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Today’s Headlines: Taliban cracks down on protests — and those seeking to leave

People with guns ride in the bed of a truck.
Taliban fighters patrol the capital in commandeered police and military vehicles.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:

TOP STORIES

Taliban cracks down on protests — and those seeking to leave

The Taliban on Wednesday faced the first known street protests against the militant group’s lightning-quick takeover of Afghanistan, and disorder again erupted near Kabul’s international airport, where weapon-carrying insurgents violently rebuffed Afghans trying to make their way inside to board outgoing flights.

In Afghanistan, the Taliban promised not to exact reprisal from people who have opposed the group’s takeover. Still, some Kabul residents described armed men making unexpected visits to homes and compounds, asking whether anyone there had worked with the U.S. military, the government or Western organizations.

Many Afghans believe overt resistance to the new rulers would be dangerous or foolhardy, but Wednesday brought a few scattered gestures of defiance, with deadly consequences.

More about Afghanistan

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— The Taliban’s stunning victory has left China facing the troubling prospect that the newly emboldened Islamic fundamentalist regime on its border could upset security and economic interests across the region.

— Biden administration officials said the rescue operation underway to evacuate American citizens and vulnerable Afghan nationals from Kabul was evidence of its commitment to resolve a growing humanitarian crisis, but they would not guarantee the effort would continue beyond the end of the month.

— Kamala Harris has touted her role on Afghanistan policy. Now, she owns its fallout too.

— Op-Ed: Mistakes the U.S. made in Vietnam were repeated in Afghanistan. We must break the cycle, writes David A. Super, a professor of law and economics at Georgetown University Law Center.

UC pledges to bring more equity, transparency to campus policing

Responding to prolonged national protests against racist policing, the University of California is vowing to make “transformational change” in campus safety practices with new independent accountability boards, public disclosure of more law enforcement data, and a larger role for mental health and social service professionals.

UC President Michael V. Drake has unveiled a plan to meet this “pivotal moment in history” by moving the public research university system toward more inclusive, transparent and equitable campus policing practices. Drake, who is Black, has made the issue a top priority since taking UC’s helm last year, saying he and his family have personally suffered racial profiling by law enforcement.

The plan rejected calls to abolish UC campus police and redirect funding to alternative safety approaches. Those calls have grown at campuses nationwide after the killing of George Floyd and other Black people at the hands of law enforcement. Campus policing critics point to decades of documented harm to students, faculty, staff and neighbors — particularly Black and Latino males who are disproportionately stopped by police without evidence of wrongdoing.

COVID booster shots to be available in September

The Biden administration has announced its plans to begin offering booster shots to many people who have been fully inoculated against COVID-19 to enhance ebbing immunity.

Pending an FDA evaluation of the effectiveness and safety of the boosters, the statement said, the Biden administration plans to begin rolling out such shots starting the week of Sept. 20 to people who have already received two doses of vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna. Health officials believe the best time to get such a booster is eight months after the second dose of those vaccines, the statement said.

The first to receive boosters will be those who got the earliest doses of the vaccines, largely consisting of healthcare workers and nursing home residents.

The statement added that health officials expect booster shots will also be needed for those who received the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. That vaccine did not roll out until March, and the statement said more data were needed to assess when those shots might be necessary.

More top coronavirus headlines

— Why are COVID-19 booster shots needed anyway? Research on related viruses and vaccinated people offers clues.

— The Culver City Unified School District has issued a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for all eligible students — believed to be the first such requirement in California — a move the district superintendent said has the overwhelming support of parents, teachers and staff.

— Gov. Gavin Newsom said Blue Shield of California would speed up the state’s distribution of lifesaving vaccines and improve the slow accounting of unused doses. But now, with Blue Shield stepping back, the results from that decision remain unclear.

For more, sign up for Coronavirus Today, a special edition of The Times’ Health and Science newsletter.

Our daily news podcast

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FROM THE ARCHIVES

On July 8, 1966, the International Assn. of Machinists union went on strike against five airlines. Sixty percent of U.S. commercial air traffic was grounded while about 35,000 workers stayed off the job.

The consequences were so far-reaching, President Johnson’s White House staff got involved, twice attempting to negotiate a settlement. After 43 days, the workers and airlines came to an agreement that included a 6% pay increase and the union ratified it on Aug. 19, 1966. The Times reported that passengers were overjoyed as air traffic began to move again at airports: “Everyone talked a little louder than usual — the way they do at parties. The expression on each face was the same — a smile.”

A flight attendant smiles and hands a passenger a newspaper
Aug. 20, 1966: Stewardess Linda Spelman passes out copies of the Los Angeles Times to passengers aboard first TWA flight from Los Angeles to New York since a 43-day-old strike airline ended.
(Frank Q. Brown / Los Angeles Times Archive/UCLA)

CALIFORNIA AND THE WEST

— Leading in the polls and fundraising amid a crowded field in the campaign to try to replace Gov. Gavin Newsom, talk radio personality Larry Elder has launched a time-honored new front in the California recall election: bashing the media.

