Taliban take over TV station in strategic city

The Taliban have taken over a TV station in Afghanistan’s strategic Helmand province, a source at the TV and radio station told CNN on Monday, marking the latest of a series of advances by the militant group in the country.

The Helmand TV station, located in the city of Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province, is operated by state-run Radio and Television Afghanistan. Local journalists in Lashkar Gah say there is nothing currently being broadcast over the station.

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In a text message to CNN, Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid said the group has taken over the station.

The incident comes as the United States has ramped up airstrikes against the Taliban in a bid to turn back the militants’ advances on a number of key provincial capitals in Afghanistan.

Over the past 72 hours, U.S. airstrikes have targeted Taliban positions around the cities of Herat, Kandahar and Lashkar Gah, the official said.

Poland grants humanitarian visa to Belarusian Olympian

Belarusian sprinter Kristina Timanovskaya received a humanitarian visa from Poland on Monday, hours after she refused to board a flight out of Japan saying she was being forced to return to her native country against her will and that she feared arrest.

Poland’s Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Marcin Przydacz, announced on Twitter that Timanovskaya had been granted the visa.

“Poland will do whatever is necessary to help her to continue her sporting career. (Poland) always stands for solidarity,” he posted.

Neanderthals were painting caves long before modern humans

Whether Neanderthals thought symbolically and had an artistic sensibility has been a question that has vexed experts in human evolution.

But evidence is mounting that our Stone Age cousins were our cognitive equals and created forms of art in Europe long before Homo sapiens were on the scene.

A new study of a rock feature stained red in a cave in southern Spain has concluded that the red pigment — made from ocher — was intentionally painted, most likely by Neanderthals.

The markings, which date back to more than 60,000 years ago, were made on a massive stalagmite 328 feet into Cueva de Ardales near Málaga. The stalagmite’s domelike shape was formed by pillars of mineral deposited by water, and the markings were made inside folds of rock that resembled drawn curtains.

— From wire reports

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