Category Archives: US

Graham blasts Democrats over infrastructure ‘power grab,’ ‘amnesty’ push

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Graham calls Democratic push to put amnesty in infrastructure package a power grab

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told Fox News on Monday that the Democratic push to add amnesty to the multi-trillion-dollar “infrastructure package” is a “power grab” that may be the dumbest idea in the history of the White House and Senate while there is a border crisis unfolding.

“If you give one person legal status there will be a run on our border like you have never seen before…the dumbest idea in the history of the Senate, the history of the White House. It will lead to the breakdown of law and order beyond what you see today,” Graham told “The Ingraham Angle.”

He laid into Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer for attempting to pass — without any Republican support — a monsterous $3.5 trillion budget resolution that he said has not even been written.

“It’s a power grab,” Graham said. He said the package doesn’t have a “damn thing to do with infrastructure.” CLICK FOR OUR TOP STORY

DeSantis says migrants heading straight from Texas to Florida
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis stepped up his criticism of President Biden’s immigration policy on Monday, warning that law enforcement personnel informed him that many migrants they encountered at the border were bound for his home state.

DeSantis targeted Biden shortly after the governor returned from a trip to the southern border in support of his move to send Florida law enforcement resources to Texas to assist with the local response to the immigration crisis. DeSantis said he was “surprised” by his discussions with state officers who were sent to the border.

“They’ve made over 2,000 apprehensions, over 100 felony arrests, and they say that almost 70% of everybody that they have interdicted said their ultimate destination was the state of Florida,” DeSantis said at a press conference. “If you think that having a wide-open border, 1,000 miles, however far it was away doesn’t affect here, you’re wrong.”

The statistics DeSantis cited could not be independently verified. Florida sent law enforcement officers to the border following a request for assistance from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey in June. CLICK HERE FOR MORE.

In other developments:
– Texas State Troopers find semi loaded with 105 migrants being smuggled into US
– LIZ PEEK: Calling Reagan 2.0 – Biden, Dems’ radical policies wrong for US. Here’s how we get back on track
– Gov. DeSantis sounds off on Democrats ‘double standard’ on immigration
– Govs. DeSantis and Abbott, in border visit, warn migrant crisis ripple effect on other states

House Dems unload on bipartisan infrastructure negotiations in private call: report
Some House Democrats expressed dismay over the Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure talks on Monday during a private phone call– further underscoring divisions within the party just days before a procedural vote scheduled for Wednesday.

Politico, citing three sources on the call, reported that the conversation was described as “fiery.”

Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Oregon, who was on the call, seemed to take comfort that the negotiations were limping along. He said the “whole thing falling apart is probably the best thing.”

Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-California, told Politico that he was also on the call and said “the whole process seemed like [bulls—].”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is pressuring lawmakers to reach an agreement this week on the pair of massive domestic spending measures, signaling Democrats’ desire to push ahead aggressively on President Biden’s multitrillion-dollar agenda. CLICK HERE FOR MORE.

In other developments:
– Republicans skewer Schumer for setting Wednesday infrastructure deadline
– Bipartisan senators agree to new infrastructure pay-fors after dropping IRS enforcement
– Cassidy blasts Schumer, White House for rushing toward vote on infrastructure bill that isn’t written yet
– Mark Meadows says infrastructure deal will ‘fall apart’

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TODAY’S MUST-READS:
– Russia warns US over hypersonic missiles in Europe, could lead to ‘inadvertent conflict’
– China threatens to nuke Japan over Taiwan in video played on CCP-sanctioned channel
– Texas house explosion injures multiple people including children, officials say
– MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell says Washington ‘improving in safety’ while noting it’s over 100 homicides this year
– Hammerhead charges toward swimmer while beachgoers scream in terror in viral video

THE LATEST FROM FOX BUSINESS:
– Wall Street closely monitoring spread of Delta variant as return to office looms
– Jury rules against Walmart in discrimination case, awards woman $125M
– Ben & Jerry’s on thin ice after latest political stunt
– Bipartisan senators agree to new infrastructure pay-fors after dropping IRS enforcement
– US, Germany to announce deal on Nord Stream 2 pipeline in few days – sources

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Published at Tue, 20 Jul 2021 08:47:04 +0000

This post originally posted here https://www.foxnews.com/us/graham-blasts-dems-over-infrastructure-power-grab

The Latest: Korea PM apologizes for virus surge on destroyer

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea’s prime minister has offered a public apology over a large-scale coronavirus outbreak on a destroyer on an anti-piracy mission off East Africa.

Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said Tuesday the government is “very sorry for failing to carefully take care of the health of our soldiers who are devoting themselves to the country.”

The Defense Ministry says 247 of the destroyer’s 301 crew members have been infected. It’s the largest cluster for South Korea’s military since the pandemic began.

