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  • This just in    10:20am ET 
Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images
Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

President Obama confirmed Tuesday that the U.S. and a handful of regional partners had carried out airstrikes overnight against ISIS in Syria, marking a significant escalation in the nation's military campaign against the Sunni militant group.

"The strength of this coalition makes clear: This is not America's fight alone," he said.

In brief remarks delivered from the White House before he left for the U.N. general assembly, Obama said 40 nations had offered to aid the effort, and that there was bipartisan support in Congress for continued strikes.

"The overall effort will take time," he said. "There will be challenges ahead. But we'll do what's necessary to take the fight," to ISIS.

 
  • these are the voyages    10:15am ET 
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

It's been 20 years since William Shatner had his swan song as Star Trek's Captain Kirk — but according to a new report, the actor might boldly go back to a role he's played many, many times before.

Badass Digest reports that the script for the next movie in the rebooted Star Trek franchise calls for Shatner to reprise his role as Kirk, in a scene that would pair him with Leonard Nimoy's Spock. While Shatner has not yet agreed to take the role, his appearance is reportedly "plot-driven and integral" — so let's hope the screenwriters haven't written themselves into a no-win scenario.

 
  • Really?    10:10am ET 
YouTube
YouTube

This is what happens when you speak out about feminism.

After Emma Watson gave a speech about feminism at the United Nations, moving the audience to a standing ovation, internet hackers have threatened to leak her private, nude photos online "within days," according to The Independent. The threat comes just days after Watson, who is a U.N. Women Goodwill Ambassador, announced the U.N.'s "HeForShe" campaign, which will train men and boys to work together with women to achieve gender equality.

The hackers are threatening to post Watson's private photos to the website 4Chan, an internet forum where the private photos and videos of more than 100 celebrities were posted earlier this month. Watson spoke out against the initial hacking, calling the photos a violation of privacy.

It's not a coincidence that the new threats coincide with Watson's U.N. speech: Comments on Gawker, which have now been deleted, allegedly stated that the new leak is a response to Watson's advocacy for equality, according to The Independent. "She makes stupid feminist speeches at U.N., and now her nudes will be online," one of the comments reportedly said. The "Emma You Are Next" website also includes a photo of Watson wiping tears from her face. Slate's Amanda Marcotte sums it up perfectly:

The choice is a telling one, demonstrating that the point of releasing these photos — or threatening to — is not the pleasure of seeing someone naked. After all, there are millions of images of naked women who happen to be consenting available online. It's about getting those tears, the pleasure of hurting and humiliating a woman who offended you by being unobtainable, and by standing up for other women. [Slate]

Of course, there's no proof that these hackers have the photos in question or that they'll actually be posted. But it's unfortunate that when a celebrity attempts to use her fame to promote equal rights, the internet's response included threats instead of appreciation for Watson's brave words.

 
  • ISIS Crisis    9:59am ET 
YouTube
YouTube

ISIS has released a second video of kidnapped British journalist John Cantlie in which the prisoner warns that "Western governments are hastily marching toward all-out war in Iraq and Syria without paying any heed to the lessons of the recent past."

"Not since Vietnam have we witnessed such a potential mess in the making," he adds.

Last week, ISIS released a video in which Cantile vowed he would expose "the truth" about the conflict over a series of future videos. Yet he added that he was being forced to make that video because ISIS had a "gun at his head."

The new, nearly six-minute-long video was released as the U.S. began its first bombing campaign against ISIS inside Syria.

 
  • Gay marriage    9:36am ET 
iStock
iStock

A judge in Louisiana on Monday ruled that the state's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, directly countering a federal court that less than three weeks ago reached the opposite conclusion.

In his ruling, Judge Edward Rubin recognized the marriage of two women who wed in California, and said the state should begin allowing other same-sex couples to marry in Louisiana, too. Earlier this month, a federal judge upheld the state's ban, saying there was no "fundamental right" to gay marriage. That ruling was the first defeat at the federal level for same-sex marriage proponents since the Supreme Court ruled on the issue last year.

The state says it will appeal the latest decision.

