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5 things to know for August 26: Afghanistan, Covid, Capitol riot, weather, Hong Kong


By AJ Willingham, CNN

2020 wasn’t just Europe’s hottest year on record. It was the hottest year by quite a bit and one of the three hottest years globally in recorded history, according to a new climate report.

Here’s what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.

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1. Afghanistan

US diplomats in Kabul warned American citizens early this morning to immediately leave several gates into the airport following what one US official called a “very specific threat stream” from a branch of ISIS. The US believes ISIS-K, a sworn enemy of the Taliban, wants to sow mayhem at the airport and is capable of carrying out attacks. The Taliban’s new rule in Afghanistan has raised fears of a revival of al Qaeda, ISIS and other terrorist entities. In a February deal with the US, the Taliban pledged to prevent al Qaeda and other terror groups from using Afghan soil. Though the Taliban has so far kept such terrorist entities at bay, US officials worry now that the US is on its way out, there is less incentive for such efforts. The dissolution of US intelligence on the ground in Afghanistan makes this possibility even more grave.

2. Coronavirus

Moderna has completed its submission to the FDA for full approval of its Covid-19 vaccine for people 18 and older. Meanwhile, Pfizer and BioNTech have begun submitting data for full approval of a third “booster” dose of their vaccine. As expected, full FDA approval of the two-dose Pfizer vaccine is leading to more mandates. The Pentagon is requiring all US military service members to get fully vaccinated against Covid-19 immediately. Disney World also reached a deal with two employees unions to require vaccinations among applicable staff. In a worrying turn, some people have been ingesting ivermectin, a drug used to de-worm livestock, as a treatment for Covid-19. Some hospitals and poison control centers have seen an uptick in such cases as some Republican elected officials and conservative media figures irresponsibly tout the drug.

3. Capitol riot

The House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riot has demanded a large collection of documents from several US government agencies. The wide-ranging requests cover communications related to former President Trump’s family members and any communications between Trump or his allies and “any DOJ official” in the days before and after January 6. The committee has also requested information from the National Archives, which houses all of Trump’s records from his time as president. Trump yesterday said he would invoke executive privilege to try to block the investigation but didn’t specify how he would go about that. Ultimately, Trump could try to go to court to stop the committee from obtaining some of these documents.

4. Extreme weather

Search and rescue efforts have been suspended in Tennessee following a weekend of destructive floods that claimed 20 lives. Now, it’s up to the National Guard and the state Transportation Department to begin massive cleanup efforts. In the West, the region around Lake Tahoe in California and Reno, Nevada, is experiencing the worst air quality in the country by far as several large wildfires burn nearby. The Air Quality Index, an indicator of how unhealthy the air is, spiked to 694 in Tahoe City on Monday; an AQI between 300 and 500 is considered “a health warning of emergency conditions.” As if that weren’t enough, more hurricane activity could happen around the Gulf of Mexico soon. The National Hurricane Center gives the Gulf area an 80% chance of a tropical system developing in the next few days.

Check your local forecast here>>>

5. Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s national security police are investigating the group behind the city’s annual June 4 vigil, which commemorates pro-democracy protesters who died in the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. As part of the investigation, the group must submit meeting records and personal details of all its directors and members, including addresses and other contact information. Police claimed such information will help them investigate possible crimes against national security. The group, the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, has reportedly considered disbanding under the city’s controversial new security law as more protesters, journalists and pro-democracy figures have been arrested.


Alana ‘Honey Boo Boo’ Thompson is turning 16

Hoo boy, nothing makes you feel old like realizing child stars are growing up.

Fossil confiscated in Brazilian police raid is one of the most complete pterosaur skeletons ever found

This piece of news could send you down the fascinating rabbit hole of illegal (or at best, questionably legal) fossil trades.

New Bob Ross documentary paints a complex portrait of the artist’s life and the battle that followed it

Don’t worry, it won’t ruin any happy little memories.

The new ‘Matrix 4’ trailer dropped at CinemaCon

It’s been a whole 18 years since “Matrix 3” came out, if you’re keeping track. (And yes, Keanu Reeves is in this one!)

OnlyFans suspends proposed ban on sexually explicit content

The company said its banking partners assured it the site could be “a home for all creators.”


$5 million

That’s how much the FCC has proposed as a fine against right-wing political operatives Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman for apparently violating US robocalling laws. An investigation found the two men allegedly created hundreds of robocalls designed to discourage voting in the 2020 election.


“I feel like the world’s biggest porn star.”

Spencer Elden, who appeared as a naked baby on the cover of Nirvana’s 1991 album “Nevermind.” Elden made the comment to the Sunday Times in 2007. He is now suing the band, claiming the iconic record cover is an example of child pornography and exploitation.


Show me the (ripped, waterlogged) money

Did you know if you have messed-up bills, you can take them to the US Treasury and they’ll give you fresh ones in return? Here’s how they make sure you’re getting every crusty, musty dollar you’re owed. (Click here to view.)

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