Midday Roundup: More U.S. troops could be headed for Iraq

by Leigh Jones
Posted 3/01/16, 11:50 am

Back in Iraq. U.S. forces are likely to play a bigger role in the fight to recapture Mosul from Islamic State (ISIS), than they played in retaking Ramadi in December. ISIS captured Mosul nearly two years ago and has used it as its major stronghold in Iraq. Gen. Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters he would recommend increased American support because of the magnitude of the effort needed to retake the city. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Monday that U.S. troops likely would help with things like logistics and bridging: “So we fully expect to be doing more, differing in both scale and the kinds of things that we’re doing.”

Church racketeering? Four former members of Mars Hill Church have filed a federal racketeering lawsuit against two of the congregation’s former leaders—Pastor Mark Driscoll and elder Sutton Turner. The lawsuit alleges Driscoll and Turner violated the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) by spending designated contributions on activities for which they were not intended. The plaintiffs accuse the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability of turning a blind eye to the church’s attempts to keep its spending practices secret. The RICO law, passed in 1970, exists to prosecute the heads of organized crime groups who order their subordinates to break the law. The couples who filed the lawsuit say together they donated $92,700 to Mars Hill over six years, and their money was misspent.

Police shooting. Officials in Raleigh, N.C., are calling for calm today after a white police officer shot and killed an African-American man during a foot chase Monday afternoon. Officer D.C. Twiddy, 29, a six-year veteran of the department, was trying to talk to Akiel Denkins, 24, about a felony drug charge. Denkins’ mother, Rolanda Byrd, said her son didn’t have a gun and wasn’t threatening officers. But Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown said a gun was found near Denkins’ body. “That weapon, along with other elements available at the scene, will be processed,” she said during a news conference last night. Neighbors held a candlelight vigil in the community, where Denkins was well-known. Despite the drug charges, community leaders say Denkins was trying to turn his life around and studying to get his GED.

On solid ground. Astronaut Scott Kelly will return to Earth tonight after spending 340 days aboard the International Space Station, a record for a U.S. astronaut. Although he’s been far from home, Kelly has remained connected through frequent posts on social media, mostly of photographs he’s taken through the space station’s windows. Kelly conducted many experiments during his time in space, but perhaps none more important than just living in zero gravity for as long as he has. NASA hopes studying the effects of Kelly’s long spaceflight will help prepare other astronauts for long missions, especially to Mars. Kelly’s experiment is unique because his twin brother, Mark, a former astronaut, will give NASA an identical comparison subject to help analyze the changes Kelly’s body has undergone while in space.

WORLD Radio’s Mary Reichard contributed to this report.

Leigh Jones

Leigh is the news editor for WORLD Radio. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate who spent six years as a newspaper reporter in Texas before joining WORLD. Leigh also co-wrote Infinite Monster: Courage, Hope, and Resurrection in the Face of One of America's Largest Hurricanes. She resides with her husband and daughter in Houston, Texas.

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