South Korea sent two military planes to bring back all 301 sailors.

On Tuesday, South Korea reported 1,278 new virus cases, taking the total caseload to 180,481, with 2,059 deaths from COVID-19. It was the 14th day in a row that South Korea has confirmed more than 1,000 new cases.

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MORE ON THE PANDEMIC:

— Olympic athlete tests positive in Tokyo days before 1st game

— Scientists, many Britons, apprehensive as ‘Freedom Day’ arrives in England

— French Holocaust survivor denounces anti-vaccination protesters comparing themselves to Jews during Nazi era

— Bangladesh lifts lockdown to celebrate Eid al-Adha, exasperating experts

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Find more AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

WASHINGTON — The United States has upgraded its travel warnings for Britain, Indonesia and three other destinations, advising Americans not to travel there due to a surge in coronavirus cases.

The CDC and the State Department issued revised advice to U.S. travelers Monday alerting them to the increased risk of contracting COVID-19 in Britain, Indonesia, Zimbabwe, Fiji and the British Virgin Islands. Previously, all had been covered by a less severe advisory to “reconsider travel.”

The advisories are recommendations that are constantly under review and are not binding, although they may affect group tours and insurance rates.

The warning for Britain, for example, has fluctuated between Level 3, or “reconsider travel,” and Level 4, or “do not travel,” several times this year already.

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JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi’s top public health official says the state is seeing a rapid increase in coronavirus infections.

Dr. Thomas Dobbs tweets that the “4th wave is here.”

The Mississippi State Department of Health said Monday that 2,326 new cases were confirmed Friday through Sunday. That is largest three-day increase reported in the state since February.

Mississippi has one of the lowest coronavirus vaccination rates in the nation.

State Rep. Jeramey Anderson of Moss Point posted the Health Department numbers Monday on Twitter and lashed out at people who haven’t been vaccinated.

In the legislator’s words: “Consequences of not getting vaccinated and poor mask wearing. Well Mississippi — you wanted it here it is. This is ridiculous and the deaths that will definitely follow were completely avoidable.”

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TOPEKA, Kan. — The health department in the most populous county in Kansas is urging the county’s public schools to require students and staff who aren’t vaccinated against the coronavirus to wear masks indoors when classes resume for the fall.

The guidance Monday from the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment in the Kansas City area came with confirmed cases of the faster-spreading delta variant continuing to rise across Kansas and fueling larger numbers of new COVID-19 cases.

The state reported Monday that confirmed delta variant cases increased 20% since Friday, up 158 to 950.

State data also show that Kansas averaged 440 new COVID-19 cases for the seven days ending Monday.

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HONOLULU — Oahu restaurants and bars have the option to do away with social distancing if customers provide proof of vaccination or a recent negative coronavirus test.

But Hawaii News Now reports that many restaurant operators aren’t doing so because diners don’t want to show their vaccination cards or present test results.

Restaurants say they are short-staffed already and it would be difficult for workers to check documentation. They also don’t want employees to have to manage angry and confused customers who don’t agree with the program.

Don Murphy, owner of Murphy’s Bar and Grill in Chinatown, says he noticed nearby restaurants asked patrons for vaccination cards but received backlash.

He said: “They got eaten alive on social media. I don’t want to put my staff through that.”

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. — With COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations up sharply over the last month in Alabama but still far below when the pandemic was at its worst early this year, school officials have said vaccines won’t be required in the fall and local systems can decide on their own whether to require masks or other precautions.

While the American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending that schools require face masks for children older than 2 and all adults, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey disagrees, an aide said.

“Governor Ivey believes students need to be in the classroom without any type of mask requirement. She continues to encourage all eligible Alabamians to roll up their sleeves and get the vaccine to make COVID-19 a distant memory,” spokeswoman Gina Maiola said Monday.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas’ hospitalizations due to the coronavirus jumped by 106 over the weekend as the state led the nation in new cases per capita.

The state Department of Health said virus hospitalizations increased to 787. Of those, 291 patients are in intensive care. There are 124 patients on ventilators. The state’s virus cases increased over the past three days by 2,552 to 365,132 total since the pandemic began. The state reported 15 new deaths.

The state’s surge in cases has been fueled by the delta variant and its low vaccination rate. Only 35% of the state’s population is fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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INDIANAPOLIS — A federal judge is allowing Indiana University to continue with its COVID-19 vaccine requirement for all students and employees.

A ruling from a judge in South Bend rejects a request from eight IU students who sought to block the requirement while they pursued a lawsuit claiming that the university’s policy violates their constitutional rights by forcing them to receive unwanted medical treatment.

The judge wrote in a ruling dated Sunday that evidence IU has pursued a reasonable policy in the “legitimate interest of public health for its students, faculty and staff.”

An attorney for the students said he would appeal the ruling.

