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Daily News Digest – August 31, 2021

Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Tuesday, August 31.


1. America withdraws

  • As the final five U.S. military transport aircraft lifted off out of Afghanistan, they left behind up to 200 Americans and thousands of desperate Afghans who couldn’t get out and now must rely on the Taliban to allow their departure.
  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. will continue to try to get Americans and Afghans out of the country, and will work with Afghanistan’s neighbors to secure their departure either over land or by charter flight once the Kabul airport reopens.
  • “We have no illusion that any of this will be easy, or rapid,” said Blinken, adding that the total number of Americans who are in Afghanistan and still want to leave may be closer to 100.
  • Speaking shortly after the Pentagon announced the completion of the U.S. military pullout Monday, Blinken said the U.S. Embassy in Kabul will remain shuttered and vacant for the foreseeable future. American diplomats, he said, will be based in Doha, Qatar.
  • Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, told reporters the U.S. military was able to get as many as 1,500 Afghans out in the final hours of the American evacuation mission. But now it will be up to the State Department working with the Taliban to get any more people out.
  • Read more HERE.


2. Ida’s aftermath

  • Louisiana communities beginning the huge task of clearing debris and repairing the damage inflicted by Hurricane Ida are facing the depressing prospect of weeks without electricity in the stifling, late-summer heat.
  • Ida ravaged the region’s power grid, leaving all of New Orleans and hundreds of thousands of other Louisiana residents in the dark with no clear timeline on when the electricity would come back on. Some areas outside New Orleans also suffered major flooding and structure damage.
  • “I can’t tell you when the power is going to be restored. I can’t tell you when all the debris is going to be cleaned up and repairs made,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said Monday. “But what I can tell you is we are going to work hard every day to deliver as much assistance as we can.”
  • The storm was blamed for at least four deaths in Louisiana and Mississippi, including two people killed Monday night when seven vehicles plunged into a 20-foot-deep hole near Lucedale, Mississippi, where a highway had collapsed after torrential rains.
  • Read more and see more photos HERE.



3. Numbers in hand, redistricting committee starts meetings this week

  • Armed with new information about which districts gained and lost residents, the committee redrawing the Alabama House and Senate, Congressional and board of education maps will begin public hearings Wednesday.
  • The hearings will be held at community colleges and can be attended in person and observed online.
  • The state still hasn’t received the block-by-block data that will be used to redraw the maps, but it does have basic information on population growth or loss for each district.
  • The data, reviewed by Alabama Daily News, shows the largest population losses in the Senate and House were in districts that include the Black Belt, Jefferson, Montgomery and Mobile counties. Those seats are all currently held by Democrats. Outside the Black Belt, some rural districts held by Republicans also saw population losses.
  • Six of Alabama’s seven congressional districts saw population gains since 2010, the largest being in the northern part of the state. The 7th district, which is Alabama’s only majority-minority district, lost 18,209 and will have to pick up significant population during the redistricting process.
  • Read more from Mary Sell and see the data for yourself HERE.



4. Record for virus patients in Alabama intensive care units

  • Alabama has set a new high for the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care, although the total number of hospitalized coronavirus patients remains slightly below the winter peak.
  • The state on Sunday had 884 COVID-19 patients in intensive care, according to the Alabama Hospital Association, the highest number since the pandemic began. Dr. Don Williamson, the former state health officer who heads the organization, said the previous high was 848 in January, according to his numbers.
  • The total number of the virus patients in state hospitals was 2,829 on Monday, still below the pandemic high-water mark of 3,087 set in January. “I’d love to think that we are not going to get to the 3,000 that we saw in January, but I don’t have a scientific reason to think we won’t,” Williamson said.
  • The number of virus patients requiring intensive care is a worrying sign, but the state is seeing some improvements in other areas, including vaccination rates.
  • Read more HERE.


5. SEC won’t allow makeup games for short-handed teams

  • Had you wondered why some SEC football teams made such a push to get their players vaccinated against COVID-19?
  • Of course, there is the health factor. But there is a competitive one as well.
  • At SEC media days in July, commissioner Greg Sankey indicated that teams with too many infections to play will forfeit the game rather than simply cancelling or rescheduling.
  • That indication became official policy Monday.
  • Unlike last season, the short-handed team will have to forfeit and will take a loss in the SEC standings for regular season games.
  • The scheduled opponent will be credited with a win.
  • The school that would have been able to play can submit a request for reimbursement of any direct financial loss to the SEC Executive Committee.
  • Full story HERE.



ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – As US military leaves Kabul, many Americans, Afghans remain


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ida’s aftermath: Thousands face weeks without power


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Early numbers in hand, reapportionment committee starts public hearings Wednesday


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Record for virus patients in Alabama intensive care units


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – SEC won’t allow makeup games for short-handed teams


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Hurricane Ida traps Louisiana, leaves the grid in shambles


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – A Hurricane Ida unknown: Economic impact on region and US


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Aged electrical system blamed for State House power outage


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Analysis: What we learned from the latest Daily News poll


AL.COM – Hurricane Ida update: Latest damage photos, videos


AL.COM – University of Alabama system: Student vaccine rates, COVID cases increase across all campuses


AL.COM – Alabama lawmakers begin task of drawing new political districts


AL.COM – Convicted Alabama sheriff asks for new trial in corruption case


AL.COM – Children’s of Alabama treating 20 pediatric COVID patients


AL.COM – State mask bans face federal civil rights inquiries


AL.COM – Contributor Cameron Smith: Afghanistan’s falling man


Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery man faces murder charge in Sunday shooting


Montgomery Advertiser – As Hurricane Ida’s catastrophic winds die down, floodwaters and debris stymie access


Montgomery Advertiser – Rural school districts lead Alabama in reported COVID-19 case rates


Decatur Daily – Overwhelmed hospitals may have to ‘pick who lives and who dies’


Decatur Daily – Ida’s threat locally: Flash floods remain a concern as rain tapers off


Decatur Daily – Lawrence schools closed Tuesday due to flood risk


Times Daily – Car show set for the 102nd Spring Park Labor Day Celebration


Times Daily – COVID patients show interest in monoclonal treatment


Times Daily – Nursing homes step up COVID protocols


Anniston Star – Local schools delay, close Tuesday due to weather


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – 2 dead, 10 injured in George County road collapse


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Arrest made in southside shooting incident


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – 71-year-old presumed dead after post-hurricane gator attack


Tuscaloosa News – As Hurricane Ida’s catastrophic winds die down, floodwaters and debris stymie access


Tuscaloosa News – Ida brings soaking rains to central Alabama


Tuscaloosa News – Rod Wave concert rescheduled from Tuesday to Sept. 14 because of storm


YellowHammer News – Governor Ivey sets special election dates for House District 76


YellowHammer News – Tuberville highlights service on behalf of Alabamians eight months into first term – ‘We’re just getting started’


YellowHammer News – State Rep. Tommy Hanes announces reelection campaign – ‘I am a man of my word’


Gadsden Times – As Hurricane Ida’s catastrophic winds die down, floodwaters and debris stymie access


Gadsden Times – Ida brings soaking rains to central Alabama


Gadsden Times – Attalla, Gadsden, Etowah schools on three-hour delay Tuesday; weather risk cited


Dothan Eagle – US aims start to Bali bombing war crimes case at Guantanamo


Dothan Eagle – Ida weakens as rescues begin and damage checked in Louisiana


Dothan Eagle – White House: US has capacity to evacuate remaining Americans


Opelika-Auburn News – The Latest: US defense system downed rockets in Kabul attack


Opelika-Auburn News – Ida weakens as rescues begin and damage checked in Louisiana


Opelika-Auburn News – No cash or gas to run from Ida: ‘We can’t afford to leave’


WSFA Montgomery – Ida’s bands slowly push through the state


WSFA Montgomery – Hurricane Ida’s presence felt in Alabama


WSFA Montgomery – Pike Road school superintendent discusses proposed property tax increase


WAFF Huntsville – Local hotels prepare for Hurricane Ida evacuees


WAFF Huntsville – North Alabama electric companies on standby to help with Hurricane Ida relief efforts


WAFF Huntsville – Former Limestone Co. Sheriff Mike Blakely requests a new trial


WKRG Mobile – As US military leaves Kabul, many Americans, Afghans remain


WKRG Mobile – Last troops exit Afghanistan, ending America’s longest war


WKRG Mobile – No stranger to plagues, Venice opens film fest with caution


WTVY Dothan – Enterprise woman recalls evacuating for Hurricane Katrina


WTVY Dothan – Ozark City Council reinstates former Police Chief Marlos Walker


WTVY Dothan – Early County Schools change their quarantine policy


WASHINGTON POST – America’s 20-year war in Afghanistan ends as last U.S. military cargo plane lumbers into the sky over Kabul


WASHINGTON POST – America’s 20-year war in Afghanistan ends as last U.S. military cargo plane lumbers into the sky over Kabul


WASHINGTON POST – Taliban celebrates at airport, cautions its fighters to go easy on civilians


NEW YORK TIMES – In Afghanistan, an Unceremonious End, and a Shrouded Beginning


NEW YORK TIMES – After Ida, Louisiana Officials Urge Evacuees to Delay Return


NEW YORK TIMES – Hurricane Veterans Were Stunned by Ida: ‘It’s Never Been as Bad’


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Last U.S. Troops Leave Afghanistan After Nearly 20 Years


WALL STREET JOURNAL – U.S.’s Pledge to Fight Terrorists in Afghanistan Will Be Harder Without Boots on the Ground


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Fearing Taliban, Afghan Translator Sought Help From Marine Pal



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