Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Ukraine: “A highly publicized Ukrainian Army operation to retake control of Slovyansk and other eastern cities from pro-Russia insurgents appeared to falter badly on Wednesday, with one column of armored vehicles abandoned to militant separatists and another ground to a halt by unarmed protesters blocking its path.”
* Related news: “The White House said Wednesday it had prepared new sanctions against Russia over the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, although it stopped short of detailing what or when new penalties may be levied. ‘It is accurate to say we have additional sanctions prepared and we will impose them as appropriate,’ White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One.”
* South Korea: “Almost 300 people are missing after a South Korean passenger ferry capsized off the country’s southern coast, officials said Wednesday, with fears growing that the death toll could rise sharply amid a protracted and challenging rescue operation. As of Wednesday evening, with the ferry almost totally submerged, at least four persons were confirmed dead and 291 remained unaccounted for.”
* Iran: “The United Nations will release a report this week certifying that Iran’s ability to make a nuclear bomb has been greatly reduced because it has diluted half of its material that can be turned most quickly into weapons-grade uranium, diplomats said Tuesday.”
* EPA wins big at DC Circuit Court of Appeals: “The Environmental Protection Agency took home a sweeping victory Tuesday when an appeals court upheld the agency’s pollution limits for mercury and air toxics from power plants.”
* Worth keeping an eye on: “Michael R. Bloomberg, making his first major political investment since leaving office, plans to spend $50 million this year building a nationwide grass-roots network to motivate voters who feel strongly about curbing gun violence, an organization he hopes can eventually outmuscle the National Rifle Association.”
* Abu Ghraib: “The Iraqi government said Tuesday that it had closed the Abu Ghraib prison, the site of a notorious prisoner abuse scandal during the American occupation of Iraq, because of fears that it could be overrun by Sunni insurgents who have gained strength over the last year.”
* It’s nothing short of stunning to see the mayor of Marionville, Mo., offer comments in support of the white supremacist accused of killing three people at Jewish-affiliated facilities last weekend.
* Matt Yglesias has a good look at the White House’s new job-training initiative.
* It’s hardly surprising the courts would want no part of this: “An appeals court has rejected a long-shot lawsuit seeking to invalidate the Senate’s filibuster rule as a violation of the Constitution’s implicit principle of governance by the majority.”
* The severity of Wisconsin Republicans cracking down on early-voting opportunities is perhaps best captured in a chart.
* CNN keeps using that chyron, “Breaking News.” I don’t think it means what they think it means.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.