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Thursday's Mini-Report

Today's edition of quick hits:

* In Syria, a tenuous, uncertain cease-fire begins, and for now, conditions are far calmer than they were.

* The next step with Tehran: "The six world powers gathering here for nuclear talks beginning Friday are themselves sharply divided over how best to curb Iran's ambitions while defusing the possibility of a disastrous new military confrontation in the volatile Middle East."

* Zimmerman appears in court: "Neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman made his first court appearance Thursday on a second-degree murder charge in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, as a court document provided new details on the prosecution's case."

* For many homeowners in need of relief, the Hardest Hit Fund has been a bitter disappointment.

* Is the Euromess back? Yes. Did it ever really go away? Not really.

* The right may find this inconvenient, but the federal budget deficit appears to be shrinking.

* The UC Davis pepper-spray controversy was the result of "critically flawed" decisions.

* A case worth watching: "Planned Parenthood branches in Texas have filed a federal lawsuit in an effort to block their exclusion from the state's Women's Health Program."

* Why did the White House punt on an ENDA-like executive order? Inquiring minds want to know.

* And it didn't take long at all for Fox News to track down and fire its "mole," who turned out to be a man by the name of Joe Muto. Fox News is reportedly seeking civil and criminal penalties.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.