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Evacuation flights continue at Kabul airport as Biden defends U.S. withdrawal

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US President Joe Biden “stands squarely behind” the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan as the US military secures the Afghan capital’s airport in Kabul

US President Joe Biden spoke publicly about the situation just hours ago, for the first time since the Taliban took control of Kabul.

Biden says his country’s military presence will be swift and the response will be forceful if the Taliban attacks troops as evacuations continue.

This comes as the President admits that although the collapse of Afghanistan to the Taliban was quicker than anticipated and he stands by his decision and will not repeat mistakes of past leaders.

The US has spent trillions of dollars over twenty years in Afghanistan and lost more than 2,000 military personnel, making the decision to withdraw largely popular among citizens

However, there has been growing criticism on the decision to leave as swiftly as has occurred, with many saying it has undone years of work by American forces to bring the territory back under control. 

He says that not a single further American soldier should lose their life in this battle.

The President says his position has always been one of preventing terrorism and not enforcing a particular way of life on a nation, and that is why the decision to withdraw was made.

United States military has now secured the Afghan capital’s airport in Kabul

As Biden addressed the world, the U.S Military secured Kabul airport.

This means the US can now resume all air operations at Kabul airport.

This image shows armed guards standing at a fence line protecting Americans who are leaving Kabul.

The airfield at the Kabul airport reopened for flight operations and the first C-17 loaded with Marines landed soon afterwards, according to Pentagon officials.

We’ve seen chaotic scenes at the airport over the past 24 hours as people tired to flee the country by any means possible.

Currently, 2,500 military personnel are based at Kabul’s airport, with an additional 500 troops being deployed to assist.

This deployment follows an announcement by British authorities that the nation will soon have 900 military personnel on the ground to aid evacuations.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s major television station has continued to broadcast, but there have been noticeable differences.

Female staff are no longer presenting bulletins and the programming is becoming increasingly supportive of the Taliban regime.

Image of Man Covering Up Women’s Pictures Painted on Walls in Kabul 

This comes as the United Nations Secretary-General pleads with militants to respect and uphold humanitarian law.

On Monday, the UN Security Council called for the formation of a new government in Afghanistan and an end to the violence and chaos that is engulfing the country.

Biden’s comments come as European leaders also react to the unfolding situation

Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel has desribed the Taliban’s takeover as “bitter, dramatic and terrible”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a question session of the German Bundestag in Berlin, capital of Germany, on March 24, 2021. (Florian Gaertner/photothek/Handout via Xinhua)

Merkel is pushing for further international aid directed to Afghan citizens, so they can seek refuge in neighbouring countries instead of making their way to Europe.

The chancellor says “we should not repeat the mistakes of the past when we did not give enough funds to aid programs… and people left Jordan and Lebanon toward Europe”.

French President Emmanuel Macron has also made an address, saying Afghanistan must not become a “haven for terrorists again”.

Macron says: “it is a challenge for international stability and peace and we will do everything with Russia, the United States and Europe to cooperate efficiently as our interests are the same”.

William is an Executive News Producer at TICKER NEWS, responsible for the production and direction of news bulletins. William is also the presenter of the hourly Weather + Climate segment. With qualifications in Journalism and Law (LLB), William previously worked at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) before moving to TICKER NEWS. He was also an intern at the Seven Network's 'Sunrise'. A creative-minded individual, William has a passion for broadcast journalism and reporting on global politics and international affairs.

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Shinzo Abe farewelled at a controversial state funeral

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Leaders from around the world are in Tokyo as Japan farewells its longest-serving prime minister

Over 2,000 people have attended the funeral for Shinzo Abe in Tokyo.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida delivered the eulogy, in which he praised Abe for his dedication to public service.

“Abe-san, your life should’ve been much, much longer. You were needed for much, much longer. You’ve worked tirelessly and exhausted all your energy for both Japan and the world,” he said.

Abe’s wife, Akie was seen crying as she farewelled her late husband for the final time.

Japan’s longest-serving leader, Abe, was gunned down at a public campaign rally in July.

Why is the funeral controversial?

Shinzo Abe had a history in Japanese politics.

He rose through the ranks of the Liberal Democratic Party and became its leader in 2006.

He was elected Prime Minister in September of the same year, but he resigned just one year later after suffering a crushing defeat in upper house elections.

Abe made a return to politics in 2012 after a landslide victory, where he announced a wide-ranging agenda came to be known as ‘Abenomics’.

He was also known as the father of the Quad Alliance—a security partnership between Japan, India, Australia and the U.S.

Outside his funeral, Japanese protesters were speaking out against the use of taxpayer funds.

The service is estimated to cost over 1.65 billion yen and comes as Japan’s currency slides to a 24-year-low against the U.S. dollar.

Around 20,000 police officers were deployed to the funeral as part of a detailed security arrangement.

