An explosion caused several casualties just outside the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul — less than a day after the U.S. Embassy warned U.S. citizens to get out of the area. Gunfire and at least one other explosion was reported in the Afghan capital. The explosion outside Kabul airport is “definitely believed” to have been carried out by the Islamic State group, a U.S. official told The Associated Press.
Japan suspended use of about 1.63 million doses of Moderna vaccine Thursday after contamination was found in unused vials, raising concern of a supply shortage as the country tries to accelerate vaccinations amid a COVID-19 surge. The health ministry said contamination was reported from multiple vaccination sites. Some doses might have been administered, but no adverse health effects have been reported so far, officials said.
At least 20 people have died in the western Venezuelan state of Merida following intense rains that caused mudslides and rivers to overflow. On state TV on Wednesday a ruling Socialist Party official in Merida announced the death doll had risen and said authorities were working to restore telephone service in some areas. State governor Ramon Guevara said earlier that more than 1,200 houses had been destroyed.
A wind-driven wildfire continued to advance towards Lake Tahoe, clouding the alpine vacation and tourist spot on the California-Nevada state line in a sickly yellow layer of smoke. The Caldor fire on Wednesday evening was less than two dozen miles (37km) from Lake Tahoe, at times burning 1,000 acres (405 hectares) of land an hour. Communities of South Lake Tahoe and Tahoe City on the lake’s west shore had the nation’s worst air pollution at mid-morning Wednesday.
Scientists in Egypt have identified a new species of four-legged whale that lived around 43 million years ago. The fossil of the amphibious Phiomicetus anubis was originally discovered in Egypt’s Western Desert. Its skull resembles that of Anubis, the ancient Egyptian jackal-headed god of the dead after which it was named. The ancestors of modern whales developed from land-dwelling deer-like mammals that lived on land over the course of 10 million years.