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5 things to know for September 3: Afghanistan, Ida, Texas, Coronavirus, California

By Faith Karimi, CNN

An Air Force commander who helped oversee the final US withdrawal from Afghanistan detailed how troops spent a mere three hours swiftly loading up military planes for the last mission of America’s longest war. Here’s what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On With Your Day.


Communities are mourning and trying to clean up after floodwaters turned highways and homes into death traps in the Northeast. The remnants from Hurricane Ida pummeled cities with unprecedented rainfall in some areas, leaving at least 46 people dead in six states. The victims included a Connecticut state trooper who was swept away as he responded to a missing person’s call. Most of the deaths were in New Jersey, where Gov. Phil Murphy said a majority of the victims were overtaken by rising floodwaters while in their vehicles. In New York City, a lot of people who died were found in basements. Meanwhile, communities in Louisiana, where the hurricane made landfall, have no power and are struggling with a severe fuel shortage. President Joe Biden will visit the state today to survey storm damage and meet with state and local officials.


President Joe Biden says he’s launching a federal effort to respond to the new Texas abortion law. The state’s abortion providers are turning away patients following the new law, which bans abortions after six weeks. The Supreme Court denied a request from Texas abortion providers to freeze the state law, meaning it will remain on the books for now. Biden called the law’s novel enforcement structure — which allows private citizens to bring civil suits against anyone who assists a pregnant person seeking an abortion — a “bizarre scheme” with the potential to unleash “unconstitutional chaos.” He tasked the Department of Health and Human Services along with the Justice Department to see what steps the federal government can take to ensure safe and legal abortions in Texas.


More than 80% of Americans 16 and older have some level of immunity against the coronavirus — mostly through vaccination, a new survey shows. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted the survey of blood donations. The results also indicated that about twice as many people have been infected with the virus as have been officially counted. More than 39 million Americans have been diagnosed with coronavirus since the pandemic started last year. With the latest Covid-19 surge upending American life, Dr. Anthony Fauci said the rollout of booster doses could begin within weeks pending FDA authorization.


Clashes erupted overnight between Taliban fighters and an anti-Taliban group in Afghanistan’s northern Panjshir Valley, a source said. The mountainous, inaccessible region north of Kabul is the last major holdout against Taliban rule, and has a long history of resisting the insurgent group. Taliban fighters have been gathering forces in the area, and claimed they’d captured three districts in the valley. Sporadic fighting between the Taliban and the National Resistance Front has gone on for two weeks. The rugged, inaccessible landscape gives local forces an advantage over would-be invaders. A Taliban leader called on Panjshiris to accept an amnesty and avoid fighting, but acknowledged negotiations had yielded no result so far.


Firefighters battling California’s massive Caldor Fire are facing the likelihood of more blazes in upcoming weeks. The severe drought suffocating parts of the American West is leading to water shortages, creating the ideal environment for wildfires to spark rapidly. In addition to the blazes, firefighters are facing exhaustion and Covid-19 infections in an extended fire season that shows no sign of slowing down. California’s fires have been unrelenting this year, torching more than three times the land burned in the state during the same time span last year. More than 15,000 firefighters are on the frontlines of California’s 16 active large wildfires. “Firefighters are getting tired, they’re getting drained,” Cal Fire spokesman Dave Lauchner said.


Animals have their own Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards, who knew?

This year’s finalists include a laughing snake and a giggling seal pup.

An AI robot masseuse is giving ancient wellness therapies a makeover.

Hello there, EMMA. Come to momma!

The FAA now says Richard Branson’s flight to space veered off course.

File that under billionaire problems a lot of us will never have to face.

A 70-year-old woman started solo travel long before it was trendy.

She quit her job, visited 66 countries and wrote a book about it.

These women are making sexual pleasure a gender equality priority.

“If you can’t negotiate contraception in your marriage, do you really think you’re going to [negotiate] that high-powered job?” one asks.


> 7.5 million

The number of people projected to lose their pandemic unemployment compensation this weekend, according to The Century Foundation.


“I want to know who knew what when and what could have been done differently — because New Yorkers deserve to know what we’re doing to learn from this event and make sure that it doesn’t happen again.”

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on the deadly flooding in the state.


The power of the brain

David Aguilar was obsessed with Lego. He spent his childhood building cars, planes, helicopters — and eventually, his own prosthetic. (Click here to view)

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