Good morning, and happy Tuesday! Here are some of the stories we're following today:
1. U.S. begins offensive against ISIS near Baghdad
The U.S. military ramped up its airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq, dropping bombs near Baghdad Monday as part of the new effort to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the militant group. The operation was more offensive in nature and was not triggered by any advance of ISIS toward the Iraqi capital, a defense official told NBC News. Meanwhile, one important facet of the fighting that the U.S. will have to consider is the cost of this new “war.” In the past, America has split the tab with several countries. Now, nearly 40 nations have agreed to contribute in some way to the global fight against ISIS, but the specifics are still unclear. Read more in NEWS.
2. Obama to deploy military personnel in Ebola fight
President Obama is expected to announce a plan Tuesday to divert $500 million for American troops to travel to West Africa and help tackle the Ebola crisis. They’ll distribute much-needed health supplies, train health-care workers and build treatment clinics. The World Health Organization, local leaders and aid groups in West Africa have all said the epidemic is raging out of control, with more than 4,780 people infected this year and some 2,400 of them now dead. Meanwhile, Congressional leaders will hold a joint hearing on Ebola on Tuesday to talk about the epidemic. Read more in HEALTH.
3. ‘It’s horrible’: Wildfires decimates California town
A rapidly growing wildfire near the Oregon border is threatening to wipe out one community. Some 100 homes were destroyed near the town of Weed on late Monday, as the blaze jumped from 3,900 acres to 8,600. About 2,000 people were ordered to evacuate. “It’s horrible," one resident told The Associated Press. “I’ve got tears in my heart for all these people that I know who lost their homes.” The so-called Boles Fire is one of a dozen major wildfires burning through mostly Northern California. Read more in NEWS.
4. NFL forms coalition to shape domestic violence policy
With the Ray Rice controversy still overshadowing the NFL, league officials said they are putting together a “social responsibility” team made up of four women to oversee domestic violence and sexual assault policies. “Our goal is to make a real difference on these and other issues. We know that we will be judged by our actions and their effectiveness,” said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who’s facing calls to resign over his handling of the scandal. Not everyone’s convinced Goodell can adequately shepherd such policies effectively. “This just looks like Crisis Communications 101,” said one women’s advocacy group. Read more in SPORTS.
5. Adrian Peterson denies reports of second abuse case
The Minnesota Vikings running back is returning to practice this week and is expected to play Sunday after he was indicted last week for allegedly abusing his 4-year-old son with a switch. Peterson’s lawyer continued to defend him Monday against reports that he was also investigated for an abuse allegation involving one of his other sons. But the damage may already be done: Radisson Hotels, which was founded in Minneapolis and still has its headquarters in a suburb, said Monday night it was suspending its sponsorship of the Vikings “while we evaluate the facts and circumstances.” Whether Peterson’s personal endorsement deals are pulled remains to be seen. Read more in SPORTS.
6. Did Snowden have an impact on jihadists hiding online?
Worries that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden may have influenced terror groups to seek more sophisticated encryption software to hide their online activity are unfounded. An analysis by Flashpoint Global Partners, a private security firm, examined the frequency of releases and updates of encryption software by jihadi groups and mentions of encryption in jihadi social media forums to assess the impact of Snowden’s information. It found no correlation in either measure to Snowden’s leaks about the NSA’s surveillance techniques, which became public beginning June 5, 2013. Read more in INVESTIGATIONS.