- Senator Mitt Romney said on Tuesday he supports filling a Supreme Court vacancy before the election, assuring Republicans have the needed votes to confirm a potential nominee.
- Trump campaigned in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, as the vacant Supreme Court seat of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg sparked a new rallying cry among supporters: “Fill that seat”.
- Democratic vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris headed to Michigan, where she held a round table with Black men in Flint.
- Biden will not be travel on Monday, but will held a virtual fundraiser, with 42 days until November 3.
- Trump will deliver a pre-recorded speech at the United Nations General Assembly.
Here are the latest updates:
Tuesday, September 22
19:45 ET – Donald Trump, at campaign rally in Pennsylvania, disparages Joe Biden for wearing a mask, limiting crowds
“You know, you can’t disguise. If you ever see ‘Sleepy Joe’ with little circles. He puts it very far away. So far away and then he comes up with a mask. He’s like 100 yards from the nearest human being,” Trump told a crowd at a rally attended by several hundred.
“He feels good about the mask,” Trump said. “I wonder if the debate, it’ll be him and I on the stage. Is he gonna walk in with a mask?”
“I gotta be honest. He feels good about, he feels good about the mask and that’s okay. You know whatever makes you feel good. He feels good,” the president said.
“I mean honestly, what the hell did he spend all that money on the plastic surgery if he’s gonna cover it up,” Trump said to applause from supporters.
18:30 ET – Joe Biden says Cindy McCain to endorse him for president
Joe Biden announced during his virtual fundraiser that Cindy McCain, the widow of the late Republican senator and 2008 presidential nominee John McCain, is endorsing him because of President Trump’s remarks about service members as reported in The Atlantic magazine.
“Maybe I shouldn’t say it but I’m about to go on one of these Zooms with John McCain’s wife, who is first time ever, is endorsing me because of what he talks about with my son and John’s who are heroes, who served their country. You know he said they’re ‘losers’, they’re ‘suckers’,” Biden said.
Cindy McCain voiced a video for Biden that was played during the virtual Democratic National Convention in August but stopped short of endorsing him at that time. McCain, who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam, took an independent stance toward Trump. He died of brain cancer in 2018.
18:00 ET – FBI warns ‘foreign actors’ could exploit delayed ballot counting
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency issued a public service warning saying “Foreign actors and cybercriminals could … attempt to discredit the electoral process and undermine confidence in U.S. democratic institutions.”
The agencies warn that “The increased use of mail-in ballots due to COVID-19 protocols could leave officials with incomplete results on election night. Foreign actors and cybercriminals could exploit the time required to certify and announce elections’ results by disseminating disinformation that includes reports of voter suppression, cyberattacks targeting election infrastructure, voter or ballot fraud, and other problems intended to convince the public of the elections’ illegitimacy.”
The warning comes after a report that Russian President Vladimir Putin is “probably directing” an election influence campaign to “denigrate” Biden and influence the election and a week after FBI director Christopher Wray warned the US Congress of Russian meddling in the US election.
17:00 ET – Biden says Trump economic recovery is ‘focused on the wealthy’
Biden, speaking at a virtual campaign fundraiser, slammed Trump’s coronavirus economy recovery plan.
“Small businesses are the foundation of a community of a country, and the American dream as well as the economy, employing more people than the big businesses,” Biden said.
“Now, Trump’s corrupt recovery is focused on the wealthy and well connected, not the millions of mom and pops out there,” he added. “But the clear way to get our economy back on track is by is by beating the virus first”.
16:45 ET – Senator Collins says she’ll vote against Trump pick
Maine’s Susan Collins has become the first Republican senator to definitively say she’ll vote against any of Trump’s picks for the Supreme Court vacancy if the vote occurs before Election Day.
Collins and Senator Lisa Murkowski had previously said they were against voting on a nominee before the election.
On Tuesday, Collins told reporters she’ll vote “no” because of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s refusal to consider a Supreme Court nomination by President Barack Obama when Justice Antonin Scalia died in February 2016.
16:30 ET – Facebook removes Chinese accounts active in US, Asian politics
Facebook Inc has removed a network of inauthentic Chinese accounts that were interfering US and Asian politics, including some that posted material supporting and opposing Trump, the company said.
