By Mirwais Harooni KABUL (Reuters) - A Taliban suicide bomber blew himself up near the Afghan defense ministry in Kabul on Saturday, causing heavy casualties just hours after an attack in the eastern province of Kunar killed 13 people and put prospects for new peace talks in doubt. The attack in Kabul killed 15 people and wounded 33, most of them defense ministry staff leaving their offices, according to ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri. Witnesses at the scene, where a large plume of smoke spiraled into the sky, said they had seen a number of bodies on the ground. The area was sealed off as police and army vehicles surrounded the blast site. "I wanted to cross the bridge when I heard an explosion," said a witness who gave his name as Zulgai. "I went to the area and saw as many as 30 people killed and wounded. There were damaged cars and shattered windows everywhere," he said. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which the movement's spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said had killed 23 officers and wounded 29 others. He said there were no civilian casualties. The high-profile attack came as officials from Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United States and China have been pressing for a resumption of the peace process, interrupted last year, between the Western-backed government in Kabul and the Taliban. But it remains unclear whether the Taliban, struggling to contain deep internal divisions, will take part in direct peace talks that the four-nation group hope will be held in Islamabad as early as next week. In a statement issued after the attack in Kunar, President Ashraf Ghani said his government would not conduct peace talks with groups that killed innocent people and said security forces would step up the fight against terrorism. The Taliban, fighting to restore hardline Islamist rule in Afghanistan, has conducted a series of attacks in Kabul and other areas this year and has pressed its military campaign in the southern province of Helmand, where it has forced government troops to pull out of a number of districts. Earlier on Saturday, a suicide bomber killed a local militia commander and at least 12 others outside the governor's compound in Asadabad, the provincial capital of Kunar, near the border with Pakistan. Provincial Governor Wahidullah Kalimzai said the bomber rode up on a motorcycle to the entrance of the compound and blew himself up, wounding at least 40 people. "Most of the victims were civilians and children who were either passing by or playing in the park," he said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility but the apparent target of the attack, a tribal elder and militia commander named Haji Khan Jan, was among the dead. He had been closely involved in a number of operations against the Taliban in his district last year. (Additional reporting by Mohammad Anwar in Asadabad and Sayed Hassib in Kabul,; Writing by James Mackenzie; Editing by Gareth Jones)
- The Independent
‘Relief’ to have ‘specimen out of our possession’ Mercer University scientist says
- The Independent
The judge agreed with four out of five allegations of aggravating factors
- Associated Press
A cyberattack on a critical U.S. pipeline is sending ripple effects across the economy, highlighting cybersecurity vulnerabilities in the nation's aging energy infrastructure. The Colonial Pipeline, which delivers about 45% of the fuel used along the Eastern Seaboard, shut down Friday after a ransomware attack by gang of criminal hackers that calls itself DarkSide. WHAT HAPPENED TO THE COLONIAL PIPELINE?
- The Independent
He claimed in 2019 that windmills cause cancer
- The Independent
‘It’s important that we not unite with someone who is dividing our party,’ says Arkansas governor
Sule Square sits on land owned by the country's military, according to a United Nations report.
- The Independent
Republican who backed Arizona ‘audit’ based on Trump’s election lies now says it ‘makes us look like idiots’
‘Looking back, I didn’t think it would be this ridiculous. It’s embarrassing to be a state senator at this point,’ says Arizona State Senator Paul Boyer
- Reuters Videos
Two children could be seen leaping from the third floor of the four-storey School Number 175 to escape as gunshots rang out, in a video filmed by an onlooker that was circulated by Russia's RIA news agency.Calling the attack a big tragedy for the whole country, Rustam Minnikhanov, the head of the wider Tatarstan region, said there was no evidence that anyone else had been involved."We have lost seven children...four boys and three girls. And 16 people, 12 children and four adults, are in hospital," Minnikhanov told state TV. "The terrorist has been arrested. He's a 19-year-old who was officially registered as a gun owner."Kazan is the capital of the Muslim-majority region of Tatarstan and located around 450 miles (725 km) east of Moscow.
NEW YORK (Reuters) -U.S. stocks slumped on Wednesday and benchmark Treasury yields jumped after data showed consumer prices unexpectedly rose by the most in nearly 12 years in April, prompting bets on earlier interest rate hikes. Moments after data showed the U.S. consumer price index jumped 0.8% last month, outpacing a 0.2% forecast, the dollar spiked, and by midday had further extended its gains as expectations of rising real interest rates lifted the currency. The gyrations in financial markets underscored concerns among some investors that the Federal Reserve could be wrong in its prediction that inflation pressures in the United States are "transitory", and that the central bank may have to raise rates sooner than it currently expects.
- The Independent
Anthony Antonio’s lawyer says he watched network for months before being part of attack on Capitol
He worked with Hitchcock, played tennis with Chaplin and made his final film with Judd Apatow.