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The polls are open in America | TICKER VIEWS

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The polls are open in America and in six Tuesdays from today, America will vote.  In several states across the country, early voting has begun in the most consequential midterm elections for Congress in 12 years.  

Midterm elections are a referendum on the president, and this year is no different.  Biden’s future is on the line no less than the control of Congress.

However, the current President is painting an optimistic future.

In 2010, President Barack Obama lost 63 Democrats in the House, giving Republicans control in that chamber, and six Senate seats but keeping Democratic control over the Senate.  

It was a big setback. That result meant that Obama’s ability to pass his legislative agenda came to a halt for the balance of his presidency.

President Obama, 2010 midterms.

For the next six years, there were no significant new legislative initiatives in health care and the environment or any other major domestic policy issues.

As of today, the outlook for the November 8 midterm elections for Congress looks like a replay for President Joe Biden.

Republican gains that will give them control of the House, and continued, but very narrow, Democratic control over the Senate. 

This would be a better-than-expected outcome for Biden and the Democrats than many thought just three months ago. 

At the end of June, Biden’s popularity was plummeting.

Petrol prices reached record highs; inflation had erupted and there was sticker shock on groceries; supply chains were a mess; there were no legislative victories.

U.S. gas prices reach an all time high.

Now to mention the nightmare of women losing their constitutional rights becoming all too real with the decision by the Trump Supreme Court to repeal the landmark Roe decision. 

Biden had slumped to the mid-30s in approval.  Republicans seemed in easy reach of matching the average historical benchmark of gaining 26 seats from the president’s party in these midterms – and taking the Senate too. 

But momentum shifted in August to the Democrats.  Women across the country are furious about what the Supreme Court did to their reproductive health rights – with the Republican Party all-in with the Court. 

Protests following the overturning of Roe V. Wade

Biden started getting big legislation through Congress, especially on health care costs, clean energy and climate change, and high-tech manufacturing for the future.

Donald Trump’s legal challenges mounted, from FBI raids to get back the classified documents he took from the White House to state officials in Georgia and New York moving against him. 

Former U.S. President Donald Trump

Biden regained some popular approval, and the Republicans were on the defensive – especially on abortion with their candidates for the Senate on the wrong side of the anger from women voters.

In the 1992 presidential campaign, Bill Clinton’s team kept reminding him, and the county, that “it’s the economy stupid.” Clinton won the White House in the wake of a painful recession on President George H.W. Bush’s watch. 

This economy is hurting Biden and the Democrats.  The gut punch last Friday of the Fed’s raising interest rates by 75 basis points – with mortgages now the highest in over a decade and no end in sight to further sharp interest rate rises – and the markets tanking as a result, has left the mood of many deeply anxious and uncertain about the future. 

Inflation is still too high and most Americans believe the country is already in a recession.

“People are seeing their wage increases eaten up by inflation.”

federal reserve chair jerome powell
Fed reserve chair jerome powell

This plays to the Republicans, who are already pounding the culture war buttons on high crime in the cities, “out-of-control” immigration on the southern border and putting more control from parents back into the classroom particularly on gender and racial issues.

The essence of Donald Trump as a major factor in American politics and what America’s experience with him means about the future of America’s democracy is crystallizing. 

As many as two thirds of American believe that their democracy is on the brink, and they are worried about it.  Together with an extremist Supreme Court that has repealed fundamental rights for women, this makes Trump-supported Republican candidates – especially in the Senate – vulnerable.

If the Republicans take the Senate thanks to the Trump-endorsed candidates winning in key states like Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona, Nevada, and New Hampshire, that will be a big win for Trump as he moves to declare for the 2024 presidential campaign. 

The converse is also true:  If Democrats beat Trump candidates this year, then they are more likely to beat Trump and the Republicans again in 2024.

There are two possible shock outcomes:  a sweep of both chambers by either party.  A Republican Congress will move aggressively against Biden, his policies and his government.  Expect big investigations. 

Expect Biden to be impeached by the House Republicans. A Democratic Congress, especially if they gain one or two more Senators, would present a complete reversal of fortune, making it possible to enact crucial legislation on abortion rights and voting rights and cement a historical place for Joe Biden as a truly great president.

The stakes are huge.  We’ll know the final verdict in 8 weeks.

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A spacecraft has successfully smashed into an asteroid

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A spacecraft has successfully smashed into an asteroid – this could one day protect Earth from catastrophe

NASA’S  Double Asteroid Redirection Test spacecraft, known as DART, set out moments ago to deliberately collide with the asteroid Dimorphos. This is the first mission of its kind.

The 700-kilogram Hera spacecraft slammed into a small asteroid at a speed of 14,000 kilometres per hour.

The high-speed impact is designed to create an artificial crater on the surface of the rock.

Over the next two years, Hera will study the artificial crater using its suite of cameras and sensors.

In particular, it will search for signs that the impact has altered the orbit around its larger, sister asteroid.

This information could help scientists better understand how to deflect an asteroid in the future.

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