Israel unleashes airstrikes, Hamas fires rockets as war enters second week

Israel carried out a wave of airstrikes on what it said were militant targets in Gaza, leveling a six-story building in Gaza City, and Palestinian militants fired dozens of rockets into Israel early Tuesday as the war entered a second week. The strikes toppled the Kahil building, which contains libraries and educational centers belonging to the Islamic University. Israel says it has inflicted heavy damage on Hamas’ military infrastructure, but the Israeli airstrikes and shelling have damaged at least 18 hospitals and clinics and destroyed one health facility, the World Health Organization said. Israel has vowed to press on with its operations, and the United States signaled it would not pressure the two sides for a cease-fire even as President Joe Biden “expressed his support” for one. The shift came after 29 Democratic and independent senators issued a joint statement on the issue earlier Monday.

COVID-19 infections are down in every state, report says

A report being released Tuesday will show that COVID-19 infections are down in all 50 states, President Joe Biden said. The report comes after news that the pace of new coronavirus infections fell to pre-surge levels last weekend. The U.S. reported 232,489 cases in the week ending Sunday, which is a few thousand less than what it did in the week of Sept. 12, the day before the fall surge got underway and turned into a disastrous winter. Daily infections now total less than half what they were a month ago and a small fraction of January’s raging numbers. The U.S. continues to report about 600 deaths a day, roughly one-fifth the pace seen in January. 

‘Potentially life-threatening’ floods, storms hammer Gulf Coast

Thunderstorms and flash flooding have slammed the Gulf Coast and they’re forecast to become a larger concern in the region Tuesday. The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a flash flood emergency in Lake Charles, Louisiana, as some areas reported up to 12 inches of rain.  A number of tornado warnings were issued in various cities and the NWS urged residents at risk to seek higher ground. The weather service said the likelihood of flooding is high with the incoming storms throughout the week.

Children in Ohio can sign up for vaccination scholarships

Starting on Tuesday, 12 to 17-year-olds in Ohio who are vaccinated against COVID-19 can sign up for a drawing that would give them a full-ride public college scholarship if they win. Drawings will be held for five straight Wednesdays to select one student to receive the scholarship, which will cover tuition, room-and-board and books. The raffle is part of an effort from Gov. Mike DeWine to increase vaccinations in the state. In addition to the scholarships, the state will also give away $1 million prizes to five adults who get vaccinated. The winners will be pulled from the Ohio Secretary of State’s voter registration database.

NBA’s play-in tournament begins

The NBA will start its play-In tournament Tuesday to determine complete seedings for the playoffs. The tournament kicks off with the four Eastern Conference teams fighting for two spots. In the early game, the No. 9 seed Charlotte Hornets will face the 10th-seeded Indiana Pacers (6:30 p.m. ET, TNT). The late game will feature the Boston Celtics (No. 7) hosting the Washington Wizards (No. 8) (9 p.m. ET, TNT). The tournament continues through Friday, before the NBA’s traditional best-of-7 playoffs begin Saturday.  The way the play-in tournament works is the seventh- and eighth-place teams in each conference play each other and the winner earns the No. 7 seed. The loser of that game plays the winner of the 9-10 game. The winner of that game becomes the No. 8 seed. 

Contributing: The Associated Press