- The New York Times
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden took office in January with little interest in pursuing an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, for understandable reasons. President Bill Clinton hosted an Israeli-Palestinian summit during his first year in the White House. President Barack Obama appointed a Middle East peace envoy on his second full day in office. And before his swearing-in, Donald Trump vowed to secure an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal “which no one else has managed to get.” All of them failed to achieve a peace deal, as did President George W. Bush, who took up the cause later in his presidency. Sign up for The Morning newsletter from the New York Times Even before the recent explosion of violence in Israel and the Gaza Strip, analysts agreed that prospects for a successful negotiation continued to look hopeless in the near term, with neither side prepared to make concessions the other would demand. Biden and his senior advisers have largely accepted that status quo. Determined to shift the focus of American foreign policy to China from the Middle East and seeing no reliable partner in an unstable Israeli government led by an embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has pursued hard-line positions toward the Palestinians, Biden has issued familiar endorsements of a two-state solution while making little effort to push the parties toward one. But as spiraling riots, rocket attacks on Tel Aviv, Israel, and airstrikes on the Gaza Strip threaten to escalate into a major conflict, calls are growing in the Democratic Party for Biden to play a more active role. Some liberals urge him to more firmly challenge Israeli settlement activity, which makes a peaceful resolution with the Palestinians harder to achieve. “The problem with the Middle East is that you can try to turn your back on it, but it won’t turn its back on you,” said Martin S. Indyk, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel and a former special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Biden administration officials on Tuesday publicly called for both sides to show restraint. In recent days, U.S. officials have also pressed Israeli and Palestinian officials in private conversations to avoid inflaming tensions, and issued a successful plea for the postponement of an Israeli court ruling on the eviction of Palestinian families in East Jerusalem that helped lead to recent clashes in the city. Indyk said he did not blame Biden’s approach of “conflict management, rather than conflict resolution,” given the dim prospects for peace after Trump’s presidency, which culminated with a heavily pro-Israel peace plan last year that the Palestinians rejected on arrival. But Indyk said that Biden must now become more active, and he urged the swift appointment to the empty post of American ambassador to Jerusalem. Indyk also noted that the president had not yet spoken with Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority. He also said the administration should reopen a consulate in East Jerusalem, which had been the United States’ main point of contact with Palestinians before it was closed under Trump. “They need to establish a dialogue with the Palestinians,” Indyk said. The White House disclosed Tuesday that Biden and Abbas had exchanged letters after the 2020 election. U.S. officials have also had private, lower-level contacts with Palestinian officials, including Abbas’ senior adviser, Hussein al-Sheikh. Other Democrats urged Biden to exert more pressure on Israel’s government over settlement activity and territorial claims that they say are making the prospects for an agreement with the Palestinians virtually impossible. “If you stand back and the process of creeping annexation is allowed to continue unchecked, it is going to result in this kind of moment,” said Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of the liberal pro-Israel advocacy group J Street. “You can wish this off your priority list, but this is a conflict with very deep-seated problems, and they need attention. And if you leave it untended, it’s going to catch fire, and people are going to get hurt again,” Ben-Ami said. “We are inches away from this blowing out of control.” The Democratic Party has moved to the left on Israel in recent years, partly because of Netanyahu’s strong alliance with Trump and other Republican leaders, and also because many of its younger activists and members of Congress are more openly sympathetic to the Palestinian cause than those of Biden’s generation. After the State Department said last week that it was “deeply concerned” about the potential eviction of Palestinian families from East Jerusalem, some Democrats rebuked the Biden administration for failure to act more assertively to stop the Israelis. Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland wrote on Twitter that “this is not a moment for tepid statements.” At a briefing Monday, Ned Price, the State Department spokesman, was asked about a tweet by Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., who said that the deputy mayor of Jerusalem, in a defense of the proposed evictions, had endorsed “ethnic cleansing.” Price said the claim was “not something that our analysis supports.” Some analysts said that even if Biden shared the assessment that more pressure on Israel’s government would be effective, he might be wary of further exacerbating tensions with Israeli leaders anxious about his top priority in the Middle East: an effort to restore the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, which Netanyahu and other top Israeli officials have long opposed. Biden also took office at a moment of enormous political flux, with Israel in the midst of several failed efforts to form a lasting government and the Palestinians headed toward elections — since postponed, another source of the current unrest — that complicated efforts to devise a clear U.S. policy. Netanyahu is struggling to hold on to power, and U.S. officials say the influence of Abbas over Palestinian protests and violence, driven by militants and social media, is close to zero. Biden also has memories from his days as vice president of Obama’s call for an Israeli settlement freeze and territorial concessions, which had little effect on policies over the long term but drew fierce political