Evacuees from Afghanistan arrive in Virginia
Numerous evacuees from Afghanistan landed at Dulles International Airport near Washington, DC Friday after harrowing days of trying to get out of Kabul, Afghanistan. (Aug. 27)
The last plane carrying U.S. forces left Afghanistan, meeting the deadline to withdraw from the Taliban-led nation after 20 years of war. States in Hurricane Ida’s path are assessing the damage from a storm so powerful it reversed the flow of the Mississippi River. And are bans on school mask mandates a civil rights violation?
👋 Hey! It’s Laura. Monday, Funday, right? Right. Here’s the news.
But first, mom to the rescue! 🙌 A mountain lion attacked a 5-year-old boy playing outside his home. His mother saved him by fighting the cat off with her bare hands.
Last plane carrying US forces leaves Afghanistan
Meeting the Aug. 31 deadline to withdraw from the Taliban-led nation, the last plane carrying U.S. forces left Afghanistan on Monday, after 20 years of war that left nearly 2,500 American troops dead and spanned four presidencies. The Biden administration has spent weeks scrambling to evacuate Americans and Afghan translators who helped the American military after the Taliban quickly gained control of Kabul on Aug. 15. The withdrawal also comes in the aftermath of an ISIS-K suicide bombing that killed dozens of people, including 13 U.S. service members, on Thursday. The U.S. retaliated with airstrikes targeting Islamic extremists on Friday and Sunday. Evacuations originally began in July with at least 122,000 people evacuated out of Afghanistan as of Monday, including 5,400 Americans.
👉 Afghanistan evacuation: Pentagon vague on final evacuation plans; Marine relieved of duties after critical social media post. Catch up on the latest updates.
Hurricane Ida leaves path of destruction
As day broke Monday, residents emerged from their homes to assess the damage from Hurricane Ida as others, heeding the call of local officials, remained inside to make way for rescue operations. More than 1 million homes and businesses were without power across a swath of Louisiana and Mississippi, and thousands of people were in shelters. Hurricane Ida roared ashore in Louisiana on Sunday with a force so strong it temporarily reversed the flow of the Mississippi River. Ida’s winds snapped trees and tore roofs off buildings as its floodwaters blocked roads and submerged cars. Ida is tied for the fifth-strongest hurricane to ever hit the U.S. mainland and struck 16 years to the day after the deadly Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. The storm was downgraded from a Category 4 hurricane to a tropical storm early Monday.
👉 Hurricane Ida: Rescue boats fan out across Louisiana amid Ida flooding. Power could be out six weeks for some. Catch up on the latest updates.
What everyone’s talking about
EU removes US from safe travel list
The European Union is no longer recommending its member states lift restrictions on nonessential travel for Americans as COVID-19 cases spike. The U.S. had been on a safe travel list since June, when the EU recommended gradually easing all travel restrictions for U.S. travelers, regardless of vaccination status. But criteria for the safe travel list include having “a stable or decreasing trend of new COVID cases” over the previous two weeks, according to the European Council. The EU’s updated guidance comes as the U.S. faces its fourth wave of COVID-19, driven by the highly contagious delta variant. New U.S. cases are averaging over 150,000 a day, and for days, deaths have been seven times higher than they were in early July. This does not, however, mean an end to European travel. The EU’s recommendation is nonbinding, and each member state has the power to set its own travel restrictions.
Are bans on school mask mandates a civil rights violation?
As thousands of schools return to full-time in-person instruction, President Joe Biden’s administration is investigating five states that are banning districts from mandating masks, on the grounds that such policies violate the civil rights of children with disabilities and underlying health conditions. State superintendents in Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah received letters Monday outlining how prohibiting indoor masking in schools prevents districts from implementing health and safety measures necessary to protect students. The banning of mask mandates may keep schools “from meeting their legal obligations not to discriminate based on disability and from providing an equal educational opportunity to students with disabilities who are at heightened risk of severe illness from COVID-19,” the letters said. The Biden administration had previously threatened to use its authority to enforce civil rights law against states that have forbid schools from enforcing universal indoor mask-wearing. Under federal law, public schools must not discriminate on the basis of a person’s disability, and they must provide an equal education to students with disabilities.
Mollie Tibbetts’ killer sentenced to life in prison
Cristhian Bahena Rivera will spend the rest of his life in prison for the 2018 murder of Mollie Tibbetts. The man convicted of murdering the 20-year-old University of Iowa student was sentenced Monday after being convicted of the murder in May. A week before he was scheduled to be sentenced in July, Bahena Rivera’s attorneys filed motions to request a new trial. A judge rejected Bahena’s request after a lengthy hearing on July 27. Tibbetts’ body was found in August 2018, about a month after she disappeared while jogging near her hometown of Brooklyn, Iowa. Police eventually traced a car seen on surveillance video to Bahena Rivera, a local farmhand. He then led police to her remains.
A break from the news
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