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Biden calls Trump ‘totally irrational’: US election news

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  • US President Donald Trump: Black Lives Matter protests are leftist and anti-American.
  • Trump flies to Mosinee, Wisconsin for a campaign rally 47 days before election day.
  • Joe Biden took part in a Scranton, Pennsylvania town hall on Thursday night.
  • Attorney General William Barr said potential pandemic lockdowns are akin to slavery.

22:15 ET – Crowd greets Trump at campaign event in Wisconsin

Trump in Wisconsin

President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Central Wisconsin Airport, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Mosinee, Wis. [Evan Vucci/AP Photo]

A crowd of several hundred supporters, most not wearing masks, assembled at an airport in Mosinee, Wisconsin to hear President Donald Trump speak on Thursday night.

“Has there been a clearer choice between two parties, two visions, two philosophies, or two agendas for the future, then these two parties? You got law and order on one side and you have chaos on the other,” Trump said. 

“Biden’s plan is to appease the domestic terrorists. My plan is to arrest the domestic terrorists,” Trump said, claiming there is “something off” with Biden’s mental state.

Trump Mosinee, Wisconsin rally

President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at the Central Wisconsin Airport in Mosinee, Wisconsin. [Morry Gash/AP Photo]

21:15 ET – Biden promises to reach out to Trump supporters if elected

Asked by a voter how he would reach out to Trump supporters, Biden said he would seek to work with Republicans in Congress.

“I said when I announced the next president of United States is going to inherit two things – a divided nation and a world in disarray,” Biden said.

“I have made my whole career based on bringing people together and bringing the parties together,” Biden said.

“I am confident that with President Trump out of the way and his vitriolic attitude and his way of getting after people with revenge … there are going to be something like six or seven (Senate) Republicans who are willing to work together.”

21:00 ET – Scranton vs. Park Avenue – Biden strikes populist tone on townhall question about wages

In the Pennsylvania townhall, Biden was asked by a patient advocate making $15 an hour at a cancer treatment center what he would do for health care workers.

Biden said he would seek to raise wages and cast the choice between his economic policies and Trump’s as “a campaign between Scranton and Park Avenue.”

“All Trump can see from Park Avenue is Wall Street. All he thinks about as the stock market,” he said. “Nobody in Scranton owns stock.”

20:45 ET – Biden says AG Barr comparison of COVID shutdowns to US Slavery is ‘outrageous’

“What Bill Barr recently said is outrageous,” Biden said.

Attorney General Bill Barr, speaking to a conservative audience on Wednesday, compared the idea of a national coronavirus lockdown to “house arrest” and said it would be the worst government restraint on freedom since slavery.

“I will tell you what takes away your freedom, not being able to see your kid, not being able to go to the football game or baseball game, not seeing your mom or dad sick in the hospital, not being able to do the things, that’s what is costing us our freedom,” Biden said.

20:27 ET – Biden says in Pennsylvania townhall Trump is ‘totally irrational’

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said in a televised townhall said President Trump has been “totally irrational” in his handling of the coronavirus pandemic resulting in the loss of thousands of lives.

“If the president had done his job from the beginning all the people would still be alive,” Biden said at the event broadcast by CNN.

Trump failed to warn the American public about the serious risks of infection and has misled people about the value of wearing masks, Biden said.

“The idea that you’re going to not tell people what you’ve been told, that this virus is incredibly contagious, seven times more contagious than the flu … He knew it and did nothing is close to criminal,” Biden said.

Biden townhall people gather

People gather to listen to Democratic US presidential nominee Joe Biden speak during a televised, drive-in town hall in Scranton, Pennsylvania, [Jonathan Ernst/Reuters] 

18:58 ET – Trump campaign denies sexual assault allegation against the president

“The allegations are totally false. We will consider every legal means available to hold The Guardian accountable for its malicious publication of this unsubstantiated story,” Jenna Ellis, a legal advisor to Trump’s campaign told the Reuters news service.

The Guardian newspaper reported that former model Amy Dorris alleges Trump assaulted her in 1997 in his VIP box at the US Open tennis tournament.

18:45 ET – Trump in Wisconsin to announce $13 bn in farm aid

President Donald Trump will announce a new, $13 bn round of aid to US farmers at a campaign rally in Wisconsin on Thursday night, the Reuters news agency reported citing an unnamed person familiar with the president’s plan.

Wisconsin’s dairy and farming sector has been hard hit by both the White House’s trade policies and the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a battleground state in Trump’s presidential contest with Democrat Joe Biden.

