Survivors of a horrific suicide attack which killed 57 people at a volleyball game in Afghanistan told Monday how a bomb packed with ball bearings ripped through spectators enjoying the final moments of the match. In the country's deadliest single attack since 2011, the bomber detonated his explosives as hundreds of young men and boys attended a tournament on Sunday featuring three local teams in the volatile eastern province of Paktika. Separately, two NATO soldiers were killed in an attack in the east on Monday morning, the coalition said. Paktika provincial spokesman Mukhlis Afghan said the death toll from Sunday's blast rose to 57 after 15 people died of their injuries overnight. "The game was about to end when we heard a big bang," Salaam Khan, 19, told AFP at a military hospital in Kabul where he was flown for treatment to his injured chest and right leg. "I was shouting for help. Just beside me was a dead army officer," he said. "There were local police and commanders watching the game. I saw some killed and wounded." The attack underlines the challenges facing President Ashraf Ghani, who came to power in September, as US-led NATO troops wind down operations and Afghan security forces take over full responsibility for fighting the Taliban and other insurgents. Afghanistan's intelligence agency named the Haqqani network, a hardline militant group aligned with the Taliban, as being behind for the blast. The Haqqani network, which was designated a terrorist organisation by the US in 2012, has been blamed for large-scale attacks on government and NATO targets across Afghanistan as well as for many kidnappings and murders. - 'Covered in blood' - "I was watching the game, sitting on the ground with my brother, when the blast happened," said Mohammad Rasoul, 11, who was wounded in the chest and whose brother is in intensive care. "People were covered in blood all around me. There were many friends of mine among them." Many of the wounded are children and young men, and were wrapped in bloody bandages. Doctor Seyawash, head of health services at the hospital in Kabul, told reporters that about 12 victims were in a critical condition, explaining that the injuries were mostly sustained from ball bearings packed in the bomb. The blast, in the Yahya Khail district of Paktika, came early on Sunday evening as crowds peaked at the volleyball, a popular sport in Afghanistan. "I arrived after the bombing, it was an emergency situation. People were rushing the dead and wounded into cars," said Ghulam Mohammad, 60, whose injured grandson cradled a teddy bear in hospital. - 'Inhumane, un-Islamic' - "I went looking for my son and grandson. My son was fine but my grandson was wounded and we came to Kabul in a helicopter." President Ghani visited some of the wounded at the 400-bed military hospital in the Afghan capital. He condemned the attack as "inhumane and un-Islamic", saying "this kind of brutal killing of civilians cannot be justified". Abdullah Abdullah, who signed a power-sharing deal with Ghani after disputed elections, visited elders in Yahya Khail district on Monday, but security concerns kept him away from the attack site. Paktika borders Pakistan's lawless tribal areas, where many insurgent leaders seek refuge from NATO and Afghan forces. Paktika was also hit by a massive suicide blast in July, when a bomber driving a truck packed with explosives killed at least 41 people at a market in Urgun district. In April last year 46 people were killed in a Taliban attack on the law courts in the western province of Farah. A suicide blast at a shrine in Kabul on the Shiite holy day of Ashura in December 2011 killed 80. Sunday's attack occurred on the same day that the lower house of parliament approved agreements to allow about 12,500 NATO troops to stay on next year. NATO combat operations will finish at the end of this year, but the Taliban have launched a series of offensives that have severely tested Afghan soldiers and police. The new NATO mission will focus on supporting the national forces. But fears are growing that Afghanistan could tip into a cycle of violence as the US military presence declines, with the national security forces already suffering high battlefield casualties. In the latest stage of the NATO withdrawal, Britain on Monday ended its 13-year military presence in southern Afghanistan when the last Royal Air Force personnel departed Kandahar airfield.
- Yahoo News
A fifth member of Congress has tested positive for COVID-19 following last week’s lockdown at the Capitol — a surge of cases that had been predicted as a result of the Jan. 6 occupation.
- NBC News
Jennifer Ryan faces charges of disorderly conduct and knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful entry.
Bee Nguyen, Georgia's first Vietnamese American state representative, donned an áo dài to her swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday. Regarded as the most popular national costume of Vietnam, the áo dài for women is a long dress with a contoured top that flows over loose-fitting trousers that reach the sole of the feet. Nguyen, 39, decided to wear the garment in response to the Capitol siege on Jan. 6, in which rioters carried the South Vietnamese flag.