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SALT LAKE CITY — In Utah, where COVID cases are steadily increasing, experts are raising the alarm as the state plans to reopen schools without masks in less than a month.

About 38% of Utah kids ages 12 to 17 have gotten at least one shot, a number that compares well with other states, but is still far below herd immunity.

University of Utah professor of pediatric infectious diseases Adam Hersh says: “I think it’s highly likely that we’ll see substantial levels of in-school transmission outbreaks in schools, resulting in school closures, quarantines of large numbers of individuals. And an even greater disruption that we saw last year and even greater disruption at younger levels.”

Utah is one of several states that ban individual school districts from implementing their own mask mandates, a law that passed after anti-mask activists took over a suburban Salt Lake City school board meeting in May.

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TORONTO — Canada announced Monday it will begin letting fully vaccinated U.S. citizens into Canada on Aug. 9, and those from the rest of the world on Sept. 7.

Canadian officials said the 14-day quarantine requirement will be waived as of Aug. 9 for eligible travelers who are currently residing in the United States and have received a full course of a COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in Canada.

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said a date for the U.S. to allow fully vaccinated Canadians to cross the land border isn’t yet known. Any Canadian can currently fly to the U.S.

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The Dutch government says it is donating 745,000 doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine to countries in need that have appealed to the Netherlands for help.

The government announced Monday that Tanzania and Namibia will be among countries to receive shots. The Dutch government will arrange transport of the vaccines.

Most people getting vaccinated in the Netherlands get either the shot made by Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna.

The government still has stocks of AstraZeneca in cold storage and is using very little of the vaccine. Earlier Tuesday, the health ministry announced that people who have had one shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine can choose to have a second shot of Pfizer/BioNTech instead.

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MADRID — Spanish officials are celebrating that half of Spain’s residents, or roughly 24 million people, have been fully vaccinated already, although they say that a steep increase in contagion is sending worrying numbers of patients into hospitals.

The occupation rate in Spanish hospitals climbed on Monday to 5.4% of all beds tending COVID-19 patients and 11.4% of the intensive care unit beds. Although there is still plenty of room, admissions have increased 65% in regular beds and 45% in ICUs only in one week, according to an officiall with the Health Ministry’s emergency coordination center.

María José Sierra said hospitalizations will likely continue increasing but officials expect they will remain proportionally much lower than in previous contagion waves due to the high vaccination levels.

The latest health ministry’s data show that 50.7% of Spain’s 47 million residents were fully vaccinated by Monday and an additional 5 million are waiting for their second dose of the coronavirus jab.

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NEW YORK — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday he does not plan to reinstate a citywide mask mandate even as COVID-19 cases increase, opting instead to focus on vaccinating more residents.

There have been calls for New York City to follow the lead of Los Angeles County, which announced last week that it will require masks be worn indoors amid a sharp increase in virus cases.

But de Blasio insisted vaccinations are a better strategy for the nation’s most populous city.

“Masks have value, unquestionably, but masks are not going at the root of the problem. Vaccination is,” the mayor said during an livestreamed press briefing. “So we do not intend a mask mandate. We do intend to double down on vaccination.”

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LONDON — Anti-lockdown protesters scuffled with police and hurled bottles and outside Parliament in London on Monday, the day all remaining social restrictions were lifted in England.

Hundreds of demonstrators espousing a range of anti-mask, anti-vaccine and conspiracist views gathered in Parliament Square, chanting “freedom,” and moved into the road, blocking traffic.

A police officer put a lock on one of Parliament’s gates as protesters chanted “shame on police” and “arrest Boris Johnson.”

The Metropolitan Police force said officers had been “met with hostility” and 11 people had been arrested.

As of Monday, there are no mandatory mask-wearing or social-distancing rules in England, though the government is still advising people to wear face coverings in crowded indoor spaces.

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — With the delta variant causing a surge of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in southwestern Missouri, health officials have taken to going door-to-door in an effort to encourage vaccinations.

The Kansas City Star recently followed along as health officials knocked on doors in Springfield, handing out brochures. The effort was non-confrontational and the officials always took “no” for an answer, the newspaper reported, despite concerns raised by Gov. Mike Parson and other Republican leaders that the outreach would be heavy-handed.

Southwestern Missouri has seen an alarming rise in illnesses caused by COVID-19 in recent weeks. There was a tinge of good news Monday: The number of people hospitalized dipped slightly both in southwestern Missouri and across the state, according to Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services data.

After several days of more than 1,000 newly confirmed cases, the state reported 826 on Monday, bringing the total for the pandemic to 545,551. No new deaths were reported, keeping the total at 9,474.

Southwestern Missouri lags well behind the national average for vaccinations.

