These are some of the stories that made the news today: 

  • Khalid Sheikh Mohammed: How ‘9/11 mastermind’ slipped through FBI’s fingers
  • MH17 plane crash: Trial hears trauma of relatives demanding justice
  • DoJ vows to protect women seeking abortions in Texas after radical state ban
  • UK and EU extend post-Brexit grace period over Northern Ireland indefinitely
  • Thousands gather for pro-Bolsonaro rallies as critics fear for democracy
  • Turkey realigning ties with Egypt and Gulf rivals
  • Taliban claims ‘complete capture’ of Afghanistan’s Panjshir
  • Afghanistan: US confirms first evacuations since pullout
  • Over 80% of oil output in Gulf of Mexico still offline a week after Ida
  • Millions in U.S. lose jobless benefits as federal aid expires, thrusting families and economy onto uncertain path
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This is an open thread where everyone is welcome, especially night owls and early birds, to share and discuss the happenings of the day. Please feel free to share your articles and stories in the comments.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed: How ‘9/11 mastermind’ slipped through FBI’s fingers

BBC

The man accused of hatching the devastating plot to fly hijacked passenger planes into US landmarks 20 years ago is locked up awaiting trial. But could he have been stopped years before?

“He was my guy.”

Frank Pellegrino was sitting in a hotel room in Malaysia when he saw the television pictures of the planes crashing into the Twin Towers. The first thing he thought was: “My God, it’s got to be Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.”

The target and the ambitions were a match and Pellegrino was in a unique position to know.

The former FBI special agent had pursued Mohammed for nearly three decades, yet the alleged 9/11 mastermind is yet to face justice.

A lawyer for Mohammed has told the BBC it may be another 20 years before the case is concluded.

MH17 plane crash: Trial hears trauma of relatives demanding justice

BBC

About 90 relatives will speak at the high-security court in Schiphol over the next three weeks.

International investigators say the plane was shot down with a missile fired by pro-Russian rebels.

Three Russians and a Ukrainian are on trial but none will appear in court. All four have denied involvement.

The Malaysian Airlines flight was travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on 17 July 2014 when it was downed. It crashed in the Donetsk region, about 50km (30 miles) from the Russia-Ukraine border.

All 298 people on board the Boeing 777 airliner were killed – including 283 passengers and 15 crew members. The victims were from 10 different countries, but most were Dutch nationals.

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DoJ vows to protect women seeking abortions in Texas after radical state ban

The Guardian

US attorney general Merrick Garland announced on Monday that the federal government will take action to protect those in Texas trying to obtain an abortion in the wake of the strictest anti-abortion law in the US taking effect last week.

The US justice department said that it will not tolerate violence against anyone seeking abortion services in the state and that federal officials are exploring all options to challenge the ban on almost all terminations, with new state law also empowering the public to enforce the law in a way critics decry as promoting vigilantism.

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UK and EU extend post-Brexit grace period over Northern Ireland indefinitely

The Guardian

Plans for post-Brexit checks on some goods entering Northern Ireland have been suspended indefinitely by the UK after negotiations with the EU reached a stalemate.

Grace periods designed to ease the transition into new trading arrangements and checks on the island of Ireland have twice been extended as part of diplomatic wrangling labelled “the sausage wars”.

On Monday evening David Frost, who is leading negotiations with the EU about updating the contentious Northern Ireland protocol, revealed a fresh extension, with no new deadline set for the completion of talks.

Plans for post-Brexit checks on some goods entering Northern Ireland have been suspended indefinitely by the UK after negotiations with the EU reached a stalemate.

Grace periods designed to ease the transition into new trading arrangements and checks on the island of Ireland have twice been extended as part of diplomatic wrangling labelled “the sausage wars”.

Thousands gather for pro-Bolsonaro rallies as critics fear for democracy

The Guardian

Thousands of diehard Jair Bolsonaro followers have converged on Brazil’s political and economic capitals hoping to stage a colossal show of support for their beleaguered president amid mounting fears over the future of Brazilian democracy and of possible skirmishes with the government’s opponents.

