citing a busy congressional schedule.

* And British Prime Minister David Cameron’s austerity agenda, which American conservatives remain so fond of, isn’t just failing to help the British economy; it’s also failing in its purported goals of quickly reducing the nation’s deficit.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Wednesday's Mini-Report

Updated