Taliban reassurance and warnings
Taliban leaders have given assurances online and to the news media that they will not retaliate or seize property after their takeover in Afghanistan. But there were ominous signs that their promises did not match the situation on the ground. Here are the latest updates and scenes from Kabul – and an overview of the group and its history.
At the Taliban’s first press conference, a spokesman said they would allow women to work and study but “within the bounds of Islamic law”. Despite this more moderate front, Afghan women expressed deep fear as they tried to assess their future under the control of the Taliban. Millions fear a return to the repressive past, where women had few opportunities or freedoms.
Secret reports from US spy agencies leading up to the collapse of Kabul had painted a grim picture of the prospect of a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, even as the Biden administration said publicly the takeover was unlikely to happen any time soon.
Believe: Malala Yousafzai, who survived an attack on the Taliban in Pakistan after speaking out about her right to go to school, wrote: “Like many women, I fear for my Afghan sisters.”
resettlement: Britain and Canada announced they would each receive 20,000 Afghan refugees who had fled the country. Sweden said it would divert aid to Afghanistan so that it would not contribute to the Taliban rule.
View from abroad: Afghans who have settled in the US for the past two decades described painful conversations with relatives and the pervasive fear that the Taliban could retaliate against their relatives.
News analysis: The desperate scenes at the Kabul airport will now make Afghanistan a place in America’s national memory as another failed attempt to reshape a distant country.
Haiti death toll approaches 2000
At least 1,941 people have been killed and 9,900 injured after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Haiti was followed this weekend by the arrival of Tropical Storm Grace, which drenched survivors as they struggled to stay safe in makeshift shelters.
The storm has hampered an already weak earthquake relief effort and disrupted an airlift operated by humanitarian groups and the US Coast Guard between affected areas in southern Haiti and the capital Port-au-Prince.
Efforts to recover the earthquake victims have been slow and further hampered by heavy rain, which had largely stopped yesterday. People in affected areas searched for loved ones and supplies and sought help from humanitarian groups. Many had taken refuge in the few public buildings spared by the earthquake.
citable: “You feel powerless in a situation like this,” said Abiade Lozama, an Anglican archdeacon in the south of the country. “A lot of people are in need, and there’s nothing you can do.”
Breakthrough Infections in the US
With the advent of the highly contagious Delta strain, Covid-19 hospitalizations and deaths may also have increased among vaccinated Americans, preliminary figures from seven states show.
In six of those states, breakthrough infections in vaccinated people accounted for at least one in five newly diagnosed cases, according to figures compiled by NewsMadura. However, absolute numbers remain very low and there is little doubt that the vaccines remain potently protective.
The numbers come as officials in the Biden administration plan to recommend that most Americans receive coronavirus booster vaccinations eight months after their second injections. Health workers hope the boosters will help relieve congested Covid wards – one in five intensive care units in the US has almost every bed occupied.
Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.
In other developments:
Getting vaccinated against Covid-19 is “an act of love,” Pope Francis said in a public service ad that will circulate online and on television today.
New Zealand has been locked for three days and Auckland for seven days after a case of coronavirus was discovered in the city. The cluster has now reached seven cases.
Cuba’s health care system, long a source of national pride, is in dire straits after the Delta variant swept the country.
India’s Covid numbers have fallen, but a third wave is still looming.
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Around the world
The heirs of Edvard Eriksen, the artist who created the “Little Mermaid” statue in Copenhagen, are suing a Danish village of 1,200 inhabitants over a similar statue.
While Copenhagen’s mermaid is bronze, the village of Asaa’s version above is carved out of granite. The Asaa mermaid is also plumper, her features are coarser, although her posture is the same. “How else is she going to sit?” asked Mikael Klitgaard, the local mayor. ‘She’s a mermaid. You can’t put her in a chair.”
Maki Kaji, the ‘Godfather of Sudoku’, died at his home in Tokyo. A school dropout, he turned a numbers game into one of the world’s most popular logic puzzles.
Art of the beautiful game
OOF is a new gallery dedicated to art about football, in a building next to the gift shop of the stadium of Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur in London. The opening show, ‘Balls’, features 17 contemporary art pieces created with or representing footballs. One is made of concrete and another of silicon that looks like it’s covered with nipples.
The worlds of art and football don’t necessarily go together, reports Alex Marshall. The best-known recent work that combines the two is a bust of Portuguese player Cristiano Ronaldo that made headlines for its poor resemblance to him. Other pieces, such as Andy Warhol’s acrylic serigraphs of Pelé, are no more than simple tributes to great athletes.
Eddy Frankel, an art critic and co-founder of the gallery, said he wanted to show that art about football, as football is known in Britain, can be exciting, complex and thought-provoking.
“We use football to express ideas about society,” Frankel said. “If you want to talk about racism, bigotry, homophobia, or if you want to talk about community, faith and passion, football can do that.”
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