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Here are the week’s top stories, and a look ahead.
1. The Taliban appeared closer to forming a government in Afghanistan, a week after seizing Kabul.
As talks got underway, scenes of havoc played out near Kabul’s international airport, where thousands of Afghans are desperate to find space on an evacuation flight. Panic and desperation rose after the U.S. warned that Afghanistan’s Islamic State branch could attempt an attack to hurt Americans and damage the Taliban’s sense of control.
President Biden had promised an orderly withdrawal from Afghanistan. Interviews with key participants in the last days of the war show a series of misjudgments and failures that led to the current chaos.
The Pentagon is moving toward compelling major American airlines to help transport tens of thousands of evacuees.
The Taliban face economic shock as sanctions replace foreign aid that now accounts for nearly half its legal economy. They also face the first armed challenge to their rule.
2. Hurricane Henri is on track to make landfall in the U.S. Northeast.
The Category 1 storm was expected to hit Long Island or southern New England on Sunday afternoon, while being “at or near hurricane strength when it reaches the coasts” of those areas, according to the National Hurricane Center. It is expected to bring several inches of rain across the Northeast, possibly producing a storm surge of up to five feet in some areas, but it is not expected to be another Superstorm Sandy. We’re tracking Henri’s path with regular updates.
In Mexico, Hurricane Grace made landfall early on Saturday as a Category 3 storm near the resort town of Tecolutla, leaving eight dead. It then quickly weakened to a tropical storm.
In other climate news, Athens has a new “chief heat officer,” in charge of giving one of the world’s most ancient cities a habitable future.
3. As some U.S. hospitals reach a breaking point in the face of the Delta variant, nursing is in crisis.
Bedside nurses are depleted and traumatized, their ranks thinned by early retirements or career shifts. The shortages are complicating efforts to treat coronavirus patients, who often require exacting, round-the-clock attention, leading to longer emergency room waiting times and rushed or inadequate care.
“We’re exhausted, both physically and emotionally,” an emergency room nurse in Mississippi said, choking back tears. One in five I.C.U.s have at least 95 percent of their beds full, according to an analysis by The Times.
In other virus news, the F.D.A. could give full approval to Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine as early as Monday. Orlando residents were asked to cut back on water use for several weeks to preserve the city’s supply of liquid oxygen for treating patients. Here are the latest updates.
4. Battles over voting rights are nearing critical points in Texas and Washington.
In mid-July, more than 50 Texas Democrats fled the state, shutting down a special session of the Legislature called by Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, to pass new laws on voting and other priorities of his party’s base.
This week, three Houston-area representatives came back to the Capitol. As they returned, the passage of sweeping voting restrictions — to undo last year’s expansion of ballot access during the coronavirus pandemic in places like Houston, and to empower partisan poll watchers — appeared quite likely in the coming days.
5. He guarded Haiti’s slain president, and he’s a suspect in a drug inquiry. Officials are looking for a connection.
Dimitri Hérard, the commander in charge of guarding the home of President Jovenel Moïse, who was killed last month, has been a suspect in the disappearance of hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds of cocaine and heroin whisked away by corrupt officials before law enforcement agents could seize the drugs.
Now, some international officials assisting with the investigation into the president’s assassination say they are examining whether those criminal networks help explain the killing.
6. Silicon Valley divorces are usually done behind closed doors. Allison Huynh and Scott Hassan are going public.
In 2014, Hassan — who is known by some as the “third Google founder” because he did some early, vital work for the company and bought $800 worth of its stock, which is now worth more than $13 billion — texted Huynh that their marriage was over. Nearly seven years later, they’re still locked in litigation.
They are headed to court on Monday, bereft of the secrecy that money can buy. The trial will offer an unusual, public peek into the details of a big-money Silicon Valley divorce.
Separately, in a Brooklyn courtroom, jurors will hear more testimony this week focused on accusations that the R&B star R. Kelly used his fame — and a sizable group of employees and associates — to recruit women and girls for sex. Here are the key moments from the first week of the trial.
7. Covid took a supertaster’s sense of smell. He’s helping others get it back.
Michele Crippa’s palate was renowned in Italy’s gastronomic circles. In March 2020, his gift vanished, and when it returned, it came back warped. Spoiled milk tasted fine. Peaches tasted like basil.
He retrained himself over months, with the help of sensorial-analysis experts who train winemakers and truffle hunters. For those with his malady, he has organized a course of therapy with a group of food science professors that uses memories connected to smell to try to reactivate the neural pathways disrupted by the virus.
8. In an industrial section of Queens, four Palestinian-American brothers take hypebeast cars to the next level.
The Abushi brothers were raised in a tightknit first-generation clan by parents whose lives were often defined by displacement and financial reversal, their peripatetic father building and losing a string of businesses. Looking for one of their own that would keep them united, they built a haute couture salon for gearheads.
In Detroit, you can find the dream cars of car designers in the parking lot of a storied hobby shop.
9. Here are 20 wines to enjoy, even when it’s hot and sticky outside, our wine critic writes.
It’s not as simple as whites in the summer and reds in the winter. Regardless of the color, look for lighter-bodied wines, just as the heavier stews and casseroles have been set aside in favor of lighter preparations. Wine is food, too. And the best values in wine are in the range of $15 to $25.