Good morning, and happy Thursday. Here are some of the stories we’re following today:
1. Ferocious storm menaces California coast
As a storm system that dumped nearly two feet of snow in New England slowly pulls away, the West Coast is set to get battered by its own wild weather. In California, heavy rains and winds of up to 60 mph were headed toward San Francisco and would likely hit the city later Thursday and into Friday. The storm is colorfully called the Pineapple Express. One meteorologist who spoke to NBC News describe the storm as a "river of moisture in the atmosphere that basically originates around Hawaii, and it's like a fully-loaded Super Soaker that just unloads on California for a couple of days straight." Read more in NEWS.
2. Syrian military, ISIS ignore each other on battlefield, data suggests
Syria and ISIS are engaged in a bloody conflict, but new data suggests the two enemies are barely fighting one another. Around 64 percent of verifiable ISIS attacks in Syria this year targeted other non-state groups, an analysis of the IHS Jane's Terrorism and Insurgency Center's database showed. Just 13 percent of the militants' attacks during the same period — the year through Nov. 21 — targeted Syrian security forces. That's a stark contrast to the Sunni extremist group's operations in Iraq, where more than half of ISIS attacks were aimed at security forces. Read more in NEWS.
3. CIA contractor criticizes interrogation report
A 6,000-page Senate report detailing the CIA’s interrogation techniques post-9/11 has incited some outrage over the program’s brutality and lack of effectiveness. But one of two psychologists who helped the spy agency design its program said the report goes overboard. "I wish this report had come out in a bipartisan way," James Mitchell told NBC News. Meanwhile, defense officials said Wednesday they had closed a controversial detention center near Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, meaning the U.S. no longer has prisoners in the country. Read more in NEWS.
4. NFL chief pledges tougher action on domestic violence
The league’s commissioner, Roger Goodell, vowed Wednesday to “quickly” investigate and deal with domestic violence cases after league owners approved a tougher disciplinary policy. Goodell’s handling of a series of high-profile cases, including one involving former Ravens player Ray Rice, has been widely criticized. The tougher disciplinary policy approved by the owners calls for a suspension of six games without pay for violations involving domestic violence or child abuse. "We would like to prevent these incidents from occurring," Goodell told NBC News. Read more in SPORTS.
5. Rick Perry: Running for president isn’t an IQ test
Life experience is better than book smarts when you’re running for president, the Texas governor told NBC News. Perry, who may be eyeing the White House in 2016, said the race is more about a candidate’s resolve than his or her IQ. Perry is looking for redemption after making a few flubs as he ran for the Republican nomination in the last presidential cycle. "I think Americans are really ready for a leader that will give them a great hope about the future," he said. Read more in POLITICS.
6. McDonald’s downsizes menu to boost speed
The fast food chain is slimming down its menu all in the name of efficiency. The company told investors Wednesday it’s cutting eight items from its menu and reducing the number of extra value meals from 16 to 11. McDonald’s has struggled recently to turn around its performance amid increased competition in the restaurant industry as other chains, such as Chipotle, have gained share. Read more in BUSINESS.
And now this …
What a wheely big deal! A pair of San Francisco inventors are working on an electric bike that can run 50 miles with a single charge.