On today’s 5 Things podcast: The Taliban has taken Kabul and the president left the country. Plus, the death toll rises after Haiti’s weekend earthquake, Tropical Depression Grace follows Fred, get ready for vaccine mandates and Dish and Sinclair keep feuding.
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Good morning, I’m Taylor Wilson. And this is 5 Things you need to know on Monday, the 16th of August, 2021. Today Afghanistan has fallen whilst the death toll rises after a devastating Haitian earthquake and more.
Here are some of the top headlines.
- 57 people are in the hospital after a tour bus accident in New York state. The bus was heading for Niagara Falls.
- Israeli troops have killed four Palestinian gunmen in the West Bank. The deaths came during an intense shootout that broke out after Israelis attempted to arrest someone they said was a suspect.
- And Roger Federer will have knee surgery which will sideline him for at least a few months. He said Sunday that he’s unsure about his return to tennis. Federer turned 40 last week.
The Taliban has taken control of the Afghan capital of Kabul and with it Afghanistan. President Ashraf Ghani fled the country and American troops worked through the weekend to evacuate thousands of US diplomats and Afghans from the US embassy. 5,000 US troops were sent to the central Asian country before another thousand were authorized to deploy as well to help with evacuations. An official told the Associated Press that the Taliban will likely declare the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan from the presidential palace in Kabul. And Al-Jazeera footage showed Taliban insurgents inside the palace sitting behind the president’s desk. Taliban Political Spokesman Suhail Shaheen spoke vaguely about an Afghan-inclusive government.
I think an Afghan-inclusive government this is the demand, the will and the want of the people of Afghanistan.
Taliban negotiators on Sunday talked about a peaceful transfer of power. Negotiations were ongoing to make that happen, though it was unclear who was negotiating for the Taliban. Negotiators on the government side included former Afghan President Hamid Karzai who said he is staying in Kabul. The Taliban is also telling residents of the capital that they will not enter people’s homes or interfere with business. And that they’d offer an amnesty to people who worked with the Afghan government or foreign forces like the US. Some in Kabul are trying to stay optimistic like resident Miriam.
I’m not afraid of them. We are not the people who will go back to the dark era. I’m a girl and I don’t care about anyone, not Pakistan, not America, nobody is.
But there have already been reports of revenge killings in other parts of the country. And it’s not clear if the Taliban will return to the kind of brutal rule that eliminated most of women’s rights. Many women who have disobeyed them over the years faced horrific violence including killings. Residents over the past few days have been rushing Kabul’s airport looking for ways out of the country. US troops are there trying to prioritize exits for embassy staff members and other Afghan workers. But scenes on social media showed swarms of Afghan people running across the airport’s runways even as planes were taking off and landing. Others scaled jet bridges desperately trying to board flights to leave the country with the Taliban reportedly blocking all border exits. And it now appears that all commercial air travel in and out of Kabul has stopped. Pakistan’s state-run airline announced a halt to flights there as did Emirates with one flight reportedly diverted mid-air to Dubai.
And the US military has taken over most control at the airport. Al Jazeera reported Monday that US troops opened fire as people rushed the tarmac and at least five people were reported dead, though it was not clear if that was from gunshots or the crowd rush itself. President Joe Biden earlier this year set an August 31st deadline to withdraw US forces from Afghanistan. Kabul was expected to fall but the speed the Taliban moved through the country in recent weeks caught many including the Biden administration off guard. The United States and NATO spent billions of dollars over nearly two decades to build up Afghan security forces but they were defeated or fled nearly all of the country in recent weeks. Stay with 5 Things this week as we track what if any concrete plan the Biden administration has for Afghanistan after this month. And stay with usatoday.com for all the latest.
The death toll has risen to more than 1,200 after a devastating earthquake in Haiti. The magnitude 7.2 quake hit a small town in the Western part of the country. Also destroying more than 7,000 homes and damaging nearly 5,000. The country was already reeling from the aftermath of the assassination of President Jovenel Moise last month. It’s also going through deep poverty and gang violence and a surging Coronavirus pandemic. Haiti has also not recovered from the 2010 earthquake that killed at least 100,000 people and damaged huge parts of the country, including the national palace which typically housed the president. This earthquake’s death toll will also likely keep rising this week though its epicenter was further away from the populated capital Port-au-Prince. A tropical depression is also set to hit Haiti on Monday night.
