Afghans are giving their hungry children medicines to sedate them - others have sold their daughters and organs to survive. In the second winter since the Taliban took over and foreign funds were frozen, millions are a step away from famine.
"Our children keep crying, and they don't sleep. We have no food," Abdul Wahab said.
"So we go to the pharmacy, get tablets and give them to our children so that they feel drowsy."
He lives just outside Herat, the country's third largest city, in a settlement of thousands of little mud houses that has grown over decades, filled with people displaced and battered by war and natural disasters.
Abdul is among a group of nearly a dozen men who gathered around us. We asked, how many were giving drugs to their children to sedate them?
"A lot of us, all of us," they replied.
Ghulam Hazrat felt in the pocket of his tunic and pulled out a strip of tablets. They were alprazolam - tranquilisers usually prescribed to treat anxiety disorders.
Ghulam has six children, the youngest a year old. "I even give it to him," he said.
Others showed us strips of escitalopram and sertraline tablets they said they were giving their children. They are usually prescribed to treat depression and anxiety.
Doctors say that when given to young children who do not get adequate nutrition, drugs such as these can cause liver damage, along with a host of other problems like chronic fatigue, sleep and behaviour disorders.
As Republicans prepare to use their new House majority to probe the Biden administration and the business dealings of the president's son, Hunter, Democrats are assembling a constellation of groups to respond.
President Joe Biden hasn’t said if he’s running for re-election, but the groups are designed to defend him and discredit the opposition — including launching intense opposition research efforts into Republicans leading the charge in Congress — ahead of a likely rematch with former President Donald Trump in 2024.
Three new "war rooms" have sprung up in the past two weeks to combat the House Republicans' investigations, each backed by multimillion-dollar dark money budgets and some of the best-known operatives in the Democratic Party. Meanwhile, the Democratic National Committee and major outside groups are already retooling to shift from 2022 to 2024.
“It’s clear the White House has been preparing for the anticipated barrage of meritless investigations from House Republicans, and outside groups are an essential component,” said Adrienne Elrod, who helped run Correct the Record, which defended Hillary Clinton from congressional probes before her 2016 presidential campaign was up and running.
Every White House has faced congressional investigations. But the surfeit of well-funded groups shows eagerness among Democratic donors to defend Biden — or at least stop Trump — and a recognition that the fight over public opinion is at least as important as the legal one, since it will lay the groundwork for the next campaign.
A runny nose, cough, congestion or sore throat can arise because of any of the three viruses or a common cold. But a loss of taste and smell is more commonly associated with Covid than with flu or RSV. And wheezing is often a tell-tale sign of a serious RSV infection, usually found in kids or older adults.
This was once a five-front war—Kyiv, Sumy, Kharkiv, Donbas, and Kherson. All that remains today is Donbas—northern Luhansk (Svatove), and Donetsk (Bakhmut, Donetsk City environs, and Pavlivka/Vulhedar).
Ukraine has systematically pushed Russia into that single front, where it remains incapable of mounting any serious strategically-relevant offensive operations. On the downside, Russia can now concentrate all of its forces, including artillery, into a much smaller front line. Sure, Ukraine can do so as well, but it means that this meat-grinder of a front is becoming even more deadly for both sides.
Ukraine will want to avoid a repeat of the April-June Battle of the Donbas attritional war. Russia has a near-endless supply of mobilized cannon fodder for suicide attacks on Ukrainian trenches. It’s similarly difficult to advance on that mass of Russian bodies in reinforced defensive positions. The key will be to continue degrading Russia’s command and control and logistics. That means Svatove and Starobilsk are must-takes, as those would knock the Belgorod hub out of the war, forcing Russia to route supply lines to Ukraine’s eastern border, as well as Melitopol, which would collapse the Russian presence in southeast Ukraine, cut any remaining supply lines from Crimea, cut its water, and leave it open to Ukrainian liberation.
Walker: I’d love to debate Joy Reid. You know, Senator Warnock, he’s a slick talking, smooth dressing guy, but in that debate I took him to school because he found out a lot of things he didn’t know. And I can do the same thing with Joy Reid any time of the day.
I think people sit on TV and they talk. It’s easy to talk. But I’ve been a man that have worked my whole life. I built companies. I’ve signed the front of a paycheck. They’ve never done any of that. They don’t know how to do it. I do. And I say any day of the week she want to debate she can show up here and I’ll debate her as well on any subject. She can come up with the subject, and let’s go at it.
Reid: "Okay, Herschel, come on. It aint but a short walk. We will have you on the ReidOut any day. No, seriously. We reached out to your team. We will have you on the ReidOut any day. And we can debate. Just tell us when.