The social networking company suspended 155 accounts on its main platform along with six Instagram accounts. The most widely followed accounts and pages were in the Philippines, where they shared content supporting China’s actions in the contested South China Sea and national leader Rodrigo Duterte.
The US accounts had fewer followers and posted content fueling both sides of the American election that will be held on November 3 rather than exclusively supporting one side, the company said.
Facebook cybersecurity policy chief Nathaniel Gleicher said that the takedown was the company’s first of Chinese-based accounts on foreign-interference grounds with any engagement in US politics. But he said the American accounts and groups seemed aimed mainly at building an audience.
16:00 ET – Biden leads Trump in Michigan, tied in North Carolina: Poll
Biden leads Trump by five percentage points among likely voters in Michigan, while the two were even in North Carolina, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos opinion polls.
In Michigan, 49 percent of likely voters said they support Biden, while 44 percent said they supported Trump.
In North Carolina, both candidates had 47 percent support.
15:30 ET – White House knocks former Pence staffer who condemned coronavirus response
The national security advisor to Vice President Mike Pence has fired back at a former staffer and member of the Pence’s coronavirus task force who filmed an ad criticising the White House’s response to the pandemic.
In an ad released by Republican Voters Against Trump, Olivia Troye said Trump showed a disregard for human life and was more concerned with how the virus would affect his re-election prospect. She said the president called the virus a “good thing” because he would no longer have to shake hands with “these disgusting people”.
Pence’s national security adviser, Keith Kellogg, a retired lieutenant general, appeared at a White House press briefing Tuesday afternoon to rebut the claim, saying he had “fired” Troye for underperforming. He disputed her account, saying: “What she has said, I have never heard. That’s never happened and I’ve been through every single meeting of the task force, been with the president and the vice president through every meeting.”
In Response, Troye, accused Kellogg of “telling a bald faced lie to protect the president”.
Sad that Gen. Kellogg is telling a bald faced lie to protect the President. I resigned on my own accord & was asked to stay. He never escorted me out. He knows this. I wrote a note thanking all the colleagues who had worked so hard with me in spite of POTUS & I stand by that. 🇺🇸 https://t.co/cQ8DTJI640
— Olivia of Troye (@OliviaTroye) September 22, 2020
15:00 ET – McConnell says timing of Supreme Court vote depends on Senate panel
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he will determine the timing of a Senate vote fill the seat of Justice Ginsburg after the Senate Judiciary Committee recommends a nominee for confirmation.
McConnell told a news conference that the next step will be for Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham to handle in committee the nominee that President Donald Trump is expected to announce on Saturday.
“When the nomination comes out of committee, I’ll decide when and how to proceed,” McConnell said.
Senator McConnell and Senate Republicans are fighting to steal two Supreme Court seats, four years apart, using completely contradictory rationales.
Democrats are fighting to honor RBG’s last wish and her legacy.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) September 22, 2020
14:30 ET – Bloomberg raises millions to help restore Florida felon voting rights
Billionaire Michael Bloomberg has raised over $16 million to help former felons restore their voting rights in the critical battleground state of Florida, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters news agency.
The fundraising tally comes just over a week after Bloomberg aides said the former New York City mayor, who made an unsuccessful 2020 bid for the Democratic nomination, would spend at least $100 million to help Biden’s campaign against President Donald Trump in Florida.
Florida voters in 2018 approved an amendment to the state’s constitution to grant voting rights to felons who served their time and were not convicted of murder or sex crimes.
Republicans later backed a law requiring people with past felony convictions to pay court fines and fees before being able to vote. A federal appeals court upheld that law this month, reversing a lower court ruling that held the measure unconstitutional.
14:00 ET – First presidential debate details released
Details for the first presidential debate, which will be held on September 29 at Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, have been released.
The debate will include six 15-minute time segments dedicated to topics selected by moderator Chris Wallace: The records of Trump and Biden, the Supreme Court, coronavirus, the economy, race and violence in our Cities, the integrity of the election.
13:30 ET – Biden campaign launches radio ads aimed at rural voters
The Biden campaign has launched radio ads in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Nebraska, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin in an attempt to target rural voters.
The campaign is running two ads, one highlighting Trump’s response to the coronavirus, and the other focusing on retaining rural jobs.