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ST PETERSBURG, Fla. — U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan of Florida said Monday he has tested positive for COVID-19 even though he was fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

The congressman’s announcement came as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said a “seasonal pattern” affecting mainly Sun Belt states is largely to blame for a recent spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Florida.

DeSantis opposes virus-related mandates, but says that nonetheless it is important for people to get vaccinated.

Buchanan said in a news release he got the test recently after experiencing “very mild flu-like symptoms.” The congressman said he is quarantining at home.

The congressman’s announcement comes amid a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Florida and around the country. One statistic released by the White House estimated 20% of new cases last week occurred in Florida.

DeSantis told reporters Monday that the increase was expected in Florida in mid-summer.

Published at Tue, 20 Jul 2021 07:46:38 +0000

This post originally posted here https://news.yahoo.com/latest-england-pingdemic-causing-staff-121512125.html

Covid: Ivermectin, milk among Indonesia’s unproven cures

West Java residents with oxygen canisters

Residents in some areas of Indonesia have struggled to find oxygen supplies

With the surge of the Delta variant in Indonesia, misleading claims about products claiming to be cures and preventions are on the rise.

Hospitals are struggling to cope with soaring numbers of patients and shortages of oxygen, and people are increasingly desperate to get help for sick family or friends.

We have looked at some examples of health misinformation being shared.

1. Claims that an anti-parasite drug has been approved

There have been growing numbers of Indonesians sharing claims about using the anti-parasitic drug, Ivermectin.

Interest surged after local media reports said incorrectly that the Indonesian authorities had granted it emergency approval.

But the drug is still undergoing trials, and is so far unproven as a cure for Covid.

The reports were based on a 15 July statement issued by the Food and Drugs Authority of Indonesia (BPOM).

But shortly afterwards, BPOM’s head, Penny Lukito, told local media that no emergency approval had been given to Ivermectin.

False news about EUA to ivermectin for covid treatment

False news about EUA to ivermectin for covid treatment

The confusion arose because the medicine was put on a list together with other drugs, two of which did have emergency approval.

Ms Lukito explained that Ivermectin was included because it’s undergoing clinical trials at eight hospitals, but the results are not expected until October and no approval has been given so far.

Ivermectin was already being promoted as a treatment by some public figures, despite the World Health Organization’s (WHO) warning that it should be used only under certain clinical settings.

Health practitioner Reza Gunawan has been promoting Ivermectin on his Twitter account, where he has more than 350,000 followers.

When we asked him why he was doing this, he replied: “Ivermectin is relatively safe, low cost, effective, fast and easy to implement, and can complement the ongoing vaccination programme.”

He added that he is not a medical doctor.

The manufacturer, Merck, has said that there is no scientific study as yet that proves Ivermectin works against Covid-19.

Dr Dicky Budiman, an epidemiologist at Australia’s Griffith University, has said it should not be used unsupervised, and that there could be “very serious side effects if it is not used under a doctor’s supervision”.

There are quite a few countries, including the UK, investigating it as a possible treatment.

2. Claims that a milk brand produces antibodies

Several videos showing Indonesians rushing to buy up Nestle’s Bear Brand milk have gone viral.

Screengrab of Bear Brand milk product

Screengrab of Bear Brand milk product

This happened after claims emerged on social media and WhatsApp groups that drinking this brand of milk could produce Covid antibodies.

The price of the milk shot up by 455%.

It is unclear where this claim originated, and there’s no evidence that drinking milk can produce Covid antibodies.

Nestle in Indonesia told the BBC that the company has never claimed their product can generate a Covid antibody response, which can only come from a vaccine or a previous infection.

3. Immunity ‘boosters’ and natural remedies

Social media posts are being widely shared about a product called propolis, described as an immunity booster.

Screengrab of social post promoting propolis against Covid

An example of a social media post promoting propolis to help fight Covid

These have been circulating on Twitter and Facebook, with many claiming that the product helps protect you against Covid-19.

Propolis is a natural substance produced by bees and sold as an alternative remedy to treat inflammation or sores.

It has been certified for sale in Indonesia since 2018 as a traditional medicine and health supplement by the country’s food and drugs regulator.

Bee on coneflower

Propolis is a resin-like substance which bees use to build their hives

“British propolis”, as it’s known in Indonesia, has an official Instagram account where claims have been made that it can help against viruses, but not specifically Covid-19.

However, one post we saw on the official account talks about consuming this product “in addition to wearing masks” and refers to “prevention from within by increasing the body’s resistance.”

There is no evidence that it does anything to prevent Covid infections.

We contacted the company marketing the product in Indonesia to ask them about it, but had received no response by the time of publication.

There’ve been lots of claims about “immunity boosters” during the pandemic, not just in Indonesia but in many other countries.

We asked Dr Faheem Younus, who is head of infectious diseases at the University of Maryland in the US and tackles health myths on his Twitter handle. about the claims you can prevent Covid this way.