Trump’s margin of victory in Wisconsin in 2016 over Democrat Hillary Clinton was by less than 1 percent of the vote and marked the first time the state went for a Republican presidential candidate since 1984.

16:50 ET – Bloomberg cash funding ads in Florida criticising Trump’s handling of pandemic

Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg promised to help his former Democratic presidential rival Joe Biden to the tune of $100m. This weekend, $5.4m of that is being spent to run new television ads in the battleground state of Florida that slam Donald Trump’s response to the pandemic, according to McClatchy DC.

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Bloomberg officials say this is just the beginning of their advertisement campaign which will expand to other battleground states between now and the election. The officials told McClatchy DC that some of those ads will be aimed toward Latino and Black voters.

16:30 ET – VP Pence’s former aide says Trump did not take coronavirus seriously

A former top aide to Vice President Mike Pence, Olivia Troye, has accused US President Donald Trump of not taking the novel coronavirus seriously earlier this year.

“It was awful. It was terrifying,” said Troye, who left the White House in July, in an online video advertisement produced by Republican Voters Against Trump, about the administration’s response to the global pandemic.

“Towards the middle of February, we knew it wasn’t a matter of if COVID would become a big pandemic here in the United States, it was a matter of time,” said Troye, who served as Pence’s lead aide on the White House’s Coronavirus Taskforce. Pence chaired that taskforce.

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“But the president didn’t want to hear that because his biggest concern was that we were in an election year and how is this going to affect what he considered to be his record of success,” Troye said in the video.

16:00 ET – Biden says Trump trying to undermine the election

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said US President Donald Trump is trying to de-legitimise the upcoming November election and is encouraging foreign interference.

“It’s not an exaggeration to suggest that he’s trying to lay the seeds that the election is not legitimate,” Biden told supporters in a virtual fundraising event in Colorado.

Biden referenced classified briefings he is now receiving as the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee to back up his statement.

“It goes beyond what he’s saying. It goes to what he’s encouraging,” Biden said, according to a pool report.

“I’m hopeful, but I am concerned. And it won’t be over until it’s over.”

15:45 ET – US military police considered using ‘heat ray’ at DC protest

A US military whistle-blower has said federal officials sought to use a controversial crowd control device called a “heat ray” to deal with protesters outside the White House on June 1 when law enforcement forcibly cleared protesters from Lafayette Square in front of the White House.

National Guard Major Adam DeMarco told Congress a top military police officer had asked if the DC National Guard troops possessed a long-range acoustic device – used to transmit loud noises – or an “Active Denial System”, the so-called “heat ray”.

Federal law enforcement in riot gear cleared peaceful protesters from the public square using tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets and batons.

15:30 ET – Outgoing US ambassador to China will help Republican campaigns

Terry Branstad, a former Republican governor of Iowa, told a Hong Kong television outlet that he will work to help President Donald Trump, Senator Joni Ernst and others win in Iowa.

“My son is very involved in [Trump’s] campaign, and I will be a volunteer to help him, to help Joni Ernst and other friends for the election in Iowa,” said Branstad, stressing that he will not hold an official role “but … will strictly be a volunteer”.

US Ambassador to China Terry Branstad speaks at an event to celebrate the re-introduction of American beef imports to China in Beijing, China June 30, 2017. [File: Mark Schiefelbein/Pool via Reuters]

US Ambassador to China Terry Branstad, a former Iowa governor, is leaving his diplomatic post to help campaign for Trump and Republican candidates [File: Mark Schiefelbein/Reuters]

15:00 ET – Trump decries BLM protests as leftist and anti-American

President Donald Trump launched a new rhetorical broadside against slogans and thinking emerging from the Black Lives Matter protests and “The 1619 Project”, a long-form journalism project that explores the history of slavery in the United States.

“The left has warped, distorted and defiled the American story with deceptions, falsehoods and lies,” Trump said in a speech.

The president said he sought to reject “the narratives being pushed by the far left and chanted in the streets” about systemic racism in the country.

Trump signed an executive order that he said would promote “patriotic education” in the US and encourage teachers to convey to students the story of the nation’s “miracle” founding, beginning in 1776 when the American colonies declared independence from Great Britain.

“The left-wing rioting and mayhem are the direct result of decades of left-wing indoctrination in our schools,” he said.

trump archives speech

President Donald Trump speaks at the White House Conference on American History at the National Archives Museum in Washington, DC, September 17, 2020 [Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]

14:30 ET – Austria minister rejects Trump’s talk of ‘forest cities’ and ‘exploding trees’

Austria’s minister of agriculture Elisabeth Kostinger has rebuked President Trump for misleading comments on September 15 about forest management in Europe.