 
  • tiger blood    9:35am ET 
Christopher Polk/Getty Images
Christopher Polk/Getty Images

When you've burned a bridge all the way down, is it possible to rebuild it? That's the question facing onetime Two and a Half Men star Charlie Sheen, who was fired from the series in 2011 after calling creator Chuck Lorre a "stupid, stupid little man" (and a host of other, filthier epithets).

Now, as Two and a Half Men enters its final season, Charlie Sheen says he's "100 percent" interested in returning to the show. "I just want to do it classy," said Sheen in an interview with E! Online. "I want to do it in a way that still services what the show is today, and also honors what it was when I was there. Who knows? I'm sure they are over there right now, pen to paper, trying to figure something out."

If they do decide to bring Sheen back for an encore, they'll have their work cut out for them: the character was killed off-screen by a train, and has since appeared as a ghost played by Kathy Bates.

 
  • 2014 Watch    9:12am ET 

Scott Brown is up with a new ad Tuesday casting the midterms as a chance to keep America safe from ISIS.

President Obama and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) "seem confused" about the nature of the threat, he says, before offering a single solution to the problem: securing the border.

The latest New York Times forecast gives Brown an 18 percent chance of winning.

 
  • So much for that    8:58am ET 
Facebook/Beats Music
Facebook/Beats Music

After purchasing Beats Music for an astounding $3 billion in May, Apple is reportedly closing the music streaming service.

TechCrunch interviewed five unnamed sources, including employees of Apple and Beats, who claim that Apple plans to shut down Beats Music. "Many engineers" from Beats Music have been moved to "other projects at Apple," like iTunes, according to the report. TechCrunch also notes that the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus don't come pre-installed with the Beats Music app.

The shutdown is still speculation, though — an Apple spokesperson told Re/code that the report is "not true," and Beats Music won't be shuttered. The streaming service's future is definitely uncertain, though: Re/code added that while Apple may not shut down Beats Music, it may modify it over time. "Note that Apple does seem pretty pleased with the iTunes brand, which was the focus of its controversial U2 album giveaway this month," says Re/code, and it just doesn't make sense for Apple to simultaneously promote two different music services.

 
  • Now You Know    7:47am ET 

A new study suggests that narwhal tusk size is indicative of testicle size and fertility.

Narwhals' tusks, which are actually single teeth atop their heads, are directly correlated to teste mass, researchers found. The study, published this month in Marine Mammal Science, looked at more than 100 narwhals from Inuit hunts in the Canadian Arctic between 1990 and 1998. The researchers found that longer tusks were indicative of larger testicles.

The researchers suggest that male narwhals' tusk length could signal to females which males would be the best mates, according to Science magazine. The tusks, which can grow as long as two to three meters, are found "almost exclusively" in male narwhals, Science reports.

Previous explanations of the role of narwhal tusks have included self-defense, breaking ice, and sensing changes in water salinity. However, Science notes that larger tusks may actually be detrimental to male narwhals in the long run — narwhals with longer tusks are "preferentially targeted" in Inuit hunting. --Meghan DeMaria

 
  • As Long as you're here...    7:36am ET 
Maps/The Week
Maps/The Week

The U.S. and five Arab allies —Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates — conducted 14 strikes against ISIS targets in Syria starting late Monday, U.S. Central Command said Tuesday. The attacks included 47 Tomahawk missiles fired from U.S. warships in international waters, plus bombers, fighter jets, and armed drones, Central Command said, and "all aircraft safely exited the strike areas."

But along with the U.S.-Arab mission, centered around the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, U.S. aircraft conducted eight separate strikes west of Aleppo against an al Qaeda offshoot, "sometimes referred to as the Khorasan Group," that the U.S. says has been "imminent attack plotting against the United States and Western interests." Unlike ISIS, the Khorasan Group has been planning attacks in the U.S. and other Western nations and against western airliners, U.S. intelligence says, and has set up camps to train militants with Western passports. The U.S. has a $7 million reward out for the capture of Khorasan leader Muhsin al Fadhli, a veteran al Qaeda leader and financier.

 
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