Today's edition of quick hits:
* U.S. diplomatic officials are scrambling in Afghanistan, with Secretary of State John Kerry calling Afghan President Hamid Karzai "twice in the past 24 hours to ease his anger." Kerry's assurances "came hours after peace talks between the United States and the Taliban were thrown into doubt Wednesday -- less than 24 hours after they were announced -- when Karzai angrily suspended his involvement."
* Somalia: "The White House condemned Wednesday's brutal terrorist attack against the United Nations headquarters in West Africa, calling the unprovoked strike a 'despicable' act.... Members of the al Qaeda-affiliated terror group al-Shabab conducted the 'martyrdom' mission against the U.N. facility in the Somali capital of Mogadishu on Wednesday. "
* Bernanke: "The Federal Reserve chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, said on Wednesday that the central bank intended to reduce its monetary stimulus later this year -- and end the bond purchases entirely by the middle of next year -- if unemployment continued to decline at the pace that the Fed expected."
* Odd plot: "Two upstate New York men, one of them said to be a member of the Ku Klux Klan, plotted to build a truck-mounted, industrial-strength X-ray weapon to kill 'enemies of Israel' by poisoning them with radiation, federal authorities said Wednesday. One of them boasted that he could build a 'Hiroshima light switch' and that 'everything with respiration would be dead by morning,' authorities said."
* Brazil: "Protesters blocked roads in Sao Paulo and marched toward a stadium hosting a major international soccer game in Brazil's northeast on Wednesday in a growing wave of nationwide demonstrations against poor public services, inflation and other woes in Latin America's biggest country."
* It was a 61-37 vote on Rand Paul's proposal: "The Senate rejected an amendment to the immigration reform bill that would have required Congress to vote on whether border security measures were being enforced before immigrants were granted legal status."
* TTIP: "You may not be interested in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), but TTIP is interested in you.... No matter how dull it sounds, if it happens, it's going to be a really big deal."
* The AP presses its case: "The Justice Department violated its own regulations when it secretly monitored more than 20 phone lines and seized thousands of reporter phone records following a 2012 government leak, the president of The Associated Press charged Wednesday."
* LePage has a growing enemies list: "Maine Gov. Paul LePage's (R) administration 'will no longer comment in stories published by the Portland Press Herald, the Kennebec Journal and the Morning Sentinel,' the Portland Press Herald reports."
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.