“To clarify: No, we don’t have any exploding trees in Austria,” Koestinger said in an op-ed in the UK’s Independent newspaper. She confirmed Trump’s assertion that “we have found a way to give our trees the space they need”, but called on the US president to take global warming seriously.

“This does not make us ‘forest people’, but shows how important understanding our environment and our natural resources is,” Koestinger said, adding that “taking climate change seriously and mitigating its effects is a huge part of this”.

13:15 ET – Obama to publish memoir, ‘A Promised Land’

Former US president Barack Obama has penned a 768-page memoir to be published shortly after the November election, publisher Penguin Random House announced.

The book covers his early life, the 2008 presidential campaign and the first part of his presidency up to the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011. A second volume is planned.

“I’ve tried to provide an honest accounting of my presidential campaign and my time in office: the key events and people who shaped it, my take on what I got right and the mistakes I made, and the political, economic, and cultural forces that my team and I had to confront then – and that as a nation we are grappling with still,” Obama said in a statement.

Barack Obama

Former US President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama reached a $65m deal in 2018 with Penguin Random House for their memoirs [Jim Bourg/Reuters]

12:45 ET – FBI Director tells Congress Russia engaged in ‘disinformation’ campaign

FBI Director Chris Wray told a US House of Representatives panel that Russia is trying to influence the upcoming election through disinformation to “denigrate” Democratic candidate Joe Biden.

“The intelligence community consensus is that Russia continues to try to influence our elections,” Wray told the Homeland Security Committee.

“We certainly have seen very active efforts by the Russians to influence our elections in 2020.”

12:30 ET – Trump accused of sexual assault by former model: Guardian

A former model has accused Donald Trump of groping and kissing her at the US Open tennis tournament more than two decades ago, in an alleged incident that left her feeling “sick” and “violated”, The Guardian newspaper has reported.

Amy Dorris alleged that Trump accosted her outside the bathroom in his VIP box at the tennis tournament in New York City on September 5, 1997.

Dorris, who was 24 at the time, accuses Trump of forcing his tongue down her throat, assaulting her all over her body and holding her in a grip she was unable to escape from, the newspaper reported.

Trump denied the claims through his lawyers. The newspaper said it was able to document Dorris’ story over the past 15 months with corroboration from other people. Photographs show Dorris with Trump at the tournament.

11:30 ET – Trump-Biden voter in ad: Trump ‘totally negligent’ on virus

Democrat Joe Biden’s campaign released two new ads Thursday, one featuring a Pennsylvania Biden backer who voted for Trump in 2016 and who is not pleased with the president’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

“President Trump, he’s not responsible for this virus,” the voter, Rick, said in the ad. “But he was totally negligent on how he informed the people. I mean, the guy gets the blame for what’s happening.”

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The advertisement will run in Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota on television and digital platforms.

11:00 ET – New Trump ad features voters expressing fear of Biden presidency

“I would be very scared if Joe Biden became president,” begins a new advertisement from Donald Trump’s presidential campaign focused on the economy.

A diverse group of Trump supporters participating in what the campaign calls an “economic roundtable” took turns trashing what a Biden presidency would do Americans’ economic security. “Joe Biden will raise taxes and kill jobs,” says one woman in the ad. “And the only barrier between us and socialism is President Trump.” 

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The TV advertisement will run North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Nebraska and Maine. 

10:00 ET – Trump ramps up attacks on mail-in voting

US President Donald Trump posted a strongly worded tweet claiming, without evidence, that the election results may be illegitimate due to “unsolicited ballots” being sent to voters.

Trump’s focus on “unsolicited ballots,” or ballots sent by states to all registered voters, is a shift from his previous criticism of all “mail-in ballots,” which include absentee ballots requested by voters.

The majority of states are running their mail-in efforts this way and Republicans expressed deep concern with the president’s rhetoric, worried that his comments would depress Republican turnout, especially among older voters who tend to vote Republican and may be leery of voting in person during the pandemic.

There are 10 states that will send ballots to all registered voters; five of those states have been conducting all-mail voting for years and election experts agree that fraud is rare in those.

09:30 ET – Arizona is ‘slipping away’ from Trump: Analyst

Following a recent rash of polling, the Cook Political Report, which handicaps US elections, said Trump’s problems in the key battleground state of Arizona are mounting. Trump won Arizona in 2016 by 3.5 percent over Hillary Clinton.