The rightwing nationalist, who recently warned Brazil could face a political “rupture”, is expected to address packed independence day rallies in Brasília and São Paulo on Tuesday in what observers say is an increasingly weak politician’s attempt to project strength.

Bolsonaro’s approval ratings have plummeted in recent months as corruption allegations have ensnared a succession of allies and relatives and a congressional inquiry has savaged his government’s response to a Covid outbreak that has killed nearly 600,000 Brazilians. Polls suggest almost two-thirds of Brazilians now oppose Bolsonaro’s presidency and that the leftwing former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva would beat him in next year’s election.

Turkey realigning ties with Egypt and Gulf rivals

Al Jazeera

Istanbul, Turkey – Turkish and Egyptian officials will gather around a table on Tuesday amid a thaw in relations between Turkey and its Arab neighbours after nearly a decade of mutual distrust and often outright hostility.

The Ankara meeting at the deputy foreign minister level is the second round of Turkey-Egypt talks following May’s Cairo summit, which had been the first direct high-level discussions between the countries since 2013.

The contact is the latest between Turkey and the Arab states it fell out with in the wake of the 2011 Arab Spring, which saw anti-government movements across the Middle East and North Africa unseat a number of longtime rulers and threaten others.

Turkey, which backed groups close to the Muslim Brotherhood, saw its chance to seize a leading role in the region and pressed Arab regimes to reform in the face of popular protest.

Taliban claims ‘complete capture’ of Afghanistan’s Panjshir

Al Jazeera

The Taliban has taken complete control of Panjshir province, the last area in Afghanistan held by resistance forces, the group’s spokesman said, as it cemented its control of the country three weeks after taking over Kabul.

“With this victory, our country is completely taken out of the quagmire of war,” chief spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on Monday.

Pictures on social media showed Taliban members standing in front of the gate of the Panjshir provincial governor’s compound.

Meanwhile, the National Resistance Front (NRF) spokesman said the Taliban’s claim of victory was false and opposition forces continued to fight, adding that its forces were present in “strategic positions” across the Panjshir valley.

The whereabouts of resistance leader Ahmed Massoud and Amrullah Saleh, the former vice president who had joined resistance forces after the fall of Kabul, were not immediately known.

Afghanistan: US confirms first evacuations since pullout

DW News

The United States has evacuated four American citizens from Afghanistan via a land route, an official told reporters accompanying US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on his flight to Qatar.

“This is the first overland evacuation facilitated by the State Department,” the official said, but did not clarify which countries the Americans had transited through or arrived in. He added that the Taliban were aware of the move and had not hindered it.

Blinken arrived in Qatar on Monday to hold crisis talks with leaders in Doha on how to handle the Taliban’s sweeping takeover in the aftermath of the US withdrawal.

Guinea’s future uncertain as coup leaders tighten grip on power

DW News

The morning after the coup, residents of the capital, Conakry, woke up to a new reality which has left Guineans with mixed feelings. “There is a great sense of uncertainty,” said DW correspondent Bangaly Conde.

“Today we saw an image of Guinea we are not used to seeing. We are very disappointed with the army,” one Guinean told DW.

Not everyone was disappointed. Another resident of the capital said he was very proud, “because the country is doing really badly. People are suffering. I really want something to change soon.”

For many citizens feeling overwhelmed by economic hardship, the military takeover came at the right time. “I don’t have the words. I’m so happy. There is no water, there is no electricity, and above all, there are no roads. We are tired of all this. He [President Alpha Conde] should go take a rest,” one woman said.

Across The COVID-Ravaged South, High-Level Life Support Is Difficult To Find

NPR

Hospital discharge day for Phoua Yang was more like a pep rally.

On her way rolling out of Centennial Medical Center in Nashville, she teared up as streamers and confetti rained down on her. Nurses chanted her name as they wheeled her out of the hospital for the first time since she arrived in February with COVID-19, barely able to breathe.

The 38-year-old mother is living proof of the power of ECMO — a method of oxygenating a patient’s blood outside the body, then pumping it back in. Her story helps explain why a shortage of trained staff who can run the machines that perform this extracorporeal membrane oxygenation has become such a pinch point as COVID-19 hospitalizations surge.

