Start your day smarter with a dossier on the most important world news, rounded off with a shot of intriguing and offbeat stories. Like the president, you deserve no less.
Aug 31, 2021
The longest war is over. All U.S. forces have officially withdrawn from Afghanistan, with the Taliban now back in power after 20 years. The death toll from Hurricane Ida could rise “considerably,” Louisiana officials say, as almost 1 million people remain without power. And, in a bid to stop video game addiction, the Chinese government has brought in new rules for minors.
Taliban Celebrate US Withdrawal, Take Back Airport
Fireworks lit up the sky and gunfire rang out in Kabul today as the Taliban celebrated their return to power and the U.S. officially withdrew from Afghanistan after 20 years of war. “America was defeated,” said the militant group’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, adding “Afghanistan is a free and sovereign nation.” Of course much of the country was not celebrating, with those opponents of the group who failed to get out now waking up to a frightening new reality. The last U.S. troops flew out of Kabul just before midnight and the Taliban are now in talks with Qatar and Turkey about the management of the airport. (Sources: Al Jazeera, NYT)
2 - Louisiana’s Lights Out
Four Dead, Widespread Damage After Hurricane Ida
The death toll from Hurricane Ida has risen to four, with two people killed in Louisiana and another two in a highway collapse in Mississippi. Meanwhile, another Louisiana man was missing after an alligator attack in his flooded home. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has warned that the death toll could grow “considerably” as rescue crews try to get to trapped residents in flooded coastal areas. More than a million people are without power and many also have no water. The state’s main power utility, Entergy, said yesterday that it could be weeks before it manages to fully restore electricity. (Sources: Washington Post, NYT)
3 - Hate Crimes Rise
Asian and Black People Increasingly Targets, FBI Data Show
Hate crimes against Black and Asian people in America rose sharply last year, new FBI data show. There was an almost 40% increase in hate crimes targeting Black people and a massive 70% spike in reported incidents against people of Asian descent. Although there was a greater year-over-year rise in hate crimes targeting Asians, the number of reported cases, 274, was less than the number of crimes targeting Black people, a whopping 2,755. There were also 676 incidents against Jewish people. Attorney General Merrick Garland has ordered prosecutors to step up investigations into hate incidents. (Sources: CNBC, Al Jazeera)
4 - Millennials Quit
Young Americans Leaving Jobs Amid Rising Burnout
U.S. workers are quitting their jobs at some of the highest rates in years, the Wall Street Journal says — including many millennials. The rate of people leaving jobs reached 2.8% in April, according to the Labor Department, the highest in at least two decades. In June, some 3.9 million Americans resigned, while the number of job openings jumped to more than 10 million; a record. Some say they are so burned out from pandemic-era work they are leaving without a Plan B, living on their savings and taking online courses in new subjects or brushing up on their skills. (Sources: WSJ (sub), CNBC)
5 - Also Important …
Planned Parenthood and the Center for Reproductive Rights have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block a near-total abortion ban in Texas that’s due to come into effect tomorrow. Thousands of people have had to evacuate from South Lake Tahoe, California, due to the massive Caldor fire. And the first male accuser who says he was sexually abused by R. Kelly testified in the singer’s ongoing trial yesterday.
Coronavirus Update: South African scientists have found a new COVID-19 variant, named C.1.2, though it’s not yet clear if it’s more contagious. And the EU has recommended new restrictions be placed on non-essential travelers from the U.S., although individual members of the bloc are still allowed to put their own guidelines in place.
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China Seeks to Save Minors from Video Game Addiction
No more “spiritual opium” for China’s children. The government is banning under-18s from playing video games except for an hour on Fridays, weekends and holidays. Previously they were restricted to 1.5 hours a day. Recently, Beijing also warned young people against obsessive celebrity fan culture. The move came after a number of Chinese superstars were accused of wrongdoing, including rape. Chinese authorities said they will monitor online gaming companies to check the new rules are being enforced. Shares in gaming firms fell on the news, with the country’s tech giants like Tencent and Alibaba already under pressure. (Sources: BBC, SCMP, The Guardian)
What do you think? Do you agree with this new rule? Vote here and on Twitter.
2 - Not Full of Gas
Leaded Gasoline Finally Eliminated Worldwide
Leaded gasoline has gone the way of asbestos. The United Nations Environmental Program announced yesterday that the world is officially rid of the dangerous fuel. The last reserves were used up last month in Algeria, the U.N.’s Environment Program said. Leaded gas, developed in the 1920s, is known to pose serious health risks, but less than two decades ago there were still more than 100 countries using it, many of them in sub-Saharan Africa. The next goal is eliminating all fossil fuels and shifting more of the continent to electric vehicles, the UNEP’s clean mobility leader in Africa, Jane Akumu, said. (Sources: Quartz, Gizmodo)
Read more about the move toward electric vehicles.
Older Adults Who Sleep Less Have Higher Dementia Risk
Do you boast about getting by with only a few hours' sleep? Don’t. New research shows the amount of time older adults sleep can affect the health of their brain, with those who sleep six hours or less having an increased risk of dementia. Participants in the Stanford University study who reported “normal” sleep times, defined as seven to eight hours per night, did better than the short sleepers on cognitive tests for memory, language and other skills. Researchers said the study proves it’s important to maintain healthy sleep in later life, as both too much and too little can also lead to depression. (Sources: CNN, JAMA Neurology)
4 - Jon Stewart Returns
New Show a Current Affairs ‘Deep Dive’
“What the hell happened to my face? Why would I go back to a visual medium?” That’s what Jon Stewart wonders in the promo released yesterday for his new Apple TV show The Problem With Jon Stewart. If you’ve been missing the comedian and former Daily Show host, get ready for his return in a biweekly show “taking a deep dive on the issues affecting us most,” according to Apple. As well as the current affairs TV show, there’ll also be a weekly podcast. The series debuts globally on Sept. 30. (Sources: The Verge, Deadline, Variety)
Murray Complains Tsitsipas Took Too Long at US Open
A frustrated Andy Murray told journalists his rival Stefanos Tsitsipas took too long in the bathroom, saying it could have affected the outcome of their U.S. Open match. The Greek beat the Brit 2-6, 7-6 (7), 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 on day one of the competition yesterday, but delayed the match twice. Tsitsipas first sought medical attention for his foot after the third set, then went to the bathroom after the fourth set. At the Cincinnati Open a few weeks ago, Alexander Zverev also accused Tsitsipas of taking too long a bathroom break. Today sees top seed Ashleigh Barty take on Vera Zvonareva. (Sources: ESPN, WTATennis)
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Today on ‘The Carlos Watson Show’: Sing along with the Property Brothers! HGTV’s beloved Drew and Jonathan Scott join Carlos to discuss their twin connection, their paths to getting their hit shows and lessons in love they’ve learned from partners Zooey Deschanel and Linda Phan. Hear the brothers speak up about the importance of sustainability and why they have hope in the fight against climate change. Watch Now.
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