Continued concern centred around Kabul, some stark statistics on Scotland, and the beginning of a landmark trial for R Kelly.
The Taliban held their first press conference on Tuesday, days after consolidating their control over the country once again.
The Taliban said they are “committed to the rights of women… within the framework of Sharia”. Education and health were mentioned, but not with much clarity - many have asked the question in recent days if girls will be able to continue their education under Taliban rule.
The Taliban has also said they want women to work within its government, a vague statement met with much skepticism.
“Our women are Muslim. They will also be happy to be living within our frameworks of Sharia.”
There was, however, a historic moment whereby a female news anchor interviewed a Taliban spokesman (seen below) - a scene unthinkable during the Taliban’s last time in power.
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Taliban Sweep in Afghanistan Follows Years of U.S. Miscalculations *subscription required
“If there is a consistent theme over two decades of war in Afghanistan, it is the overestimation of the results of the $83 billion the United States has spent since 2001 training and equipping the Afghan security forces and an underestimation of the brutal, wily strategy of the Taliban.”
‘Tweedledee and Tweedledum’: That’s how John Bolton - who served as Donald Trump’s national security advisor - described President Biden and his predecessor.
“This has been a debacle, it’s an embarrassment, a humiliation. You’ve seen Biden shred his own credibility.”
In an interview with Fox News, Donald Trump described former Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, as a “total crook”. He was also deeply critical of Biden once again, saying “I don't even believe that he is calling the shots”.
The UK will offer refuge to up to 20,000 Afghan citizens. Worth noting: This number will be spread out over “the coming years,” according to BBC News. This year, 5,000 people will be eligible.
Ireland will provide refuge to 300 Afghan citizens. According to RTÈ News, they are expected to arrive in the country “in the coming weeks”.
ON TODAY’S AGENDA…
The trial of R Kelly is set to begin in New York today with opening statements.
The disgraced singer faces charges of sex trafficking and racketeering in this trial, and also faces trial in two other states. CNN noted Kelly “could face decades in prison”.
Last week, an anonymous jury of seven men and five women was selected, and this trial is expected to last between six and eight weeks.
In Scotland, deaths caused by alcohol are at their highest level since 2008, and those caused by drugs are at their highest level ever.
Alcohol - according to the National Records of Scotland, the number of alcohol-specific deaths has increased 17% from 2019 to 2020, reaching 1,190, 126 deaths fewer than the record deaths registered in 2008 (1,316).
Worth noting: those living in the poorest communities are eight times more likely to die due to alcohol.
Drugs - an increase of over 9% within just one year, going from 1,264 drug-related deaths in 2019 to 1,339 in 2020. It increases every year, and the figure now stands at almost three times higher than it was a decade ago.
Worth noting: Scotland’s current drug-related death rate averages three people a day, the highest in any European country and 3.5 times that of England and Wales.
- Global overview: More than 208.5 million cases and at least 4,382,381 coronavirus-related deaths have been recorded globally. In terms of vaccines, 4.7 billion doses have been administered around the world.
- In Ireland, more than 90.1% of the adult population have received at least one dose of the vaccine, while 81.7% are fully vaccinated.
- The UK has similar figures - 89.6% have received at least one dose, while 77.2% of adults have been fully vaccinated.
- New Zealand entered a snap lockdown, after one case was reported. It marked the country’s first case in six months. According to BBC News, only 20% of New Zealand’s population is fully vaccinated.
- The Queen - who is 95-years-old - will stay in Balmoral in Scotland, despite a staff member testing positive over the weekend.
- BBC News: Trendy shoffices and pizza ovens raised fire risks
- The Guardian: Lake District in peril due to climate emergency and influx of pandemic walkers
- The Financial Times: Taliban vows respect for women’s rights ‘within framework of Islam’
- Al Jazeera: Transcript of Taliban’s first news conference in Kabul
- The Irish Times: Developer plans to sell 122 Balldoyle social housing units for €46.4m
Two years since Donald Trump confirmed he had expressed interest in buying Greenland for “strategic reasons”. Days later, Trump called off a trip to Denmark over what he described as a “nasty” response from its leader.
The Danish prime minister at the time referred to the suggestion as “absurd”.
ON A LIGHTER NOTE…
They forgot to defrost the chicken.