In The News.

Robert Massimi.

Flames Threaten Lake Tahoe

California’s Caldor Fire continued its steady advance toward one of the state’s most popular natural tourist destinations, with the flames just 3 miles from the town of South Lake Tahoe as of yesterday afternoon.

The town, along with neighboring resort destinations, had mostly emptied out Monday, as a mileslong line of cars marched toward Nevada to avoid the danger. More than 50,000 people are under mandatory evacuation orders, and officials estimate 33,000 structures may be at risk if it continues to advance.

As of this morning, the fire had burned almost 200,000 acres (see map) and is currently at 18% containment. The flames are advancing from the southwest side of the lake eastward, and have engulfed a large portion of Route 50, the primary eastbound road into the region. Watch footage of a driver making his way up Route 50 toward the region, through the flames.

Taliban’s Turn to Govern

Taliban fighters fired guns into the air at the Kabul airport yesterday, celebrating the final departure of US troops. The group now faces the challenge of imposing its strict form of Islamist government on a population of 38 million that analysts say is more educated and cosmopolitan since the group’s previous rule from 1996 to 2001.

The country’s fragile economy is in a perilous position — more than 40% of its gross domestic product came from international aid, much of which is now frozen. An estimated 44% of the workforce is in the agricultural sector and 90% of its country lives on less than $2 per day. Officials have warned of a humanitarian crisis, depending on near-term decisions by the Taliban government.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US will not have a diplomatic presence in the country, with diplomats from the Kabul embassy relocating to Qatar. Between 100 and 200 Americans who still wish to leave reportedly remain, having been prevented from making it to the airfield in time. President Joe Biden addressed the nation yesterday, defending his decision to stick to an Aug. 31 withdrawal deadline and declaring an end to the US war in Afghanistan.

Maj. Gen. Chris Donahue was the last American soldier to depart Afghanistan; see his photo here.

EU Hits Vaccine Goal

More than 70% of adults in the European Union have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, health officials said yesterday. Overall, the figure represents roughly 55% of the 27-member bloc’s total population; for comparison, about 52% of the overall US population has been fully vaccinated (about 63% of adults).

Despite the milestone, dramatic differences in vaccination rates exist across the EU countries. Belgium has fully vaccinated more than 80% of its population, while Romania sits at 31% and Bulgaria at 20%. Explore the data in this interactive map.

In the US, average daily case rates continue to rise, albeit at a slower pace, now having surpassed 160,000 cases per day. Conflicting data exist on hospitalizations — a New York Times dashboard reported the figure passing 100,000 current patients across the US, while a separate widely used aggregator shows the figure beginning to decline. Deaths are currently averaging 1,330 per day, up 20% over the past week.

In related news, Florida withheld school board salaries for two districts that defied Gov. Ron DeSantis’ prohibition against districts requiring masks for schoolchildren.

Editor’s note: In yesterday’s politics section, we mistakenly said the Department of Education was probing decisions by five states regarding face mask bans in schools. The probe regards state bans on face mask mandates by schools.

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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

Brought to you by NIPYATA!

> Mike Richards fired as executive producer of “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune” less than two weeks after stepping down as the new host of “Jeopardy!” (More)

> NFL teams finalize their 53-player rosters; see biggest moves for all 32 teams (More) | New England Patriots cut veteran QB Cam Newton in favor of rookie Mac Jones (More)

> Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, set to begin tomorrow, canceled due to heavy rains and flooding from Hurricane Ida (More) | Venice Film Festival opens today with strict COVID-19 protocols (More)

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Science & Technology

> Rogue antibodies — those that turn against the body’s immune system — found to be involved in at least 20% of COVID-19 deaths (More)

> Facebook says it will tweak its news feed algorithm to deemphasize current events and political stories, while expanding tests where engagement metrics like clicks and shares have less influence (More)

> Implantable stimulation device shown to accelerate the healing of tendons and help treat musculoskeletal diseases; device powered by the motion of walking (More)

Business & Markets

> US stock markets end down for the day (S&P 500 -0.1%, Dow -0.1%, Nasdaq -0.04%), but close up for the month of August; seventh straight monthly gain for S&P 500, which is up 20% for the year (More) | US home prices rose 18.6% in June, per the Case-Shiller national home index; prices are now 41% higher than the 2006 housing bubble peak (More)

> Pilots union sues Southwest Airlines alleging the company made unilateral changes to working conditions (More)

> Allbirds files for initial public offering; sustainable shoemaker lost $26M on $219M revenue in 2020 (More) | Data management software provider Databricks raises $1.6B at $38B valuation (More)

Politics & World Affairs

> New Orleans orders an 8 pm curfew amid reports of looting; city remains under a near-complete blackout after Hurricane Ida knocked out major power lines (More)

> Texas legislature sends voting and election reform bill to Gov. Greg Abbott (R) for signature; passage comes amid a second special session after the first was suspended due to a Democratic walkout (More)

> Martinsville Seven granted posthumous pardons, finding they were tried without due process and received racially biased death sentences; the seven Black men were executed in 1951 for the alleged rape of Ruby Stroud Floyd (More)


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Great white sharks feast on a whale carcass off Cape Cod. (w/video)

The partisan divide in media trust is growing wider.

Guess which films correspond to these AI-generated movie posters.

Fancy cinematography turns cities into stunning miniatures.

Replace doomscrolling with meditative Zen gardens.

Did a sort-of-fake high school dupe ESPN?

The Harlem Hellfighters to receive a Congressional Gold Medal.

An 80-pound cougar gets removed from a New York City apartment.

Clickbait: UK Nazi sympathizer sentenced to read “Jane Eyre.”

Historybook: Lewis and Clark explorer William Clark dies (1838); Germany invades Poland (1939); HBD singer Gloria Estefan (1957); Bobby Fischer wins “Match of the Century” and becomes first American-born world chess champion (1972); Wreckage of the Titanic found at the bottom of North Atlantic (1985); HBD actress and singer Zendaya (1996)

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robert massimi

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