News Wrap: Afghan women protest Taliban rule in Kabul, demand equal rights

In our news wrap Friday, as the Taliban works to set up a new government, dozens of Afghan women protested near the Presidential Palace in Kabul to demand equal rights. President Joe Biden signed an executive order today directing the review and declassification of certain documents related to the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Biden also denounced Texas' restrictive new abortion law.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: Hiring in the U.S. slowed in August, as the rapid spread of the Delta variant took a toll on the nation's economy.

    The Labor Department reported American employers added just 235,000 jobs last month. That was far short of the robust hiring gains that were made the previous two months. At the same time, the unemployment rate dropped to 5.2 percent, down from 5.4 percent in July.

    We will take a closer look at those numbers right after the news summary.

    There are new concerns today that the Biden administration's COVID-19 booster vaccination plan, set to begin September 20, may have to be scaled back. Federal health officials have warned the administration that they don't have enough data yet to recommend third doses for the Moderna vaccine. Booster shots may initially be limited to Pfizer recipients, since that vaccine is further along in the review process.

    President Biden denounced Texas' new abortion ban today. He spoke a day after the U.S. Supreme Court let stand the state's law banning the procedure as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. The law also empowers private citizens to sue anyone who helps another person get a prohibited abortion.

    The president said the Justice Department is looking into whether it can limit its enforcement.

    Joe Biden, President of the United States: The most pernicious thing about the Texas law, it sort of creates a vigilante system, where people get rewards to go out — anyway. And it just seems — I know this sounds ridiculous — almost un-American, what we're talking about.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    While it's still uncertain what the executive branch can do to intervene, the abortion ban can still be challenged in lower courts.

    Taliban military commanders claimed full control of Afghanistan, saying they seizing the Panjshir Valley, the final holdout of opposition forces. But Afghan resistance fighters in that region denied those reports.

    As the Taliban works to set up a new government, dozens of Afghan women protested near the presidential palace in Kabul to demand equal rights. Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said most of the Americans who remain in Afghanistan are dual citizens who built their lives there.

    Tony Blinken, U.S. Secretary of State: It's especially wrenching for them to make the decision about whether to leave or not.

    We are in very direct, active contact with this group, and there is absolutely no deadline on this work. We're going to be in very close touch. And, as they desire to leave, we're going to make sure we're doing everything we can to help them do exactly that.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Also today, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the U.S. expects to admit more than 50,000 Afghan evacuees, and he acknowledged that figure could climb.

    President Biden signed an executive order today directing the review and potential declassification of certain documents related to the September 11 terror attacks. For years, the victims' families have demanded more records from the U.S. investigation, which they argue could show a link to the Saudi Arabian government. The move comes just over a week before the 20th anniversary of the attacks.

    Fire crews in Northern California made more headway today against a massive wildfire burning just a few miles away from South Lake Tahoe. The Caldor Fire is now 29 percent contained and growing at its smallest rate in two weeks, thanks to calmer winds. It has destroyed over 850 structures since mid-August.

    Former Roman Catholic Cardinal Theodore McCarrick pleaded not guilty today to sexually assaulting a teenage boy at a Massachusetts wedding reception in 1974. A protester yelled "Shame on you" as McCarrick entered the suburban Boston courthouse. Once inside, the 91-year-old, who was hunched over a walker, did not speak at his hearing. McCarrick is the only U.S. Catholic bishop to be criminally charged with child sex crimes.

    Jacob Chansley, the Arizona man known as the QAnon Shaman, pleaded guilty today to a single count of obstructing an official proceeding of Congress when he helped storm the Capitol on January 6. It was part of a plea deal he made with prosecutors. Chansley gained notoriety after being photographed shirtless inside the Capitol wearing a fur hat with horns. He will be sentenced in November.

    In New Zealand, a Sri Lankan man inspired by the Islamic State stabbed and injured six people at an Auckland supermarket. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that police were able to kill the assailant about a minute after the attack because security agencies had been monitoring him since 2016.

    Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand: The detailed reasons he is known to the agencies is the subject of suppression orders made by the court.

    What I can say is that we have utilized every legal and surveillance power available to us to try and keep people safe from this individual. Many agencies and people were involved, and all were motivated by the same thing, trying to keep people safe.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Three of the stabbing victims were seriously injured.

    And on Wall Street, stocks turned mostly lower after today's lackluster jobs report. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 75 points to close at 35369. The Nasdaq rose 32 points, and the S&P 500 slipped a point.

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