What We're Following This Afternoon

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

The Battle for Ramadi: Iraqi ground troops and local fighters, backed by U.S. airstrikes, are hours into a ground offensive against Islamic State militants in the Iraqi city of Ramadi. The terrorist group has controlled the city since May, but officials say only several hundred militants remain there now, and that security forces could recapture it in a matter of hours. More here.

Bergdahl in Court: U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl made his first appearance before a military judge this afternoon. He was arraigned on charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy in connection with his disappearance from a military base in Afghanistan and eventual capture by the Taliban in 2009. Bergdahl did not enter a plea, and did not decide whether he wants to face a trial with a jury or a single judge, according to the Associated Press.

A First in Aerospace History: Did you miss last night’s successful launch and return of a SpaceX rocket? Rob has you covered.