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Taliban Won’t Announce New Government Until U.S. Withdraws Troops

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Taliban Wants All Govt Employees To Wear Beards

The Taliban will not announce the makeup of its government until the United States completes its troop withdrawal, two sources in the movement told AFP Monday.

“It has been decided that the formation of the government and cabinet will not be announced as long as a single US soldier is present in Afghanistan,” a Taliban source said, and this was confirmed by a second insider.
(AFP)

READ ALSO: U.S. Agreement With Taliban Before Troops’ Withdrawal – Biden

 

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Trump Protests As FBI Search Divides Republicans, Democrats

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Trump Protests As FBI Search Divides Republicans, Democrats

Former United States President Donald Trump has protested against his probe by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

The investigation which led to a raid on Trump’s palatial Florida residence on
Monday marked a stunning escalation of legal probes into the 45th US President, drawing cheers from his political foes and condemnation from his allies.

“Nothing like this has ever happened to a President of the United States before,” the 76-year-old Trump said of the day-long FBI search of his Mar-a-Lago resort.
He denounced the FBI raid as “weaponisation of the Justice System” by “Radical Left Democrats who desperately don’t want me to run for President in 2024.”

The FBI declined to provide a reason for the unprecedented move against a former chief executive.

READ ALSO: Biden Goes To Hospital, Transfers Power To Harris

But multiple US media outlets said agents were conducting a court-authorised search related to the potential mishandling of classified documents that had been sent to Mar-a-Lago after Trump left the White House in January 2021.

Trump has also been facing intense legal scrutiny for his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 elections and the January 6 attack on the US Capitol by his supporters.

Since leaving office, Trump has remained the country’s most divisive figure, continuing to claim that he actually won the 2020 vote.

Leading Republicans rallied around the former President, who was not present at Mar-a-Lago when the raid took place.

Trump’s former Vice President Mike Pence, a potential 2024 rival, expressed “deep concern” over the search of Trump’s home and said it smacked of “partisanship” by the Justice Department.

Kevin McCarthy, who is seeking to become speaker of the House of Representatives if Republicans win November’s midterm elections, accused the Justice Department of “weaponised politicisation.”

Republican Party chairwoman Ronna McDaniel called the raid “outrageous.”

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a close Trump ally, said, “launching an investigation of a former President this close to an election is beyond problematic.”

Trump’s former social media manager, Dan Scavino, urged him to accelerate an announcement that he would run again.

“No person is above the law,” the Democratic speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, told the NBC News. “Not even a former President of the United States.”

A Democrat from Connecticut, Senator Chris Murphy, said, “once we decide that the rich and powerful are above the law, we stop being America.”

In his statement, Trump did not give any indication about why the FBI raided his home but said, “They even broke into my safe!”

READ ALSO: Trump, Biden Clash Over Anniversary Of Capitol Riot

A former FBI deputy director, Andrew McCabe, said he believed agents may have been looking for “something specific” related to its probe into the handling of classified information.

The National Archives said in February that it had recovered 15 boxes of documents from Mar-a-Lago and asked the Justice Department to look into Trump’s handling of classified material.

The recovery of the boxes raised questions about Trump’s adherence to presidential records laws enacted after the 1970s Watergate scandal that require Oval Office occupants to preserve records.

Speaking on the CNN, McCabe said, “there had to be a suspicion, a concern and indeed specific information that led (the FBI) to believe that there were additional materials that were not turned over.”
AFP

 

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Two Dead After Lightning Strike Near White House

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Two Dead From Lightning Strike Near White House

Two persons have been reportedly killed with two others left in  critical condition after a lightning strike near the White House on Thursday evening, police in the US capital have said.

The lightning is said to have  occurred at the Lafayette Square, a small park across the street from the White House, shortly before 7:00 pm (2300 GMT) Thursday, leaving two men and two women with “critical life-threatening injuries,” according to a statement from Washington’s fire and emergencies department.

All the victims were taken to local hospitals, but on Friday morning, the Metropolitan Police confirmed that two of them – 75-year-old Donna Mueller and 76-year-old James Mueller, both from Janesville in Wisconsin – had been pronounced dead.

The other two adults remain in critical condition, police said.

READ ALSO: US Kills Osama Bin Laden’s Deputy

A White House spokeswoman said the Biden administration was “saddened by the tragic loss of life.”

“We are praying for those still fighting for their lives,” said Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

US Secret Service and park police rushed to help the four after witnessing the strike, fire and emergency services department spokesman Vito Maggiolo said in a statement on social media.

Photos posted by the department on social media showed multiple ambulances and at least one fire truck with flashing lights at the scene.

Witness David Root told NBC he heard a “horrific boom.”

