The Taliban take 10th provincial capital in offensive

The World
Several Taliban fighters are shown standing in a street or sitting on blanket-covered motorcycles.

Taliban fighters patrol inside the city of Ghazni, southwest of Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 12, 2021.

Gulabuddin Amiri/AP

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Afghanistan
The Taliban have now captured the provincial capital of Ghazni, a strategically important city on the Kabul-Kandahar Highway, less than 100 miles to the south of Kabul. The fall of Ghazni marks the 10th city the militants have taken in less than a week’s time. With the fierce advance of the Taliban, who now control an estimated two-thirds the country, Afghan officials are rushing to revive ties with militias and get their help fighting the Taliban. For years, the Afghan government worked to disband and disarm warlords and their militias, but now it’s doing a 180. The World’s Shirin Jaafari reports from Herat, Afghanistan, on the role of anti-Taliban militias 🎧.

OPEC
With the price at the pump heading north, the Biden administration is putting pressure on the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to pick up the pace and restore global supply of petroleum to pre-pandemic levels. The push for more oil production would appear to cut in the opposite direction of Biden’s attempts to counter climate change and shift the country away from fossil fuels. White House officials argue the higher prices are slowing economic recovery following the global recession.

Italy
The brutal heat wave in southern Europe continues to dangerously plague the region, creating optimal hot and dry conditions for widespread wildfires. Though not independently verified, Sicily reported on Wednesday a temperature of 48.8 degrees Celsius (119.84 degrees Fahrenheit), that if confirmed, would mark the highest temperature ever recorded in Europe surpassing 48 degrees Celsius (118.40 degrees Fahrenheit) recorded in Athens, Greece, in 1977 in Athens.

From The World

Tens of thousands of Hong Kongers have applied for special new UK visas

Under the UK's British National Overseas visa program, people fleeing from oppression in Hong Kong are trying to make the most of their new lives in England. And though they are looking forward to more freedom of expression, some of them are finding it difficult for their families to settle in and adjust.

On Evia Island, locals are on the front lines of the wildfire battles

The Greek government has announced relief measures for those impacted by massive wildfires that have ravaged the country for more than a week. Meanwhile, officials say significant progress has been made containing the wildfires that engulfed parts of the country for more than a week. But locals in fire-prone areas are still on alert. The World’s Lydia Emmanouilidou spent the day with a group of Evia locals battling the flames. 🎧

Bright Spot

It's not a great feeling when you get on the wrong bus on your way to an important appointment. This is what happened to Jamaican hurdler Hansle Parchment as he was heading to the track and field venue for the 110m semi-final at the recent Tokyo Olympics. He took the wrong bus and found himself at the aquatic venue for the games, penniless.

An Olympic volunteer gave Parchment money for a cab, arriving just in time for him to warm up and compete. He placed second and later took gold 🏅 in the final. Now, the Jamaican government has invited Trijana Stojkovic, the good samaritan who gave Parchment the cab fare, to the Caribbean Island. 🏝️

In case you missed it

Listen: Strategic Afghan city falls to the Taliban

Taliban fighters stand guard at a checkpoint inside the city of Farah, capital of Farah province, southwest Afghanistan, Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021. 

Taliban fighters stand guard at a checkpoint inside the city of Farah, capital of Farah province, southwest Afghanistan, Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021. 

Credit:

Mohammad Asif Khan/AP

In Afghanistan, three more regional capitals fell to the Taliban yesterday. That makes nine in less than a week. One of the latest to fall is the city of Pul-i-Khumri, in Baghlan province, a vital piece of territory. And wildfires continue to rage in parts of Greece, including on Evia island. The Greek government has announced relief measures for those impacted. Also, EU officials are accusing Belarus' strongman leader Alexander Lukashenko of using the migrants as political pawns to retaliate against EU sanctions.

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