Two friends from Ohio who stormed the Capital during the January 6 riot were sentenced to 45 days in jail on Wednesday, ABC News reported.
Derek Jancart, an Air Force veteran, and Erik Rau, a steel-mill worker, previously pleaded guilty to non-violent misdemeanors.
While the pair weren't accused of violence or conspiracy to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden's win, they were still given jail time after prosecutors noted that they prepared for violence at the insurrection.
Prosecutors said Jancart brought a gas mask and two-way radios to the January 6 riot, while Rau brought Kevlar-lined gloves and medical supplies.
Jancart and Rau spent 40 minutes inside the Capitol building with the mob. Jancart celebrated reaching House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's conference room on social media, according to ABC News.
Both have since apologized for their actions, ABC reported, with Jancart claiming he was "caught up in the moment."
About 100 US citizens and permanent residents are still waiting to leave Afghanistan, an anonymous senior State Department official told reporters on Monday, according to Reuters.
"Our highest priority in Afghanistan, of course, remains helping those American citizens who wish to leave the country now to do so," the official said.
The war in Afghanistan effectively ended on August 30 as the remaining US troops left the country, making it more difficult to evacuate Americans who want to come back home. But roughly 85 Americans and 79 legal permanent residents have left Afghanistan on various flights since the last troops departed, per what the official told Reuters.
As the US entered the final stages of the pullout, the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan. The militant Islamists marched into Kabul in mid-August after rapidly taking over major cities - often without much of a fight from Afghan forces. The Taliban takeover prompted panic in Kabul and scenes of chaos at the capital city's airport, as thousands of people desperately tried to flee the country. The US was able to evacuate roughly 124,000 people after the Afghan government fell.
During the evacuations, ISIS-K staged a devastating suicide attack near the airport, killing 13 US service members and 169 Afghans. The US responded with drone strikes, one of which killed 10 Afghan civilians - including seven children.
Though the militants have sought to pose as moderates since regaining control of Afghanistan, they've also violently cracked down on dissent and been accused of human rights violations. One of the founders of the Taliban also recently told the Associated Press that the militant group will bring back public executions and hand amputations as a form of punishment.
Florida school districts can continue enforcing mask mandates, despite Gov. Ron DeSantis' appeal.
Second Circuit Judge John Cooper ruled that Florida must stop enforcing the governor's mask mandate ban, which means school districts in the state can continue to require masks while the case is appealed in a higher court, CNN reported on Wednesday.
Cooper said there was "overwhelming evidence" presented to him in a lawsuit by Florida parents that wearing masks in school settings does provide protection, especially for those kids under 12 who have yet to be vaccinated, the Associated Press reported.
"We're not in normal times. We are in a pandemic," Cooper said during a hearing held remotely, according to the AP. "We have a (coronavirus) variant that is more infectious and dangerous to children than the one we had last year."
DeSantis initially ordered the mask ban in July, saying that it gave parents the right to make the choice for their own children, but Cooper ruled it also removed the government's authority to impose actions that are needed to protect public health.
"This ruling was made with incoherent justifications, not based in science and facts - frankly not even remotely focused on the merits of the case presented," Taryn Fenske, DeSantis' communications director, said in a statement following Cooper's ruling.
The case goes to the First District Court of Appeals next, but could ultimately be decided by the state's supreme court, the AP reported. DeSantis is hopeful the state will prevail, he said at an appearance Wednesday, according to the AP.
While there are medical and religious exemptions available, there will not be an option to get regular COVID-19 tests to prove negativity, NBC Washington first reported.
"Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action against your license, including but not limited to suspension, revocation, or non-renewal of said license," the Health Department guidelines say.
In a statement NBC Washington reporter Mark Segraves shared, the DC Department of Health said the city has an "alarming number" of unvaccinated medical professionals who could contribute to the spread of the coronavirus.
The move comes after an announcement last month that said all DC healthcare workers would be required to get the vaccine, but in that announcement, there was no indication whether weekly testing would be an option, NPR reported.
