U.S. ASSAULT FORCE HEADED TO IRAQ "The U.S. military will deploy a new special operations force to Iraq to step up the fight against Islamic State militants who are unleashing violence and are determined to hold territory they have seized in Iraq and Syria, Defense Secretary Ash Carter told Congress on Tuesday." The force will be a "standing one" that could number in the hundreds. [AP]
MARK ZUCKERBERG AND PRISCILLA CHAN TO GIVE AWAY 99 PERCENT OF THEIR FORTUNE The couple announced the creation of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, along with the birth announcement for their first child, baby girl Max. And here's a list of other billionaires who have decided to give away their fortunes. [Damon Beres, HuffPost]
ISIS' CHANCES AT STATEHOOD CRUMBLING "The Islamic State claims to be more than a militant group, selling itself as a government for the world’s Muslims that provides a range of services in the territory it controls. But that statehood project is now in distress, perhaps more so than at any other time since the Islamic State began seizing territory in Iraq and Syria, according to a range of interviews with people who have recently fled." [NYT]
WHITE HOUSE REJECTS GUANTANAMO CLOSURE PLAN FROM PENTAGON Costs could run as high as $600 million to build a replacement prison within the United States. [Reuters]
RECORD HIGH OF GUN BACKGROUND CHECKS ON BLACK FRIDAY The more than 185,345 checks meant two background checks were run per second. [AP]
THE SLOW DISAPPEARANCE OF THE MARSHALL ISLANDS "Most of the 1,000 or so Marshall Islands, spread out over 29 narrow coral atolls in the South Pacific, are less than six feet above sea level -- and few are more than a mile wide. For the Marshallese, the destructive power of the rising seas is already an inescapable part of daily life." [NYT]
WHAT'S KILLING YOUR WIFI You can blame your holiday lights and baby monitors. [CNN]
HAWAII HIT WITH DENGUE FEVER OUTBREAK Over 100 cases of the mosquito-borne disease have been reported. [CNN]
WAPO: THE 'GRIM BARGAIN' IN THE DEEP SOUTH "When opportunity arrives, it highlights a grim bargain: Jobs come at great cost but offer only a slightly better version of a hard life. The region’s weaknesses -- a low-skill workforce that doesn’t expect particularly high wages -- become its competitive strengths." [WaPo]
YOUR LIFE ON THE INTERWEBS JUST GOT A ZILLION TIMES BETTER Say goodbye to the hated Adobe Flash -- it's officially biting the dust. [HuffPost]
REMEMBER ELON MUSK'S PLANS FOR A HYPERLOOP? The high-speed travel of the future may very soon become a reality. [WSJ]
A JOB OFFER WITHOUT AN OFFICIAL TITLE OR STARTING SALARY "Some companies are hiring first and figuring out jobs for these recruits much later. Amid a fierce market for college recruits, companies like Facebook Inc. and Intuit Inc. are making offers to dozens of hires without having a particular job waiting -- or even, sometimes, a starting salary." [WSJ]
KYLIE JENNER, MAYBE DON'T POSE IN A WHEELCHAIR FOR A PHOTOSHOOT Who thought that was a good idea? [HuffPost]
NO ONE IS LOOKING AT THE SHOES In the latest Stuart Weitzman ad, which features a naked Gigi Hadid, Joan Smalls and Lily Aldridge. [HuffPost]
GOOGLE HAS A SANTA TRACKER We will check back daily until we get to see the real action on December 24. [Google]
THE MAGICAL HOLD THAT WILL STOP A BABY FROM CRYING For all your holiday newborn needs. [HuffPost]
FEWER HOSPITAL ERRORS SINCE OBAMACARE "Hospitals have cut down on deadly medical errors, saving around 87,000 lives since 2010, according to a new government report." [HuffPost]
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ON THE BLOG
'COP21: HUMANITY'S LAST CHANCE SALOON' "COP21 is not just about the weather; it is a unique opportunity for the world's leaders to address global inequity. It is an opportunity for powerful people and nations to acknowledge that their environmental wellbeing, their security and sustainability, is dependent on the wellbeing, security and sustainability of others." [HuffPost]
BEFORE YOU GO
~ As world leaders hash out how to stop climate change in Paris, here's where 2016 GOP candidates stand.
~ NATO has invited Montenegro to join its ranks.
~ A look at America's most lethal police force.
~ Chicago has fired its top cop over allegations he buried the horrific video of Laquan McDonald's death.
~ The bank that "hijacked the highway deal."
~ Congrats to the Philadelphia 76ers, who finally won their first game of the season, against the LA Lakers last night.
~ We have no idea what to do with this heart-wrenching Christmas ad.
~ Google's data on what your kid probably wants for the holiday season.
~ Robert De Niro verbalized everyone's thoughts and called Helen Mirren a "MILF."
~ Inside the tech race for driverless cars.
~ Forget the hello -- Lionel Richie and Adele are definitely, sort of, maybe working together.
~ How to escape from holiday party chatter this week.
~ Will Smith credits his ex-girlfriend when he was 15 for making him want to become a world famous actor when she cheated on him. Must have been some girl.
~ Way too many people are naming their children after Instagram filters.
~ Meet the "shidu" families, parents in China who have lost their only child.
~ The fate of Yahoo will be decided this week.
~ Starbucks has pulled its turkey sandwiches over an E. Coli scare.
Send tips/quips/quotes/stories/photos/events/scoops to Lauren Weber at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Twitter @LaurenWeberHP. And like what you're reading? Sign up here to get The Morning Email delivered to you.