Today's edition of quick hits:
* Yemen: "The affiliate of Al Qaeda in Yemen is threatening to kill an American journalist it is holding hostage by the end of the week unless its demands are met, according to a video posted Wednesday night on YouTube. The hostage identifies himself as Luke Somers, 33, a photojournalist who was kidnapped in Sana, the Yemeni capital, in September 2013."
* Ohio: "The U.S. Department of Justice found 'reasonable cause' to believe the Cleveland police department has routinely used excessive force, following the conclusion of a civil rights investigation launched last year to examine hundreds of cases, Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday. An independent monitor will oversee new police reforms in the city to ensure that law enforcement operates appropriately, Holder said."
* NYC: "New Yorkers upset by a grand jury's decision not to indict a police officer in the chokehold death of an unarmed man should 'take that pain and frustration and work for change,' Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday. 'The relationship between police and community has to change,' he said."
* HRC: "In her strongest comments yet this year on criminal justice, Hillary Clinton called for grappling with 'hard truths' about racial discrimination in the justice system, and said 'weapons of war' have no place on the streets of American communities."
* Hard truths: "Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday that hundreds of Russian soldiers have been fighting and dying inside Ukraine, the first time that he has spoken so pointedly about the Russian military's casualty toll in the east. His comments, at a meeting here of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe, appeared calculated to puncture the Kremlin's carefully crafted narrative that Russian forces have not intervened in the conflict."
* Given what we saw in the 1990s, it's worth watching this one: "In a stunning return to siege-style violence in the Russian region of Chechnya, well-armed Islamist militants seized an empty school and office building Thursday before an hours-long shootout that pushed the death toll to at least 20, authorities said."
* This guy really should go enjoy some quiet time for a while: "Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said on Wednesday that if Eric Garner had been healthier, he would not have died after a police officer placed him in a chokehold."
* Dear congressional Republicans: "2014 is on track to be the planet's warmest year since records began in the late 1800s, according to the World Meteorological Organization."
* The shake-up at The New Republic is a pretty big deal in the media world.
* Where did that awful "cromnibus" label come from? Dylan Scott investigates to discover the source of this "unholy congressional creation [which] is populating news reports and press releases."
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.