IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Monday's Mini-Report

Today's edition of quick hits:

* There was another deadly blast in central Damascus today, with a suicide car bomber killing at least 15 people in the financial heart of Syria's capital.

* Afghanistan: "Three American civilians and three U.S. troops were killed in two attacks in Afghanistan on Saturday, officials said, including a powerful blast that struck officials traveling to a school to donate books. Among the dead was the first State Department diplomat to be killed in the country since the war began."

* Also in Afghanistan: "An American military airstrike in eastern Afghanistan near the Pakistan border killed as many as 18 people, including at least one senior Taliban commander but also women and children, raising the thorny issue of civilian casualties for the third time in roughly a week."

* On the Korean peninsula: "North Korea said on Monday that it was withdrawing all its 53,000 workers from an industrial park jointly run with South Korea, casting doubt on the future of the last remaining symbol of inter-Korean reconciliation."

* China, meanwhile, is becoming increasingly forceful in pressuring North Korea to ease tensions.

* Rare unanimous confirmation: "Mary Jo White, a former federal prosecutor known for being tough on mobsters and terrorists, was confirmed Monday by the Senate as the new head of the Securities and Exchange Commission Monday by the Senate.

* Good for Hagel: "Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is recommending that military commanders be stripped of their ability to reverse criminal convictions of service members, a move that comes in response to a congressional uproar over an Air Force officer's decision to overturn a guilty verdict in a sexual assault case, U.S. officials said Monday."

* Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), the 89-year-old senator who's retiring next year, is not returning to Capitol Hill this week with the rest of his colleagues, and "it's unclear when -- or even if -- the veteran lawmaker will be back."

* When it comes to Russian President Vladimir Putin, sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.

* And though I disagreed with David Kuo on a variety of political and theological issues, he was always a first-class mensch. He died far too young and he will be missed.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.