Monday's Mini-Report, 10.16.17

Today's edition of quick hits:

* Iraq: "After weeks of threats and posturing, the Iraqi government began a military assault on Monday to curb the independence drive by the nation's Kurdish minority, wresting oil fields and a contested city from separatists pushing to break away from Iraq."

* Somalia: "A huge truck bomb blast in Somalia's capital has killed 276 people and wounded roughly 300 more, the country's information minister said Sunday. It is believed to be the single deadliest attack ever in the Horn of Africa nation."

"Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, "five years a Taliban captive after abandoning his post in Afghanistan, pleaded guilty Monday to desertion and misbehavior-before-the-enemy charges that could put him in prison for life."

* Austria's "right-wing parties made strong gains in parliamentary elections on Sunday, after a campaign in which the main contenders competed with tough stances on immigration."

* That's quite a sentence: "Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Sunday again declined to clearly say he hadn't called President Donald Trump 'a moron,' but he did deny a Republican senator's claim that he had been castrated as the nation's top diplomat."

* Duterte: "President Trump will meet with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte during a marathon trip to Asia next month, the White House announced Monday."

* Kirstjen Nielsen, Trump's new choice to lead the Department of Homeland Security, lead a DHS team during Hurricane Katrina that "was widely criticized for its passive and clumsy response."

* Up until last month, Maj. Gen. Joseph Harrington commanded U.S. Army Africa: "The Army has sacked a two-star general who sent flirty messages to the wife of an enlisted soldier at his post in Italy, including one in which he referred to the woman as a 'HOTTIE.'"

* IRS: "After attempting to explain why it awarded a $7 million sole-source contract to Equifax after the company experienced one of the largest data breaches in history, the IRS has opted to temporarily suspend the deal."

* SCOTUS: "Sources who've spoken to the president about the Supreme Court say he tells them he thinks he'll have appointed four justices by the end of his first term. 'It's all about the numbers for him,' one source said."

* Reversing the Arpaio legacy in Arizona: "An echoing air-conditioned room that once gave respite to inmates at Maricopa County's infamous Tent City jail is being transformed into a rehabilitation center for those dealing with substance abuse and opioid addiction, Sheriff Paul Penzone announced Friday."

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.