Trump carried rural voters with 62 percent support in 2016, compared to 34 percent support for Hillary Clinton.
13:00 ET – In local news interview, Biden says ‘I beat the socialist’
Biden, when asked to respond to voters fears of socialism in a local news interview, said “I beat the socialist” in an apparent reference ro former Democratic contender and self-proclaimed democratic socialist Bernie Sanders.
“First of all, I guarantee, a promise, I’ve never broken my word, anyone making less than $400,000 will not see one single penny in their tax raised,” Biden told Fox 11 news while visiting Monitowoc, Wisconsin on Monday. “Number two, I beat the socialist. That’s how I got elected. That’s how I got the nomination. Do I look like a socialist? Look at my career, my whole career. I’m not a socialist.”
Biden had faced an increasingly progressive primary field, which morphed into a two-man race between the former vice president and Sanders. The senator dropped out of the race in April.
12:30 ET – Poll: Biden and Trump neck and neck in Georgia
A new poll conducted by the Atlanta Journal Constitution and the University of Georgia’s School of Public and International Affairs found Biden and Trump neck with likely voters.
Trump and Biden both had 47 percent support, with an additional one percent of voters backing Libertarian Jo Jorgensen.
Only four percent were undecided in the survey of 1,150 likely voters, which was conducted September 11 to 20.
12:00 ET – Trump confirms he will announce Supreme Court nominee on Saturday
Trump has said he will announce his Supreme Court nominee on Saturday.
Trump, in a tweet, said he would make the announcement at the White House.
He has already said he is considering five women for the position, with federal appeals court judges Amy Coney Barrett and Barbara Lagoa thought to be at the top of the list.
I will be announcing my Supreme Court Nominee on Saturday, at the White House! Exact time TBA.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 22, 2020
11:30 ET – Michigan: No charge in toilet election display
A prosecutor in Michigan has flushed a complaint about a toilet that was promoted as a place to drop absentee ballots.
The election clerk in Ingham County informed police about a toilet on the front lawn of a home in Mason, near Lansing. A sign said, “Place mail in ballots here.”
Barb Byrum, a Democrat, said it’s a felony to take illegal possession of absentee ballots, But there was no evidence of an intent to violate Michigan law, said the office of county prosecutor Carol Siemon, a Democrat.
“Instead, this seemed to be an effort to make a humorous political statement,” the statement said.
More than 2 million Michigan voters could cast mail ballots this fall. Trump has repeatedly perpetuated unfounded claims that mail voting leads to higher rates of fraud.
Barb Byrum, the Democratic clerk of Ingham County, filed a complaint with police over a Michigan resident’s lawn display of a toilet with a sign that says, “Place mail in ballots here.”https://t.co/5hm1cOz7TL
— WANE 15 (@wane15) September 19, 2020
11:00 ET – Trump, in UNGA speech, says UN must ‘hold China accountable’
Trump has told the UN General Assembly that China must be held accountable by the world for its actions over the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a recorded message played to the annual meeting of the UN, Trump accused Beijing of allowing the coronavirus to “leave China and infect the world.”
“The United Nations must hold China accountable for their actions,” he said.
Trump, who faces a difficult reelection fight on November 3, has sought to deflect overwhelming voter criticism of his handling of the pandemic by blaming China. World leaders are speaking virtually to the UN session in New York, due to Covid-19 restrictions.
10:30 ET – Biden declines to answer question on packing the court
Biden, in a local television news interview, declined to answer a question about whether he would pack the Supreme Court – or pass legislation to expand the number of judges on the bench – if elected and Democrats win the Senate.
“It’s a legitimate question, but let me tell you why I’m not going answer that question. Because it will shift the focus, that’s what he wants, he never wants to talk about the issue at hand and he always tries to change the subject,” Biden told WBAY-TV late Monday, referring to Trump.
“Let’s say I answer that question, then the whole debates gonna be about what Biden said or didn’t say, Biden said he would or wouldn’t. The discussion should be about why he is moving in a direction that’s totally inconsistent with what founders wanted,” he said. “The Constitution says voters get to pick a president who gets to make the pick and the senate gets to decide.”