He says the term “immunity booster” is very general, and there’s no evidence these substances work against Covid.

We’ve also seen claims being shared on social media around using other natural remedies against Covid in Indonesia.

For example, there have been suggestions that you should drink or inhale cajeput oil, a plant-derived oil usually used to treat skin irritations, to prevent coronavirus.

Again, this product is not shown to work against Covid-19.

The oil has properties similar to eucalyptus oil, and in fact if inhaled it could cause respiratory issues and prove to be harmful.

Reality Check branding

Reality Check branding

Published at Tue, 20 Jul 2021 07:47:10 +0000

This post originally posted here https://news.yahoo.com/covid-false-misleading-health-claims-231449421.html

Afghan president slams Taliban; rockets target Kabul palace

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — At least three rockets hit near the presidential palace on Tuesday shortly before Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was to give an address to mark the major Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.

There were no injuries and the rockets landed outside the heavily fortified palace grounds, said Mirwais Stanikzai, spokesman for the interior minister.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the rocket attack, but police quickly fanned out across area. One car parked on a nearby street was completely destroyed; the police said it was used as launching pad for the rockets.

The palace is in the middle of a so-called Green Zone that is fortified with giant cement blast walls and barbed wire, and streets near the palace have long been closed off.

The barrage came as the U.S. and NATO complete their final withdrawal from Afghanistan. Many Afghans are worried whether their war-ravaged country will fall deeper into chaos and violence as foreign forces withdraw and the Taliban gain more territory on the ground, having captured several districts and key border crossings with neighboring countries over the past weeks.

The withdrawal is more than 95% complete and the final U.S. soldier will be gone by Aug. 31, President Joe Biden said in an address earlier this month.

“This Eid has been named after Afghan forces to honor their sacrifices and courage, especially in the last three months,” Ghani said in his address to the nation following morning prayers for Eid al-Adha, or the “Feast of Sacrifice.”

“The Taliban have no intention and willingness for peace” Ghani said. “We have proven that we have the intention, willingness and have sacrificed for peace.”

Ghani also deplored his government’s decision to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners to get peace talks started last year as a “big mistake” that only strengthened the insurgents.

“We released 5,000 prisoners to start peace talks, but until today the Taliban haven’t shown any serious or meaningful interest in peace negotiations.”

Abdullah Abdullah, the No. 2 official in the government, was inside the palace during the rocket attack on Tuesday, having returned on Monday from peace talks with the Taliban in Qatar. Those inside the palace, however, were far removed from where the rockets landed.

The two days of meetings in Doha — the highest level of negotiations between Kabul and the Taliban so far — aimed at jumpstarting stalled talks but ended with a promise of more high-level talks.

In his speech, Ghani also assailed neighboring Pakistan, which Kabul blames for harboring the Taliban leadership and providing a safe haven and assistance to the insurgents. In the most recent fighting in the Afghan border town of Spin Boldak, Taliban fighters were seen receiving treatment at a Pakistani hospital across the border in Chaman.

Pakistan is seen as key to peace in Afghanistan. The Taliban leadership is headquartered in Pakistan and Islamabad has used its leverage, which it calims is now waning, to press the Taliban to talk peace.

Pakistan has also been deeply critical of Kabul, saying it has allowed another militant group, the Pakistani Taliban — Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan — to find safety in Afghanistan from where they have launched a growing number of attacks targeting the Pakistan military.

“Pakistan does not want a Taliban regime in its homeland” but their media have been “campaigning for a Taliban regime in Afghanistan,” Ghani added.

The Eid al-Adha is the most important Islamic holiday, marking the willingness of the Prophet Ibrahim — Abraham to Christians and Jews — to sacrifice his son. During the holiday, which in most places lasts four days, Muslims slaughter sheep or cattle and distribute part of the meat to the poor.

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Associated Press writer Kathy Gannon in Islamabad contributed to this report.

Published at Tue, 20 Jul 2021 07:47:13 +0000

This post originally posted here https://news.yahoo.com/afghan-official-says-rockets-hit-045139839.html

In flood-hit German town, a priest struggles to give comfort

AHRWEILER, Germany (AP) — The Rev. Joerg Meyrer steels himself before making his way through the stinking piles of mud-caked debris that permeate this once-beautiful town in Germany’s wine-growing Ahr valley.

For the past five days, the 58-year-old Catholic priest has pulled on his galoshes and walked the streets to try to give comfort to his parishioners as they get on with the grim task of cleaning up what was destroyed by Wednesday’s flash flood — and recovering the bodies of those who perished in it.

“It came over us like a tsunami,” Meyrer recalls. “Bridges, houses, apartments, utility pipes — everything that actually constitutes this town, what it lives on, has been gone since that night.”

Residents of Ahrweiler had been told to expect the Ahr River, a tributary of the Rhine, to crest at 7 meters (nearly 23 feet), but Meyrer said few comprehended what that would mean. The last serious flood in the area south of Bonn was more than a century ago.

Nearly 200 people were killed when heavy rainfall turned streams into raging torrents across parts of western Germany and Belgium, and officials put the death toll in Ahrweiler county alone at 110, making it the hardest hit region.

Meyrer, who expects that figure to rise significantly, said the victims came from all walks of life.

“Old people who died in bed because they couldn’t get up or because they didn’t hear it; young people who died minutes after helping others; people who died in their car because they wanted to drive it out when the flood wave surprised them.”

Townspeople recounted grim cases of delayed grief, as the realization began to sink in that those reported missing would not return.

Meyrer said he was called in when firefighters found the body of a woman he had known well.

“The husband knew his wife had been in the basement and he had to wait two days for her to be recovered,” he said.

For now, many residents are focusing on the cleanup before dealing with the longer task of rebuilding.

“We need to start over,” said Paddy Amanatidis, the owner of La Perla pizzeria, as she took a break from cleaning the rubble out of the restaurant.

“We fought our way through (the coronavirus pandemic) and the flood won’t get us down either,” she said, adding that the solidarity shown by neighbors and friends had helped to boost spirits.

Meyrer believes that even for those lucky enough not to have lost loved ones, the enormous impact of the disaster has not fully hit them.

“When the first lot (of debris) has been cleared and people have nothing to do, then I think many will understand for the first time what they’ve lost and what that means,” he said.

German officials have rejected allegations that they failed to properly warn people of the severity of the floods, but conceded that more lessons can be learned from the disaster. Experts say global warming may make such floods even more frequent.

Upriver in the village of Schuld, which was largely destroyed, Mayor Helmut Lussi said the scars would last a long time. “Our lives changed from one day to the next,” he told German Chancellor Merkel, who visited on Sunday.

As for mourning the victims, Meyrer says that daunting task will require the help of clergy from across the town and beyond.

Aside from the sheer number of dead, authorities also must figure out where to bury them, because the local cemetery, too, was flooded, with hardly any tombstone left standing.

While the freshly renovated Gothic walls of the 13th century St. Lawrence Church remained miraculously untouched by the flooding, Meyrer plans to keep walking the streets for now, offering a helping hand, a sympathetic ear and a shoulder to cry on.

But even he is struggling, saying that prayer hasn’t come easily in the days since the disaster struck.

“I don’t have the words, the time, the peace,” he said. “I can’t do that right now.”

“In the evening I try to say, ‘Lord, somehow you have to take over now.’ That’s got to be good enough,” he added.

Published at Tue, 20 Jul 2021 07:47:14 +0000

This post originally posted here https://news.yahoo.com/flood-hit-german-town-priest-064710769.html

4 shot on West Side

Four men were wounded in a shooting Monday in Homan Square on the West Side.

They were outside about 9:15 p.m. in the 3300 block of West Flournoy Street when someone unleashed gunfire, Chicago police said.

A 47-year-old man was struck multiple times while another man, 22, was shot in the face, police said. Both were taken to Stroger Hospital, where the older man was in critical condition and the younger man was in good condition.

Chicago police investigate the scene where multiple people were shot July 19, 2021, in the 3300 block of West Flournoy Street.
Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

The third man, 43, was shot in the thigh and was also in good condition at St. Anthony Hospital, police said. A 46-year-old man who was also shot in the thigh was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in good condition.

No arrests have been reported. Area Four detectives are investigating.

About two hours earlier, a 15-year-old girl was shot in a park blocks away in the 3700 block of West Arthington Street.

The attack on Flournoy follows a weekend that saw two other mass shootings on the West Side.

On Saturday, six people were shot outside a party in Austin, including a 12-year-old girl. That attack came less than 24 hours after another mass shooting in the neighborhood left a man dead and three others wounded.

So far this year, Chicago has recorded at least 33 shootings that have wounded four or more victims, according to a Sun-Times analysis of city data. The city is now on pace to surpass the 48 total mass shootings tallied last year, when that number jumped amid a surge in violent crime that has continued this year.

Published at Tue, 20 Jul 2021 06:43:56 +0000

This post originally posted here https://chicago.suntimes.com/crime/2021/7/19/22584695/multiple-people-shot-west-side

Cubs activate RHP Dillon Maples from injured list

ST. LOUIS — The Cubs activated right-hander Dillon Maples from the 10-day injured list before Monday’s 8-3 loss to the Cardinals.

Maples had been on the IL since June 16 with a strained right triceps. He has a 1.99 ERA with 32 strikeouts and 14 walks in 18 appearances. He tossed a scoreless inning in the loss.

In a corresponding move, the Cubs optioned left-hander Kyle Ryan to Triple-A Iowa. Ryan has an 8.31 ERA in five appearances with the Cubs this season.

