The first international commercial flight since the end of the chaotic Western airlift from Afghanistan last month took off from Kabul airport on Thursday with more than 100 passengers on board, officials said. About 113 passengers were on board, including U.S., Canadian, Ukrainian, German, and British citizens, a source with knowledge of the matter said. They will land in Doha and head to a compound currently hosting Afghan and other evacuees.
A Texas murderer had his execution halted by the Supreme Court at the 11th hour overnight after he argued his religious freedoms were being violated because his pastor wasn’t allowed to lay his hands on him as the lethal injection was administered. John Henry Ramirez, 37, who was convicted of stabbing a convenience store worker to death, was set to be executed via lethal injection late Wednesday night at the Huntsville state prison.
Civil defense forces carrying rifles and personnel wearing gas masks and red hazmat suits paraded North Korea’s capital overnight in a celebration of the nation’s 73rd anniversary that was a marked departure from past militaristic displays. While the North’s last two parades featured provocative strategic weapons threatening the United States and Asian rivals, there was no immediate indication that the latest parade showcased ballistic weapons.
A smoke alarm was activated onboard Russia’s service module on the International Space Station, space agency Roscosmos said on Thursday. The space agency said on Twitter that all systems on the Zvezda ISS system were working properly and plans for a spacewalk later on Thursday were still going ahead. The module provides living quarters for crew members on the ISS.
Shares in the embattled Chinese property giant Evergrande have slumped again after two credit downgrades in as many days amid concerns that it will default on parts of its massive $300bn debt pile. Evergrande, which is one of the world’s most indebted companies, has seen its shares tumble 75% this year. The value of new home sales has fallen 20% in China since the peak in the first three months of this year.