After 12 years of U.S. troops in his country, Afghan President Hamid Karzai is less than thrilled with America. That's funny, said Jon Stewart on Wednesday night's Daily Show, since the U.S. has built 4,000 schools and 2,500 miles of road, upped life expectancy by 20 years — "great for Afghani Matlock," he quipped, in a joke that didn't quite connect — and quadrupled Afghanistan's economic output. More to the point, Karzai seems happy to accept bags of cash from the CIA. The problem, Stewart said, is that Karzai either has a short memory or a poor understanding of the word "war." It's funnier when Stewart explains it below. --Peter Weber
In its final report on the millennium development goals (MDGs), the UN states that while some achievements have been made — primarily bringing more than one billion people out of extreme poverty — several other targets were not met.
The UN set a 15-year agenda to meet eight goals related to poverty, education, gender equality, child mortality, maternal health, disease, the environment, and global partnership. "The MDGs helped to lift more than one billion people out of extreme poverty, to make inroads against hunger, to enable more girls to attend school than ever before, and to protect our planet," UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said. "Yet for all the remarkable gains, I am keenly aware that inequalities persist and that progress has been uneven."
The goal of achieving universal primary education was missed (the rate rose from 83 percent in 2000 to 91 percent in 2015), as was the child mortality rate (it dropped by more than 50 percent, with the MDG goal being a decline of two-thirds). The goal of stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015 has not been met, and 663 million people still do not have access to improved drinking water. Ban said that when it comes time to set the agenda for the next 15 years, they will look at the success and failures of the MDGs. "We need to tackle root causes and do more to integrate the economic, social, and environmental dimensions of sustainable development," he said. Catherine Garcia
It would have been cheaper to just put up a billboard: A Calgary man is facing criminal charges after he attached 110 balloons to a lawn chair and sailed over the city on Sunday to bring attention to his cleaning products company.
— CTV Vancouver (@CTVVancouver) July 7, 2015
Daniel Boria, 26, says he wanted to advertise his business in a non-conventional way, and that's how he came up with the plan to fly above Calgary, then parachute down into the Calgary Stampede. "We did make it as safe as possible for everybody else," he told CBC News. "Our end goal was to only put myself in danger." After he took flight, he was amazed by what he saw. "At one point I was looking up at the balloons, they were popping, the chair was shaking and I was looking down at my feet dangling through the clouds at a 747 flight taking off and a few landing," he said. "It was incredible. It was the most surreal experience you can ever imagine. I was just by myself on a $20 lawn chair up in the sky above the clouds."
Due to bad weather, Boria missed the Calgary Stampede by a few kilometers, landing in an industrial field and breaking his ankle. Police were waiting for him, and after being detained, he was released Monday. Boria was charged with one count of mischief causing danger to life, and Insp. Kyle Grant with the Calgary Police Department said he expects to see more charges filed. Boria — who estimates the whole thing cost him $20,000 for materials and to rent an airplane carrying a banner with his company’s name — said he had a feeling he would be arrested, "but I didn't think they would pursue it as heavily as they did. I've never done anything wrong before and this was with good intentions." Catherine Garcia
HSBC has fired several UK employees after video emerged online showing the group participating in a mock ISIS-style execution.
— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) July 6, 2015
The footage shows multiple employees wearing black outfits and balaclavas standing behind an Asian colleague wearing an orange jumpsuit, The Telegraph reports. One of the men in black appears to be holding a coat hanger, and another yells, "Allahu Akbar" — "God is Great" in Arabic, which ISIS executioners have said in their taped murders of hostages.
The Sun reports the video was filmed during a team building exercise, and was briefly up on Instagram before being deleted. On Twitter, HSBC's UK Press Office wrote, "Once we saw this abhorrent video released by The Sun we took the decision to sack the individuals involved. We apologise for any offence." Catherine Garcia
Days after her son was killed instantly after setting off a firework on top of his head, a Maine mother is calling for stricter laws on who can have access to the explosives.