Separately, DC's vaccine mandate for government workers goes into effect on September 19, but those guidelines allow people who don't get vaccinated to get weekly tests in lieu of a shot, according to NPR. The same goes for federal workers under President Joe Biden's vaccine mandate.
If no action is taken by 2034 to shore up the fund, "the combined funds' reserves will become depleted and continuing tax income will be sufficient to pay 78 percent of scheduled benefits," the report said.
The report blamed the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting recession for moving up the date that full payments will stop.
Warnings about how long Social Security's reserves could hold up have been coming for years. The projections from the program's Trustees reflect their "best estimates" of the pandemic's impact. The trustees also project that that mortality rates will be elevated through 2023 due to the pandemic.
"Having strong Social Security and Medicare programs is essential in order to ensure a secure retirement for all Americans, especially for our most vulnerable populations," Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen said in a statement. "The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to safeguarding these programs and ensuring they continue to deliver economic security and health care to older Americans."
The Social Security Administration's Acting Commissioner Kilolo Kijakazi said that the program serves 65 million beneficiaries.
Notably, as the AARP reports, that doesn't mean that Social Security will go full broke in 2034 - it'll just run out of its current surplus and rely on what's brought in from taxes. That amount is what's projected to not fund 100% of the benefits, but instead just 78%.
As the Associated Press reports, there's also precedent for Congressional action to replenish Social Security and its funding mechanism. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan worked alongside a bipartisan Congressional commission to pass a plan to reform the program's funding and structure.
"A tumultuous debate about Social Security has raged for more than two decades in this country; but there has been one point that has won universal agreement: The Social Security system must be preserved," Reagan said at the signing of the Social Security Amendments.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday that since August 14, more than 82,300 people have been safely airlifted out of Kabul. He added that this number includes more than 4,500 US citizens, and estimated that there may be 1,500 US citizens left in Afghanistan that need to be evacuated.
Meanwhile, the UK said on Friday morning that it has entered the last stages of its evacuation process in Kabul and that the British processing center for eligible Afghans is now closed, per Reuters.
Vice President Kamala Harris paid tribute to the American service members who were killed in the Kabul suicide bombings, calling them 'heroes'
Vice President Kamala Harris on August 26 paid tribute to the 13 American military members killed in deadly suicide bombings that took place outside the Hamid Karzai airport in Kabul, Afghanistan.
"Doug and I grieve for the Americans we lost, we pray for the Americans injured in the attack, and our hearts go out to their loved ones. We also grieve for the Afghan civilians killed and injured," Harris wrote.
"Our country is grateful to our women and men in uniform, and in particular, those working today to get Americans and our Afghan partners out of harm's way," Harris added. "We will complete that mission. Today, we honor those who gave their lives in service to their nation. We will never forget."
Separately, the White House announced that US flags will be lowered to half-staff until sunset on Monday to honor the service members who died in the suicide bombings.
"As a mark of respect, starting today the United States flag will be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations and on all naval vessels of the federal government and the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its territories," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during a press briefing on August 26.
The White House says it is 'not a day for politics' amid calls for Biden's resignation after the Kabul suicide bombings
The US military will be developing operational plans to "strike ISIS-K assets, leadership, and facilities," said the president on Thursday, following a string of suicide bombings at the Kabul airport that killed at least 13 American military members and dozens of Afghans looking to seek refuge on airlifts out of the country.
"We will respond with force and precision in our time, at a place we choose, in a manner of our choosing," Biden said in his address.
However, the numbers remain unclear, with others telling The New York Times a range of at least 30 to 60 dead and 120 to 140 injured. The Taliban said at least 13 civilians were killed and 60 injured, according to The Times.
The death toll for US service members grows to 13
At least 13 US service members were killed, and at least 18 were wounded, as of Thursday evening — updated numbers from earlier on Thursday.
The news of the thirteenth US service member's death came hours after Commander of US Central Command Gen. Kenneth McKenzie's announcement that 12 had been killed.
"I can confirm that subsequent to Gen. McKenzie's remarks, a thirteenth US service member has died from his wounds suffered as a result of the attack on Abbey Gate," a spokesperson from CENTCOM said.
CENTCOM said that those injured are being transported via air "on specially equipped C-17s with embarked surgical units."
"We continue to provide the best possible medical care to those injured. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the injured and to the friends and family of those who were killed," CENTCOM concluded.
Biden addressed the nation on Thursday following the attack in Kabul
President Joe Biden assured the American people that the US citizens will continue to be evacuated despite the attacks in Kabul on Thursday. He said that the attacks were more reason to evacuate Americans by the August 31 deadline.
"We will rescue the Americans. We will get our Afghan allies out. And our mission will go on," he said.
The President also promised to exact retribution on those responsible for the attack: "We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay."
Recent bombing heard in Kabul said to be controlled explosion by US military, a Taliban spokesman said
Reports of a recent blast heard in Kabul is said to have been a controlled explosion set off by the US military in an effort to destroy ammunition, a Taliban spokesperson said.
There have been no further confirmations of other bombings in Kabul by the Pentagon at this time.
Biden will speak Thursday evening following terror attacks in Afghanistan that killed multiple US service members
President Joe Biden is scheduled to deliver remarks on Afghanistan on Thursday evening following multiple deadly explosions at the Kabul airport.
The president is set to speak at 5:00 p.m. ET and White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki will brief reporters at 5:45 p.m. following Biden's speech.
Biden's address comes after Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., a top commander of US Central Command, warned that the ISIS-linked terror attacks are likely to continue amid the ongoing evacuation in Kabul.
Witnesses describe scenes of horror following attacks at Kabul airport
Witnesses described scenes of horror and chaos Thursday in the aftermath of multiple deadly bombings outside the Kabul airport.
The attacks — believed to have been carried out by the Islamic State terror group affiliate, ISIS-K — rocked the entrance to an airport that has been the stage of desperation and heartbreak over the last two weeks.
"There was a very strong and powerful suicide attack, in the middle of the people. Many were killed, including Americans," a witness who only identified himself as Jamshed told Reuters.
US will keep evacuating all Americans and allies despite Kabul bombings, top general says
The US will continue to evacuate Americans and allies despite multiple deadly bombings outside the Kabul airport, Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the commander of the US Central Command, said at a press conference on Thursday afternoon.
"The plan is designed to operate under stress and under attack," he said. "And we will coordinate to make sure it's safe for American citizens to come to the airfield. If it's not, we'll tell them to hold and work other ways to get them to the airport. We'll continue to flow them out until the end of the month."
McKenzie said the mission is to evacuate US citizens, third-country nationals, special immigrant Visa holders, US embassy staff, and Afghans at risk.
AdventHealth in Central Florida has reached full capacity at its hospital morgues because so many people have died from COVID-19, WFTV-9 reported Thursday.
"We have begun utilizing rented, refrigerated coolers at 10 of our campuses throughout Orange, Osceola, Polk, Seminole, & Volusia counties," read an email from the company the ABC affiliate obtained. "These coolers are quickly becoming filled also."
In a statement from the company sent to Insider, AdventHealth didn't specifically address the rented coolers.
"We have a robust emergency management program, which has allowed us to continue to care for our community during this surge with thorough planning and precautionary measures. With the spike of seriously ill patients in our hospitals, it's prudent that we prepare for an increase in deaths and are putting resources in place to provide additional capacity if needed," the statement said.
The overcrowding is said to be due to slowdowns at the local funeral homes, WFTV reported. Because of this, the hospital has to hold the bodies for more time.
The Florida Department of Health in Orange County didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
COVID-19 cases in Florida continue to rise, and Johns Hopkins University data shows hospitalizations are at a record high in the state. Overall, 66% of Floridians are fully vaccinated, but that percentage drops to 47% for 20-29-year-olds.
The state is averaging about 21,000 new cases, 17,000 hospitalizations, and 200 deaths per day.
President Joe Biden promised on Friday that the United States would get any Americans left in Afghanistan out of the country as the Taliban consolidated power.
"Any American who wants to come home, we will get you home," Biden said.
