war major counter-terrorism operation against ISIS has begun in Syria.
On Monday night, the United States—along with their new buddies Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates, launched cruise missiles and precision-guided bombs at ISIS strongholds along Syria’s border with Iraq. The U.S.-led strikes hit the city of Raqqa (ISIS’s self-declared capital of Syria) as well as a number of other villages and cities. In addition to targeting ISIS, the Monday night air strikes took aim at the Khorosan Group, an Al Qaeda cell filled with well-seasoned operatives. Why not kill two birds with one missile? So far the strikes have been a success – if you measure success by dead bodies. At least 70 ISIS militants and 50 other al-Qaeda-linked fighters have been killed in the attacks. BBC News
Louisianan gays rejoice, Chadian gays recoil! A judge in Louisiana has ruled that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. State Judge Edward Rubin said the ban violates the due process clause and the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment, as well as the full faith and credit clause of the constitution. In other words, it’s good news for the couple in the case, Angela Costanza and her partner Chasity Brewer, who argued that Louisiana should recognize their marriage, which took place in California. Meanwhile, over in Africa, Chad is poised to become the 37th African country to ban homosexuality. As part of a larger overhaul of the penal code, Chad is expected to pass a new law banning homosexuality with a punishment of up to 20 years in prison. The government ministers, who have already signed on to the bill, say claim the law works to “protect the family and to comply with Chadian society.” On a more positive note, the new penal code also abolishes the death penalty, so at least the newly criminalized homosexuals won’t end up on death row… small win? The Guardian
Scotland may have voted against separating from the British Empire, but now New Zealand is getting anxious to cut ties with its former colonizer. New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said he would hold a referendum on getting rid of the nation’s Union Jack clad flag next year. “I’d like to get on with it, to me I’d like to do it as a 2015 issue,” Key told commercial station Radio Live. “I’m obviously a big supporter of the change, I think there are a lot of strong arguments in favour of the change.” The prime minister wants to ditch the Union Jack in favour of a silver fern against a black background. Critics say this design too closely resembles a pirate’s flag, but Key urged his fellow Kiwis to think of it as New Zealand’s version of the Canadian maple leaf. “I know it was a ferocious debate in Canada, but in the end would any Canadians look back and say they got it wrong with the maple leaf?” he asked. I don’t know… maybe this Canadian. The Guardian
Turns out Somali pirates are more forgiving than ISIS militants… or they’re just more into ransoms. A German-American journalist who was abducted more than two years ago has been freed. Michael Scott Moore was abducted in the Somali city of Galkayo back in January 2012 while researching a book about piracy. A Somali pirate commander told The Associated Press that the journalist had been released after a ransom was paid, but according to Abdi Yusuf, interior minister of the semi-autonomous region of Galmudug in central Somalia where the 45-year-old journalist was abducted, no ransom was paid. Ransom or no ransom (there was totally a ransom), Moore is no doubt happy to be reunited with his family and pirate-free. New York Times
Disappointing Total Recall fans everywhere, the Florida woman who claimed to have had a third breast surgically implanted to scare men away turned out to be a big fat phony. Armed with a handful of disturbing selfies, 21-year-old Jasmine Tridevil (not her real name, obvs) tricked thousands of news organizations into believing she found a plastic surgeon stupid enough to give her a third boob. Tridevil says the surgery cost $20,000 and that included a “nipple” implant. She also revealed: “I got it because I wanted to make myself unattractive to men. Because I don’t want to date anymore.” She sounds smart… “Most guys would think [the extra breast is] weird and gross. But I can still feel pretty because if I wore makeup and cute clothes, I can still, you know… feel pretty,” the 21-year-old (in Courtney Stodden years) continued. But, an investigation by Snopes shows that Tridevil has a history of creating Internet hoaxes and even if she had found a plastic surgeon willing to put his/her license on the line, the procedure would take months to complete and would definitely NOT look Total Recall-esque. Huffington Post