Biden blasts Trump’s plan for US Supreme Court vacancy
10:00 ET – Romney’s support gives Republican senators needed vote
Mitt Romney has said he supports moving forward with confirming a new Supreme Court justice before the election, giving Republicans the needed votes to move forward and scuttling Democrats hopes of further defections from party ranks.
“I intend to follow the Constitution and precedent in considering the president’s nominee. If the nominee reaches the Senate floor, I intend to vote based upon their qualifications,” Romney said in a statement.
So far, Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins are the only Republicans in the chamber to oppose Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s plan to move ahead with a confirmation.
Romney had voted to convict Trump during the Senate impeachment trial, the only Republican to do so, raising the prospect he may break from the party again on the confirmation.
09:30 ET – Report: Putin ‘probably directed’ influence operation to hurt Biden at the polls
A top-secret CIA assessment has concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin is “probably directing” an election influence campaign to “denigrate” Biden and influence the election, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday, citing two sources who had seen the report.
The influence operation involves Ukrainian legislator, Andriy Derkach, who is connected to Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. It says Derkach tried to disseminate disparaging information about Biden in the US through lobbyists, Congress, the media and contacts with figures close to the president.
The intelligence community had previously determined that Putin had directed a 2016 influence campaign that involved hacking Democratic National Committee emails and influencing voters through social media and staged in-person events.
09:00 ET – Poll: Most voters think next president should pick new justice
A new Politico/Morning Consult poll found that half of registered voters believe a new Supreme Court Justice nominee should be selected by whoever wins on November 3, because the election is less than 50 days away.
That’s opposed to 37 percent who believe Trump should pick the nominee because “he is the current president”, the poll found.
Nearly 80 percent of Democrats think that the election winner should choose the nominee. Meanwhile, 71 percent of Republicans think Trump should make the pick. For Independents, 49 percent think the winner of the election should make the selection, while 31 percent think Trump should do it.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the US elections. This is Joseph Stepansky and William Roberts.
Read all the updates from yesterday (September 21) here.
All the products we found to be the best during our testing this year
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.
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.
Best drip coffee maker: Braun KF6050WH BrewSense Drip Coffee Maker ($79.95; amazon.com)
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.
Best single-serve coffee maker: Breville-Nespresso VertuoPlus ($165; originally $179.95; amazon.com)
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.
Best coffee subscription: Blue Bottle (starting at $11 per shipment; bluebottlecoffee.com)
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.
Best cold brewer coffee maker: Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Coffeepot ($25; amazon.com)
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.
Best nonstick pan: T-fal E76597 Ultimate Hard Anodized Nonstick Fry Pan With Lid ($39.97; amazon.com)
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.
Best blender: Breville Super Q ($499.95; breville.com)
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.
Best knife set: Chicago Cutlery Fusion 17-Piece Knife Block Set ($119.74; amazon.com)
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.
Best true wireless earbuds: AirPods Pro ($199, originally $249; amazon.com)
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.
Best noise-canceling headphones: Sony WH-1000XM4 ($278, originally $349.99; amazon.com)
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.
Best on-ear headphones: Beats Solo 3 ($119.95, originally $199.95; amazon.com)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Best ergonomic keyboard: Logitech Ergo K860 ($129.99; logitech.com)
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.
Best ergonomic mouse: Logitech MX Master 3 ($99.99; logitech.com)
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.
Best ring light: Emart 10-Inch Selfie Ring Light ($25.99; amazon.com)
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.
Best linen sheets: Parachute Linen Sheet Set (starting at $149; parachute.com)
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.
Best shower head: Kohler Forte Shower Head (starting at $74.44; amazon.com)
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.
Best humidifier: TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier (starting at $49.99; amazon.com)
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.
Best TV: TCL 6-Series (starting at $579.99; bestbuy.com)
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.
Best streaming device: Roku Ultra ($99.99; amazon.com)
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.
Best carry-on luggage: Away Carry-On ($225; away.com)
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.
Best portable charger: Anker PowerCore 13000 (starting at $31.99; amazon.com)
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.
Trump’s misleading tweet about changing your vote, briefly explained
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.
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.”
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.
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Nearly 6,000 civilian casualties in Afghanistan so far this year
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.
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.
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.
1/4 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. https://t.co/hVl4b032W6
— U.S. Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad (@US4AfghanPeace) October 27, 2020
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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