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Good evening. Here’s the latest at the end of Monday.
1. The U.S. occupation of Afghanistan is over.
Twenty years after the U.S. invaded, the last military flight took off from Kabul airport today. Control of the airport was left in the hands of the Taliban, who said they were still working on the shape of their new government.
In recent days, American military leaders said the U.S. would continue evacuation efforts and fully withdraw by Aug. 31. But those efforts were wrapped up a day early.
U.S. officials said today that around 1,200 people had been airlifted from Kabul in the previous 24 hours. But that left behind at least 100,000 people, by one estimate, and possibly many more, who might be eligible for expedited U.S. visas.
The Taliban’s chief negotiator said Friday that the group would not stop people from departing, but it’s uncertain whether the Taliban will uphold that commitment and when the airport might reopen for commercial flights.
2. A U.S. drone strike in Kabul killed 10 civilians, survivors said.
On Sunday, in the final days of the U.S. presence in Afghanistan, the Pentagon said it had blown up a vehicle laden with explosives, eliminating a threat to Kabul’s airport from the Islamic State Khorasan group.
But at a family home in Kabul today, survivors and neighbors said the strike had killed 10 people, including seven children, an aid worker for an American charity organization and a contractor with the U.S. military.
The drone struck as Zemari Ahmadi, who worked for the charity organization, was on his way home from work after dropping off colleagues, his family and colleagues said.
The Pentagon acknowledged the possibility that Afghan civilians had been killed in the drone strike, but suggested that any civilian deaths resulted from the detonation of explosives in the vehicle that was targeted.
3. Louisiana surveyed the damage from Hurricane Ida.
New Orleans remained without power, water outages proliferated and authorities fielded hundreds of rescue calls. But the system of levees, barriers and pumps that protect the city appear to have held firm.
At least three deaths have been attributed to the storm, though state officials say they are expecting the toll to rise. A major utility warned that it would “likely take days to determine the extent of damage to our power grid and far longer to restore electrical transmission.”
The center of the storm crossed into western Mississippi today, slowing and weakening as it swept northward. Its path is expected to curve northeast and then into the Tennessee Valley tomorrow.
Ida’s rapid increase in strength raises questions about how much climate change is affecting hurricanes. This morning, Tropical Storm Kate formed in the Atlantic Ocean, becoming the 11th named storm of a busy season.
4. The Education Department is investigating five states that prohibit mask mandates in schools.
The department’s civil rights head wrote to state education leaders in Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah, warning them that the prohibitions may run afoul of civil rights laws protecting students with disabilities.
Officials said they had not opened investigations in Florida, Texas, Arkansas or Arizona because those states’ bans were not being enforced in schools because of litigation or other action.
“We are not going to sit by as governors try to block and intimidate educators protecting our children,” President Biden said earlier this month.
Separately, the European Union removed the U.S. from a “safe” list of countries and proposed new travel restrictions for unvaccinated visitors from the United States. Each E.U. country must decide whether to impose the new guidelines, which reverse recommendations made in June.
5. The world is still short of everything. Get used to it.
Pandemic-related product shortages — whether computer chips or construction materials — were supposed to be resolved by now. But delays and rising costs continue to bedevil businesses and consumers.
The owner of a kitchen supply store in Brookings, S.D., waited eight months for the delivery of a pot lid. “It’s nuts,” she said. “It’s definitely not getting back to normal.”
Factories cannot buy crucial metal parts, plastics and raw materials. Earlier this month, Toyota announced that it would slash its global production of cars by 40 percent because of a lack of computer chips.
Central banks weighing concerns about inflation rates have not been able to answer a key question: How long will the delays last? “There is a genuine uncertainty here,” said one economist, and normalcy might be “another year or two” away.
6. China’s limits on online games just grew much stricter.
Under government rules issued today, children and teenagers are banned from online gaming on school days and limited to one hour a day on weekend and holiday evenings.
The new rules reflect the government’s intensifying push for companies to jettison what it says are unhealthy online influences. Last week, the Chinese government initiated a crackdown on teen celebrity worship and fan clubs, warning that celebrities’ pursuit of online followers was warping the nation’s youth.
Online gaming has been one of the most vibrant and profitable sectors of China’s internet industry. But there have growing signs of official pressure for the companies to fall in line with the demands for cultural conformity.
7. Jury selection begins tomorrow in the fraud trial of the founder of Theranos.
Elizabeth Homes faces 12 counts of fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Opening arguments are set for next week in federal court in San Jose, Calif.
Holmes founded the start-up at age 19, in 2003, and raised more than $700 million from investors, striking deals with Walgreens and Safeway to offer blood testing in their stores.
In 2015, The Wall Street Journal published a series of exposés that called the effectiveness of the Theranos machines into question. Increased scrutiny from regulators and investors revealed further problems and brought accusations of deception.
The central question will be whether Holmes was a deceptive schemer driven by greed and power or a naïve optimist who was manipulated by her partner. These are the key figures in the case.
8. Fans are back at the U.S. Open.
The final Grand Slam tournament of the year features spectators for the first time in two years. A last-minute change will require all spectators to be vaccinated against Covid-19, though many tennis players have been stubbornly slow to get the shots.
In an early highlight, 2017 singles champion Sloane Stephens defeated the 2017 runner-up, her close friend Madison Keys, in a third-set tiebreaker. Andy Murray, a 2012 singles champion who is recovering after a 2018 injury, is battling No. 3 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.
This evening, the 3rd-seeded Naomi Osaka, who won the U.S. Open in 2018 and 2020, takes on Marie Bouzkova, a 23-year-old Czech. Later tonight, Daniil Medvedev, the 2nd seed, will face off against Richard Gasquet, a veteran of the ATP Tour. Here is our live coverage.
9. Will hearing aids ever be hip?
High cost and inconvenience are not the only reasons many people are unwilling to get hearing aids. “They make me look old” is a common excuse.
A new generation of more affordable and stylish hearing aids could help. Companies like Apple, Bose and Samsung may soon market top-of-the-line hearing aids that cost no more than a basic cellphone.
And legislation before Congress would expand Medicare coverage not only for medically prescribed hearing aids, but also for critically important audiology services.
10. And finally, the dogs of 9/11.
Ricky, a rat terrier, was able to squeeze into tight spaces. Trakr, a German shepherd, combed the wreckage for two days and then collapsed from smoke inhalation, exhaustion and burns. (He recovered.) Riley, a 4-year-old golden retriever, helped locate the bodies of several firefighters.
The efforts of hundreds of search-and-rescue dogs who hunted for life in the smoldering ruins of the World Trade Center are being memorialized in an exhibition at the American Kennel Club’s Museum of the Dog in New York.
“The search-and-rescue dogs didn’t rescue any people from the pile,” the executive director of the museum said. “But I think they somewhat rescued the people who were searching.”
Hug a dog this evening.
Marcus Payadue compiled photos for this briefing.
Your Evening Briefing is posted at 6 p.m. Eastern.
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