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Dozens dead or hurt in wedding party blast in Afghan capital

Rahim Faiez , Associated Press Published 9:50 p.m. ET Aug. 17, 2019 | Updated 10:31 p.m. ET Aug. 17, 2019CLOSEKABUL, Afghanistan – A suicide-bomb blast ripped through a wedding party on a busy Saturday night in Afghanistan’s capital and dozens of people were killed or wounded, a government official said. More than 1,000 people had…

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Dozens dead or hurt in wedding party blast in Afghan capital

Rahim Faiez

,
Associated Press

Published 9:50 p.m. ET Aug. 17, 2019 | Updated 10:31 p.m. ET Aug. 17, 2019CLOSEKABUL, Afghanistan – A suicide-bomb blast ripped through a wedding party on a busy Saturday night in Afghanistan’s capital and dozens of people were killed or wounded, a government official said. More than 1,000 people had been invited, one witness said, as fears grew that it could be the deadliest attack in Kabul this year.An Afghan man mourns near the body of his brother after he was killed in an explosion at wedding hall in Kabul, Afghanistan on Sunday, Aug.18, 2019. (Photo: Rafiq Maqbool, AP)Interior Ministry spokesman Nusrat Rahimi told The Associated Press the attacker set off explosives among the wedding participants. Both the Taliban and a local affiliate of the Islamic State group carry out bloody attacks in the capital.The blast occurred near the stage where musicians were and “all the youths, children and all the people who were there were killed,” witness Gul Mohammad said. One of the wounded, Mohammad Toofan, said that “a lot of guests were martyred.”Officials were not expected to release a toll until daytime Sunday.“There are so many dead and wounded,” said Ahmad Omid, a survivor who said about 1,200 guests had been invited to the wedding for his father’s cousin. “I was with the groom in the other room when we heard the blast and then I couldn’t find anyone. Everyone was lying all around the hall.”Outside a local hospital, families wailed. Others were covered in blood.The blast at the Dubai City wedding hall in western Kabul, a part of the city that many in the minority Shiite Hazara community call home, shattered a period of relative calm. On Aug. 7, a Taliban car bomb aimed at Afghan security forces detonated on the same road, killing 14 people and wounding 145 – most of them women, children and other civilians.Kabul’s huge, brightly lit wedding halls are centers of community life in a city weary of decades of war, with thousands of dollars spent on a single evening.“Devastated by the news of a suicide attack inside a wedding hall in Kabul. A heinous crime against our people; how is it possible to train a human and ask him to go and blow himself (up) inside a wedding?!!” Sediq Seddiqi, spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani, said in a Twitter post.The wedding halls also serve as meeting places, and in November at least 55 people were killed when a suicide bomber sneaked into a Kabul wedding hall where hundreds of Muslim religious scholars and clerics had gathered to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The Taliban denied involvement in an attack that bore the hallmarks of the Islamic State affiliate.Saturday night’s explosion came a few days after the end of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, with Kabul residents visiting family and friends, and just before Afghanistan marks its 100th independence day on Monday under heavier security in a city long familiar with checkpoints and razor wire.The blast comes at a greatly uncertain time in Afghanistan as the United States and the Taliban near a deal to end a nearly 18-year war, America’s longest conflict.The Afghan government has been sidelined from those discussions, and presidential spokesman Seddiqi said earlier Saturday that his government was waiting to hear results of President Donald Trump’s meeting Friday with his national security team about the negotiations. Top issues include a U.S. troop withdrawal and Taliban guarantees not to let Afghanistan become a launching pad for global terror attacks.While the Taliban earlier this year pledged to do more to protect civilians, it continues to stage deadly attacks against Afghan security forces and others in what is seen by many as an attempt to strengthen its position at the negotiating table.The conflict continues to take a horrific toll on civilians. Last year more than 3,800, including more than 900 children, were killed in Afghanistan by the Taliban, U.S. and allied forces, the Islamic State affiliate and other actors, the United Nations said.Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2019/08/17/afghanistan-explosion-wedding-hall/2043696001/
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Joe Biden endorsed, Trump excoriated by nearly 500 retired top military, national security officials

