My fellow Americans, the war is over

·6 min read

President Joe Biden defended the United States' exit from Afghanistan. Opposition to the COVID-19 vaccine is dropping among Americans. And the Caldor Fire in California is scorching its way toward Lake Tahoe.

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Biden defends US exit from Afghanistan

After the last flight carrying United States forces departed Afghanistan on Monday, the country entered a new era as the 20-year war with the U.S. came to a close. In an address to the nation on Tuesday, a defiant President Biden defended both his decision to end military operations and his handling of the evacuation that left some Americans behind. "I was not going to extend this forever war and I was not extending a forever exit," Biden said. "My fellow Americans, the war in Afghanistan is now over." Read more from President Biden's speech.

What happens next? The Taliban, now in control of the country, will have to contend with terror group ISIS-K as Biden and the United Nations urge the new government to allow for safe travel for Afghans and to uphold human rights. Between 100 to 200 U.S. citizens remain in Afghanistan, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday. So, what will happen to Americans and allies still in Afghanistan? Here's what you need to know.

👉 Afghanistan news: Biden addressed end of war in Afghanistan; Taliban declared victory; McCarthy blasted the White House. Catch up on the latest with live updates.

A paratrooper from the 82nd Airborne Division conducts security at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Aug. 28, 2021.
A paratrooper from the 82nd Airborne Division conducts security at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Aug. 28, 2021.

Ida death toll rises to 4

The death toll from Hurricane Ida rose to at least four after a highway collapsed in Mississippi, millions were still without power and flooding remained a threat Tuesday as remnants of the monster storm swept across the Southeast. Two people died in Louisiana, including a person hit by a falling tree outside Baton Rouge and a driver who drowned in New Orleans. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said at least 671 people had been rescued from floodwaters by Monday afternoon. Power remained out Tuesday to more than 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and another 75,000 in Mississippi, Alabama and Virginia. Ida roared onto the Gulf Coast near Port Fourchon, Louisiana, on Sunday with 1 mph winds before barreling toward Mississippi. With sustained winds at 30 mph, Ida quietened to a tropical depression status Tuesday, but the National Weather Service warned that the heavy rain and flooding threat would spread from the Tennessee and Ohio valleys up through the mid-Atlantic states on Wednesday.

Fran Tribe and her dog Dave sit outside home destroyed by Hurricane Ida in Houma, LA. Monday, Aug. 30, 2021.
Fran Tribe and her dog Dave sit outside home destroyed by Hurricane Ida in Houma, LA. Monday, Aug. 30, 2021.

What everyone's talking about

Fewer people now opposed to COVID-19 vaccine

Amid surging COVID-19 cases largely propelled by the delta variant, and following the FDA's full approval of the Pfizer shot, vaccine opposition is dropping, a new poll suggests. The latest Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index, released Tuesday, finds only 1 in 5 Americans say they're not likely to get vaccinated, the lowest level since the start of the index. The percentage of Americans who stand in hard opposition to getting the vaccine has also dropped to its lowest reported levels, at 14% of U.S. adults. The changes are particularly noteworthy among parents: 68% now say they're likely to get their children vaccinated; 31% oppose vaccinating their children. Mask use also continues to increase, according to the index: 69% now report using a mask some or all the time when leaving the home, up from 52% in the July 20 report.

👉 COVID-19 news: Hurricane Ida victims could swamp Louisiana hospitals; Many states already reporting more COVID-19 deaths in 2021 than in 2020. Catch up on the latest here.

Registered nurse Kevin Grellman prepares to give a third "booster" dose of Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine to Jose Gomez, 80, (L) and his wife Armida Gomez, 81, during a vaccination clinic hosted by Tournament of Roses and the Pasadena Department of Public Health on August 19, 2021 at Tournament House in Pasadena, California.
Registered nurse Kevin Grellman prepares to give a third "booster" dose of Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine to Jose Gomez, 80, (L) and his wife Armida Gomez, 81, during a vaccination clinic hosted by Tournament of Roses and the Pasadena Department of Public Health on August 19, 2021 at Tournament House in Pasadena, California.

Caldor Fire scorching its way toward Lake Tahoe

Bearing down on scenic Lake Tahoe, the Caldor Fire grew overnight after jumping a highway and prompting mass evacuations of the lakeside town, California fire officials said Tuesday. For two weeks, firefighters have been battling the blaze, which has burned over 276 square miles, destroyed more than 470 homes and injured at least five people, but is only about 15% is contained. After the evacuation orders went into effect for South Lake Tahoe's 22,000 residents, the fire jumped Highway 89 and moved north on a ridge. Conditions on the ground have worsened since Sunday. Crews face low humidity and gusty winds as the fire races east and threatens to reach Lake Tahoe, but the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection expects full containment by Sept. 8. The Caldor Fire is one of 83 large fires and complexes burning more than 3,900 square miles across the West, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

The Caldor Fire burns on both sides of Highway 50 about 10 miles east of Kyburz, California, as the fire pushes east prompting evacuation orders all the way to Echo Summit. The Caldor Fire, the nation's top priority for firefighting resources, grew to more than 213 square miles southwest of Lake Tahoe but containment remained at 12%, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
The Caldor Fire burns on both sides of Highway 50 about 10 miles east of Kyburz, California, as the fire pushes east prompting evacuation orders all the way to Echo Summit. The Caldor Fire, the nation's top priority for firefighting resources, grew to more than 213 square miles southwest of Lake Tahoe but containment remained at 12%, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Real quick

Mike Richards fired from 'Jeopardy!' and 'Wheel of Fortune'

Mike Richards, who stepped down as "Jeopardy!" host last week over accusations of past offensive comments, is also being removed from his role as executive producer. Sony Pictures Television executive VP Suzanne Prete said Richards will no longer be the executive producer of the top-rated syndicated game show, "effective immediately." Richards, 46, had been selected for the hosting job this month, but sparked controversy when comments from a 2014 podcast, while he was a producer of CBS' "The Price is Right," resurfaced in a report from The Ringer. In the podcast Richards hosted, "The Randumb Show," The Ringer reported that Richards repeatedly used offensive language to describe and denigrate women's bodies, and also made an offensive comment about Jewish people.

Mike Richards was selected as the permanent syndicated host of "Jeopardy!," but stepped down after controversy.
Mike Richards was selected as the permanent syndicated host of "Jeopardy!," but stepped down after controversy.

A break from the news

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Afghanistan, Hurricane Ida, COVID-19 vaccines, Caldor Fire, 'Jeopardy!' exec Mike Richards fired. It's Monday's News.