blowback from Republicans and some Democrats who said Obama failed to understand Israel’s security needs. Republicans continue to exploit tensions in the Democratic Party over Israel policy. On Tuesday, Trump issued a statement charging that Biden’s “lack of support for Israel is leading to new attacks on our allies.” But it was unclear what support Trump felt the United States was not providing, given that his own statement of support for Israel’s “right to defend itself” matched Biden administration talking points. Many Democrats, including Biden officials speaking privately, say that Trump is a key cause of the current problems. Halie Soifer, the chief executive of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, said that Trump, who fulsomely supported Netanyahu’s pro-settlement policies and defied warnings of Palestinian unrest in moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, “was willing to intervene in Israeli domestic politics and elections to pursue his political agenda, regardless of its impact on the region or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” Soifer said that Biden deserved credit for being a supporter, during the Obama administration, of Israel’s so-called Iron Dome anti-rocket system, which has been defending Israeli cities from incoming fire. “Our priority is on restoring calm. Our priority over the longer term may move toward playing some sort of mediating role between Israelis and Palestinians,” Price, the State Department spokesman, told reporters Monday. “But given circumstances on the ground right now — and even before this current flare-up — we’re just not in a position, I think, to see meaningful progress,” he added. “And our policy has recognized that.” This article originally appeared in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company
- Associated Press
Ja Morant had 24 points, eight assists and seven rebounds as the Memphis Grizzlies used a third-quarter burst to beat the Dallas Mavericks 133-104 on Tuesday night. Dillon Brooks added 22 points and John Konchar had a season-high 18 for the Grizzlies. Kyle Anderson scored 15 points, including 10 in the key third quarter as Memphis continues to try and move up in the Western Conference standings.
"As great as this show is, and as fun as it is, it's just not a challenge any more," she explains.
- The Week
The reason why some gas stations are running out of fuel isn't because of the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said Tuesday, but rather because people are panic buying. "Much as there was no cause for, say, hoarding toilet paper at the beginning of the pandemic, there should be no cause for hoarding gasoline," Granholm told reporters. Running from Texas to New Jersey, the Colonial Pipeline transports 45 percent of the East Coast's fuel supply. It shut down on Friday when the company learned it was the target of a ransomware attack, but the pipeline is expected to be "substantially operational" by the end of the week, Granholm said. On Tuesday, more than 1,000 gas stations in the South and along the East Coast reported being out of fuel. There are long lines at other stations, and this is due to a "supply crunch" rather than a worrisome shortage, Granholm said. With summer approaching, gasoline prices are starting to go up, and Granholm warned gas station owners there will be "no tolerance for price gouging." More stories from theweek.comThe doom-loop of a falling fertility rateThe real reason Liz Cheney lost her jobAn anti-vax conspiracy theory is apparently making anti-maskers consider masking up, social distancing
The UK economy shrank by 1.5% in the first three months of 2021, but picked up speed in March.
- Business Insider
Drivers face $3 gas prices after the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack, and some gas stations have run out completely
Drivers face gas prices of $3 a gallon following the Colonial Pipeline hack. Prices could rise further, but the AAA urged against panic buying.
It's another big step in the commercialization of space
- The Week
At Wednesday's House Oversight Committee hearing addressing the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) scolded former acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller for seemingly changing his opinion of former President Donald Trump's culpability in the Capitol insurrection. Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) goes after former acting Defense Sec. Christopher Miller for taking back his written statement saying President Trump “encouraged” protesters on January 6. Miller: “That’s ridiculous”Lynch: “You’re ridiculous.” pic.twitter.com/8drl4UjR5D — The Recount (@therecount) May 12, 2021 On Tuesday, Miller released a written testimony intended for the hearing, writing, "I stand by my prior observation that I personally believe [Trump's] comments encouraged the protestors that day," although he went on to add he is "not in a position to make an official assessment of [Trump's] responsibility" and stands by his decisions as Pentagon chief on Jan. 6. Christopher Miller, the Pentagon chief on January 6, will testify tomorrow that he personally believes Trump "encouraged" the deadly attack. pic.twitter.com/IFmg9VfAhu — Jan Wolfe (@JanNWolfe) May 11, 2021 However, when asked by Lynch if he believed Trump incited the riots, Miller replied, "I think I'd like to modify my original assessment." He said new information led him to believe the assault was far more organized than originally thought — in essence, suggesting that while Trump did "offer" the Capitol to rioters, the president's remarks were not "the unitary factor." Lynch fired back, quoting Miller himself: "Would anybody have marched on the Capitol or tried to overrun the Capitol without the president's speech? I think it's pretty much definitive that would not have happened." As the two continued to bicker, Miller called the accusation he had reversed his comments "ridiculous," to which Lynch replied, "You're ridiculous." More at Politico. More stories from theweek.comThe doom-loop of a falling fertility rateThe real reason Liz Cheney lost her jobAn anti-vax conspiracy theory is apparently making anti-maskers consider masking up, social distancing
- The Independent
Senate to consider sweeping federal election legislation as Republicans endorse dozens of bills to limit ballot access in nearly every state