Suburban Phoenix voters have “soured” on Trump, Arizona Republican voters “are not as committed to voting for him”, and “Trump is also struggling with Latino support,” writes Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report.

Walter cites a new poll showing Biden leading Trump 45 percent to 40 percent in Arizona and writes, “The new data in this poll, combined with other recent polling in the state, all find Arizona slipping away from Trump.”

09:15 ET – Barr compares lockdown with slavery

US Attorney General William Barr slammed the idea of a national coronavirus lockdown telling a conservative audience that it is like “house arrest” and akin to slavery.

“You know, putting a national lockdown, stay at home orders, is like house arrest. Other than slavery, which was a different kind of restraint, this is the greatest intrusion on civil liberties in American history,” Barr said on Wednesday at an event hosted by the conservative Hillsdale College.

US Attorney General William Barr speaks on Operation Legend, the federal law enforcement operation, during a press conference in Chicago, Illinois, on September 9, 2020. (Photo by KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI /

Barr speaks on Operation Legend, the federal law enforcement operation, during a news conference in Chicago, Illinois, on September 9, 2020 [File: Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP]

Barr also addressed criticism from Justice Department employees who say he is too hands-on with politically sensitive cases, including ones that involve Trump. He argued that “under the law”, his involvement is proper and he’s not “interfering with” anything. He then slammed lower-level staff, suggesting they keep their opinions to themselves.

09:00 ET – Trump and Biden hit the campaign trail again

A day after spending the day in their respective home cities, President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden will hit the road on Thursday for campaign events in key battleground states.

Trump will fly to Mosinee, Wisconsin, for a 9pm (01:00 GMT Friday) rally on Thursday after spending most of the day at the White House. A series of polls released this week show Biden maintaining a lead in Wisconsin, a state Trump won by a slim 0.77 percent margin over Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Biden heads to his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, where he will take voters’ questions during an 8pm (00:00 GMT Friday) town hall meeting hosted by CNN and moderated by Anderson Cooper.

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the US elections. This is William Roberts.

Read all the updates from yesterday (September 16) here.

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World

All the products we found to be the best during our testing this year

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(CNN) —  

Throughout the year, CNN Underscored is constantly testing products — be it coffee makers or headphones — to find the absolute best in each respective category.

Our testing process is rigorous, consisting of hours of research (consulting experts, reading editorial reviews and perusing user ratings) to find the top products in each category. Once we settle on a testing pool, we spend weeks — if not months — testing and retesting each product multiple times in real-world settings. All this in an effort to settle on the absolute best products.

So, as we enter peak gifting season, if you’re on the hunt for the perfect gift, we know you’ll find something on this list that they (or you!) will absolutely love.

Coffee

Best burr coffee grinder: Baratza Virtuoso+ Conical Burr Grinder With Digital Timer Display ($249; amazon.com or walmart.com)

Baratza Virtuoso+ Conical Burr Grinder
Baratza Virtuoso+ Conical Burr Grinder

Beginner baristas and coffee connoisseurs alike will be pleased with the Baratza Virtuoso+, a conical burr grinder with 40 settings for grind size, from super fine (espresso) to super coarse (French press). The best coffee grinder we tested, this sleek look and simple, intuitive controls, including a digital timer, allow for a consistent grind every time — as well as optimal convenience.

Read more from our testing of coffee grinders here.

Best drip coffee maker: Braun KF6050WH BrewSense Drip Coffee Maker ($79.95; amazon.com)

Braun KF6050WH BrewSense Drip Coffee Maker
Braun KF6050WH BrewSense Drip Coffee Maker

During our testing of drip coffee makers, we found the Braun KF6050WH BrewSense Drip Coffee Maker made a consistently delicious, hot cup of coffee, brewed efficiently and cleanly, from sleek, relatively compact hardware that is turnkey to operate, and all for a reasonable price.

Read more from our testing of drip coffee makers here.

Best single-serve coffee maker: Breville-Nespresso VertuoPlus ($165; originally $179.95; amazon.com)

Breville-Nespresso VertuoPlus
Breville-Nespresso VertuoPlus

Among all single-serve coffee makers we tested, the Breville-Nespresso VertuoPlus, which uses pods that deliver both espresso and “regular” coffee, could simply not be beat for its convenience. Intuitive and a snap to use right out of the box, it looks sleek on the counter, contains a detached 60-ounce water reservoir so you don’t have to refill it with each use and delivers perfectly hot, delicious coffee with a simple tap of a lever and press of a button.

