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Wednesday's Mini-Report

Today's edition of quick hits:

* A chilling figure out of Afghanistan: "Nearly nine years passed before American forces reached their first 1,000 dead in the war. The second 1,000 came just 27 months later."

* Action is way overdue: "Minutes of the last meeting of the Federal Reserve reveal that many board members see the need for additional monetary action 'fairly soon' to boost the pace of economic recovery. The minutes also show that the Fed staff and many of its board members expect inflation and interest rates to remain low in 2014 as a result of slack in the economy."

* President Obama slammed Mitt Romney on education policy in Las Vegas today. I watch a whole lot of Obama's speeches, and I'd say he seemed a little more fired up than usual. (Pay particular attention to his tone of voice in the last 90 seconds.)

* Syria: "Syrian regime forces shelled two central Damascus districts Wednesday before troops backed by tanks swept through to carry out house-to-house raids, killing at least 35 suspected rebels, in a major flare-up of fighting in the Syrian capital, activists said."

* Housing: "More Americans purchased previously-owned homes in July, suggesting improvement in the beleaguered housing market over the summer."

* West Nile: "The United States is experiencing one of the biggest outbreaks of West Nile virus in history, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As of Tuesday, 1,118 cases of the mosquito-borne disease had been reported."

* Ahead of schedule: "First lady Michelle Obama announced on Wednesday that the Obama administration has achieved its stated goal for U.S. businesses to commit to training or hiring 100,000 veterans by the end of 2013 'more than a year ahead of schedule.'"

* Mars: "NASA's Curiosity rover made its first drive on Mars today, more than two weeks after its high-stakes landing on the Red Planet. To celebrate the day, as well as what would have been the late science-fiction writer Ray Bradbury's 92nd birthday, NASA said the rover's landing site would be forever known as Bradbury Landing."

* And with a big storm moving West in the Atlantic, officials in Tampa are at least aware of the possibility that a hurricane may hit during the Republican National Convention next week.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.