Fred is again a tropical storm and may hit the Florida panhandle Monday. The North Florida region could get up to a foot of rain and tornado conditions are also possible through Tuesday as Fred now swirls in the Gulf of Mexico. Looking ahead, Grace could be worse. That’s the tropical depression hitting Haiti and the Dominican Republic early this week. It may continue to gain strength to become a tropical storm and Accuweather reported that it’s tracking further to the north than Fred meaning it could be worse for the United States. Grace’s exact path is still unclear, but it would likely make US landfall by the end of the week if it keeps its current organization.
We’re into a new era of the Coronavirus pandemic: vaccine mandates. Beginning Monday, proof of COVID-19 vaccination will be required in New York city for indoor restaurants, gyms, entertainment venues and more. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the initiative earlier this month.
Bill de Blasio:
The key to NYC Pass, the key to New York City, when you hear those words I want you to imagine the notion that because someone’s vaccinated they can do all the amazing things that are available in this city. This is a miraculous place, literally full of wonders. And if you’re vaccinated, all that’s going to open up to you. You’ll have the key, you can open the door. But if you’re unvaccinated, unfortunately you will not be able to participate in many things. That’s the point we’re trying to get across. The key to NYC Pass will be a first in the nation approach. It will require vaccination for workers and customers in indoor dining, in indoor fitness facilities, indoor entertainment facilities. This is going to be a requirement. The only way to patronize these establishment indoors will be if you’re vaccinated, at least one dose. The same for folks in terms of work, they’ll need at least one dose.
It’s the first vaccine requirement of its kind in a major US city. Also beginning Monday, Puerto Rico will require COVID-19 vaccination for all guests of hotels and short-term rentals. The Island’s governor Pedro Pierluisi said that vaccines are the solution. Renters there who refuse to get vaccinated will be required to submit a weekly negative COVID-19 test. 59.7% of people in the US are now at least partially vaccinated and 50.7% are fully vaccinated.
Well, if you’re a Dish Network subscriber, brace yourself to lose some channels this week. More than a hundred local Sinclair stations will be removed from dish after the two companies failed to reach a new agreement. Their removal would affect some 3.5 million subscribers around the country. And as is often the case in these types of disputes, both sides say the other is to blame. Tech reporters Mike Snider and Brett Molina broke it down on the Talking Tech podcast.
The agreement between Dish Network, which is a satellite TV provider, and Sinclair Media Group expires August 16th and both sides are preparing viewers for a potential loss of channels. So what’s the stakes here and what’s involved? Well, Dish would no longer have 108 local networks owned by Sinclair, which is the nation’s third largest collection of TV broadcasters. The stations include 97, ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC affiliates. And their removal would impact 3.5 million Dish subscribers across 38% of the country Sinclair says. Some of Sinclair’s markets include Austin Texas, Birmingham Alabama, Chattanooga Tennessee, Cincinnati, Green Bay, Oklahoma City, Pittsburgh, Seattle Tacoma, and Washington DC. Now Dish headquartered in Inglewood, Colorado has 8.6 million satellite TV subscribers and 2.4 million Sling TV subscribers. Now these negotiations have nothing to do with Sling right now. Sling is a broadband-delivered TV service.
Now Dish is no stranger to dispute. I mean two weeks ago Brett, you wrote about this. Dish entered a dispute with AT&T that had kept HBO and Cinemax off its system for more than three years. And Sinclair is highlighting this in its public comments which are meant to rally customers to contact Dish in support of Sinclair. It notes that Dish dropped the Bally Sports regional sports networks two years ago before Sinclair had acquired 19 regional sports networks from Disney. Take a step back in the way back machine those networks were originally owned by Fox and Fox sold those to Disney in that $71 billion big deal that Disney got Fox’s assets such as the movie and TV studios and National Geographic and some other stuff. Anyway, for its part Dish says Sinclair is demanding, “An unreasonable fee increase using millions of Americans as pawns in its negotiations,” it said at a press release.
“Sinclair’s demanding Dish pay nearly a billion dollars in fees for their television channels. A massive increase from what we pay for these same channels today despite declining viewership,” said Dish TV group president Brian Neylon in the statement. Now after Sinclair issued a press release that subscribers would likely lose the stations come August 16th, Dish chairman, Charlie Ergen told analysts on the company’s earnings call that there’s still time for an agreement. I’m getting tired, thankfully our friend Phil Swan on the TV Answer Man website is following all this closely. So if you want more you can catch up over on his site. Meanwhile, our point of view and what we’re looking at is that these companies are playing a game of chicken.
You can find more episodes of Talking Tech wherever you’re listening right now. And same goes for future episodes of 5 Things. Thanks as always to Shannon Green and Claire Thornton for their great work on the show. And please drop us a rating and review wherever you’re listening if you get a chance. 5 Things is part of the USA TODAY Network.
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