“I just couldn’t believe it,” he said. “It was surreal. I have never seen anything like this in my entire life.”

He said he had been sheltering beneath a tree when he saw the lightning strike across the park.

The people “weren’t moving,” he said, so he and others ran over to give help.

AFP

 

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US Declares Public Health Emergency Over Monkeypox Outbreak

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US Declares Public Health Emergency Over Monkeypox Outbreak

The United States has declared a public health emergency to bolster the response to the monkeypox outbreak that has infected more than 7,100 Americans.

The announcement on Thursday will free up money and other resources to fight the virus, which may cause fever, body aches, chills, fatigue and pimple-like bumps on many parts of the body.

“We are prepared to take our response to the next level in addressing this virus, and we urge every American to take monkeypox seriously,” said Xavier Becerra, head of the US Department of Health and Human Services.

The declaration by HHS comes as the Biden administration has faced criticism over monkeypox vaccine availability. Clinics in major cities such as New York and San Francisco say they haven’t received enough of the two-shot vaccine to meet demand, and some have had to stop offering the second dose to ensure supply of first doses.

The White House said it has made more than 1.1 million doses available and has helped to boost domestic diagnostic capacity to 80,000 tests per week.

The monkeypox virus spreads through prolonged skin-to-skin contact, including hugging, cuddling and kissing, as well as sharing bedding, towels and clothing. The people who have gotten sick so far have been primarily men who have sex with men. But health officials emphasize that the virus can infect anyone.

No one in the United States has died. A few deaths have been reported in other countries.

Earlier this week, the Biden administration named top officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to serve as the White House coordinators to combat monkeypox.

Thursday’s declaration is an important — and overdue — step, said Lawrence Gostin, a public health law expert at Georgetown University.

“It signals the US government’s seriousness and purpose, and sounds a global alarm,” he said.

Under the declaration, HHS can draw from emergency funds, hire or reassign staff to deal with the outbreak and take other steps to control the virus.

For example, the announcement should help the federal government to seek more information from state and local health officials about who is becoming infected and who is being vaccinated.

READ ALSO: Monkeypox Hits Nigeria, 59 Cases Suspected

That information can be used to better understand how the outbreak is unfolding and how well the vaccine works.

Gostin said the US government has been too cautious and should have declared a nationwide emergency earlier. Public health measures to control outbreaks have increasingly faced legal challenges in recent years, but Gostin didn’t expect that to happen with monkeypox.

“It is a textbook case of a public health emergency,” Gostin said.

“It’s not a red or a blue state issue. There is no political opposition to fighting monkeypox.”

A public health emergency can be extended, similar to what happened during the Covid-19 pandemic, he noted.

The urgency in the current response stems from the rapid spread of the virus coupled with the limited availability of the two-dose vaccine called Jynneos, which is considered the main medical weapon against the disease.

The doses, given 28 days apart, are currently being given to people soon after they think they were exposed, as a measure to prevent symptoms.

Becerra announced the emergency declaration during a call with reporters. During the call, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Robert Califf said regulators are reviewing an approach that would stretch supplies by allowing health professionals to vaccinate up to five people — instead of one — with each vial of Jynneos.

Under this so-called “dose-sparing” approach, physicians and others would use a shallower injection under the skin, instead of the subcutaneous injection currently recommended in the vaccine’s labeling.

Califf said a decision authorizing that approach could come “within days.”

That would require another declaration, to allow the government to alter its guidelines on how to administer the vaccine, officials said.

Health officials pointed to a study published in 2015 that found that Jynneos vaccine administered that way was as effective at stimulating the immune system as when the needle plunger deeper into other tissue.

But experts also have acknowledged they are still gathering information on how well the conventional administration of one or two full doses works against the outbreak.

Others health organizations have made declarations similar to the one issued by HHS.

Last week, the World Health Organization called monkeypox a public health emergency, with cases in more than 70 countries. A global emergency is WHO’s highest level of alert, but the designation does not necessarily mean a disease is particularly transmissible or lethal.

READ ALSO: Monkeypox Outbreak Hits Gombe

California, Illinois and New York have all made declarations in the last week, as have New York City, San Francisco and San Diego County.

The declaration of a national public health emergency and the naming of a monkeypox czar are “symbolic actions,” said Gregg Gonsalves, a Yale University infectious diseases expert.

What’s important is that the government is taking the necessary steps to control the outbreak and — if it comes to that — to have a plan for how to deal with monkeypox if it becomes endemic, he said.

Monkeypox is endemic in parts of Africa, where people have been infected through bites from rodents or small animals. It does not usually spread easily among people.

But in May, a wave of unexpected cases began emerging in Europe and the United States. Now more than 26,000 cases have been reported in countries that traditionally have not seen monkeypox.

. Times of India

 

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