THURSDAY’S MINI-REPORT…. Today’s edition of quick hits:
* The death toll in the Southeast grows following yesterday’s devastating storms: “Firefighters searched one splintered pile after another for survivors Thursday, combing the remains of houses and neighborhoods pulverized by the nation’s deadliest tornado outbreak in almost four decades. At least 280 people were killed across six states — more than two-thirds of them in Alabama, where large cities bore the half-mile-wide scars the twisters left behind.”
* President Obama will be in Alabama tomorrow, meeting with locals and helping make sure the emergency response is on track.
* Terror in Morocco: “A massive terrorist bombing tore through a tourist cafe in the bustling heart of Marrakech’s old quarter Thursday, killing at least 11 foreigners and three Moroccans in the country’s deadliest attack in eight years.”
* Libya: “Susan E. Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, told the U.N. Security Council today that there is another good reason to confront Libyan forces. Moammar Qaddafi has reportedly been passing out tablets of Viagra to his front line troops to help them rape women.”
* As if the GDP report wasn’t discouraging enough: “More people sought unemployment benefits last week, the second rise in three weeks, a sign of the slow and uneven jobs recovery. Applications for unemployment benefits jumped 25,000 to a seasonally adjusted 429,000 for the week ending April 23, the Labor Department said Thursday. That’s the highest total since late January.”
* Lara Logan speaks on the brutality of her assault: “Logan, a CBS News correspondent, was in Tahrir square preparing a report for ’60 Minutes’ on Feb. 11 when the celebratory mood suddenly turned threatening. She was ripped away from her producer and bodyguard by a group of men who tore at her clothes and groped and beat her body. ‘For an extended period of time, they raped me with their hands,’ Ms. Logan said in an interview with The New York Times. She estimated that the attack lasted for about 40 minutes and involved 200 to 300 men.”
* Fascinating report from Zach Carter and Ryan Grim on swipe fees. It may seem like a dull topic, but the fight between retailers and financial institutions is an important story about lobbying and the disregard for consumers.
* Speaking of interesting stories, Spencer Ackerman has a rather remarkable story on his experience with a strange person billed as the “1st Lady of Missiles.”
* American women, we now know, are better educated than American men. Now if only they were paid equally, we’d have some even more meaningful progress.
* And finally, CBS News’ Bob Schieffer doesn’t do much in the way of commentary, so it was refreshing for him to suggest that Donald Trump is part of “an ugly strain of racism.” Good for Schieffer.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.