Police say that on the 4th of July, Devon Staples, 22, was drinking with friends in the town of Calais when the accident happened with a mortar tube. In the wake of her son's death, Kathleen Staples wants to see lawmakers consider requiring safety training courses before letting someone use fireworks. "At least it'd be a little bit more than, 'Here you go,'" she told The Associated Press. "That's an explosive. They didn't just hand me a license and put me in the car."
Staples said she thinks her son might have thought the explosive was a "dud" that wouldn't hurt him, but State Fire Marshal Joe Thomas said that since the mortar had already been used once before, he "can't imagine someone would anticipate that it was a dud." This was the first fireworks-related death to occur in Maine since they were legalized in 2012, and Rep. Michel Lajoie (D) said he is considering introducing a measure next year to repeal the law. Lajoie, a retired fire chief, said he can already hear the arguments from people opposing a ban. "They're going to say, 'Well, you can't regulate stupidity'...and it's true, you can't," he told AP. "But the fact of the matter is you have to try something. I'm not giving up." Catherine Garcia
On Monday, President Obama said the fight against the Islamic State is going to be a "generational struggle" that ultimately won't be "won or lost by the United States alone," but rather the "countries and communities that terrorists like [ISIS] target."
Obama made his remarks at the Pentagon following a briefing on the U.S. campaign against ISIS. "This broader challenge of countering violent extremism is not simply a military effort," he said. "Ideologies are not defeated by guns. They're defeated with better ideas — a more attractive and more compelling vision." The United States was on high alert over the 4th of July weekend amid warnings of possible attacks by ISIS, and Obama touched on the danger of terrorists who are able to operate under the radar. "The threat of lone wolves or small cells of terrorists is complex, it's harder to detect and harder to prevent," he said. "That means that we're going to have to pick up our game to prevent these attacks."
To combat ISIS online, Obama said the U.S. government plans to increase its efforts to counter propaganda it posts on social media sites, and will partner with Muslim communities who speak out again "the twisted thinking that draws vulnerable people" into the ranks of ISIS. He also called out the Senate for not confirming his nominee for undersecretary of the Treasury Department, Adam Szubin. Szubin was nominated in April, but there hasn't been a hearing or vote set yet. If confirmed, one of Szubin's roles would be cracking down on illegal funding to groups like ISIS, The Guardian reports. Catherine Garcia
Jerry Weintraub, the producer behind the remake of Ocean's 11, The Karate Kid, and several other well-known films, died Monday in Palm Springs. He was 77.
Weintraub started off in the music business, serving as a tour promoter and manager for John Denver, Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, and Led Zeppelin. In the 1970s, he transitioned to the movies, working with Robert Altman on Nashville. After a brief stint as head of United Artists, Weintraub founded the Weintraub Entertainment Group, which went bankrupt after three years.
More recently, he produced HBO's biodrama Behind the Candelabra; the documentary 41 on his friend, President George H.W. Bush; and the HBO series The Brink, which premiered in June. A Tarzan feature, starring Christoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson, is set for release in 2016. "I'm an entrepreneur, I've been an independent guy all my life," he told Variety in 2007. "I love doing what I do. I love the movies, I love actors, I love directors, I love writers, I love working with the studio, I love the marketing. I love the whole process." Weintraub is survived by his longtime girlfriend Susan Eakins, and children Michael, Julie, Jamie, and Jody. Catherine Garcia
Air strikes across Yemen have killed close to 100 people, including several women and children, the Houthi-run state news agency said Monday.
— RT America (@RT_America) July 6, 2015
In the Amran province, north of the capital, Sanaa, 54 people were killed, including 40 who were shopping at a market, Reuters reports. In southern Yemen, more than 40 people were killed during a strike on a livestock market in the town of al-Foyoush. Médecins Sans Frontières reports that hundreds of people have been entering medical facilities over the past several days, with Colette Gadenne, head of the mission, saying, "It is unacceptable that air strikes take place in highly concentrated civilian areas where people are gathering and going about their daily lives, especially at a time such as Ramadan."
The U.N. has called for a stop to the air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition, and special envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed spoke with Houthi forces to try to broker a humanitarian ceasefire. Last week, the UN designated the war a Level 3 humanitarian crisis, the most severe category. Since March, 3,000 people have been killed in the fighting. Catherine Garcia