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AP Top News at 3:57 p.m. EDT

Updated 1 hour 50 minutes ago

Taliban destroy statue of a Shiite enemy from the civil war of the 1990s

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – The Taliban blew up the statue of a Shiite militia leader who fought against them during the Afghan civil war in the 1990s, as photos circulated on social media on Wednesday. The statue depicted Abdul Ali Mazari, a militia leader who was killed by the Taliban in 1996 when Islamic militants took power from rival warlords. Mazari was an advocate of the Hazara ethnic minority in Afghanistan, Shiites who were persecuted under the previous rule of the Sunni Taliban. The statue stood in central Bamyan Province, where the Taliban blew up two massive 1,500-year-old statues of Buddha in 2001, shortly before the US-led invasion that drove them from power.

Taliban encounter Afghan cities that have been redesigned in their absence

Ezanullah, one of the thousands of young rural Taliban fighters who broke into the Afghan capital at the weekend, had never seen anything like it. The cobbled streets of Kabul were lined with towering apartment blocks, glass office buildings and shopping centers. The plush furniture in the Ministry of the Interior is like “something that I thought of in a dream,” said the 22-year-old fighter from the mountainous east of the country. He said he planned to ask his commanding officer if he could stay. “I don’t want to go,” he said. The encounter shows how much Kabul and other Afghan cities have changed in the 20 years since the last rule of the Taliban, who mainly came from harsh rural areas.

Those injured in the Haiti earthquake continue to appear in hospitals

L’ASILE, Haiti (AP) – The problems in Haiti can be summed up by the public hospital in L’Asile, deep in a remote stretch of land in the southwest of the country. Here, a full four days after a strong earthquake hit this region hardest, people from remote villages are still showing up with broken arms and legs. Hospital director Sonel Fevry said five such patients showed up on Tuesday, the same day that officials increased the death toll from the disaster by more than 500. “We’re doing what we can, removing the dead tissue and giving them antibiotics and trying to get them a splint,” said Fevry, adding that road access to the Nippes facility is difficult and not everyone can make it.

“The heartbroken Florida city has ties to the Haiti earthquake zone”

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. (AP) – Not long after a major earthquake struck his hometown in Haiti, Osambert Jean received calls from dozens of friends who also emigrated from southwest Haiti to visit this suburb of southern Florida between the Atlantic Ocean and the Everglades settle down. “Each of them has bad news: my family is injured or my house has collapsed,” said Jean, a Haiti-born insurance agent in Boynton Beach whose brother lives in Les Cayes, Haiti. “People have lost everything – everything.” The suburb south of West Palm Beach is closely linked to Les Cayes, a city in southwest Haiti that was badly hit by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake on Saturday that killed 1,941 people 9,900 others were injured.

Texas Governor Tests Positive For COVID-19 In “Good Health”

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Texas Governor Greg Abbott tested positive for COVID-19, according to his office Tuesday, who said the Republican was in good health and had no symptoms. Abbott, who was vaccinated in December and has turned down calls to reinstate mask mandates as the highly contagious Delta variants rise in Texas, isolated himself at the governor’s mansion in Austin and received treatment with monoclonal antibodies, spokesman Mark Miner said in a Explanation. He is at least the 11th governor to test positive for the virus since the pandemic began, according to a tally by The Associated Press. “Governor Abbott is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, in good health and currently showing no symptoms.

DeSanti’s top donor invests in promoting the COVID drug governor

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has been criticized for rejecting mask mandates and vaccination certificates, is now promoting a COVID-19 antibody treatment in which a top donor’s company has invested millions of dollars. DeSantis flies across the state promoting Regeneron, a monoclonal antibody treatment used on then-President Donald Trump after testing positive for COVID-19. The governor first started talking about it last year. Citadel, a Chicago-based hedge fund, holds $ 15.9 million in shares of Regeneron Pharmaceutical, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Citadel CEO Ken Griffin donated $ 10.75 million to a political committee that supports DeSantis – $ 5.75 million in 2018 and $ 5 million last April.

Driven by winds, the largest wildfire moves near the California city

GRIZZLY FLATS, Calif. (AP) – Wildfire raged in a small northern California forest town on Tuesday, burning down dozen of homes as the dangerously dry and windy weather fueled other massive fires as well, causing the country’s largest utility to shut down 51,000 Customers. The fire in Caldor in northern Sierra Nevada had burned an estimated 50 homes in and around Grizzly Flats, a town of about 1,200, fire officials said at a community meeting. Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in El Dorado County over the fire that tripled to nearly 50 square miles (129 square kilometers) between Monday and Tuesday afternoon. To the north, the Dixie Fire – the largest of about 100 active forest fires in more than a dozen western states – advanced towards Susanville with about 18,000 residents.

An impressive series of victories in the 7-day march of the Taliban to power

In just seven days all dreams of a free Afghanistan died. As last week broke, many hoped that the Taliban could be held back despite key trade routes seized, border crossings overtaken and parts of remote areas gripped. But then, in just a week, militants won city after city, overthrew the government, and snatched the top prize from Kabul. On its streets, advertisements with women in western clothing were covered with white paint, while men in jeans and t-shirts hurriedly pulled into traditional tunics. At the US embassy, ​​employees rushed to destroy documents while helicopters removed diplomats.

“Don’t give up”: Americans help Afghans in their new homeland

DALLAS (AP) – Calls for help from Afghans have been filling Caroline Clarin’s phone for days as she works from her rural Minnesota home, trying to give hope to those sending heartbreaking desperate messages from a distant world. Since 2017, Clarin, who led a U.S. Department of Agriculture program in Afghanistan, and her wife Sheril Raymond have helped bring five Afghans and their families from their program to the U.S. Now they are trying to help more than half a dozen other Afghans and their families are leaving Afghanistan. “I got news of hopelessness waiting to be killed by the Taliban and I said it isn’t over until it is over,” said Raymond.

Hong Kong police arrested 4 from the university student union

HONG KONG (AP) – Four members of a Hong Kong University student union were arrested on Wednesday on charges of advocacy for terrorism while paying tribute to an attacker who stabbed a police officer and then killed himself, police said. Police arrested four men between the ages of 18 and 20 who were members of the Hong Kong University committee and student council, said Li Kwai-wah, chief superintendent of the police’s national security division. He said the arrests were in connection with a council meeting “promoting terrorism”. Those arrested included the president and the council chairman, who were among the more than 30 students who attended last month’s meeting where they passed a motion to mourn the attacker’s “victim”, local media reported.

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