U.S. officials are encouraged by grassroots uprisings against the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Washington Free Beacon reports. “First and foremost, the anti-Taliban movements reflect the local populace’s growing intolerance of Taliban influence and abuse,” Air Force Lt. Col. David Simons, a spokesman for the International Security Assistance Forces, the U.S.-led military coalition, tells the Beacon.
But other problems persist. Human rights activists fear for the safety and rights of women after judges and prosecutors allowed the early release of three people convicted for the brutal torture of a child bride, according to the Guardian.
New underground nuke lair?
Iran denies an exiled opposition group’s allegation that the Islamic state is secretly building a new underground nuclear facility, the Jersusalem Post reports. The dissidents, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, say tunnels are being dug in a mountainous area near Damavand, east of Tehran.
Perry’s gives a sign
The soon-to-be-retired governor of Texas is making a trip abroad, in what some politicos say is the clearest signal that he will run for the White House. “We will be going to Israel to bring together Arabs, Christian and Jews in an educational forum,” Rick Perry tells The Washington Times in an interview.
Obama cut funding
Four Republicans say “President Obama’s decision to drastically cut funding” for the ground-based midcourse defense system is to blame for failed missile interceptor test last week, The Hill reports. The lawmakers — House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), Strategic Forces subcommittee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), the Senate Armed Services’ James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Strategic Forces subcommittee’s Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) — tell the Defense secretary in a letter that the administration has left the system on “life support.”
War is not hell
One tweet about the best opening paragraph in Wikipedia has revived interest in British Lt. Gen. Adrian Carton de Wiart: “He fought in the Boer War, World War I and World War II, was shot in the face, head, stomach, ankle, leg, hip and ear, survived a plane crash, tunneled out of a POW camp and bit off his own fingers when a doctor wouldn’t amputate them. He later said, ‘Frankly, I enjoyed the war.’ He died 50 years ago in Ireland at 83. The Daily Mail took a look at his accomplishments last year.
‘She’s not there’
A friend of Gina DeJesus, one of the Cleveland girls held in a house of horrors for a decade tells the Daily Mail, “She has never grown up mentally, she’s still a 14-year-old little girl. … She never got a chance to go to the dances or the games or prom or the things that kids do. … She has a look of — of a blank, a blankness to her eyes. … Emotionally she’s not there.”
CBS News: China’s slow economy forces college grads to live in “ant colonies.” The cheap subdivided apartments are illegal.
Daily Telegraph: Polish archaeologists unearth “vampire grave.” Skeletons were found with heads removed, a ritual designed to ensure the dead stayed dead.
Chicago Tribune: In midst of Ramadan, Chicago-area Muslims urged to boycott dates linked to Israel. That would be the fruit, not what you do on a Saturday night.