National News

5 things for December 28: Afghanistan attack, weather, Vladimir Putin

Posted December 28, 2017 6:08 a.m. EST

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1. Afghanistan attack

Once again, a terror attack has rocked Kabul. This time, it was a suicide bomber who detonated his explosives in the meeting room of a Shiite cultural center. The blast killed at least 40 people. Attacks such as these are becoming depressingly regular in the Afghan capital. Terrorists have attacked mosques, military bases, even sport stadiums. They've targeted civilians, police and the military in equal measure.

2. Weather

If you live in the Midwest or Northeast, the end of 2017 is going to straight up chill you to the bone. The blast of Arctic air that's frozen the Midwest spreads to the Northeast, just in time for New Year's Eve. So, when you're out and about celebrating the holiday, keep your skin covered as much as possible to protect from frostbite. International Falls, Minnesota -- a place that knows a little something about cold temps -- had a record-breaking low temperature of -36 degrees F yesterday. And Erie, Pennsylvania, sits under 65 inches (!!!) of snow.

3. Sexual harassment

Women combat sexual harassment and assault at work and on the streets. They're fighting the same battles in the air, too: unwanted groping and worse on planes. Airlines say they have zero tolerance for this type of misbehavior, but often flight attendants come across like they don't really know how to handle such situations. And it's difficult to determine just how widespread the problem is because the federal government doesn't track numbers.

4. Taxes

The GOP tax plan has been the law of the land for less than a week but already it's spurred a change -- people paying their property taxes early. Residents in high-tax states like California and New York are rushing to pay up because the new tax plan limits the amount of money you can deduct for state income, sales and property taxes to $10,000. Right now those deductions are unlimited.

5. Vladimir Putin

If there were any doubts that Vladimir Putin excercises nearly total control in Russia, the past couple of days should erase them. The Russian President is officially running for re-election for a fourth term, in a race that he'll most certainly win. It helps that his only serious opponent, Alexey Navalny, has been conveniently barred from running. Putin has also pretty much given his security forces a license to kill, saying they should "terminate" criminals if they feel their lives are in danger: "Act decisively, take no hostages and terminate the bandits on the spot."