- Associated Press
Pakistani authorities sacked a local police chief and 11 other policemen for failing to protect a Hindu temple that was set on fire and demolished last month by a mob led by hundreds of supporters of a radical Islamist party, police said Friday. The 12 policemen were fired over “acts of cowardice" and “negligence" for not trying to stop the mob when it attacked the temple, with some having fled the scene. Another 48 policemen were given various punishments following a probe into the attack, the police statement said.
New York's state attorney general on Thursday sued New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio and the city's police commissioner over allegations the police used excessive force against racial justice protesters after the killing of George Floyd in May. The federal lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan alleges the police repeatedly and without justification used batons and other physical force against protesters, many of whom were never charged with a crime, causing broken bones and concussions among other injuries. The lawsuit said the police violated protesters' rights, and is seeking a court order to mandate policies, training and monitoring to assure an end to practices it characterized as unlawful.
- NBC News
As blizzard conditions impacted parts of the Midwest, two Southern California coastal locations registered a national high temperature of 94.
- Associated Press
Russia's prison service said Thursday that top Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny faces immediate arrest once he returns from Germany. Navalny, who has been convalescing in Germany from an August poisoning with a nerve agent that he has blamed on the Kremlin, said he will fly back home Sunday.
- Yahoo News Video
A white military veteran shot and wounded a 15-year-old girl when he fired his gun into a car carrying four Black teens during a tense confrontation at a Trump rally near the Iowa Capitol last month.
The National Rifle Association said Friday it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will seek to reincorporate in Texas, calling New York, where it is currently registered, a "toxic political environment." The big picture: The move comes just months after New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit to dissolve the NRA, alleging the group committed fraud by diverting roughly $64 million in charitable donations over three years to support reckless spending by its executives.Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America. * The NRA then sued James in federal court, accusing her of violating its right to free speech. * Karl Racine, attorney general for Washington, D.C., filed a separate lawsuit in August against the gun lobby and its foundation "for misusing charitable funds to support wasteful spending by the NRA and its executives."What they're saying: "Today, the NRA announced a restructuring plan that positions us for the long-term and ensures our continued success as the nation’s leading advocate for constitutional freedom – free from the toxic political environment of New York," the NRA's Wayne LaPierre said in letter to members and supporters Friday. * "The plan can be summed up quite simply: We are DUMPING New York, and we are pursuing plans to reincorporate the NRA in Texas," LaPierre added. * "Under the plan, the NRA will continue what we’ve always done – confronting anti-gun, anti-self-defense and anti-hunting activities and promoting constitutional advocacy that helps law-abiding Americans." * "Our work will continue as it always has. No major changes are expected to the NRA’s operations or workforce. " LaPierre also claimed Friday that the NRA is "as financially strong as we have been in years," despite the organization laying off or furloughing dozens of employees, canceling its national convention and cutting salaries last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, per AP. * A spokesperson for the NRA said in May that like "every other business and nonprofit, we are forced to make tough choices in this new economic environment," per AP. * In its bankruptcy petition filed in Texas, the NRA listed assets and liabilities of as much as $500 million each, Bloomberg reported. Go deeper: The NRA's dwindling political influenceEditor's note: This story has been updated with additional details. Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
- National Review
Senator Ben Sasse (R., Neb.) on Friday called for the rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol last week to be “prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” saying those who participated in the unrest that left five dead were “terrorists attacking this country’s constitutionally-mandated transfer of power.” Sasse’s comments come after the Department of Justice said in court documents that the rioters breached the Capitol with the intent to “capture and assassinate elected officials.” In a memo requesting that “QAnon shaman” Jacob Anthony Chansley be kept in detention, Justice Department lawyers in Arizona wrote that “strong evidence, including Chansley’s own words and actions at the Capitol” show that the intent was to harm elected officials. Sasse said it would be “wrong” of “rage-peddlers” to “try to whitewash the attack on the Capitol, saying that a few bad apples got out of control.” “Every American needs to understand what the Department of Justice has just made public: Investigators have strong evidence to suggest that some of the rioters who stormed the United States Capitol planned to kidnap and possibly assassinate the Vice President,” he said. “These men weren’t drunks who got rowdy — they were terrorists attacking this country’s constitutionally-mandated transfer of power,” he added. “They failed, but they came dangerously close to starting a bloody constitutional crisis.” He concluded: “They must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The FBI is investigating widespread calls for violence across the country and every American has an obligation to lower the temperature.” Last week, before the House impeached President Trump for a second time on an “incitement of insurrection” charge, Sasse had vowed to consider any articles of impeachment against Trump that came before the Senate. “The House, if they come together and have a process, I will definitely consider whatever articles they might move,” Sasse said in an interview with CBS. “I believe the president has disregarded his oath of office…what he did was wicked.”
