Good morning, and happy Wednesday. Here are some of the stories we're following today:
1. U.S. will ‘degrade and destroy’ ISIS: Obama
President Barack Obama has vowed to go after the Islamist terrorists who beheaded another American journalist in a video released Tuesday. “Those who make the mistake of harming Americans will learn that we will not forget and that our reach is long and that justice will be served,” Obama told reporters during a visit to Estonia on Wednesday. Steven Sotloff was beheaded by the ISIS militants — the second such recent attack against a journalist — after the terror network earlier warned America to stop its airstrikes in Iraq. Obama also authorized the deployment of 350 more U.S. military personnel to Iraq to safeguard the U.S. embassy, and not as combat troops. Read more in NEWS.
2. American doctor describes nearly dying from Ebola
North Carolina doctor Kent Brantly sat down in an exclusive interview with NBC News to talk about his diagnosis. The 33-year-old said he was relieved to have been diagnosed with Ebola while his wife and children had already returned to the U.S. just three days earlier. Doctors say Brantly and another American, 59-year-old Nancy Writebol, no longer show symptoms of the virus that continues to ravage West Africa. But it was announced Tuesday that another American doctor “very close” to Brantly was infected at the same hospital where he worked in Liberia. His identity has not been disclosed. Read more in HEALTH.
3. Cease-fire? Ukraine says progress made on steps to peace
After the ratcheting up of fighting and aggression between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian separatists, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says he and Russian President Vladimir Putin have reached "a mutual understanding on the steps that will facilitate the establishment of peace."The announcement comes as Obama meets with leaders of three former Soviet republics who are worried that Russia could meddle as it has in Ukraine. Read more in NEWS.
4. DNA testing will indicate whether terrorist leader was killed
U.S. military airstrikes in Somalia on Monday killed three suspected members of al Shabab, but it’s unclear if the intended target — leader Ahmed Abdi Godane — was among them. DNA testing will help to determine their identities. Al Shabab rose to prominence after claiming responsibility for last September’s Westgate Mall siege in Kenya that left at least 67 dead and around 200 injured. Read more in NEWS.
5. Gun was ‘too much’ for girl who killed instructor with Uzi
The 9-year-old girl who accidentally shot her instructor in the head at an Arizona shooting range had trouble holding the sub-machine gun, according to a police report released Tuesday. Her father — who had fired the Uzi first — told officers “it appeared that (the girl) was injured as she was holding her shoulder. (The father) said the family huddled around her and was unaware that her instructor had been shot.” The report indicates that police never interviewed the children involved, including the shooter, because they were too traumatized by the event. The case was cleared as an “accidental shooting.” Read more in NEWS.
6. Joan Rivers remains on life support
It’s been nearly a week since the legendary comedian stopped breathing during a procedure on her vocal cords. Her daughter, Melissa Rivers, continued to thank fans for their well-wishes and said Tuesday that her mother “would be overwhelmed by the continued outpouring of kindness.” The 81-year-old was in a clinic in New York City during the procedure, and remains at Mount Sinai Hospital for care. Read more in POP CULTURE.
7. Home Depot may be latest victim of data breach
The home improvement retailer said Tuesday it’s investigating whether hackers stole customers’ credit- and debit-card data after noticing unusual activity. Details of the possible data breach weren’t immediately released, but a spokeswoman said they are “aggressively gathering facts at this point while working to protect customers.” The possible breach follows other attacks against other big-name retailers and businesses, including Target and Neiman Marcus. Read more in BUSINESS.
… What’s trending today?
CVS is officially snuffing out cigarette sales. The pharmacy chain said it has halted all sales of tobacco products effective Wednesday. To reflect that, it’s also changing its name from CVS Caremark to CVS Health. The move comes a few weeks earlier than expected.