Read more from our testing of single-serve coffee makers here.

Best coffee subscription: Blue Bottle (starting at $11 per shipment; bluebottlecoffee.com)

Blue Bottle coffee subscription
Blue Bottle coffee subscription

Blue Bottle’s coffee subscription won us over with its balance of variety, customizability and, most importantly, taste. We sampled both the single-origin and blend assortments and loved the flavor of nearly every single cup we made. The flavors are complex and bold but unmistakably delicious. Beyond its coffee, Blue Bottle’s subscription is simple and easy to use, with tons of options to tailor to your caffeine needs.

Read more from our testing of coffee subscriptions here.

Best cold brewer coffee maker: Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Coffeepot ($25; amazon.com)

Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Coffeepot
Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Coffeepot

This sleek, sophisticated and streamlined carafe produces 1 liter (about 4 1/4 cups) of rich, robust brew in just eight hours. It was among the simplest to assemble, it executed an exemplary brew in about the shortest time span, and it looked snazzy doing it. Plus, it rang up as the second-most affordable of our inventory.

Read more from our testing of cold brew makers here.

Kitchen essentials

Best nonstick pan: T-fal E76597 Ultimate Hard Anodized Nonstick Fry Pan With Lid ($39.97; amazon.com)

T-fal E76597 Ultimate Hard Anodized Nonstick Fry Pan With Lid
T-fal E76597 Ultimate Hard Anodized Nonstick Fry Pan With Lid

If you’re a minimalist and prefer to have just a single pan in your kitchen, you’d be set with the T-fal E76597. This pan’s depth gives it multipurpose functionality: It cooks standard frying-pan foods like eggs and meats, and its 2 1/2-inch sides are tall enough to prepare recipes you’d usually reserve for pots, like rices and stews. It’s a high-quality and affordable pan that outperformed some of the more expensive ones in our testing field.

Read more from our testing of nonstick pans here.

Best blender: Breville Super Q ($499.95; breville.com)

Breville Super Q
Breville Super Q

With 1,800 watts of motor power, the Breville Super Q features a slew of preset buttons, comes in multiple colors, includes key accessories and is touted for being quieter than other models. At $500, it does carry a steep price tag, but for those who can’t imagine a smoothie-less morning, what breaks down to about $1.30 a day over a year seems like a bargain.

Read more from our testing of blenders here.

Best knife set: Chicago Cutlery Fusion 17-Piece Knife Block Set ($119.74; amazon.com)

Chicago Cutlery Fusion 17-Piece Knife Block Set
Chicago Cutlery Fusion 17-Piece Knife Block Set

The Chicago Cutlery Fusion 17-Piece Knife Block Set sets you up to easily take on almost any cutting job and is a heck of a steal at just $119.97. Not only did the core knives included (chef’s, paring, utility and serrated) perform admirably, but the set included a bevy of extras, including a full set of steak knives. We were blown away by their solid construction and reliable execution for such an incredible value. The knives stayed sharp through our multitude of tests, and we were big fans of the cushion-grip handles that kept them from slipping, as well as the classic look of the chestnut-stained wood block. If you’re looking for a complete knife set you’ll be proud of at a price that won’t put a dent in your savings account, this is the clear winner.

Read more from our testing of knife sets here.

Audio

Best true wireless earbuds: AirPods Pro ($199, originally $249; amazon.com)

Apple AirPods Pro
Apple AirPods Pro

Apple’s AirPods Pro hit all the marks. They deliver a wide soundstage, thanks to on-the-fly equalizing tech that produces playback that seemingly brings you inside the studio with the artist. They have the best noise-canceling ability of all the earbuds we tested, which, aside from stiff-arming distractions, creates a truly immersive experience. To sum it up, you’re getting a comfortable design, a wide soundstage, easy connectivity and long battery life.

Read more from our testing of true wireless earbuds here.

Best noise-canceling headphones: Sony WH-1000XM4 ($278, originally $349.99; amazon.com)

Sony WH-1000XM4
Sony WH-1000XM4

Not only do the WH-1000XM4s boast class-leading sound, but phenomenal noise-canceling ability. So much so that they ousted our former top overall pick, the Beats Solo Pros, in terms of ANC quality, as the over-ear XM4s better seal the ear from outside noise. Whether it was a noise from a dryer, loud neighbors down the hall or high-pitched sirens, the XM4s proved impenetrable. This is a feat that other headphones, notably the Solo Pros, could not compete with — which is to be expected considering their $348 price tag.

