Wednesday’s Mini-Report, 2.18.15

Today’s edition of quick hits:
 
* Ukraine: “Ukrainian forces fought their way out of the embattled town of Debaltseve in the early hours of Wednesday, choosing a risky overnight breakout rather than surrender as they abandoned the town to Russian-backed militants.”
 
* West Virginia: “Cleanup crews began removing the hulks of derailed and burned-out railroad tank cars Tuesday evening, and residents began to get water and electricity back, after a train carrying crude oil derailed, caught fire and exploded in western Fayette County on Monday.”
 
* California: “An explosion and fire ripped through a gasoline processing unit at an Exxon Mobil refinery in Torrance, California, near Los Angeles on Wednesday, slightly injuring four workers and shattering windows of surrounding buildings, authorities said.”
 
* Secret Service: “President Obama has named his acting director and trusted former detail leader Joseph Clancy as the new permanent leader of the Secret Service, the White House said Wednesday.”
 
* A new governor takes the oath of office in Salem: “Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, saying that “we must restore the public trust,” on Wednesday called for tougher ethics laws and the “timely release” of government documents to the public.”
 
* Syria: “The U.S. has decided to provide pickup trucks equipped with machine guns and radios for calling in U.S. airstrikes to some moderate Syrian rebels, defense officials said. But the scope of any bombing hasn’t been worked out – a reflection of the complexities of the battlefield in Syria.”
 
* The right call: “An appeals court has ruled that the birth control coverage required by federal health care reforms does not violate the rights of several religious groups because they can seek reasonable accommodations.”
 
* What could possibly go wrong? “As gun rights advocates push to legalize firearms on college campuses, an argument is taking shape: Arming female students will help reduce sexual assaults.”
 
* What was the school thinking? “The University of Massachusetts Amherst is making an embarrassing mea culpa Wednesday after reports surfaced that the school was banning Iranian nationals from some of its graduate science and engineering programs.”
 
* I originally thought this was some kind of joke. Apparently, it’s real: “The American Thinker – ‘one of my most favorite and thoughtful blogs,’ according to Rush Limbaugh – reports that President Obama flashed a ‘Muslim gang sign’ at an event last year by pointing his index finger upwards.”
 
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.
 

Wednesday's Mini-Report, 2.18.15