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Thousands flee as Taliban takes over Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul



The Taliban has taken over Afghanistan’s Presidential palace as the militant group moves further into the capital city, Kabul

Afghanistan’s former president Ashraf Ghani fled the country only hours ago. He left officials with the duty of ‘handing over’ the palace to Taliban militants.

A Taliban security member told media that “no blood was shed in the handover”. He also said there is a “peaceful handover of government facilities ongoing across the country.”

The Taliban is a Sunni Islamist group operating throughout Afghanistan and Pakistan. The group first formed back in 1994 following the withdrawal of the Soviet Union from the territory.

This comes as de facto leader Mullah Baradar has issued this message in congratulations to the Taliban on the group’s declaration of the ‘Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’.

The militant group gained power and momentum quickly and first took control of Kabul in September 1996. The group had a hold over Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.

During the peak of the Taliban’s rule, it enforced strict Islamic laws on the public. It banned television, music and non-Islamic holidays.

The Taliban also banned women from receiving an education, forced them to wear full head-to-toe coverings and prohibited them from working.

Biden orders additional troops

Just moments ago, US President Joe Biden ordered the deployment of 1,000 additional troops. He said this would ensure an “orderly and safe drawdown”.

The move has brought the total number of military personnel to 6,000.

In a tweet, the White House said:

“This morning the President and Vice President met with their national security team and senior officials to hear updates on the drawdown of civilian personnel in Afghanistan and the ongoing security situation in Kabul.”

The US to withdraw all troops by August

Afghanistan’s fall follows Biden’s commitment to the total withdrawal of all military personnel from the country by the end of August. This has allowed the militant group to regain control of the nation.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the United States was prepared for this latest insurrection. But the Biden administration is copping a lot of criticism, particularly from the Republican party.

Michael McCaul from the House of Representatives says the decision to remove troops from Afghanistan has already stained Biden’s presidency.

The United Nations Security Council is also set to meet in the coming hours, as leaders from around the world pledge their assistance to Afghanistan

Turkey says it will work with Pakistan to help stabilise the situation. Meanwhile, the UAE is assisting with embassy evacuations in Kabul. Diplomats and other officials continue to flee the city for safety.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also said his country will continue to assist any who helped the British.

Did US occupation of Afghanistan make a difference?

There is growing shock among the US soldiers who fought tirelessly for 20 years to bring Afghanistan back to sovereignty. One former lieutenant colonel told, “this one will hurt for a long time”.

Air Force Officer, Christy Barry says: “you pour your heart into it, and at the time, it feels like you’re doing something great and you’re making a difference”. She says she now looks back on it with sadness.

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 ticker 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.


India’s ban on single-use plastics comes into effect



India is banning many single-use plastics in a bid to tackle pollution

India produces around four million tonnes of plastic waste each year. But authorities will begin cracking down on usage and production of single-use plastics from Friday.

India’s Government believes 60 per cent of plastic waste is recycled. But a survey by the Centre for Science and Environment found the figure was 12 per cent in 2019.

When plastic waste is not recycled correctly, it creates fire hazards and air pollution, which blankets India’s major cities. It can also enter local waterways, which poisons wildlife.

New Delhi is the world’s most polluted city.

Some plastic bags and multi-layered packaging are exempt from these latest changes.

Millions of people are employed in the country’s plastic industry, with many pushing the government to delay the ban.

Street vendors are also expressing concerns around the changes.

The nation’s capital, New Delhi is the world’s most polluted city.

The Air Quality Institute found 510 million people who live in northern India “on track” to lose 7.6 years off their lives if pollution levels remain as they are.

Local authorities are set to decide the penalties for people in breach of the single-use plastics ban.

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U.K. Government in crisis as Tory whip resigns over sexual assault allegations



Boris Johnson’s government is in crisis as the Tory whip resigned over allegations he groped two men while drunk

In his resignation letter, Chris Pincher admitted he “drank far too much” and embarrassed himself and other people.

“I think the right thing to do in the circumstances is for me to resign as Deputy Chief Whip. I owe it to you and the people I’ve caused upset to, to do this.”


According to sources from Downing Street, it is unlikely Pincher will face any further action, and he will remain as a Conservative MP.

The Sun newspaper first reported the resignation, saying he was drinking at the Carlton Club when he is accused of assaulting two other male guests.

Reports suggest several concerned Tory MPs contacted the Conservative whips’ office to complain about Pincher’s behaviour.

Prime Minister is yet to comment on the matters.

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Beijing issues a stark warning to Canberra



Beijing is warning Australia will “bear the consequences” if there are any military disputes in the South China Sea

China’s Defence Ministry says Australia is engaging in “risky” behaviour, as surveillance jets fly near the disputed Paracel Islands.

“What is the duty of a soldier? That is to defend the homeland,” says Colonel Tan Kefei.

The islands are claimed by China, Vietnam and Taiwan.

It comes just weeks after an Australian Air Force was challenged by a Chinese J-16 fighter in the disputed territory.

A Chinese J-10 fighter, similar to the one involved in the incident.

Australia’s Defence Minister Richard Marles says some aluminium chaff was drawn into the engines of the P-8A Poseidon.

“The J-16 then accelerated and cut across the nose of the P-8 settling in front of the P-8 at a very close distance,” he said.

The aircraft made its way back to its base, and Marles said the crew responded “professionally”.

It’s believed the Chinese jet also fired flares and chaff as a countermeasure.

The Defence Minister said he had communicated his concerns to Chinese authorities over the incident.

But China’s defence spokesperson, Colonel Tan says “those who come uninvited shall bear the consequences.”

Canada has also been in the firing line, as they reportedly carry out U.N. missions near North Korea.

But Chinese authorities believe the jets were monitoring China “under the pretext of enforcing U.N. Security Council resolutions”.

“No matter what the name or excuse is, it is completely unreasonable to send military planes to the door of others to provoke and jeopardise the national security of other countries,” says Colonel Tan.

Australia’s Prime Minister met with Canada’s leader, Justin Trudeau on the sidelines of the NATO Summit in Madrid this week.

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