They’ve taken aim and fired. The expanded military campaign to quash Islamic State militants is under way, with U.S. airstrikes destroying an IS fighting position southwest of Baghdad. The American effort is moving beyond protection of U.S. troops and support for humanitarian missions, expanding to provide air cover for Iraq’s military as it recaptures territory from the “caliphate.” Support in Congress, meanwhile, is moving toward funding approval for training and equipping Syrian rebels to aid the fight.
The Presidential Daily Brief
The president will announce a new $750 million battle against Ebola today. The plan includes sending 3,000 military personnel, including engineers to help set up 17 treatment centers to house some 1,700 beds. If the outbreak — which has claimed 2,400 lives — is not contained, experts say it could mutate into a deadlier contagion. Is that likely? “The longer the virus is allowed to spread, the higher the risk of mutations that could do so,” says OZY’s Melissa Pandika.
This will cause headaches. There may be four million fewer uninsured Americans, thanks to Obamacare, but 115,000 have been told they’ll lose their new insurance on October 1. They failed to prove they’re either citizens or legal immigrants, health care officials said. Financial aid for coverage is also at risk for another 363,000. Immigrant advocates said document submissions were stymied by snafus with the government health care website. Patients have another chance, but they’re bound to suffer more bureaucratic growing pains.
Will this modification drive gamers crazy? Microsoft is buying the hugely popular 3D world-generating game for $2.5 billion. In return, it gets Minecraft’s parent company, Mojang of Sweden, and possibly more users for the software giant’s Windows Phone products, just as Apple’s new iPhones are released. Mojang’s three founders leave the firm, with ever-busy co-founder Markus “Notch” Persson telling fans: “It’s not about the money. It’s about my sanity.”
Three NATO troops killed in suicide bombing near U.S. Embassy in Kabul. (CBS)
Ukrainian lawmakers set to ratify EU association deal. (BBC)
French parliament faces crucial confidence vote. (France 24)
U.S. policy offered no hope for James Foley’s family. (NYT)
Vietnam soldiers receive belated medals in White House ceremony. (USA Today)
They’re fed up with close calls. Zombie texters in Chongqing, China, are being told to stay out of everyone else’s way. The city has created a sidewalk lane for cell phone users in a bid to avoid “unnecessary collisions,” an official said. The 165-foot lane runs alongside a path in which cell phone use is forbidden. A similar experiment was tried in Washington, but both American and Chinese mobile users were too busy texting to notice the wake-up call.
They might lose their shirt over this. Urban Outfitters was left red-faced over its online sale of a seemingly blood-splattered Kent State University sweatshirt. The firm — which has frayed its reputation with a string of bad-taste decisions — pulled the $129 garment. It claimed it didn’t intend “to allude to the tragic events” in 1970 when four Vietnam War protesters were killed by Ohio National Guardsmen. The company says the stains were “discoloration,” but its PR seems to be coming unstitched.
That’s one giant step for… robots. Ten years ago, the European Space Agency launched a probe to explore a comet moving at nearly 84,000 miles per hour. Next month, a lander inside the larger craft is to make the first-ever jump onto the jagged surface, and this week the agency found what they hope is a safe landing site. The mission is aimed at discovering what comets are made of, if the robot can make the leap.
He wasn’t framed. A California man said he was struggling with a bipolar episode when he painted over two Utah murals believed to have been created by the mysterious British street artist. Prosecutors painted a different picture, arguing that David William Noll was a jealous artist who, incidentally, did the same thing to Banksy graffiti in Los Angeles. The judge waived jail time in favor of $13,000 in fines for restoration, as long as Noll’s not the one holding the paintbrush.
Minnesota prefers to spare the rod, rather than spoil the game. After star running back Adrian Peterson was indicted for injuring his four-year-old child with a switch, or flexible whip, the team deactivated him for Sunday’s game and lost by 23 points. It reactivated him yesterday, just in time for a year-old allegation to surface that Peterson injured another son in a “whooping.” No charges resulted, and Peterson says he never imagined the world would be “judging my parenting skills.”