Today's edition of quick hits:
: "A strong earthquake hit Tuesday morning off the east coast of Japan near Fukushima, the site of the 2011 earthquake-spawned tsunami that killed almost 19,000 people, Japanese and U.S. agencies said."
* Standing Rock
: "Authorities on Monday defended their decision to douse protesters with water during a skirmish in subfreezing weather near the Dakota Access oil pipeline, and organizers said at least 17 protesters were taken to the hospital -- including some who were treated for hypothermia."
: "A suicide bomber struck a crowded gathering of Shiite Muslims in the Afghan capital on Monday, officials said, killing at least 30 people in the latest assault against religious minorities here to be claimed by militants loyal to the Islamic State."
* The trouble for Republicans is, the Iran deal
is a good policy that's working: "The Obama administration is considering new measures in its final months in office to strengthen the landmark nuclear agreement with Iran, senior U.S. officials said, with President-elect Donald Trump's first appointments foreshadowing an increasingly rocky road for the controversial deal."
* With any luck, Trump won't turn the alliance
into a protection racket: "U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg agreed on Friday on the Western alliance's 'enduring importance,' NATO said, striving to reassure Europe that Washington will remain committed to its security."
* An under-appreciated story
: "Mary Jo White, the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, announced Monday that she will step down two years before the end of her term, clearing the way for President-elect Donald Trump to reshape the way Wall Street is regulated."
* Arctic drilling
: "Further cementing President Barack Obama's climate legacy, the Department of the Interior announced on Friday its intent to ban oil drilling in the U.S. section of the Arctic Ocean for the next five years, citing environmental risks. The plan blocks the sale of new offshore oil and gas leases in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, north of Alaska, between 2017 and 2022." read more