‘‘[Maples] is throwing well,’’ manager David Ross said. ‘‘He had a good outing [in] his last [rehab] outing two days ago, threw the ball well. He’s been healthy. Good to get him back. . . . Gives us a little bit of length and just right-handed, as we’re heavy left-handed right now in the bullpen. So it made a lot of sense.’’

Duffy trending toward Thursday return

Infielder Matt Duffy appears close to returning to the Cubs. He has been progressing well while on his rehab assignment at Iowa, going 4-for-13 in four games while playing third base.

Duffy has been on the IL since May 25 with a bulging disc in his lower back but is expected to return Thursday, when he’s eligible to be activated.

Infielder David Bote also is making progress after starting his rehab assignment during the weekend. He has been on the IL since May 30 with a dislocated left shoulder.

‘‘Guys have had good outings,’’ Ross said. ‘‘I think [Duffy] is still on track to come off on Thursday, if all goes well and continues to progress well.

‘‘David Bote had a good outing, as well. Still kind of monitoring that day-to-day. I don’t have a timeline for him. But things have been going well.’’

Outfield prospect Davis taking off

Coming off an MVP performance at the Futures Game during All-Star festivities, outfield prospect Brennen Davis continues to turn heads as the second half gets underway.

Davis, 21, got off to a slow start after being promoted to Double-A Tennessee, but he has begun to turn it on in July. Entering play Monday, Davis was hitting .370 with four home runs and a 1.267 OPS this month. He is the Cubs’ top position-player prospect and ranks No. 45 on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 list.

If such play continues, a promotion to Iowa might not be out of the question this season. Overall, Davis is slashing .288/.393/.532 with eight homers, 21 RBI and 22 walks at High-A South Bend and Tennessee.

Published at Tue, 20 Jul 2021 06:43:57 +0000

This post originally posted here https://chicago.suntimes.com/cubs/2021/7/19/22584707/cubs-activate-dillon-maples-from-injured-list

Ugly fourth-inning defense costs Cubs in 8-3 loss to Cardinals

ST. LOUIS — Coming off a series in Phoenix in which the Cubs won two of three games against the Diamondbacks and hoped to turn their season around, they had an inning to forget in their 8-3 loss in the series opener Monday against the Cardinals.

Right-hander Alec Mills seemed to be rolling along, but his night came to a screeching halt when his defense didn’t help him out in the fourth inning.

Mills started the inning by striking out Matt Carpenter, but things quickly got out of control. He did what he wanted to do to the next batter, Dylan Carlson, getting him to roll over and hit a ground ball. But normally sure-handed third baseman Patrick Wisdom threw the ball high, pulling first baseman Anthony Rizzo off the bag and allowing Carlson to reach on the error.

‘‘It’s super-frustrating,’’ Wisdom said. ‘‘It kind of started with me. I’ve gotta make a better throw. It just kind of snowballed from there. We just didn’t make the plays when we needed to.’’

Mills allowed the next two batters to reach — on a base hit by Yadier Molina and a walk to Tommy Edman — to load the bases before Paul DeJong chopped a grounder in front of shortstop Javy Baez. The ball kicked off the heel of Baez’s glove as he was attempting to make a do-or-die play, leading to a run that made it 2-0 and keeping the bases loaded.

The ball found Baez again on another grounder on the next play, this one by Harrison Bader. Baez fielded the ball and fired to the plate in an effort to get the force. But the throw sailed over the head of catcher Willson Contreras, allowing another run to score and giving the Cardinals a 3-0 lead.

‘‘I hadn’t seen a game like that in a while,’’ manager David Ross said. ‘‘I know how Javy started off a little bit slow at short, but I feel like he’s been really making some spectacular plays of late.

‘‘I don’t feel like we’ve done that a lot lately. I feel like those [errors] were really uncharacteristic of this group as of late, for sure.’’

Mills was finally able to get the second out by striking out pitcher Jake Woodford, but he then walked Carlson to force in another run.

The Cubs’ last faux pas of the inning came on a slow grounder by Paul Goldschmidt between Mills and Rizzo. After initially hesitating on the play, Mills couldn’t get to first base in time to get the out. The Cardinals scored another run on the play to make it 5-0.

‘‘Defense has been great for me all year,’’ Mills said. ‘‘Just bad luck that it happened two or three times in the same inning.’’

The Cardinals hit only one ball out of the infield in the inning and scored four runs. It was the last inning Mills would pitch. He was charged with five runs (one earned) and five hits, with six strikeouts and two walks.

‘‘I’m proud of the way [Mills] pitched, to be honest with you,’’ Ross said. ‘‘I thought he was throwing the ball phenomenally. A lot of soft contact, the ball is finding holes, weird things happening, mistakes happening behind him. He kept his poise and continued to make pitches. I thought he was exceptional tonight.’’

