Good morning, and happy Tuesday. Here are some of the stories we're following today:
1. Baltic states remain on edge ahead of Obama visit
There’s growing concern among a trio of tiny nations — Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania — that Russia could threaten their existence the same way it has been intervening in Ukraine. President Obama will meet with those nations’ leaders this week to reassure the region that NATO will have their backs in the event of any similar Russian provocations. While Russian President Vladimir Putin is unlikely to wage an all-out military campaign against the countries, experts say, Russia could hit the former Soviet republics with cyber-attacks and other forms of “soft power.” Read more in NEWS.
2. U.S. targets al-Shabaab terrorists with airstrikes
The airstrikes began Monday against al-Shabaab, a day after the Islamist extremists attacked government facilities in Mogadishu. Information was scant about the strikes, and the Pentagon said it was assessing the results of the operation. U.S. officials told NBC News that a military drone launched missiles in southern Somalia, with al-Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane believed to have been the target. Military and intelligence officials were still working Monday night to confirm who may have been killed. Read more in NEWS.
3. Britain seeks to seize passports of ISIS threats
The country’s prime minister, David Cameron, announced plans to give police temporary powers to seize the passports of citizens believed to be traveling to Iraq and Syria to fight for the Islamic militants ISIS. As many as 500 Britons could already be doing so, officials say. Meanwhile, the United Nations said its human rights investigators will travel to Iraq to look into atrocities against civilians by ISIS. At a NATO summit in Wales this week, Obama will try to persuade more nations to join the fight against the terror network. Read more in NEWS.
4. Hacked celebrity pics raise questions about online storage
The FBI said Monday it’s investigating how hackers stole nude pictures of potentially dozens of female celebrities and posted some of them online. While some of the celebs say the pictures aren’t of them, others — including Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence and actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead — are speaking out about the purported pics. Lawrence’s team has threatened to prosecute anyone who posts the images. While it’s still unclear exactly how the pictures could have been stolen, the idea of putting such sensitive data on online services — ripe for the picking by hackers — remains a concern. Read more in TECH.
5. Israel announces appropriation of West Bank land
The decision to appropriate 988 acres of land near Bethlehem was met with condemnation from Palestinian leaders and the international community over the weekend. “We urge the government of Israel to reverse this decision,” a U.S. State Department official said in Washington, calling the move “counterproductive” to efforts to achieve a two-state solution. The already settled West Bank is territory the Palestinians have wanted for a permanent settlement. Read more in NEWS.
6. Search continues for teens who escaped from jail
As many as 32 teens managed to crawl under a fence in the Woodland Hills Youth Development Center in Nashville on Monday night. While many of them were caught, another 17 remained on the loose early Tuesday. The escape happened when a large group of teens at the center went out into the yard all at once shortly after a shift change, state officials said. Most of the teens have at least three felonies on their criminal records. Read more in NEWS.
… What’s trending today?
Honey, I shrunk the linebacker. Cleveland Browns rookie Christian Kirksey may be 6-foot-2 and 235 pounds in real life, but in part of the video game, “Madden 15,” he’s shown as being about 1-foot-2 compared to the other players.
Kirksey was apprised of the glitch, and took to Twitter on Monday to respond: