Here are the headlines you Need2Know for Friday, August 13, 2021:


The U.S. is deploying 3,000 troops to secure the withdrawal of American embassy staff in Kabul as the security situation in Afghanistan rapidly deteriorates. The Taliban continues an offensive blitz across the country that is shocking the Pentagon with its speed and ease. American negotiators have reportedly asked the militant group not to attack the embassy if and when it tries to take Kabul. Taliban fighters have overrun two more critical cities, including Kandahar, and some intel officials now worry Kabul could fall just in time for the 20th anniversary of 9/11. NY TIMES


San Francisco is adopting the strictest vaccine mandate yet, requiring proof-of-vaccination for most indoor venues, including restaurants, bars and gyms. There’s no option to show a negative test. More than 90% of U.S. counties now meet the CDC’s guidelines for indoor masking with “high or substantial” Covid transmission. The pace of vaccinations is ramping up in some of the southern states seeing the worst spread, with the number of shots given in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi quadrupling over the last month as their hospital systems approach capacity. SF CHRON


Tropical storm warnings have been issued for the Florida Keys ahead of Fred’s arrival. The system is still a tropical depression but could strengthen once it moves over Cuba later today or tomorrow. The latest models still have Fred skirting up the western coast of Florida before making landfall along the panhandle early Monday. The southeast, from Miami to Atlanta, is looking at several inches of rain over the next few days. TRACK


Contrary to popular belief, your metabolism doesn’t actually slow down as you get older. That’s the surprising finding of a major new study just published in the journal Science. The international team of researchers studied 6,400 people in 29 countries ages 8 days to 95 years. They discovered that metabolism peaks when you’re about 1, then declines until you’re 20, at which point it plateaus until you reach 60, before starting to decline again. Further, they found that there isn’t much difference between metabolism in men and women when controlling for factors like body type, and pregnant women and teenagers aren’t actually seeing their metabolic rates spike as commonly thought. NBC NEWS


Facebook is pushing its return-to-office back to next year, the latest tech giant to punt on its fall plans. U.S. employees will have until January to work from home full time. Facebook had previously expected to be at 50% capacity in its offices by September. BLOOMBERG


Taco Bell thinks it knows what the future of fast food is going to look like. The restaurant chain has announced a new concept, dubbed Defy, that reimagines the drive-thru experience for the contactless world. The two-story building sits on top of four drive-thru lanes, three of which will be reserved for mobile orders. The food will be made by humans upstairs and sent to drivers below via a kind of frictionless dumbwaiter system. A Taco Bell franchisee in Minnesota is breaking ground on the first Defy location, set to open next summer: SEE IT


The tiny town of Dyersville, Iowa served as home field for last night’s matchup between the Yankees and White Sox. The MLB’s long-anticipated “Field of Dreams Game” finally took place after a year delay inside a new 8,000 seat stadium built on the filming location of the 1989 Kevin Costner classic. The game was steeped in nostalgia, including an intro that featured the players walking out of cornfields in retro uniforms. And the teams delivered an ending worthy of Hollywood: the Yanks erased a 3-run deficit in the 9th before the Sox responded with a walk-off homer to win, 9-8. WATCH THE INTRO


Britney Spears’ father has agreed to step down from her conservatorship. According to legal documents filed in L.A. court, Jamie Spears’ attorney says he is pledging to take part in an “orderly transition” in order to avoid a "public battle" with his daughter, though it doesn’t note when it would take effect. VARIETY


…NBA star Andre Drummond, jumping into action to save his son after the 2-year-old tripped and fell into the family pool. Drummond posted security-cam footage showing the entire incident unfold (the little boy was fine): WATCH


Kanye West may drop his new album today. He may not. No one knows. What we do know is that, Donda or no Donda, Kanye’s brand remains strong. The rapper has reportedly already made $7 million off the official merch for his two listening parties, the second of which was Apple Music’s most-watched livestream ever. Old Kanye songs are also seeing a spike in streams in anticipation of the new album. One thing Yeezy is not good at building buzz for: the Covid vaccines. Just four of the 40,000 people who went to last week’s listening party in Atlanta took advantage of the on-site vaccination pop-up. COMPLEX


One thing we love: Getting to scan a QR code to see the menu. Beats having to touch some dirty paper menu -- and you knew you were gonna look at your phone anyway. One thing we hate: Having to scan a QR code to see the menu. A borderline-discriminatory insult to human dignity wrapped in nonsensical 2020-era “hygiene theater.” One thing we ate: Grocery-store brand ice-cream sandwiches. Just the basic vanilla ice cream between two sticky chocolate wafers. Nothing fancy, always satisfying. Whole Foods and Stop & Shop both get the job done.

Listen to the N2K Podcast! Looking for more context and analysis on the big stories of the day? Check out our podcast! Hosts Jill and Carlo break down the headlines, every weekday morning Listen on Apple or Spotify, or watch on YouTube, and send us your feedback!

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