Your Friday Briefing

We’re covering the bomb attacks near the Kabul airport and the meeting between President Biden and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett of Israel in Washington.

Bombings near Kabul airport leave dozens dead

Two suicide bombers struck a dense crowd outside Hamid Karzai International Airport in the Afghan capital on Thursday, killing scores of Afghan civilians and at least 12 American service members, officials said. Here are the latest updates.

In the final days of the 20-year U.S. presence in Afghanistan, the bombing caused one of the highest single American tolls of the war. The bombs were set off near a crowd of families at the airport gates who were desperately hoping to make one of the last evacuation flights out.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombings. The night before the attack, a senior U.S. official had warned of a “specific” and “credible” threat at the airport by an affiliate of the Islamic State, and Western governments had urged people to leave the area. The Taliban condemned the attack.

A Times journalist saw dozens of dead or severely wounded people in one part of one hospital alone. These images show the horrific scenes. President Biden was to speak about the attack from the White House at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time (7:00 a.m. in Sydney).

Japan pulls Moderna doses over contamination fears

Japan’s health authorities announced on Thursday that they would halt the use of over 1.6 million doses of Moderna’s coronavirus shots after some vaccination sites found tainted vials.

Contaminants were discovered in nearly 40 doses at eight locations across Japan.

The problem comes as Japan confronts its worst Covid growth yet and concerns are growing that hospitals are getting overwhelmed.

Takeda Pharmaceutical, which distributes the shots in Japan, asked Moderna to investigate. It did not report any health issues arising from the tainted vials. The chief cabinet secretary said that it was unclear how many people had the contaminated doses but that there had been no reports of ill effects.

A health ministry official said that the substance might have been metal, Nikkei Asia reported.

Japan’s surge: Tokyo declared a fourth state of emergency in July. Daily case numbers reached over 25,000 nationwide for the first time on Friday. The Japan Times reported that patients were being turned away.

Progress: About 43 percent of Japan’s population is fully vaccinated. In addition to Moderna, Japan has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca versions. The decision to halt the doses was not expected to have a major impact on the overall campaign, according to a government official.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In other developments:

There is a rare risk of myocarditis associated with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, but Covid is more likely to cause myocarditis than the vaccine, scientists reported.

Florida is facing a wave of the virus bigger than at any point in the pandemic and far worse than in most of the U.S. This week, 228 virus deaths were being reported each day in Florida, on average.

Guam’s tourism-dependent economy remains paralyzed. The government tried to entice tourists with vaccines, but only a small bump in visitors resulted.

Will the U.S. and Israel rebuild trust?

President Biden and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett of Israel will meet for the first time on Friday. One of the most important items on the agenda is intelligence sharing.

Until the end of Benjamin Netanyahu’s term, the U.S. and Israel had long worked together on intelligence matters, especially when it came to Iran’s nuclear program. When Biden promised to restore a nuclear deal with Iran, Netanyahu ordered that his national security officials reduce the information shared with the U.S. on Iran.

Bennett, who opposes a return of the Iran nuclear deal, is seeking U.S. support for covert attacks to cripple Iran’s nuclear program. The U.S. depends on Israel’s robust spy network in Iran, after Tehran mostly stamped out the U.S. network of spies.

The meeting, initially planned for Thursday, was delayed when Biden was held up in crisis talks at the White House over the Kabul attack.


News From Asia

China’s security ministry is recruiting from a vast pool of private-sector hackers. But they often have their own agendas and sometimes use their access for commercial cybercrime, experts say.

Officials in Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party will hold an election to pick its party leader on Sept. 29. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga was likely to face a challenge.

Vice President Kamala Harris said at the end of her trip to Southeast Asia that the U.S. would speak up on South China Sea issues, but that it is not seeking conflict with China.

Around the World

Flight attendants are dealing with an increase in unruly passengers, including people who are careless about masks or even physically abusive.

The German publishing giant Axel Springer agreed to buy Politico in a deal that could shake up the Washington media scene.

When Tunisia’s president, Kais Saied, was a law professor, he preached strict adherence to the Constitution. But as the leader of government, he has stretched the law to justify seizing power. We looked at what changed.

As Britain ramps up its climate protection goals, a new coal mine in the northwest is provoking fears for some and hope for others who need the jobs.

Britain’s truck driver shortage ignited a supply chain crisis in nearly every industry, leaving businesses without foods like chicken, milkshakes and candy.

The U.S. Open begins on Monday, allowing a full stadium of spectators. Serena Williams will not be playing. Novak Djokovic is seven matches away from a Grand Slam title.

A Morning Read

Kofu, in Yamanashi Prefecture, houses around 1,000 jewelry-related companies, making it the most important jewelry producer in Japan. Its secret? The presence of rock crystal in its mountains, and a tradition that goes back two centuries.


Roger Federer’s greatest legacy

The tennis star Roger Federer is one of few athletes in history to earn $1 billion during his playing career — a milestone he reportedly achieved this year. He joins the ranks of Tiger Woods, Floyd Mayweather, LeBron James, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

“Considering Djokovic’s and Nadal’s achievements, it’s debatable whether he’s even the greatest player of this era,” Christopher Clarey, who has followed Federer on six continents and interviewed him more than 20 times, writes in The Times Magazine. “What is undeniable, though, is that no tennis superstar has ever built a financial empire comparable to Federer’s.”

Federer’s on-court achievements make up only part of his wealth. About $130 million of his earnings have come from prize money, placing him second in tennis to Novak Djokovic, who has earned approximately $152 million. The lion’s share comes from sponsorships, exhibition events and appearance fees at tournaments. Clarey credits Federer’s billion-dollar brand to his strategic instincts and “the sort of personality that might be more suited to a boardroom or a political campaign than to a pro-sports arena.”

Read about how Federer built his empire.


What to Cook

Buttery and saffron-stained, these Iranian salmon kababs come together in no time.

What to Watch

Twenty years after “Y Tu Mamá También” premiered, revitalizing Mexican cinema and generating worldwide buzz, its director and stars talk about what it meant.

What to Listen to

Yo-Yo Ma’s Beethoven and a young star soprano’s Sibelius are among the five classical albums we recommend this month.

Now Time to Play

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Overarching term for the British monarchy, with “the” (five letters).

And here is today’s Spelling Bee.

You can find all our puzzles here.

That’s it for today’s briefing. See you next time. — Melina

P.S. The Times’s Dave Philipps discussed his book about Eddie Gallagher, the soldier accused of of war crimes and pardoned by former President Trump, on NPR’s “Fresh Air.”

The latest episode of “The Daily” is about Biden’s immigration policy.

Sanam Yar wrote the Arts and Ideas. You can reach Melina and the team at

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