First Thing: Joe Biden vows retaliation for Kabul airport attack – The Guardian

Good morning.

The pace of evacuation flights out of Kabul accelerated today after a double suicide-bomb attack that killed 13 US troops and 72 Afghans – the deadliest day for US troops in more than a decade.

Joe Biden addressed the masterminds behind the attack in an update to the nation yesterday, telling them: “We will hunt you down and make you pay.”

  • The bombs – reportedly a car bomb and a suicide vest – detonated within minutes of each other at 6pm local time yesterday, one near Abbey gate and another near the Baron hotel. Witnesses described the chaos of sirens and gunfire from the Taliban attempting to disperse the crowds.

  • An affiliate of the Islamic State in Afghanistan known as Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) has claimed responsibility. The Taliban, al-Qaida, the Afghan government’s forces and the US all opposed the expansion of ISKP, whose targets have included Shia Muslims, journalists, foreigners, civilian infrastructure and military personnel.

  • The US president gave no indication that he plans to extend evacuations beyond the end of the month deadline.

The Kabul airport attack provides a grim glimpse into what’s to come for Afghanistan once evacuations have wrapped up. For more Afghanistan news, follow the liveblog here.

US Covid hospitalizations rise above 100,000 for the first time since January

Paramedics transport a man with Covid symptoms to a hospital in Houston, Texas
Paramedics transport a man with Covid symptoms to a hospital in Houston, Texas, on Wednesday. Photograph: John Moore/Getty Images

The US Department of Health and Human Services is reporting that 100,317 inpatient hospital beds are occupied by Covid patients, the first time that figure has risen above 100,000 since January, when the mass vaccination campaign was just getting under way.

Third accuser testifies that R Kelly was ‘controlling’ person who ‘put the fear of God in me’

R Kelly appears during a hearing at the Leighton criminal courthouse in Chicago, Illinois
R Kelly appears during a hearing at the Leighton criminal courthouse in Chicago, Illinois. Photograph: Antonio Perez/AFP/Getty Images

Prosecutors have accused R&B singer R Kelly of using his fame to abuse women and young women over decades, charging him with racketeering and violating the Mann Act, which prohibits the transportation of women or girls for the purpose of prostitution or debauchery. Kelly, 54, has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Texas house passes sweeping voting restrictions bill

Speaker of the House Dade Phelan, R-Orange, presides as the House prepares to debate voting bill SB1 on Thursday
Speaker of the House Dade Phelan, R-Orange, presides as the House prepares to debate voting bill SB1 on Thursday. Photograph: Eric Gay/AP

The Texas house of representatives has passed a sweeping elections bill that Texas Democrats have described as “Jim Crow 2.0” and fled the state earlier this summer in an attempt to thwart.

The bill – which would prohibit 24-hour and drive-through voting, block election officials from sending out absentee ballot applications, impose new identification requirements on mail-in ballots, and give more leeway to partisan poll watchers at voting sites – passed on a 79-37 mostly party-line vote, and now moves to the Texas senate, which already passed a similar measure.

In other news …

Donald Trump supporters gather for a ‘stop the steal’ rally in Washington DC
Donald Trump supporters gather for a ‘stop the steal’ rally in Washington DC in January. Photograph: Amy Harris/REX/Shutterstock

Stat of the day: the median sale price for a single-family home in Bozeman, Montana has increased by 49% in one year

Michael Schmidt, an employee at IHOP restaurant for eight years, sits for a portrait on his bike on the street where he – and others – are living in their campers, in Bozeman, Montana.
Michael Schmidt, an employee at IHOP restaurant for eight years, sits for a portrait on his bike on the street where he – and others – are living in their campers, in Bozeman, Montana. Photograph: Janie Osborne

The American West has increasingly become an unaffordable place to live as the wealthy seek more spacious pastures to play out their homesteading dreams. In Bozeman, Montana, many can no longer afford rent, and are living in campers or in cars.

Don’t miss this: Haiti still in need of aid

Younaika rests next to her mother, Jertha Ylet, who was injured in the earthquake, in hospital in Haiti
Younaika rests next to her mother, Jertha Ylet, who was injured in the earthquake, in hospital in Haiti. Photograph: Matias Delacroix/AP

Two weeks after a 7.2-magnitude earthquake ravaged southern Haiti, claiming more than 2,200 lives and making 30,000 families homeless, support from the government has been nonexistent at a makeshift shelter in Cavaillon. Residents of the shelter have no food or medicine, with a water tank provided by two charities as the only help they’ve received so far. They are forced to skip meals when they cannot cobble together the money to buy supplies, and must rely on neighbors for bathroom use.

Climate Check: air pollution linked to more severe mental illness

Canary Wharf in London
Canary Wharf in London as exposure to high levels of air pollution over a decade is associated with an increased risk of developing dementia, according to a long-running study. Photograph: Nick Ansell/PA

A study in London, England, found that a relatively small increase in exposure to nitrogen dioxide led to a 32% increase in the risk of needing community-based treatment and an 18% increase in the risk of being admitted to hospital.

Last Thing: the haunting of Zillow

The Lizzie Borden house in Fall River, Massachusetts, where Lizzie murdered her parents in 1892.
The Lizzie Borden house in Fall River, Massachusetts, where Lizzie murdered her parents in 1892. Photograph: Lizzie Borden House

Some properties come with more than a leaky bathroom faucet or a floorboard that creaks. Some properties are “stigmatized” – either because of some gory history, such as being a site of grisly murders or because they are purportedly haunted. While half of states have a law requiring disclosure of a property’s history, the other half operate under caveat emptor – buyer beware.

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First Thing: Joe Biden vows retaliation for Kabul airport attack – The Guardian

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