- The Independent
Cabinet officials preparing to leave administration as DC prepares for Biden inauguration
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged nations around the world to maintain a unified front against Chinese detentions of foreign citizens, saying every country was vulnerable. Trudeau made his remarks as China offered more consular access to two Canadian men it arrested in December 2018 and charged with spying. Canada has repeatedly called on its partners to press Beijing for their release.
- Architectural Digest
When it came to the lighting in his home, Pardo drew inspiration from the insides of fruits, nuts, and seeds, as well as sea creatures and machine parts.Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- Associated Press
A Florida waitress who noticed bruises on an 11-year-old boy flashed him a handwritten note asking him if he needed help, and when he nodded yes, she called the police, authorities said. Orlando police credited Flaviane Carvalho, a waitress at Mrs. Potato Restaurant, with coming to the boy's aid on New Year's Eve when the child’s parents weren’t looking. Police took the boy to a hospital where doctors found bruises on his face, earlobes and arms.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said Friday that the city should expect a "new normal" for security — even after President-elect Biden's inauguration. The state of play: Inaugurations are usually a point of celebration in D.C., but over 20,000 troops are now patrolling Washington streets in an unprecedented preparation for Biden's swearing-in on Jan. 20. Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America. * Fencing surrounds the U.S. Capitol, armored vehicles are deployed and swaths of public transport have been shut down. Why it matters: New details show that rioters were just minutes away from reaching lawmakers. Posts on right-wing social media show that Vice President Pence was a primary target of the attack. * The Washington Post reports that Pence's evacuation route put him mere seconds away from being within eyesight of the mob. * A Capitol Police officer potentially saved the vice president from harm by luring protesters in the wrong direction.House Speaker Nancy Pelosi argued on Friday that "we've really lost our innocence in this." * She suggests there may be a need to prosecute members of Congress who aided rioters in the raid — showcasing an extraordinary degree of distrust within America's legislative branch.The bottom line: Biden says he's "not afraid" to take his oath of office outside — but there are obvious concerns for his safety next week. Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
Bottoms is set to be vice chair in charge of the campaign organization’s civic engagement and voter protection. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has been nominated by President-elect Joe Biden as a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee. In the role, Bottoms would be in charge of civic engagement and voter protection.
People across the world are generally likely to say yes to getting a COVID-19 vaccine, but would be more distrustful of shots made in China or Russia than those developed in Germany or the United States, an international poll showed on Friday. The survey, conducted by the polling company YouGov and shared exclusively with Reuters, found Britons and Danes were the most willing to take the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them, while the French and Poles were more likely to be hesitant. It also found that willingness to take the COVID-19 vaccine has been improving in many countries in recent weeks, just as shots developed by companies in the United States, Russia, China, Germany and Britain were starting to be delivered and administered in countries across Europe, North America and Asia.
- Associated Press
A 16-year-old boy has admitted fatally shooting his newborn daughter and leaving her body inside a fallen tree in the woods in southern Wisconsin, according to prosecutors. Logan Kruckenburg-Anderson, of Albany, is charged as an adult with first-degree intentional homicide and hiding a corpse. According to a criminal complaint, the teen took the infant shortly after she was born Jan. 5 to a wooded area in Albany, about 80 miles (129 kilometers) southwest of Milwaukee, placed her inside a fallen tree and shot her twice in the head.
- The Telegraph
Brad Vercosa has passed Jimmy’s Sport Shop in Mineola, Long Island countless times, but last Thursday he approached the counter, still in his slippers, to buy his first gun. The construction company owner is one of nearly five million Americans who have purchased their first firearm over the past 12 months, driving what analysts are calling the greatest gun-buying spree in the country’s history. The seeds were sown with the onset of the pandemic last spring, and grew in response to Black Lives Matter demonstrations and pro-Trump rallies over the summer. But for many of Jimmy Gong’s customers in Mineola – a suburban village 20 miles east of the skyscrapers of Manhattan – the storming of the Capitol by pro-Trump demonstrators on January 6 was the inflection point. The following day is one of the busiest Gong, 46, can remember, even accounting for a 150 per cent rise in demand. And he expects business to keep booming. After Donald Trump’s impeachment on Wednesday, the FBI warned of possible armed protests and “domestic terrorism”, amid reports of armed far-Right groups planning to gather at all 50 state capitals and in Washington DC in the run-up to Joe Biden being sworn in as president.
- The Independent
Nikki Haley launches push to support conservative candidates ahead of rumoured 2024 presidential bid
Former South Carolina governor is tipped to be run for president at next election