Read more from our testing of noise-canceling headphones here.

Best on-ear headphones: Beats Solo 3 ($119.95, originally $199.95; amazon.com)

Beats Solo 3
Beats Solo 3

The Beats Solo 3s are a phenomenal pair of on-ear headphones. Their sound quality was among the top of those we tested, pumping out particularly clear vocals and instrumentals alike. We enjoyed the control scheme too, taking the form of buttons in a circular configuration that blend seamlessly into the left ear cup design. They are also light, comfortable and are no slouch in the looks department — more than you’d expect given their reasonable $199.95 price tag.

Read more from our testing of on-ear headphones here.

Beauty

Best matte lipstick: Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick ($11, originally $22; amazon.com or $22; nordstrom.com and stilacosmetics.com)

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick
Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick

The Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick has thousands of 5-star ratings across the internet, and it’s easy to see why. True to its name, this product clings to your lips for hours upon hours, burritos and messy breakfast sandwiches be damned. It’s also surprisingly moisturizing for such a superior stay-put formula, a combo that’s rare to come by.

Read more from our testing of matte lipsticks here.

Best everyday liquid liner: Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner ($22; stilacosmetics.com or macys.com)

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner
Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner

The Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner is a longtime customer favorite — hence its nearly 7,500 5-star reviews on Sephora — and for good reason. We found it requires little to no effort to create a precise wing, the liner has superior staying power and it didn’t irritate those of us with sensitive skin after full days of wear. As an added bonus, it’s available in a whopping 12 shades.

Read more from our testing of liquid eyeliners here.

Work-from-home essentials

Best office chair: Steelcase Series 1 (starting at $381.60; amazon.com or $415, wayfair.com)

Steelcase Series 1
Steelcase Series 1

The Steelcase Series 1 scored among the highest overall, standing out as one of the most customizable, high-quality, comfortable office chairs on the market. At $415, the Steelcase Series 1 beat out most of its pricier competitors across testing categories, scoring less than a single point lower than our highest-rated chair, the $1,036 Steelcase Leap, easily making it the best bang for the buck and a clear winner for our best office chair overall.

Read more from our testing of office chairs here.

Best ergonomic keyboard: Logitech Ergo K860 ($129.99; logitech.com)

Logitech Ergo K860
Logitech Ergo K860

We found the Logitech Ergo K860 to be a phenomenally comfortable keyboard. Its build, featuring a split keyboard (meaning there’s a triangular gap down the middle) coupled with a wave-like curvature across the body, allows both your shoulders and hands to rest in a more natural position that eases the tension that can often accompany hours spent in front of a regular keyboard. Add the cozy palm rest along the bottom edge and you’ll find yourself sitting pretty comfortably.

Read more from our testing of ergonomic keyboards here.

Best ergonomic mouse: Logitech MX Master 3 ($99.99; logitech.com)

Logitech MX Master 3
Logitech MX Master 3

The Logitech MX Master 3 is an unequivocally comfortable mouse. It’s shaped to perfection, with special attention to the fingers that do the clicking. Using it felt like our fingers were lounging — with a sculpted ergonomic groove for nearly every finger.

Read more from our testing of ergonomic mice here.

Best ring light: Emart 10-Inch Selfie Ring Light ($25.99; amazon.com)

Emart 10-Inch Selfie Ring Light
Emart 10-Inch Selfie Ring Light

The Emart 10-Inch Standing Ring Light comes with a tripod that’s fully adjustable — from 19 inches to 50 inches — making it a great option whether you’re setting it atop your desk for video calls or need some overhead lighting so no weird shadows creep into your photos. Its three light modes (warm, cool and a nice mix of the two), along with 11 brightness levels (among the most settings on any of the lights we tested), ensure you’re always framed in the right light. And at a relatively cheap $35.40, this light combines usability and affordability better than any of the other options we tested.

Read more from our testing of ring lights here.

Home

Best linen sheets: Parachute Linen Sheet Set (starting at $149; parachute.com)

Parachute Linen Sheets
Parachute Linen Sheets

Well made, luxurious to the touch and with the most versatile shopping options (six sizes, nine colors and the ability to order individual sheets), the linen sheets from Parachute were, by a narrow margin, our favorite set. From the satisfying unboxing to a sumptuous sleep, with a la carte availability, Parachute set the gold standard in linen luxury.

Read more from our testing of linen sheets here.

Best shower head: Kohler Forte Shower Head (starting at $74.44; amazon.com)

Kohler Forte Shower Head
Kohler Forte Shower Head

Hands down, the Kohler Forte Shower Head provides the best overall shower experience, offering three distinct settings. Backstory: Lots of shower heads out there feature myriad “settings” that, when tested, are pretty much indecipherable. The Forte’s three sprays, however, are each incredibly different and equally successful. There’s the drenching, full-coverage rain shower, the pulsating massage and the “silk spray” setting that is basically a super-dense mist. The Forte manages to achieve all of this while using only 1.75 gallons per minute (GPM), making it a great option for those looking to conserve water.

Read more from our testing of shower heads here.

Best humidifier: TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier (starting at $49.99; amazon.com)

TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier
TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier

The TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier ramped up the humidity in a room in about an hour, which was quicker than most of the options we tested. More importantly, though, it sustained those humidity levels over the longest period of time — 24 hours, to be exact. The levels were easy to check with the built-in reader (and we cross-checked that reading with an external reader to confirm accuracy). We also loved how easy this humidifier was to clean, and the nighttime mode for the LED reader eliminated any bright lights in the bedroom.

Read more from our testing of humidifiers here.

Video

Best TV: TCL 6-Series (starting at $579.99; bestbuy.com)

TCL 6-Series
TCL 6-Series

With models starting at $599.99 for a 55-inch, the TCL 6-Series might give you reverse sticker shock considering everything you get for that relatively small price tag. But can a 4K smart TV with so many specification standards really deliver a good picture for $500? The short answer: a resounding yes. The TCL 6-Series produces a vibrant picture with flexible customization options and handles both HDR and Dolby Vision, optimization standards that improve the content you’re watching by adding depth to details and expanding the color spectrum.

Read more from our testing of TVs here.

Best streaming device: Roku Ultra ($99.99; amazon.com)

Roku Ultra
Roku Ultra

Roku recently updated its Ultra streaming box and the 2020 version is faster, thanks to a new quad-core processor. The newest Ultra retains all of the features we loved and enjoyed about the 2019 model, like almost zero lag time between waking it up and streaming content, leading to a hiccup-free streaming experience. On top of that, the Roku Ultra can upscale content to deliver the best picture possible on your TV — even on older-model TVs that don’t offer the latest and greatest picture quality — and supports everything from HD to 4K.

Read more from our testing of streaming devices here.

Travel

Best carry-on luggage: Away Carry-On ($225; away.com)

Away Carry-On
Away Carry-On

The Away Carry-On scored high marks across all our tests and has the best combination of features for the average traveler. Compared with higher-end brands like Rimowa, which retail for hundreds more, you’re getting the same durable materials, an excellent internal compression system and eye-catching style. Add in smart charging capabilities and a lifetime warranty, and this was the bag to beat.

Read more from our testing of carry-on luggage here.

Best portable charger: Anker PowerCore 13000 (starting at $31.99; amazon.com)

Anker PowerCore 13000
Anker PowerCore 13000

The Anker PowerCore 13000 shone most was in terms of charging capacity. It boasts 13,000 mAh (maH is a measure of how much power a device puts out over time), which is enough to fully charge an iPhone 11 two and a half times. Plus, it has two fast-charging USB Type-A ports so you can juice a pair of devices simultaneously. While not at the peak in terms of charging capacity, at just $31.99, it’s a serious bargain for so many mAhs.

Read more from our testing of portable chargers here.

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World

Trump’s misleading tweet about changing your vote, briefly explained

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Searches for changing one’s vote did not trend following the recent presidential debate, and just a few states appear to have processes for changing an early vote. But that didn’t stop President Trump from wrongly saying otherwise on Tuesday.

In early morning posts, the president falsely claimed on Twitter and Facebook that many people had Googled “Can I change my vote?” after the second presidential debate and said those searching wanted to change their vote over to him. Trump also wrongly claimed that most states have a mechanism for changing one’s vote. Actually, just a few states appear to have the ability, and it’s rarely used.

Twitter did not attach a label to Trump’s recent tweet.
Twitter

Trump’s claim about what was trending on Google after the debate doesn’t hold up. Searches for changing one’s vote were not among Google’s top trending searches for the day of the debate (October 22) or the day after. Searches for “Can I change my vote?” did increase slightly around the time of the debate, but there is no way to know whether the bump was related to the debate or whether the people searching were doing so in support of Trump.

It was only after Trump’s posts that searches about changing your vote spiked significantly. It’s worth noting that people were also searching for “Can I change my vote?” during a similar period before the 2016 presidential election.

