Friday’s Mini-Report

FRIDAY’S MINI-REPORT…. Today’s edition of quick hits:

* Japan: “Japanese engineers battled on Friday to cool spent fuel rods and restore electric power to pumps at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station as new challenges seemed to accumulate by the hour, with steam billowing from one reactor and damage at another apparently making it difficult to lower temperatures.”

* Libya: “Trying to outmaneuver Western military intervention, Moammar Gadhafi’s government declared a cease-fire on Friday against the rebel uprising faltering against his artillery, tanks and warplanes. The opposition said shells rained down well after the announcement and accused the Libyan leader of lying.”

* Good news about the missing journalists: “Four New York Times journalists missing in Libya since Tuesday were captured by forces loyal to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi and will be released Friday, his son, Seif al-Islam el-Qaddafi, told Christiane Amanpour in an ABC News interview.”

* Yemen: “Yemen’s pro-democracy protests exploded into violence on Friday, as government supporters opened fire on demonstrators in the capital, killing at least 45 people and wounding more than 200. The bloodshed failed to disperse the angry throng of protesters, the largest seen so far in a month of steadily rising demonstrations calling for Mr. Saleh’s ouster.”

* Pakistan: “Just one day after a CIA contractor was absolved by a Pakistani court of a double murder charge, Pakistan and U.S. relations were plunged into a new crisis Thursday over a CIA-directed drone missile strike that Pakistan said killed at least 36 civilians.” (thanks to R.P. for the tip)

* Fiscal conservatives in the GOP think we’re broke and can’t afford domestic priorities. These same folks aren’t worried about funding military operations in Libya.

* President Obama signed the temporary budget extension this morning, giving policymakers three weeks to strike a deal or the government will shut down.

* I’m glad to see Reid take a hard line on this: “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Thursday drew a firm line with Republicans, declaring that a controversial Planned Parenthood measure will not be included in any deal on the budget.”

* I’m very glad I wasn’t asked about reality TV shows on my SAT.

* I’ve heard some good defenses of the teaching profession. I’ve never heard one quite as strong as this one.

* Ann Coulter — remember her? — is apparently still around saying ridiculous things. Last night, for example, she reflected on the crisis in Japan and told Fox News that “radiation is actually good for you.” (thanks to Joanne for the tip)

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.