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What’s Going On In The News Today?

The U.S. touts education as one of its shining successes of the war in Afghanistan, but a BuzzFeed News investigation reveals those claims were often outright lies. The South Carolina House approved a bill to remove the Confederate flag from statehouse grounds. And Nintendo UK commemorates the 30th anniversary of Super Mario Bros.

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For years, the U.S. government has lied about its successes educating children in Afghanistan.

The United States touts education as one of its shining successes of the war in Afghanistan. But a BuzzFeed News investigation — based on visits to schools across the country, internal U.S. and Afghan databases and documents, and more than 150 interviews — reveals U.S. claims were often outright lies, as the government peddled numbers it knew to be false and touted schools that have never seen a single student. Azmat Khan reports from the Zhari District in Afghanistan.


South Carolina’s legislature approved a bill to remove the Confederate flag from statehouse grounds.

The bill now heads to Gov. Nikki Haley’s desk for her signature. If she signs it, which she is expected to, the flag must be taken down within 24 hours. Haley called for the flag’s removal after a gunman killed nine people at a historic black church in June. She issued a statement after last night’s 94-20 House vote, calling it “a new day in South Carolina.”

The suspect in last month’s shooting, Dylann Roof, posted pictures of himself online with the Confederate flag and allegedly wrote a white supremacist manifesto. The shooting started a national debate over Confederate symbols, with calls for their removal across the country and several brands and retailers disassociating themselves from the flag.

WE’RE KEEPING AN EYE ON

China's stock market has been having some serious gyrations lately.

The Shanghai Composite Index, which is considered one of the key Chinese financial market indicators, has declined around 30% in the last three weeks.

The headline numbers are alarming but the effect on the average Chinese household, while serious for some, is not quite so drastic. The market is still up by more than 70% over the past year and stocks comprise for less than 15% of Chinese household's financial assets, according to HSBC research.

Still, fluctuations like these can damage confidence and undermine perceptions of the stability of financial markets. So the Chinese government has taken the drastic step of preventing certain investors from selling their stakes in companies for the next six months.

What’s next?

“The stock market crash is a symptom, not the cause, of China's problems.” As strategist and longtime China-watcher Patrick Chovanec told Vox, "The thing about the stock market is it’s easy to see. When prices go down, you see them go down. But in property and steel and iron ore and shipbuilding and local government debt, you can brush a lot of stuff under the rug and you don’t know what’s going on."


DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THIS?

Inside the world’s slowest newsroom, where there’s no Wi-Fi and no need for a smartphone.

Staff at Granma, the official newspaper of Cuba’s Communist Party, are facing a new challenge. The paper, like much of the island, is trying to enter the 21st century and embrace the openness of the internet while still pleasing ruthless censors. BuzzFeed News’ Karla Zabludovsky visited its newsroom in Havana to find out how they’re doing it.

Eliana Aponte for BuzzFeed News

One woman, 74-year-old Ana Ferrer, the paper’s archivist who has been there since Granma’s launch in 1965, is saving Cuba’s history one newspaper clipping at a time.

Baltimore has fired its police commissioner. Officers criticized his handling of protests after Freddie Gray's death.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said yesterday that she was replacing the city’s police commissioner, Anthony Batts. “Recent events have placed an intense focus on our police leadership, distracting many from what needs to be our main focus: the fight against crime,” Rawlings-Blake said. Both Batts and Rawlings-Blake were criticized for their handling of riots that followed the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who died after suffering a spinal cord injury while in police custody in April.

Kevin Davis, who will replace Batts as the city’s interim police commissioner, will be tasked with stopping the surge in violence. There have been 156 homicides in the city so far this year, according to the Baltimore Sun.

For more, follow BuzzFeed News reporter Nicolás Medina Mora, who is currently in Baltimore.

Technical glitches grounded United Airlines flights and halted trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Yesterday morning, every United Airlines flight in America was grounded for more than an hour because of a computer issue. Then, later that morning, the New York Stock Exchange temporarily suspended trading due to technical issues and the Wall Street Journal’s website went down. There’s no sign the glitches are connected and no indication the problems were caused by a cyber attack.

The United outage, which lasted for 81 minutes, cost the airline a lot. “With 4,900 planes sitting on the tarmac … United would be burning out about $400,000 per minute,” BuzzFeed News’ Mariah Summers writes. And if you’re curious about other stock exchange failures, the New York Times has a timeline of them, including the time in 1987 when stray squirrels shut down the Nasdaq system.

As people on Wall Street waited for trading to resume, people on Twitter took the time to make every movie reference ever, including Batman, Hackers, and Terminator.

Quick things to know:

  • Greece requested a three-year loan but did not provide details on its financial plans. The country faces a Sunday deadline to reach a deal with its creditors. (New York Times) Bank closures and ATM withdrawal limits will stay through Monday. (BBC News)

  • One in five Syrians — more than four million — have now fled the country in the face of its ongoing war, according to a new United Nations report. (BuzzFeed News)

  • President Obama’s administration announced a new housing initiative that aims to reduce racial segregation in residential neighborhoods. (New York Times)

  • London's rapid transit system closed down for a 24-hour strike that's part of a dispute over pay and new all-night services. (BuzzFeed UK)

  • A federal judge agreed that the Washington Redskins should lose their federal trademark registration because their name is “disparaging” to Native Americans. (BuzzFeed News)

  • ESPN said it was dropping Keith Olbermann, the outspoken sports show host who has been especially critical of how the NFL handles domestic violence. (BuzzFeed News)

  • Microsoft is cutting about 7,800 jobs, mostly in the phone business it acquired from Nokia. (BuzzFeed News)

  • If you’ve ever wished to send scents digitally, good news. Product developers are preparing to offer ways to allow scent to become a part of digital messaging. (New York Times)

  • Ariana Grande said she was sorry for saying she hates America after being recorded secretly licking doughnuts. (BuzzFeed News)

Happy Thursday

To commemorate the 30th anniversary of Super Mario Bros., Nintendo UK made a mural in London’s Shoreditch district to honor everybody’s favorite plumber. The iconic bricks, the green pipes, the life-saving mushroom, and the treacherous Koopas are all there.

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