Why We Celebrate Labor Day And Other Facts About The Holiday You Might Not Know

NPR

Happy Labor Day weekend, America.

The very first Labor Day in the country was celebrated in 1882, and it became an official federal holiday in 1894. The holiday falls on the first Monday of September. The day typically celebrated with picnics and parades has more to it than that, though.

To mark the nation’s 139th Labor Day, here’s some trivia about the holiday you didn’t know you needed:

It was celebrated in a few states first before it became a federal holiday

Labor activists first started recognizing Labor Day before states started to unofficially celebrate it. New York was the first state to introduce a bill to write the holiday into state legislation. Oregon, though, became the first state to pass it into law in 1887. Colorado, Massachusetts and New York soon followed.

Over 80% of oil output in Gulf of Mexico still offline a week after Ida

Reuters

NEW YORK, Sept 6 (Reuters) – More than 80% of oil production in the Gulf of Mexico remains shut in after Hurricane Ida, a U.S. regulator said on Monday, more than a week after the storm made landfall and hit critical infrastructure in the region.

Energy companies have been struggling to resume production after Ida damaged platforms and caused onshore power outages. About 1.5 million barrels per day of oil production, or 84%, remains shut, while another 1.8 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas output, or 81%, was offline, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said.

U.S. probing nearly 350 reports of oil spills in wake of Hurricane Ida

Reuters

HOUSTON, Sept 6 (Reuters) – The U.S. Coast Guard said on Monday it was investigating nearly 350 reports of oil spills in and along the U.S. Gulf of Mexico in the wake of Hurricane Ida.

Ida’s 150 mile-per-hour (240 kph) winds wreaked havoc on offshore oil production platforms and onshore oil and gas processing plants. About 88% of the region’s offshore oil production remains shut and more than 100 platforms unoccupied after the storm made landfall on Aug. 29.

The Coast Guard has been conducting flyovers off the coast of Louisiana looking for spills. It is providing information to federal, state and local authorities responsible for cleaning the sites.

From Behind A paywall:

Why You Might Not Be Returning to the Office Until Next Year

New York Times

Last week, Uber executives huddled on a nighttime video call to make a difficult decision. They considered whether the ride-hailing company should join a growing list of companies once again delaying their return-to-office dates. Soon after, they announced that Uber would fully reopen its offices on Jan. 10, postponed from Oct. 25.

“I’ve been in H.R. for 30 years, and this is probably the hardest crisis I’ve had to deal with,” said Laura Faith, the senior director of people experience and operations at Uber. “This really is about life or death and health and safety.”

In the nearly 18 months since the pandemic first forced companies to send their employees to work from home, the date companies have planned to bring workers back to offices has changed again and again. First it was January, a full year after the coronavirus first surfaced in China. January slipped to July, as tens of millions of people lined up across America to be vaccinated.

Millions in U.S. lose jobless benefits as federal aid expires, thrusting families and economy onto uncertain path

Washington Post

More than 7 million out-of-work people across the United States are set to lose all of their jobless benefits this week as three federal programs expire on Monday, in what several experts described as one of the largest and most abrupt ends to government aid in U.S. history.

In addition to the more than 7 million people who will lose all their benefits, nearly 3 million more people will lose a $300 weekly boost to their state unemployment benefits.

The cessation of this jobless aid, first put in place by Congress nearly 18 months ago, could upend the lives of millions of Americans still struggling to find work at a time when the pandemic’s delta variant is wreaking fresh havoc across a number of states. It could also lead to a sharp pullback in spending, particularly in certain areas of the country, impacting a wide range of restaurants and other businesses that rely on consumer dollars.

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The crew of the Overnight News Digest consists of founder Magnifico, regular editors side pocket, maggiejean, Chitown Kev, eeff, Magnifico, annetteboardman, Rise above the swamp, Besame and jck. Alumni editors include (but not limited to) Interceptor 7, Man Oh Man, wader, Neon Vincent, palantir, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse (RIP), ek hornbeck (RIP), rfall, ScottyUrb, Doctor RJ, BentLiberal, Oke (RIP) and jlms qkw.

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