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Monday's Mini-Report

State Department photo

Today's edition of quick hits:

* Secretary of State Hillary Clinton returns to work: "She was presented with a gift from her staff: protective head gear -- a football helmet with the State Department logo on the side as well as a football jersey with the number 112 on it, for the number of countries the secretary visited during her four-year tenure."

* Another Aurora shooting: "Four people, including a gunman who was suspected of taking hostages inside a house in Aurora, Colo, died Saturday after a standoff with the police, the authorities said."

* Good: "The Supreme Court refused to step into the emotionally charged debate over embryonic stem cell research Monday, declining to hear a case that sought to stop government funding on ethical grounds."

* Also good: "People discharged from the military under 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' since November 10, 2004 who had only received one-half separation pay following their discharge but who otherwise would have received full pay now will be entitled to that full separation pay."

* Syria: "In a rare public appearance Sunday, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad dashed hopes that a negotiated settlement to the nation's civil war would be feasible anytime soon, delivering a speech in which he offered no hint that he is prepared to surrender power, negotiate with his opponents or halt his crackdown on armed rebels."

* China: "Hundreds of people gathered outside the headquarters of a newspaper office in southern China on Monday to show their support for journalists who had declared a strike to protest what they called overbearing censorship by provincial propaganda officials."

* For reasons that don't seem to make sense, a Republican state lawmaker in Connecticut condemned Gabby Giffords' Friday visit to Newtown. The state representative, DebraLee Hovey (R), later apologized.

* Dylan Matthews has the saddest graph you'll see today.

* And for all the flack he gets for appearing goofy at times, Vice President Biden sure is an effective policymaker.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.