Good morning on this Friday. Here are some of the stories we’re following at NBC News:
1. Obama OKs airstrikes against ISIS if necessary
President Barack Obama has authorized airstrikes to fight the Islamic militant group known as ISIS in Iraq. The United States has also dropped food and water for tens of thousands of Iraqis who have been trapped by ISIS on a mountain. “America is coming to help,” the president said on Thursday night. “We can act responsibly to prevent an act of genocide.” Read more in NEWS.
2. Iselle downgraded as it prepares to slam Hawaii
Hurricane Iselle has been downgraded to a tropical storm as it approaches Hawaii and is expected to make landfall Friday morning Eastern time. Already, thousands of people are without power, although Gov. Neil Abercrombie says that the state is ready. A second storm, Hurricane Julio, is packing 115 mph winds and is projected to barrel just north of the islands on Sunday. Read more in NEWS.
3. Fighting returns to Gaza
It took only seconds for fighting to resume after the expiration of a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Israel says at least 18 rockets have been fired from Gaza, and the Israeli military says it’s targeting “terror sites” across Gaza. Some people who live near the Israeli-Gaza border tell NBC News that they’re fleeing their homes in anticipation of Israeli bombardment. Read more in NEWS.
4. WHO says Ebola is a worldwide emergency
The World Health Organization says the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is now an international public health emergency. The virus has killed almost 1,000 people. In the United States, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told Congress on Thursday that it could be a year or more before experimental Ebola drugs are approved. Read more in NEWS.
5. Government taking over Malaysia Airlines
The government of Malaysia is taking over Malaysia Airlines. It already had financial problems, then was hit by two disasters, the disappearance of Flight 370 in March and the downing of Flight 17 over Ukraine in July. The investment arm of the Malaysian government says it plans to overhaul the airline. Stockholders are being bought out for about 8 cents a share. Read more in NEWS.
6. Timeout for tiny White House intruder
There was a security breach on the White House lawn. And the penalty for the intruder — a stern timeout. The Secret Service had to spring into action on Thursday night after a toddler squeezed through a fence. The tot was returned to his parents. He wasn’t detained for questioning: The Secret Service points out that it would have had to wait until he learned to talk. Read more in NEWS.
… what’s trending today?
A lawyer for Oscar Pistorius is making his final argument at the Olympic sprinter’s murder trial in South Africa. The defense says that police may have tampered with evidence after Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, whom he says he mistook for an intruder. The defense is portraying Pistorius as a vulnerable, loving boyfriend. Read more in NEWS.