Today’s edition of quick hits:
* ISIS: “The U.S.-led coalition stepped up airstrikes around the Syrian border town of Kobane on Tuesday after Turkey appealed for help, enabling Kurdish fighters to reverse the advance of Islamic State militants for the first time since the extremists launched their assault about three weeks ago.”
* Ebola: “Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan remains in critical but stable condition at a Texas hospital, officials said Tuesday. ‘He is on a ventilator and receiving kidney dialysis. His liver function, which declined over the weekend, has improved, but doctors caution that this could vary in coming days,’ Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas said in a statement.”
* Related news: “The Dallas case has made U.S. hospitals hyper-alert to the threat of Ebola virus, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Thomas Frieden says. The hospital has been criticized for mistakenly sending Duncan home at first. Frieden says CDC and state health officials are learning from that, and the evidence suggests hospitals are, too.”
* Hong Kong: “Hong Kong’s government and the student groups responsible for huge protests that have attracted worldwide attention agreed on Tuesday to hold negotiations on the future of democracy here, but some students immediately expressed disappointment at the narrow range of the planned discussions.”
* Ferguson: “A federal judge on Monday issued an injunction barring police from enforcing what became known as ‘the five-second rule,’ in which protesters in Ferguson, Missouri could only stay still for that brief amount of time. U.S. District Court Judge Catherine Perry ruled that the statute was unconstitutional because it violated protesters’ freedom of speech rights, as well as due process.”
* The satellite images are pretty scary: “Super Typhoon Vongfong has rapidly intensified over the past 24 hours, from the equivalent of a category two hurricane to a monster typhoon with 155 mph wind speeds, and an estimated central pressure of 908 millibars.”
* This must have been an interesting conversation: “President Obama met Tuesday with the new acting director of the Secret Service as the White House worked to finalize the panel that will investigate a series of security breaches.”
* On a related note, the division within the Secret Service is drawing scrutiny: “[R]elatively little attention has been given to a structural issue that has divided the agency and defined its culture since 1930, when Congress folded what was then the White House Police Force into the Secret Service.”
* I assume he’ll be promptly run out of Moscow? “Russia’s finance minister said on Tuesday the country could no longer afford a multi-billion-dollar revamp of the armed forces approved by President Vladimir Putin, stepping up a campaign to trim spending as sanctions over the Ukraine crisis bite.”
* Nobel: “This year’s Nobel Prize in physics goes to researchers whose findings you probably rely on just about every day (or, if you’re like me, just about every minute). The blue light-emitting diodes they helped create are taking over lightbulbs as we know them, but already see universal use in smartphone flashlights and displays.”
* An unbelievable story: “An Indiana man whose car window was smashed and who was Tasered by police after a traffic stop said Tuesday that ‘it felt like my civil rights were just thrown out the window, along with my body.’”
* And readers were a big help with our recent Whip Count project, and I hope you’ll be equally eager to lend a hand with our new project. We’re keeping a running tally of members of Congress who want to return to session – cutting their vacation short – in order to vote on authorizing military intervention against ISIS. I hope you’ll take a look and keep us posted.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.