— Teachers arrived at Schurr High School in Montebello last week to prepare their classrooms for opening Monday. But instead of arranging books and desks, they found a horrific scene: a rat infestation so severe, the school was forced to close again.

— The Caldor fire in El Dorado County has exploded to more than 50,000 acres, destroying a school, a church and numerous other structures.

— Black women are nearly four times more likely to die during pregnancy or childbirth than white women, a gap that socioeconomic forces can’t explain. In fact, a Black woman with a college education has a 60% greater risk of dying than a white woman with less than a high school education. But a new L.A. birthing center, Kindred Space, aims to bring Black women the comfort of feeling valued and understood.

— Unlike other parts of the state, Southern California has avoided the worst of the drought-inspired water restrictions because of ample supplies. But that could be changing.

Sign up for our California Politics newsletter to get the best of The Times’ state politics reporting, including full coverage of the recall election and the latest action in Sacramento.

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NATION-WORLD

— Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — who has been criticized for opposing mask mandates and vaccine passports — is now touting a COVID-19 antibody treatment in which a top donor’s company has invested millions of dollars.

— A prosecutor opened the long-anticipated sex abuse trial of R&B star R. Kelly in New York on Wednesday by describing the singer as a “predator” who used his fame to entice victims.

— Colorado Gov. Jared Polis on Tuesday rescinded a 19th century proclamation that called for citizens to kill Native Americans and take their property, in a move to atone for what he called “sins of the past.”

— The FDA is banning the application of chlorpyrifos, a widely used pesticide long targeted by environmentalists, on food crops because it poses risks to children and farmworkers.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

— The promise of healing and transformation at an upscale health and wellness resort takes an ominous turn in Hulu’s eight-part drama “Nine Perfect Strangers” starring Nicole Kidman.

— Queer actors are finally playing queer roles. Next up? More chances to play it straight.

— An acting teacher once told Nicole Byer she would never have a career because her “face was too expressive.” Five regular seasons of “Nailed It!” — plus two holiday spinoffs — later, Byer is up for her second consecutive Emmy nomination.

BUSINESS

— Mothers with outside employment, among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 recession, are returning to the workforce in impressive numbers. But the pandemic has exacted a heavy toll in terms of job security, pay equity and long-term career opportunities — losses many will probably never recover.

— The names, Social Security numbers and other information of more than 40 million former and prospective customers who applied for T-Mobile credit were exposed in a recent data breach. Here is a breakdown of what happened, the risks you might face and how you can protect yourself against them.

— Now that he’s outlined tough new emissions requirements for carmakers, President Biden is facing pressure to enact similarly stringent rules for big trucks still operating under standards that environmentalists say are too lax.

SPORTS

— At the end of 12 hours of grueling, often emotional testimony from the woman accusing Trevor Bauer of sexual assault, she reminded the court Wednesday of the central reason behind her request for a restraining order against the Dodgers pitcher. “I did not consent to bruises all over my body that sent me to the hospital and having that done to me while I was unconscious,” she testified.

— Bally Sports Detroit broadcaster Jack Morris has been suspended indefinitely from Tigers broadcasts after making a racist comment regarding Angels star Shohei Ohtani during the Angels’ 8-2 win over the Detroit Tigers.

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OPINION

— For the love of California, don’t sit out this recall election, the editorial board writes.

— California has to make every dollar count. Even with a record $3.7-billion climate resilience budget, there’s a long to-do list to help manage and mitigate the impacts of global warming, the editorial board writes. Still, the impacts of extreme heat are real and cannot be ignored or downplayed any longer.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

— What gentrification means for Black homeowners: In historically Black neighborhoods, owners selling their homes on the open market have to grapple with the fact that accepting the highest bid could mean another step toward Black displacement. (The New York Times)

— For years, a thief has used elaborate tactics to get their hands on unpublished books. It’s become a publishing industry mystery with no clear suspects or motive. (Vulture)

ONLY IN CALIFORNIA

California’s most expensive residential property isn’t found in Los Angeles County or the Bay Area, but the low-key beach city of Carpinteria. In the small oceanfront community, a 22-acre spread known as the Sanctuary at Loon Point just surfaced for sale at $160 million — complete with ocean views, two custom homes and celebrity neighbors. And if it gets its price, it will rank as California’s second-highest home sale ever. The current crown belongs to Jeff Bezos, who paid $165 million for David Geffen’s famed Warner Estate in Beverly Hills last year.

Today’s newsletter was curated by Daric L. Cottingham and Laura Blasey. Comments or ideas? Email us at headlines@latimes.com.


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