CLOSE President Trump has reportedly used words like “suckers, losers and warmongers” to describe American war heroes and Pentagon brass. USA TODAYWASHINGTON – Nearly 500 generals, admirals and former national security officials from both parties endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday, and blasted President Donald Trump as “not equal” to the challenges of the…

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Joe Biden endorsed, Trump excoriated by nearly 500 retired top military, national security officials

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President Trump has reportedly used words like “suckers, losers and warmongers” to describe American war heroes and Pentagon brass.

USA TODAYWASHINGTON – Nearly 500 generals, admirals and former national security officials from both parties endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday, and blasted President Donald Trump as “not equal” to the challenges of the job in a letter released Thursday.The letter, signed by 489 members of the group called the National Security Leaders for Biden, includes former Obama administration Defense Secretaries Ash Carter, Chuck Hagel and Leon Panetta, along with former Navy Secretary and NASA administrator Sean O’Keefe, who served under both former Presidents George H.W. and George W. Bush. Among the retired senior officers is Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, who until last year was the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Trump.REPUBLICANS: Former governors, congressmen, Trump administration staffers supporting BidenThe signature of a senior official like Selva, with recent, relevant experience advising the Trump White House as the military’s second-highest ranking officer, indicates alarm about Trump’s fitness as commander in chief, said Michael O’Hanlon, a military analyst at the Brookings Institution. O’Hanlon pointed to revelations in Bob Woodward’s new book “Rage” that showed the United States and North Korea were dangerously close to war in 2017. Trump’s erratic, “seat of the pants” decision-making has rattled senior military and civilian officials, he said.CLOSE

Prominent Republicans have publicly endorsed or shown support for Joe Biden instead of their party’s incumbent, Donald Trump.

USA TODAY”There is real concern among some of these folks that we’re living on borrowed time with this guy having his finger on the nuclear trigger,” O’Hanlon said of Trump.O’Keefe, a Republican, said in an interview that the statement is aimed at undecided voters. The group intends to write op-eds for news organizations and to speak out through the election, he said.”This is a referendum on whether we want to reinforce and establish what has kept this democratic experiment in play for the last 250 years or so or go into uncharted territory and redefine who we are as Americans,” O’Keefe said.The letter praises Biden for his morality, integrity and experience. The letter excoriates Trump without mentioning him by name.”The current President has demonstrated he is not equal to the enormous responsibilities of his office; he cannot rise to meet challenges large or small,” the group writes. “Thanks to his disdainful attitude and his failures, our allies no longer trust or respect us, and our enemies no longer fear us.”President Obama, Vice President Biden, Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey stand for the National Anthem during a ceremony marking the return of Gen. Lloyd Austin, right, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., on Dec. 20, 2011. The return of Austin, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, marked the formal end to the U.S. military mission in Iraq. (Photo: Evan Vucci, AP)The letter is addressed to “fellow citizens.” Its signatories “are generals, admirals, senior non-commissioned officers, ambassadors, and senior civilian national security leaders. We are Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. We love our country. Unfortunately, we also fear for it.”BIDEN VS. TRUMP:What each means for the militaryCLOSE

Joe Biden tore into President Donald Trump for his reported remarks referring to fallen soldiers as “suckers” during a Tuesday campaign visit to the key battleground state of Florida. (Sept. 15)

AP DomesticThe list also includes officials from the White House such as Susan Rice, Obama’s national security adviser; John Kerry, his secretary of State; and  James Clapper, his director of National Intelligence.“Donald Trump has weakened our global alliances, undermined trust in U.S. leadership and competence, and time after time privileged Vladimir Putin over American national interests,” Rice said in a statement. “The United States cannot endure four more years of Trump’s failed leadership.”They conclude by saying the next president must deal with turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, recession and emboldened adversaries such as North Korea and Russia: “Joe Biden has the character, principles, wisdom, and leadership necessary to address a world on fire. That is why Joe Biden must be the next President of the United States; why we vigorously support his election; and why we urge our fellow citizens to do the same.”CINDY McCAIN: ‘Joe shares our values,’ John McCain’s GOP widow says in endorsementCLOSE

Thinking of sitting out the election? Here’s why your vote counts. Register, verify your status or request an absentee ballot at vote.usatoday.com.

