Afghanistan, Tropical Storm Henri, Slacklining: Your Friday Evening Briefing


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Good evening. Here’s the latest at the end of Friday.

1. President Biden told Americans in Afghanistan: “We will get you home.”

In what he called “one of the largest, most difficult airlifts in history,” Biden said the U.S. military had evacuated some 18,000 Americans and vulnerable Afghans from the country since July. He promised to bring home any American still trapped in Afghanistan.

About 5,200 U.S. troops are securing the airport in Kabul as chaos dominates just outside, with people camped out on the roads nearby. Anxious crowds have pressed up against airport blast walls, with women and children being hoisted into the arms of U.S. soldiers.

Elsewhere in Kabul, Khalil Haqqani, who has long been on America’s terrorist list as a member of one of the most powerful networks behind the Taliban’s rise to power, was welcomed by cheering crowds.

2. The F.D.A. is aiming to give full approval to Pfizer’s Covid vaccine on Monday.

The approval is expected to pave the way for a series of vaccination requirements by public and private organizations. Officials are also hoping that an approved vaccine will draw interest from Americans who have been hesitant to take one that was only authorized for emergency use.

Schools are adapting their reopenings to the surge in cases. Rice University in Houston shifted classes online through Sept. 3. New York City high school student athletes and coaches participating in high-risk sports will have to be vaccinated. In Texas, the state’s education agency said it would temporarily stop enforcing Gov. Greg Abbott’s ban on mask mandates.

In other virus news, as Southeast Asian nations raise doubts about the efficacy of China’s vaccines, an opportunity for vaccine diplomacy is opening up for the U.S.


4. A Covid test manufacturer destroyed inventory. Now supplies are short.

After virus cases plummeted this spring, workers in Maine making 15-minute antigen tests for Abbott Laboratories spent weeks taking apart millions of them. Abbott shuttered the only other plant making the test, dismissing a work force of 2,000.

Now demand is soaring again as people return to schools and offices. Yet Abbott has reportedly told thousands of newly interested companies that it cannot equip their testing programs in the near future. Pharmacy chains are selling out and Abbott is scrambling to hire back workers.

5. The man who claimed he had a bomb outside the U.S. Capitol was charged with threatening to use a weapon of mass destruction.

The man, Floyd Ray Roseberry, of Grover, N.C., was also charged with making a threat using explosives after broadcasting live on Facebook on Thursday that he had a powerful bomb and detonator. The Capitol Police said that a bomb was not found in the vehicle, but “possible bomb making materials were collected from the truck.”

The threat of a mass destruction charge carries a sentence of life in prison. A judge said that he would order a competency evaluation. Relatives said Roseberry had a history of mental instability and a bad temper.


6. The new “Jeopardy!” host, Mike Richards, abruptly quit.

Richards, who as the show’s executive producer helped oversee the search for Alex Trebek’s replacement —  before he himself was named to the position last week—  is stepping down as the game show confronts a controversy over offensive comments he made on a podcast several years ago.

The show’s search for a permanent replacement host will now start again, with a series of guest hosts to be scheduled. Sony Pictures Entertainment said that Richards would stay on as executive producer. Mayim Bialik, the sitcom star, will remain as host of “Jeopardy!” prime-time specials.


7. Rafael Nadal is pulling out of the U.S. Open, and the rest of the 2021 season.

The four-time U.S. Open champion said he was withdrawing because of a chronic problem with his left foot that has troubled him intermittently since his teens. His longtime rival Roger Federer is out for the remainder of the year with a knee injury, and the defending men’s Open champion, Dominic Thiem, is out because of a wrist injury.

In other sports news, fans are back at Le Mans, which starts Saturday, and the storied Italian soccer team Inter Milan is coming apart.


8. The Met Opera is coming back, for a 9/11 tribute.

The company plans to perform Verdi’s Requiem to mark the 20th anniversary of the attacks in its first indoor event since March 2020, an event that will also be broadcast live on PBS. Audience members will have to show proof of vaccination and wear masks.

The San Francisco Opera opens Saturday. The opera used its forced sabbatical to complete a long-planned project to replace all 3,128, 1932-era seats with more comfortable, roomier ones, in the hopes of luring people back after a year on the couch. The seats are also higher and firmer, with cupholders (but no clinky ice, please) and wooden backs that could improve the acoustics.


9. Is aloe a sham?

Some studies suggest it might help soothe a sunburn, but it falls into the category of treatments that have some evidence to back them up, but not a ton. “I think it is fair to recommend with the caveat that it will help cool the skin and there is a chance it may expedite healing,” a dermatologist told The Times.

If you do use aloe, buyer beware: The quality of what you get may vary, and the products you buy are not guaranteed to contain any aloe at all. Aloe vera should be listed as one of the first three ingredients, and you should avoid any products that say they include Aloe ferox.

Instead of your shoulders, cook these: five recipes for summer’s corn bounty.


10. And finally, a slackline superstar.

Slacklining is growing in popularity thanks to video platforms like TikTok and YouTube, and differs from tightrope walking; it uses a flat piece of webbing with some elasticity, instead of a steel cable or rope.

The 24-year-old slackline pro Breannah Yeh shares her aerial escapades with 1.7 million TikTok followers. Some of her most popular videos show her highlining: walking a taut line anchored hundreds of feet up between two cliffs.

“When highlining, everything in your body is telling you not to do this, because it doesn’t make sense,” Yeh says. “Once you’re able to walk and be able to take in the surroundings from this crazy angle that nobody else in the world has been able to do, it’s the most magical feeling.”

Have a balanced evening.


David Poller compiled photos for this briefing.

Your Evening Briefing is posted at 6 p.m. Eastern.

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