But I do want to make one thing clear, Herschel. You can't bring your friends. You see your little friends there? You can't bring them. You have to do this debate on your own. So come on. The doors to the church are open, like the pastor says."
Walker has yet to accept Reid's open offer to debate him. He hasn't mentioned it at all. So he's actually proving his point that "It’s easy to talk" on friendly TV programs. But he's apparently too scared to face Reid for a debate that he insisted he would "love [to do] any day of the week."
That's too bad, because It would be an entertaining hour of political television that would put Walker's unintentional comedic skills on display. Hopefully he will reply soon and set a date for this must see political showdown. Anything would be better than the Fox News donations of its airtime to GOP candidates like Walker.
BTW, Herschel, You Are Running Against Rev. Warnock, In Case You Forgot
The far-right is calling Fierro a “groomer” and a “f*ggot,” while questioning his sexuality for being at the Club Q drag show. Others even questioned the veracity of his entire story, according to an investigation conducted by VICE News and researchers at Advance Democracy Inc, a nonprofit that tracks online extremism.
They’re probably just upset that Richard Fierro managed to be a good guy without a gun. One shithead crawled out from under slug feces or something long enough to write:
“Heroes don’t take their kids to drag shows,” one of [Jack] Posobiec’s followers wrote on Telegram in response.
Others joined in: “So a married man, His Wife, Daughter and her boyfriend all go to Gay bar together? I’m gonna call bullshit on this,” a user on far-right Christian platform Gab wrote on Tuesday.
As Far As I Know, My Money Isn't Woke or Anti-Woke
A bank startup backed by billionaire Donald Trump supporter Peter Thiel and pitched as “anti woke” for “pro-freedom” Americans is closing up shop after less than three months.
The bank, GloriFi, burned through $50 million in investment money, laid off most of its staff on Monday, and informed workers it was shutting down, The Wall Street Journal was the first to report. Hoped-for funding to keep the operation running fell through last Friday.
“We will be closing all accounts opened to date,” GloriFi’s website informed consumers. Checking accounts were being shut down Friday, and savings accounts on Dec. 6.
GloriFi had been touted as an alternative conservative banking system for consumers who find Wall Street too liberal.
Entrepreneur and major GOP donor Toby Neugebauer and business partner Nick Ayers — the chief of staff for former Vice President Mike Pence — said that a huge market of plumbers, electricians and police officers were fed up with big banks that didn’t share their values, according to a Journal profile of the operation earlier this year.
GloriFi offered bank accounts and credit cards, and planned to provide mortgages and insurance while also touting capitalism, family, law enforcement and the freedom to “love of God and country,” according to the Journal.
Neugebauer also pitched plans to offer gun owners discounts on home insurance, credit cards made of shell casing material, and assistance paying legal bills if customers shot someone in self-defense, Rolling Stone reported.
Right-wing commentator Candace Owens was the spokesperson for the brand.
Besides Thiel, the operation also lured investors including former Georgia Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Citadel founder Ken Griffin.
But within months, GloriFi has missed launch dates, blaming faulty technology and vendor problems, and investors’ money was nearly gone, according to news reports.
The “financial challenges related to startup mistakes, the failing economy, reputational attacks, and multiple negative stories took their toll,” said a statement on the company’s website.
A universal flu vaccine that protects against all strains of the virus could be available in the next two years, according to a leading scientist.
An experimental vaccine based on the same mRNA technology used in the highly successful Covid jabs was found to protect mice and ferrets against severe influenza, paving the way for clinical trials in humans.
Prof John Oxford, a neurologist at Queen Mary University in London, who was not involved in the work, said the vaccine developed at the University of Pennsylvania could be ready for use the winter after next.
“I cannot emphasise enough what a breakthrough this paper is,” Oxford told the BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme. “The potential is huge, and I think sometimes we underestimate these big respiratory viruses.”
A coronavirus outbreak on the verge of being China’s biggest of the pandemic has exposed a critical flaw in Beijing’s “zero covid” strategy: a vast population without natural immunity. After months with only occasional hot spots in the country, most of its 1.4 billion people have never been exposed to the virus.
Chinese authorities, who on Thursday reported a record 31,656 infections, are scrambling to protect the most vulnerable populations. They have launched a more aggressive vaccine drive to boost immunity, expanded hospital capacity and started to restrict the movement of at-risk groups. The elderly, who have an especially low vaccination rate, are a key target.
These efforts, which stop short of approving foreign vaccines, are an attempt to keep the virus from overwhelming a health-care system ill-prepared for a flood of very sick covid patients.
More intensive-care beds and better vaccination coverage “should have started 2½ years ago, but the single-minded focus on containment meant fewer resources focused on this,” said Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations.