Afghanistan held its first presidential election since 2014, with low turnout leaving officials worried about the stability of the eventual winner's government. Exit polls suggest just 20% of registered voters cast a ballot, the fewest since 2001, with many driven away by the specter of Taliban violence and concerns of election fraud. The Taliban carried out a number of devastating attacks in the run-up to the election, including a bombing that killed 26 during a rally for incumbent candidate Ashraf Ghani. The violence led the US to cut off a year-long effort to broker a peace deal between the militant group and the Afghan government as it prepares to draw down the 15,000 remaining troops in the country. No mass casualty attacks occurred over the weekend, though dozens of smaller attacks killed 3 and injured almost 40.
Impeachment Probe Marches On
The House Judiciary Committee issued a subpoena over the weekend seeking details and testimony from top State Department officials around a controversial summer call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The request is part of an impeachment inquiry launched by House Democrats last week, which has been narrowed to focus on allegations President Trump withheld US aid in an attempt to push Zelensky to investigate corruption rumors ($, WashPo) around presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. The White House - which released a transcript of the call and the whistleblower complaint it generated - has argued no potential deal was ever referenced during the call. Officials also countered reports that details of the call (and others with foreign leaders) were moved to a server meant for highly sensitive information, citing the need to protect against leaks.
The anonymous whistleblower responsible for the initial complaint will reportedly testify before Congress.
Private spaceflight company SpaceX revealed its latest rocket design yesterday, one at the center of CEO Elon Musk's ambitions to colonize Mars. Named Starship, the massive 260,000-pound vessel is a fully reusable, long-duration spacecraft designed to carry cargo and passengers and is intended to become the company's flagship space vehicle, replacing its Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon space capsules early next decade. Working on an aggressive timeline, Musk promised a prototype would launch to an altitude of 65,000 feet and land again within two months, reach orbit within six months, and carry passengers - presumably to destinations like the International Space Station - within a year. See photos of the sleek, somewhat retro design here.
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Science & Technology
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Business & Markets
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Politics & World Affairs
> Protests erupt in Hong Kong for 17th straight weekend, days ahead of 70th anniversary of the establishment of modern China (More)
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Historybook: American novelist and screenwriter Truman Capote born (1924); Babe Ruth is first player to hit 60 home runs in a season (1927); Actor James Dean dies in a car crash (1955); National Farm Workers Association founded by Cesar Chavez (1962); RIP Oscar-winning actress Simone Signoret (1985).
"Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor." - Truman Capote
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