Biden, standing alongside Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, was delivering remarks about the crisis in Afghanistan.
"This is one of the largest, most difficult airlifts in history," Biden said, detailing his administration's efforts to evacuate American citizens, Afghan applicants for special immigrant visas, and other "vulnerable Afghans."
Biden also committed to helping Afghan citizens who assisted the US military during the 20-year war flee the country if they wished.
Biden said more than 18,000 people had been evacuated since July. About 13,000 people had been evacuated since Saturday, and 5,700 people were evacuated on Thursday alone, he said. He added that the US had almost 6,000 troops in Kabul.
But chaos has plagued efforts to escape. Footage has shown people in Kabul desperately trying to escape by clinging to US jets. One disturbing video showed some people falling from a plane to their deaths.
"We've seen gut-wrenching images of panicked people acting out of sheer desperation," Biden said.
Despite reports of Taliban beatings at checkpoints around the airport, Biden said that he had "no indication" that Americans were having trouble getting to the airport and that the US had a safe-passage agreement with the Taliban.
He made a distinction, though, between Taliban forces allowing American passport holders through checkpoints and the difficulties that Americans might face with crowds outside the airport.
The US's expanding beyond the Kabul airport would be "likely to draw an awful lot of unintended consequences," Biden said. A State Department spokesman, Ned Price, said on Thursday that the US lacked the capacity to go beyond the airport.
The president has faced mounting criticism over his handling of the evacuation effort. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said on Friday that Biden should be impeached should any Americans be left behind in Afghanistan.
"There will be plenty of time to criticize and second-guess when this operation is over," Biden said. "But now, now I'm focused on getting this job done."
Reports emerged on Friday that Qatar was no longer accepting more Afghans because of capacity limits and that the US was looking toward other countries such as Germany. Biden said evacuation flights had since resumed.
Biden reiterated that he did not believe the US had an interest in remaining in Afghanistan and that some degree of chaos may have been inevitable.
"There's no way in which we'd be able to leave Afghanistan without some of what you see now," he said.
Biden also said he would convene a meeting of the G7 next week to coordinate a "united approach on Afghanistan moving forward."
Biden sought to highlight the failures of Afghanistan's government, saying that the US hadn't anticipated the "total demise of the Afghan national force" and that the "overwhelming consensus" had been that it would not collapse.
The president was initially set to travel to Wilmington, Delaware, following his speech but will stay in Washington for the night.
The officer fired at Babbitt as she and other January 6 rioters tried to enter a door inside the US Capitol that led to the Chamber of the US House of Representatives. Babbitt was climbing to reach a window of the wooden door when she was shot.
The name of the police officer has not been publicly revealed, though authorities said he will not face charges.
In April, the Justice Department announced that no charges were being brought against the officer.
At this time, there are no more investigations into the incident. "No further action will be taken in this matter," a memo from the commander of the Capitol Police's Office of Personal Responsibility said.
The Capitol Police Department did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
The Florida Department of Education said Friday that it will fine school districts that don't comply with Governor DeSantis' ban on mask mandates within 48 hours.
Both Broward and Alachua counties imposed a mask mandate for their schools, in defiance of the governor's ban.
The state is giving both counties 48 hours to reverse their mandates, or face a fine equal to the salaries of the school board members who voted to institute the mask rules, the statement said, reported by ABC affiliate WTXL Tallahassee.
"As an initial step, the Flordia Department of Education will then begin to withhold from state funds, on a monthly basis, an amount equal to 1/12 of the total annual compensation of the school board members who voted to impose the unlawful mask mandates until each district demonstrates compliance," the statement said.
COVID-19 cases are surging in Florida, with 15,402 new cases on Wednesday alone, the CDC reported. Despite this, DeSantis continues to push back on restrictions suggested by public health experts, like mask mandates.
DeSantis issued a state-wide mask mandate ban for schools last month, saying that parents have the right to choose whether their children wear masks in the classroom, not the districts, per the executive order.
Many other states have either imposed mask mandates for all students or allow the districts to impose their own mask mandates if they choose to do so, USA Today reported.