1 U.S. Declares Afghan Mission Over
After 20 years, there are no more American soldiers in Afghanistan, but there are Americans – as many as 200 – left behind. There are also an undetermined number of Afghans who helped us along the way. What happens to them? It’s anyone’s guess as the Taliban isn’t known for keeping their word. The hope, of course, is that they’ll be allowed to leave. U.S. CentCom Commander Kenneth McKenzie confirmed the final withdrawal, which became reality at 2:29 p.m. yesterday. He praised the determination, grit and professionalism of American troops. Also in his remarks: He said that over the past few weeks, the U.S. removed more than 122-thousand people from the country – including more than five-thousand Americans. McKenzie allowed that there were no Americans on the final few U.S. military flights from Kabul and acknowledged some U.S. citizens who wanted to leave Afghanistan are still there. He said efforts to get those people safely out of the war-torn country will continue. McKenzie stressed some Americans may choose to stay, but warned the terror threat remains high.
2 Ida Continues Moving Through Mississippi
More than one-million people remain in the dark today – and flood watches remain – in effect as Tropical Depression Ida moves over Central Mississippi. The watches extend from the Gulf Coast region across the Tennessee and Ohio Valleys, central and southern Appalachians, and into the northern Mid-Atlantic and southern New England. Those areas could see up to a half of foot of rain into tomorrow. As we reported yesterday, Ida slammed into Louisiana on Sunday as a Category Four hurricane. So far, two deaths have been confirmed, but as rescue crews dig through the debris – once they can – that number is expected to rise. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards says he isn’t sure when the state will get power again. He told reporters utility crews are still surveying the damage – but some estimates say it will be weeks. As he put it, “there are a lot of unknowns.” The governor says the main focus is restoring power to hospitals first, which are currently running on generator power. Edwards understands the impatience of people saying he's pushing Entergy and other companies to get infrastructure repairs done quickly.
3 Hate Crimes Rose Sharply Last Year
The FBI says hate crimes rose sharply in the U.S. last year, hitting the highest level in a dozen years. An FBI report shows a surge of violence against African Americans and those of Asian descent in 2020. President Biden signed a measure aimed at protecting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders back in May. The bill was passed overwhelmingly by the House and Senate. Of the hate crimes reported in 2020: 9% involved victims targeted over race, ethnicity or ancestry bias; 5% of victims were targeted over sexual orientation bias; 4% were targeted because of religious bias; 5% were targeted because of gender identity bias As in past years, Black Americans were the largest group of individuals targeted because of race or ethnicity bias. Jewish Americans most often targeted over religious bias.