The U.S.-led coalition is gunning for more than just Islamic State. Airstrikes in Syria — which officials warn could go on for years — are also targeting the shadowy Khorasan Group. It’s the first time officials have publicly named a network of al-Qaida fighters in Syria believed to be planning imminent attacks on Western nations. As for IS, officials say it’s been severely hit a day into the campaign, with 120 militants — including some leaders — reportedly killed.
The Presidential Daily Brief
In case you’re feeling gloomy about the planet, there’s promise in the air. President Obama told the U.N. climate change summit the U.S. will cut emissions 17 percent by 2020. Chinese Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli seconded this, pledging for the first time that China — the world’s worst carbon emission offender — will curb its climate-harming output as well. Whether the countries will sign a global climate treaty by 2015 remains unclear, but there could be blue skies ahead.
The Mangalyaan satellite hit Mars’ orbit early today, making India the first Asian country to explore another planet. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is cheering, hoping to bolster his country’s scientific and technological reputation. India is not only the first nation to successfully reach the Red Planet’s orbit on its first try, it’s also doing it for a tenth of what NASA paid for its Mars probe. The $70 million mission may be frugal, but India’s pervasive poverty has some urging more down-to-Earth priorities.
The coffee giant is giving its overseas expansion a jolt by infusing nearly $1 billion into Japan. A two-stage, $913.5 million deal with Sazaby League will see Starbucks essentially buy itself, taking operational control of its Japanese franchise. The Seattle-based chain has more than 1,000 stores on the islands, employing 25,000 people, and hopes to accelerate growth of retail sales in its second-largest market. There were no jitters at the news — shares were stimulated with a 4.5 percent boost.
Jordanian court finds radical Muslim cleric Abu Qatada not guilty of terrorism. (BBC)
Aussie teen terror suspect shot dead after stabbing cop. (Bloomberg)
CDC warns Ebola could infect 1.4 million by year’s end. (CNN)
Bin Laden’s son-in-law gets life for al-Qaida role. (The Guardian)
Wal-Mart goes into checking account business. (Washington Post)
She wants to let her hair down. The incarcerated WikiLeaker, currently serving a 35-year sentence for espionage, is suing the U.S. Defense Department for medical treatment to aid her male-to-female transition. The former Army soldier — once known as Bradley — has gender dysphoria, a sense of not belonging to one’s biological sex. She’s seeking hormone therapy and permission to follow female grooming standards, such as hair length. Manning’s bid for gender freedom could help transgender prisoners nationwide.
Tracking protests across a rising ocean, 50 activists engineered a dramatic protest yesterday to demand action from the U.N. climate summit in New York. Greenpeace protesters commandeered a coal train heading to a power station in central England. They flagged down the locomotive and halted its path with a large model polar bear. The activists then climbed atop the cars and unloaded the “climate-damaging cargo,” determined to rail against political inaction.
The days of relying on men and their rubbers may be numbered. OZY’s Melissa Pandika tells us there’s a new class of products coming our way that can help prevent both pregnancy and disease. Development is afoot for a diaphragm sold together with an HIV-prevention gel and an intra-vaginal ring that releases both pregnancy-preventing hormones and HIV-blocking drugs. In a world where many men refuse to wear condoms to protect their sex partners, women could soon seize control of their own health.
They can hurdle barriers in a single bound, scale walls like spiders and rack up millions of views on YouTube. These Japanese teens may look harmless in their school uniforms, but instead of hitting the books, they’re hitting rooftops — and vaulting over anything in their way, with flashy, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon-like stunts. “If a girl goes out there and fights, people respond well and think she’s cool,” boasts one young Ninja.
The drought has convincingly lifted, and the Iron City Beer is flowing. Pittsburgh proved for the second straight year that they’re fit for the MLB playoffs. Second-year pitcher Gerrit Cole got 17 consecutive outs, eliminating down-on-their-luck Atlanta, 3-2. The beer must’ve tasted sweeter after beating the Braves, who played in the postseason 14 times — and won a World Series — during the Pirates’ 21-year dry spell. “We didn’t panic,” Cole said, before wetting his whistle with the team.