Thursday's Mini-Report, 10.12.17

Today's edition of quick hits:

* The death toll in California is at 29: "The winds that have fanned Northern California's wine-country wildfires have calmed, for now, giving firefighters a badly needed break from the 'red flag' conditions that have made this menacing arc of flames so deadly and destructive. But for localities faced with relentless fires that show few signs of being tamed and a mounting death toll that has already reached historically grim heights, any reprieve appears remote."

* The final vote was 353 to 69: "The House, dismissing a smattering of concern for the rising cost, approved a $36.5 billion aid package on Thursday that would provide hurricane and wildfire relief funding while bailing out the financially troubled National Flood Insurance Program."

* Pakistan: "An American woman and three children freed from the custody of a Taliban-linked group are still in Pakistan after her Canadian husband declined to board a plane to the U.S., three American officials said Thursday."

* White House: "President Donald Trump's chief of staff batted down speculation he would be the next member of the administration to go, promising Thursday he was 'not quitting today' and would not be getting fired anytime soon, either."

* Jeff Sessions has a one-track mind: "The Justice Department has given four major U.S. cities a 'last chance' to prove they are not so-called sanctuary cities before losing millions of dollars in critical crime-fighting aid, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Thursday."

* DHS: "President Trump said on Wednesday that he intended to name Kirstjen Nielsen, a top White House aide, to lead the Department of Homeland Security, elevating a former homeland security official in the George W. Bush administration who has lately worked to impose order in Mr. Trump's chaotic West Wing."

* United Nations: "The United States is pulling out of UNESCO because of what Washington sees as its anti-Israel bias and the need for 'fundamental reform' of the U.N. cultural agency, the State Department said."

* The next step in New Jersey should be interesting: "The prosecution on Wednesday rested its case against Sen. Robert Menendez and his co-defendant, Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen, after more than a month of testimony."

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.