Google declined to comment on the accuracy of Trump’s post.

Trump also claimed that these results indicate that most of the people who were searching for how to change their vote support him. But the Google Trends tool for the searches he mentioned does not provide that specific information.

Perhaps the most egregiously false claim in Trump’s recent posts is about “most states” having processes for changing your early vote. In fact, only a few states have such processes, and they can come with certain conditions. For instance, in Michigan, voters who vote absentee can ask for a new ballot by mail or in person until the day before the election.

The Center for Election Innovation’s David Becker told the Associated Press that changing one’s vote is “extremely rare.” Becker explained, “It’s hard enough to get people to vote once — it’s highly unlikely anybody will go through this process twice.”

Trump’s post on Facebook was accompanied by a link to Facebook’s Voting Information Center.
Facebook

At the time of publication, Trump’s false claims had drawn about 84,000 and 187,000 “Likes” on Twitter and Facebook, respectively. Trump’s posts accelerated searches about changing your vote in places like the swing state of Florida, where changing one’s vote after casting it is not possible. Those numbers are a reminder of the president’s capacity to spread misinformation quickly.

On Facebook, the president’s post came with a label directing people to Facebook’s Voting Information Center, but no fact-checking label. Twitter had no annotation on the president’s post. Neither company responded to a request for comment.

That Trump is willing to spread misinformation to benefit himself and his campaign isn’t a surprise. He does that a lot. Still, just days before a presidential election in which millions have already voted, this latest episode demonstrates that the president has no qualms about using false claims about voting to cause confusion and sow doubt in the electoral process.

Open Sourced is made possible by Omidyar Network. All Open Sourced content is editorially independent and produced by our journalists.


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World

Nearly 6,000 civilian casualties in Afghanistan so far this year

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From January to September, 5,939 civilians – 2,117 people killed and 3,822 wounded – were casualties of the fighting, the UN says.

Nearly 6,000 Afghan civilians were killed or wounded in the first nine months of the year as heavy fighting between government forces and Taliban fighters rages on despite efforts to find peace, the United Nations has said.

From January to September, there were 5,939 civilian casualties in the fighting – 2,117 people killed and 3,822 wounded, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in a quarterly report on Tuesday.

“High levels of violence continue with a devastating impact on civilians, with Afghanistan remaining among the deadliest places in the world to be a civilian,” the report said.

Civilian casualties were 30 percent lower than in the same period last year but UNAMA said violence has failed to slow since the beginning of talks between government negotiators and the Taliban that began in Qatar’s capital, Doha, last month.

An injured girl receives treatment at a hospital after an attack in Khost province [Anwarullah/Reuters]

The Taliban was responsible for 45 percent of civilian casualties while government troops caused 23 percent, it said. United States-led international forces were responsible for two percent.

Most of the remainder occurred in crossfire, or were caused by ISIL (ISIS) or “undetermined” anti-government or pro-government elements, according to the report.

Ground fighting caused the most casualties followed by suicide and roadside bomb attacks, targeted killings by the Taliban and air raids by Afghan troops, the UN mission said.

Fighting has sharply increased in several parts of the country in recent weeks as government negotiators and the Taliban have failed to make progress in the peace talks.

At least 24 people , mostly teens, were killed in a suicide bomb attack at an education centre in Kabul [Mohammad Ismail/Reuters]

The Taliban has been fighting the Afghan government since it was toppled from power in a US-led invasion in 2001.

Washington blamed the then-Taliban rulers for harbouring al-Qaeda leaders, including Osama bin Laden. Al-Qaeda was accused of plotting the 9/11 attacks.

Calls for urgent reduction of violence

Meanwhile, the US envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, said on Tuesday that the level of violence in the country was still too high and the Kabul government and Taliban fighters must work harder towards forging a ceasefire at the Doha talks.

Khalilzad made the comments before heading to the Qatari capital to hold meetings with the two sides.

“I return to the region disappointed that despite commitments to lower violence, it has not happened. The window to achieve a political settlement will not stay open forever,” he said in a tweet.

There needs to be “an agreement on a reduction of violence leading to a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire”, added Khalilzad.

A deal in February between the US and the Taliban paved the way for foreign forces to leave Afghanistan by May 2021 in exchange for counterterrorism guarantees from the Taliban, which agreed to sit with the Afghan government to negotiate a permanent ceasefire and a power-sharing formula.

But progress at the intra-Afghan talks has been slow since their start in mid-September and diplomats and officials have warned that rising violence back home is sapping trust.

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