News Headlines 8/30/21

HURRICANE IDA LEAVES NEW ORLEANS WITHOUT POWER, COASTAL COMMUNITIES INUNDATED: Hurricane Ida made landfall near Port Fourchon, Louisiana, just before noon local time Sunday afternoon (August 29th) as a powerful Category 4 storm with winds of 150 miles per hour, 16 years to the day after Hurricane Katrina devastated the region. As it moved through southeastern Louisiana before heading into Mississippi, Ida inundated coastal communities in Louisiana, with some residents of Jean Lafitte on their roofs waiting for rescue boats, and people from other flooded communities also  calling for help. At least one death in the town of Prairieville was blamed on the hurricane. Ida left all of the city of New Orleans and more than one million people in Louisiana overall without power as of early this morning. Power supplier Entergy said that the only power in New Orleans was coming from generators. Barges broke free due to Ida, with one that got loose hitting a bridge in the town of Lafitte, and the Mississippi River was experiencing the rare phenomenon of a reverse flow. Ida was so powerful that more than 12 hours after it made landfall, it was still a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 75 miles per hour early this morning in southwestern Mississippi.

U.S. DRONE STRIKE BLOWS UP VEHICLE WITH ISIS SUICIDE BOMBERS TARGETING KABUL AIRPORT: A U.S. drone strike blew up a vehicle Sunday (August 29th) that Americans officials said was carrying, quote, “multiple suicide bombers” from ISIS-K, Afghanistan’s Islamic State affiliate, before they could attack Kabul’s airport, where the ongoing evacuation of Americans and at-risk Afghans continues. An Afghan official said three children were killed by the drone strike, and the U.S. said it’s aware of reports that there were civilian causalities and is assessing the results. The targeted strikes comes after 13 U.S. servicemembers and dozens of Afghans were killed in a terrorist attack last week outside the Kabul airport by ISIS-K, and two days before the U.S. is set to end its two-week-long airlift. Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department released a statement signed by some 100 countries, as well as NATO and the European Union, saying they’d received assurances from the Taliban that people with travel documents would still be able to leave the country after the U.S. completes its withdrawal.

BIDEN AT DOVER AS BODIES OF 13 TROOPS KILLED IN AFGHANISTAN RETURNED: President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden were at Dover Air Force Base yesterday (August 29th) for the  return of the bodies of the 13 U.S. troops killed in the suicide bombing outside the Kabul airport in Afghanistan last week. Before the “dignified transfer” ritual, the Bidens met privately with family members of those killed. Joining them at the solemn ceremony were Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

GOTTLIEB SAYS COVID VACCINE FOR KIDS UNDER 12 COULD BE APPROVED BY EARLY WINTER: Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a former head of the Food and Drug Administration and a member of Pfizer’s board of directors, said Sunday (August 29th) that Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine could be available to children younger than 12 by early winter. Gottlieb said on CBS’ Face the Nation, “The agency will be in a position to make an authorization, I believe, at some point, late fall, probably early winter. And probably they’re going to base their decision on what the circumstances around the country, what the urgency is to get to a vaccine for kids.” He said there are some 300 children being hospitalized each day with Covid, and infection rates among children have increased with schools reopening.

WILDFIRE CONTINUES TO MOVE TOWARD LAKE TAHOE, MORE RESIDENTS ORDERED EVACUATED: A two-week-old wildfire continued to move closer to picturesque Lake Tahoe on Sunday (August 29th), with all residents on the California side of the Tahoe Basin ordered to evacuate. Jeff Marsoleis, forest supervisor for El Dorado National Forest, said yesterday evening of the Caldor Fire, “today it let loose.” The wildfire was just 19 percent contained after burning nearly 245 square miles, and fire managers have pushed back the projected date for full containment from early this week to September 8th. Meanwhile, California’s Dixie Fire, the second-largest in state history, was 48 percent contained, about 65 miles north of the Caldor Fire.