Table of Contents
- Mexico’s supreme court rules criminal penalties for abortion unconstitutional
- Britney Spears’ father files to shut down conservatorship
- In other news …
- Stat of the day: nearly 300% more Covid patients in US hospitals at weekend than a year ago
- Don’t miss this: how juggling kids and work in a global pandemic brought us to the brink
- Or this: ‘I’d rather be alone’: the influencers pushing for ‘relationship minimalism’
- Climate check: animals ‘shapeshifting’ in response to climate crisis, research finds
- Last thing: ‘I was sliding towards the drop and couldn’t stop’ – the writer who fell from a mountain
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The Taliban have announced an all-male caretaker government including an interior minister wanted by the FBI, on a day when at least two people were killed by violent policing of street protests against the new authorities.
The leadership unveiled on Tuesday is drawn entirely from Taliban ranks, despite promises of an inclusive cabinet, and many of its senior figures are on UN sanctions lists, which is likely to complicate the group’s search for international recognition.
On Wednesday, the US will convene a virtual meeting with as many as 20 countries to set a framework for cooperation with the new Taliban government, amid fears that isolating the militant group could backfire. The meeting is also likely to discuss the terms for giving humanitarian aid, after the UN warned this week that the Afghan economy was on the brink of collapse.
Meanwhile, life for single mothers in Afghanistan has become increasingly desperate since the Taliban took control.
What will Afghanistan be called? The country will once more be officially known as an Islamic emirate, as it was under Taliban rule in the 1990s.
Who is leading the country now? The Taliban’s chief, Hibatullah Akhundzada, will be supreme leader.
Mexico’s supreme court rules criminal penalties for abortion unconstitutional
Women hold green handkerchiefs during a protest in support of legal and safe abortion in Mexico City last year. Photograph: Edgard Garrido/Reuters
Mexico’s supreme court has struck down a state abortion law, ruling that criminal penalties for terminating pregnancies are unconstitutional, in a decision which advocates say provides a path to decriminalisation across the country.
In a unanimous 10-0 ruling, the top court ordered the northern state of Coahuila to remove sanctions for abortion from its criminal code – with several justices arguing the prohibitions on voluntarily interrupting a pregnancy violated women’s rights to control their own bodies.
“It is not about the right to abortion,” said Justice Luis María Aguilar, who wrote the court’s opinion for overturning the Coahuila law. “It’s rather the right to decide of women and persons able to gestate to make decisions.”
Meanwhile, just across the border from Coahuila in Texas, the ban on abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy, which allows citizens to pursue legal action against women seeking a termination, has led to the creation of a whistleblower website. The site ProLifeWhistleblower.com, however, has been forced offline after being flooded with fake reports, memes and porn.
Britney Spears’ father files to shut down conservatorship
Jamie Spears, father of Britney Spears, has filed a petition to end the 13-year conservatorship that controls the singer’s life. Photograph: AP
Britney Spears’ father has filed an unexpected request to terminate the controversial conservatorship that has controlled the singer’s life for 13 years.
Jamie Spears, the conservator of his daughter’s estate, said “recent events” called into question whether she still needed a court to oversee her personal affairs and finances.
Lawyers for Jamie Spears said: “As Mr Spears has said again and again, all he wants is what is best for his daughter. If Ms Spears wants to terminate the conservatorship and believes that she can handle her own life, Mr Spears believes that she should get that chance.”
Spears’ lawyer, Mathew Rosengart, told the Associated Press news agency in an email that the termination request by her father was a victory and vindication for the singer, but added: “It appears that Mr Spears believes he can try to avoid accountability and justice.”
Why is Spears in this situation? She was placed under the conservatorship – a complex legal arrangement usually reserved for the very old or infirm – in 2008 after a series of breakdowns.
What has she said about it? The singer has twice addressed the court in recent months, describing the conservatorship as “abusive”.
What happens next? The next hearing is scheduled for 29 September.
In other news …
A nurse takes care of a baby outside a hospital after patients and personnel were evacuated after an earthquake in Acapulco, Mexico. Photograph: David Guzman/EPA
A powerful earthquake has struck south-west Mexico near the beach resort of Acapulco, killing at least one man who was crushed by a falling post, and causing rock falls and damaging buildings.