The rest of the night was almost as bad, with the Cardinals getting home runs from Carlson and Goldschmidt against right-hander Keegan Thompson in the sixth to open an 8-1 lead.

‘‘I feel like we’ve been pretty good out there in terms of defense,’’ said Wisdom, who provided the Cubs’ only real offensive highlight of the game with a homer in the seventh. ‘‘That one just kind of got away from us.’’

Published at Tue, 20 Jul 2021 06:43:58 +0000

This post originally posted here https://chicago.suntimes.com/cubs/2021/7/19/22584717/cubs-make-four-errors-in-loss-to-the-cardinals

15-year-old boy shot in Lawndale

A 15-year-old boy was shot Monday in Lawndale on the West Side.

He was standing outside about 9:30 p.m. in the 1200 block of South Lawndale Avenue when someone opened fire, striking him in the back and arm, Chicago police said.

The teen was taken to Stroger Hospital in good condition, police said.

No arrests have been reported. Area Four detectives are investigating.

About two hours earlier, another 15-year-old was shot blocks away in Homan Square.

The girl was in Boler Park about 7:30 p.m. in the 3700 block of West Arthington Street when a male approached and unleashed gunfire, police said. The teen was shot in the back and taken to Stroger Hospital in good condition.

Published at Tue, 20 Jul 2021 06:43:59 +0000

This post originally posted here https://chicago.suntimes.com/crime/2021/7/19/22584753/15-year-old-boy-shot-lawndale

Horoscope for Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Moon Alert

There are no restrictions to shopping or important decisions. The moon is in Sagittarius.

Aries (March 21-April 19)

Your home routine might be interrupted. Perhaps a family member has unusual news? It’s also possible that you might suddenly need to do a repair to where you live. (Not again!) Unusual news or someone unexpected might arrive on today’s scene. Actually, you are up for some stimulation.

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

New faces, new places and new ideas will make this a stimulating, different day! Your mind is buzzing, and you’re mentally alert! An unexpected short trip might take place. Possibly, a scheduled trip will change or be delayed? (Check your banking details.)

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

Pay attention to your money-making ideas because they might be original or ingenious. (You have clever ideas.) Something might affect your wealth or your possessions. You might find money; you might lose money. Keep your eyes open!

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

Mercury is in your sign dancing with wild, unpredictable Uranus, which creates mental excitement and a keen interest in you. You might make new discoveries or meet new people. You definitely want to do something different today!

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)

This is a restless day for you because so much seems to be going on behind the scenes. In one way, you’re keeping things low-key; nevertheless, a fresh revelation about something might make you spring into action today! Social invitations and fun activities with children will appeal.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

Mercury is your ruling planet, and today it is dancing with unpredictable Uranus, which will attract unusual people into your world. You might meet a real character. Possibly someone you already know, probably younger, will say or do something that surprises you? An interesting day!

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

Someone in a position of authority — boss, parent, teacher or the police — might say or do something that catches you off guard. Hopefully, it’s surprising and welcome news. However, it might be something you don’t want to hear. If so, edit your response. Meanwhile, you want to connect with someone today, and in a very genuine way.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

You might suddenly travel today for an unexpected reason. Or possibly, travel plans will change. Almost certainly, something unusual and different will occur that catches your interest. You might learn something new that is amazing. Perhaps the media will have surprising news?

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

Double check details with banking, shared property and insurance issues because for your sign, something unexpected will affect these areas today. This could be good news — or not. Nevertheless, when it comes to money issues, stay in the know. Natch! You might be more emotional because the moon is in your sign.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

A partner or close friend will surprise you today by suggesting something or doing something you didn’t expect them to do. Possibly, they will introduce you to someone unusual? Or you might meet someone unusual in the general public?

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

Pet owners should be alert about their pets because something unexpected might happen. Likewise, surprising health-related news could occur. Your job might have an exciting breakthrough today; or you might meet someone who is interesting related to your job — perhaps a new coworker or a client?

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)

This is a creative day, which is why you can dream up new ideas, new concepts and see new visions for whatever you want to achieve. Surprise invitations will come your way. Say yes! Sports events might also have unusual outcomes. New love will blossom for some. (You are noticed by others today.)

If Your Birthday Is Today

Actress Sandra Oh (1971) shares your birthday. You are warm, charming, generous, idealistic and sometimes shy. However, you are determined and goal oriented. This is a year when you will undergo a significant change — it will be noticeable. Expect to have more freedom and to meet new opportunities that are exciting. This year is a pivotal year, which means it’s some kind of a turning point for you.

Published at Tue, 20 Jul 2021 06:44:00 +0000

This post originally posted here https://chicago.suntimes.com/2021/7/20/22577783/horoscopes-toay-tuesday-july-20-2021