Good morning, and happy Tuesday! Here are some of the stories we're following today:
1. U.S. moves military personnel to Iraq, readies warships
President Barack Obama formally notified Congress on Monday that he has ordered up to 275 personnel to be “equipped for combat” in Iraq. The U.S. has already sent 170 military personnel to protect Americans and the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, where Sunni insurgents are threatening to seize the capital. Obama said last week that “I don’t rule anything out” as Iraq has spiraled out of control amid Sunni-Shiite sectarian violence in recent days. At the same time, he insisted that the U.S. wouldn’t send ground troops to fight the militants. Obama’s critics say he should have better anticipated the unrest in Iraq. Read more in NEWS.
2. Rare twin tornadoes cut deadly path in Nebraska
The tiny town of Pilger was ground zero for a pair of twisters that touched down simultaneously Monday afternoon, killing one person and critically injuring at least 16 others. “It was like God dragged two fingernails across the land,” one man told a local newspaper. Half of the town was wiped out as crews continued scrambling early today to find people trapped beneath rubble. Meanwhile, a tornado watch remained in effect this morning in the Chicago and Milwaukee metro areas. Read more in NEWS.
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3. U.S. ekes out gutsy World Cup win against Ghana
The Americans made an impressive first-game debut Monday, taking down Ghana 2-1 — thanks, in part, to team captain Clint Dempsey scoring the sixth-quickest goal in the tournament’s history. But the path to World Cup victory is far from over for the Americans: They face Portugal, which will be looking for redemption after Monday’s loss to Germany, on Sunday. Read more at NBC SPORTS.
Delta created some bad buzz after sending out a tweet congratulating the U.S. victory with a symbolic picture of the Statue of Liberty — and representing Ghana with a giraffe. The problem, as many on Twitter pointed out, is that giraffes don't actually live in Ghana.
4. Lethal injections to resume after execution hiatus
After a bungled execution of an Oklahoma inmate in April, Georgia has decided to move ahead with the lethal injection of convicted murderer Marcus Wellons. He could be executed as soon as 7 tonight. Like other states that practice capital punishment, Georgia has had difficulty stockpiling the standard drugs used in lethal injections because of the ethical qualms of the drugs' manufacturers. Read more in NEWS.
5. Israel widens search for missing West Bank teens
The disappearance of three students Thursday has prompted Israeli officials to go after those they believe responsible: the militant group Hamas. The operation — dubbed “Brother’s Keeper” — expanded from the restive Palestinian city of Hebron in the southern West Bank to Nablus in the north. With each passing day, Israeli forces are rounding up Palestinians, some connected to Hamas. About 191 Palestinians were being held Tuesday morning, including those detained overnight, Israeli officials said. Read more in NEWS.
6. O.J. Simpson anniversary: Where’s the Ford Bronco?
Twenty years ago today, the ex-NFL legend made his infamous getaway in a white 1993 Ford Bronco driven by pal and former football player Al Cowlings. The slow chase on a California freeway kept Americans glued to their TVs — and not just that day, but for the impending murder trial of the century against Simpson. For years, the iconic Bronco sat in storage, but it has since resurfaced at random events. Read more in POP CULTURE.
… What’s trending today?
“NBC Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams (aka B-Willy) is back.
“The Tonight Show” on Monday night featured its latest edited mash-up of Williams “rapping,” this time to the Sir Mix-A-Lot classic, “Baby Got Back.”