USA TODAYRead or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2020/09/24/nearly-500-generals-admirals-endorse-joe-biden-blast-donald-trump/3503917001/Find New & Used CarsNew CarsUsed CarsofPowered by Cars.com
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Avoid all social gatherings as COVID-19 community transmissions rise, health minister urges Quebecers | CBC News

Health Minister Christian Dubé appealed to Quebecers to cancel all their plans to gather with friends and family over the next few weeks — including Thanksgiving dinner. He said the next few weeks will be key in preventing the level of shutdowns due to COVID-19 that were seen in the spring.”We ask all Quebecers, regardless of colour…

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Avoid all social gatherings as COVID-19 community transmissions rise, health minister urges Quebecers | CBC News

Health Minister Christian Dubé appealed to Quebecers to cancel all their plans to gather with friends and family over the next few weeks — including Thanksgiving dinner. He said the next few weeks will be key in preventing the level of shutdowns due to COVID-19 that were seen in the spring.”We ask all Quebecers, regardless of colour code in their region, to restrict their public gatherings. This is very important,” he said, referring to the alert system that the province is now using to determine the severity of the spread of the virus. He said cancelling Thanksgiving plans would give Quebecers a shot at having “a nice Christmas.” One new region, MRC Avignon in the Gaspésie, moved into the yellow “pre-alert” stage Thursday. Montreal, Quebec City and Laval are already in the orange stage. WATCH | Explaining Quebec’s colour-coded COVID-19 alert system: Quebec has unveiled a new, colour-coded COVID-19 alert system. Here’s how it works. 1:55 Even though all Quebecers are permitted to gather in small numbers under the alert levels that are currently active, Dubé asked people to avoid meeting with those who do not live in the same household. With schools and businesses open, Dubé said some semblance of normal life has returned. But at the same time, he said there are about 300 active outbreaks across the province. With the virus being transmitted in the community, Dubé said exposing health-care workers to illness is perhaps his greatest worry as cases continue to rise. “Community transmission affects the staff of our health network and puts a lot of pressure on the health-care network,” he said, adding that the province is already dealing with a backlog of surgeries and other medical services that had to be put on hold last spring.  Officials single out dinner parties He said Quebecers must make this short-term sacrifice or face the level of shutdowns seen in the spring. While Dubé and Quebec’s director of public health, Dr. Horacio Arruda, singled out dinner parties, they said the province’s restaurants can remain open. “In restaurants, there is a [level of] control that is really different from a party,” Arruda said. Regulations put in place by the province’s workplace health and safety board require masks to be worn when customers are not seated, and in orange zones, tables of more than six are not allowed. Those who do not comply can be fined up to $6,000.
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Liberals promise child care, one million jobs and more

6 hours agoRadio23:41On Wednesday, the Liberals laid out what they called an “ambitious plan for an unprecedented reality” in the speech from the throne, pledging to extend some COVID-19 emergency supports, boost child care spending, create a million jobs, and more. Today, host of CBC’s Power and Politics Vassy Kapelos unpacks some of the ambitious…

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Liberals promise child care, one million jobs and more

6 hours agoRadio23:41On Wednesday, the Liberals laid out what they called an “ambitious plan for an unprecedented reality” in the speech from the throne, pledging to extend some COVID-19 emergency supports, boost child care spending, create a million jobs, and more.

Today, host of CBC’s Power and Politics Vassy Kapelos unpacks some of the ambitious promises and the opposition’s response.
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