Happening Today: Kabul, Health Care, John McCain, San Antonio, Gray Hair, Michael Phelps – NBC New York

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Taliban Claims Kabul Bombing That Kills At Least 24, Wounds 42

A suicide bomber rammed his car packed with explosives into a bus carrying government employees in the Afghan capital, killing at least 24 people and wounding 42 others, Kabul’s police chief spokesman said. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. The attack occurred in a western Kabul neighborhood where several prominent politicians reside and at rush hour, as residents were heading to work and students were on their way to a nearby private high school, said Basir Mujahed, the spokesman. The bus was completely destroyed, along with three other cars and several shops in the area, he said, adding children were among the wounded. In a statement, the Interior Ministry called the attack “a criminal act against humanity.” In the past, both the Taliban and the Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan have staged such large-scale attacks in the Afghan capital.

Ahead of Key Vote, Details of GOP Health Bill Still Unknown

The Senate will move forward with a key vote this week on a Republican health bill but it’s not yet known whether the legislation will seek to replace President Barack Obama’s health care law or simply repeal it, the third-highest ranking Republican senator said. Sen. John Thune of South Dakota said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., will make a decision soon on which bill to bring up for a vote, depending on ongoing discussions with GOP senators. Thune sought to cast this week’s initial vote as important but mostly procedural, allowing senators to begin debate and propose amendments. But he acknowledged that senators should be able to know beforehand what bill they will be considering. The Republican-controlled House in May passed its version of a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare.” Senate Republicans are now considering two versions of similar legislation, one that would repeal and replace, and another that would simply repeal Obamacare with a two-year delay to give the Senate more time to agree on a replacement.

John McCain Spends Weekend Outdoors With Daughter, Friend

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., spent the weekend outdoors about a week after undergoing surgery and being diagnosed with brain cancer, NBC News reported. McCain, 80, tweeted a photo of himself and a friend, Joe Harper, with their feet in the Oak Creek of Zebra Falls in Arizona. The senator’s daughter Maghan McCain also tweeted a photo of the outing, which she used to thank supporters for their well wishes in the wake of her dad’s diagnosis. McCain underwent surgery to remove a blood clot on July 14 and was subsequently diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer.

9 Dead, Dozens Hurt After Suspected Smuggling Truck Found

Nine people are dead and nearly three dozen more remain hospitalized after being found in the back of a sweltering tractor-trailer in San Antonio in what officials describe as an immigrant-smuggling operation gone wrong. U.S. officials say 17 people pulled from the trailer suffered life-threatening injuries. San Antonio Chief of Police William McManus and Fire Chief Charles Hood confirmed police arrived at a Walmart on the city’s southwest side shortly after midnight to find eight people dead and dozens of others, including men, women and children, suffering from heat stroke or dehydration and in need of immediate medical care after being trafficked into the United States. One of the people hospitalized died later. Another victim was found in a field nearby, bringing the total number of people found to 39. All of the survivors that have been located are receiving medical care.

Cancer Patients’ Gray Hair Turned Dark in Trials for New Immune Drugs

Cancer patients’ gray hair unexpectedly turned youthfully dark while taking novel drugs, and it has doctors scratching their heads. Chemotherapy is notorious for making hair fall out, but the 14 patients involved were all being treated with new immunotherapy drugs that work differently and have different side effects. A Spanish study suggests that may include restoring hair pigment, at least in patients with lung cancer. With the first patient, “we thought it could be an isolated case,” said Dr. Noelia Rivera, a dermatologist at Autonomous University of Barcelona. But she said the research team found the same thing when they asked other patients for photos from before treatment. The 14 cases were among 52 lung cancer patients being followed to see whether they developed bad side effects from the drugs — Keytruda, Opdivo and Tecentriq.

Great White Takes Gold in Race Against Phelps on Shark Week

After ample build up and the promise of a dramatic face-off, Michael Phelps finally raced his fiercest competitor. But the great white shark snagged the gold in Discovery Channel‘s anticipated Shark Week kick-off, “Phelps Vs. Shark: The Battle for Ocean Supremacy.” In the previously recorded stunt, the trained athlete and the ocean predator went head-to-head (sort of) in a 100-meter race off the coast of South Africa. The shark ended up crossing the finish line 2.0 seconds before Phelps. Though the show highlighted Phelps’ man-made advantages, which included an especially buoyant wetsuit and a mono fin to help him “swim like a shark,” his victory was perhaps never meant to be. A great white shark can hit top speeds of 15 miles per hour in short bursts, according to National Geographic. However, the beasts have been reported to max out at 25 or even 35 miles per hour.

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