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January 1, Taliban soldiers celebrate seizure of US weapons from Afghan troops



Good morning Americans,

Recently released videos show members of the Taliban celebrating the seizure of US Humvees, tanks, and assault weapons from Afghan security forces. Over the weekend, the US hastily pulled out of Bagram Airfield, which allowed the Taliban to swoop in and loot numerous items. A Taliban commander told Sky News that they had taken a cache of weapons from Afghan security personnel that included 70 sniper rifles, 900 guns, 30 Humvees, 20 pickup trucks, and 15 armored vehicles. “You look at the security situation, it’s not good. The Afghans recognize it’s not good. The Taliban are on the move,” said Army Gen. Austin Scott Miller, who is overseeing the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

Several Republican governors are urging their vaccine-hesitant residents to get their Covid-19 shots. Only 32% of people in Arkansas are fully vaccinated, compared to 47.9% nationwide. “If we stopped right here, and we didn’t get a greater percent [sic] of our population vaccinated, then we’re going to have trouble in the next school year and over the winter,” said Asa Hutchinson, governor of Arkansas. West Virginia is seeing similar numbers. “When it really boils right down to it, they’re in a lottery to themselves,” said Jim Justice, governor of West Virginia. “We have a lottery that says if you’re vaccinated, we’re going to give you stuff. Well, you’ve got another lottery for them, and it’s a death lottery.”

Officials overseeing the search at the site of the Florida condo collapse are becoming increasingly somber regarding the prospects for finding anyone alive. “We’re actively searching as aggressively as we can,” Miami-Dade County Fire Chief Alan Cominsky said at a news conference. “Unfortunately, we are not seeing anything positive. The key things — void spaces, living spaces — we’re not seeing anything like that.” At the time of this reporting, the death toll had reached 32.

In Ohio, a mass shooting at a Fourth of July block party left a 17-year-old dead and 11 others injured, including children. Toledo Police Chief George Kral said officers were dispatched after a report of a male shooting into the air and 300 people were fighting in the street. Kral said that party attendees were not cooperative with investigators, and it is unclear what started the fight. More than 80 rounds were fired from multiple weapons. No suspects have been arrested.

The Pentagon has scrapped their highly-politicized $10 billion cloud-computing contract with Microsoft, which has been mired in litigation with Amazon. The Department of Defense on Tuesday said the JEDI contract — short for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure — no longer met its needs, “due to evolving requirements, increased cloud conversancy, and industry advances.” The Pentagon said it would solicit new bids from Amazon and Microsoft, as they are the only two companies that can currently meet the military’s requirements.

There has been yet another ransomware attack, this time affecting between 800 and 1,500 businesses around the world. The US information technology firm Kaseya was hit on Friday, paralyzing businesses on all five continents. The hackers are demanding $70 million to restore all the affected businesses’ data. “I can’t comment yes, no, or maybe,” Fred Voccola, chief executive of Kaseya said when asked whether his company would talk to or pay the hackers. “No comment on anything to do with negotiating with terrorists in any way.”

Be well,

Fraser Dixon




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