Thousands rallied in the capital of Brazil urging firing squads and coups in support of Jair Bolsonaro after polls suggested his presidency was coming off the rails in the run-up to next year’s elections.
In the 20 years since 9/11, far-right extremists killed more people in the US than did American-based Islamist fundamentalists. Experts warn this is a form of terrorism has ballooned into the biggest domestic security threat in the US.
Opening arguments in the highly anticipated trial of Elizabeth Holmes are to begin on Wednesday, with jurors expected to hear prosecutors make the case that the Theranos founder knowingly defrauded investors and patients.
Stat of the day: nearly 300% more Covid patients in US hospitals at weekend than a year ago
A heart with wings is drawn on the window as nurses care for a Covid-19 patient inside the ICU at Adventist Health in Sonora, California, last month. Photograph: Nic Coury/AFP/Getty Images
The number of Covid-19 patients in hospitals across the US this Labor Day weekend was nearly 300% higher than this time last year, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Over the past weekend there were 1.146m weekly cases, compared with 287,235 last year. The average number of deaths was more than 86% higher than the same period last year. The surge in patients comes as the highly contagious Delta variant continues to spread across the US.
Don’t miss this: how juggling kids and work in a global pandemic brought us to the brink
The past 18 months have left many parents and carers feeling overwhelmed. Illustration: Sarah Tanat-Jones/The Guardian
On social media it’s hard to miss how the usual stresses and strains of parenting have been intensified by the pandemic. Parents write about the difficulties of home schooling while trying to work, of self-isolating with young children or looking after a new baby with no outside help. There’s also the delicate task of managing children’s anxieties throughout the pandemic, and coping with any financial pressures brought about by such a turbulent time. The past 18 months have left many parents and carers feeling overwhelmed, irritable and wrung bone dry. Can balance ever be restored?
Or this: ‘I’d rather be alone’: the influencers pushing for ‘relationship minimalism’
‘I’d rather be alone than with people who make me feel alone,’ says the YouTuber Kelly Stamps. Illustration: Katy Welsh/The Guardian
A group of young people are not only eschewing excess material items, but also meaningless relationships and “emotional clutter”. If their friendships are non-satisfactory, they declutter, opting for fewer but more quality relationships. If the city they live in no longer sparks joy, they move. And in a quest to trim the amount of unnecessary emotional engagement with the world, some do not even use smartphones or social media. “I’d rather be alone than with people who make me feel alone,” the YouTuber Kelly Stamps says, explaining why she chooses to have just four friends.
Climate check: animals ‘shapeshifting’ in response to climate crisis, research finds
The gang-gang cockatoo is one of the species whose bills have been increasing in size as the climate grows hotter. Photograph: William Robinson/Alamy
Animals are increasingly “shapeshifting” because of the climate crisis, researchers have said. Warm-blooded animals are changing their physiology to adapt to a hotter climate, the scientists found. This includes getting larger beaks, legs and ears to better regulate their body temperature. When animals overheat, birds use their beaks and mammals use their ears to disperse the warmth. Some creatures in warmer climates have historically evolved to have larger beaks or ears to get rid of heat more easily. These differences are becoming more pronounced as the climate warms.
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Last thing: ‘I was sliding towards the drop and couldn’t stop’ – the writer who fell from a mountain
‘I took a small step to the left. And then everything went wrong’ … a climber summits a pinnacle in the legendary Scottish mountain range, which is the subject of The Black Ridge. Photograph: Marcus McAdam/Alamy
“In a career spent walking in and writing about mountains,” Simon Ingram writes, “you do sometimes wonder what you would do if you fell. I lost a friend that way, so thinking about it is unavoidable. Would I scream? Would I go down with stoic acceptance – or flail and shriek, full of anger or fear? Nobody wants to find out. Of course, if you had the luxury of time, eventually your feelings might stop being about yourself and instead focus on those you were going to let down because of this selfishly dangerous activity. But nobody does that. When it happens, thinking is replaced by instinct, reflex and panic.”
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