Democratic candidate Joe Biden, in a speech in Delaware on Wednesday, slammed President Donald Trump’s coronavirus response while laying out his own plan.
Trump is set to hold a news conference on Wednesday night
Vice President Mike Pence goes to Ohio, where polls show close race, despite Trump’s eight-point 2016 victory.
Biden ramps up healthcare ads day after Trump confronted on Obamacare at town hall.
- Jill Biden heads to New Hampshire and Ivanka Trump goes to Arizona, with 48 days until November 3.
Here are the latest updates:
Wednesday, September 16
16:45 ET – Biden: Trump’s virus response ‘utterly disqualifying’ for presidency
Biden has said Trump’s coronavirus response has been “utterly disqualifying” for the presidency, while reiterating he would sign an executive order for a national mask mandate if he has the power as president to do so.
“The president’s first responsibility is to protect the American people, and he won’t. And it’s utterly disqualifying,” Biden said during a speech on his coronavirus response plan.
Biden also said that he did not believe his concerns over a vaccine developed under Trump would discourage citizens from eventually getting a vaccine, saying, instead, his suggested reviews would make people more confident.
He added that he thinks front line health workers and those at the highest risk should be the first to get the vaccine, while doubling down that he would seek to mandate a national mask requirement.
We all want a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible, but it needs to be based on science — not politics. Tune in as I discuss how we can develop and equitably distribute a safe and effective vaccine: https://t.co/KPxTaqAiVd
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) September 16, 2020
16:30 ET – Biden says Trump, on his own, should not be trusted on vaccine
Biden has said Trump, on his own, should not be trusted on a coronavirus vaccine, but said he would trust a vaccine developed under Trump’s watch if approved by non-partisan scientists.
Trump has repeatedly said a vaccine could be ready before the election, despite experts saying that developing a safe vaccine in that timeline is extremely unlikely.
“Scientific breakthroughs don’t care about calendars any more than the virus does,” Biden said during a speech in Wilmington, Delaware. “They certainly don’t adhere to election cycles and their timing their approval and their distribution should never ever be distorted by political considerations.”
“Let me be clear. I trust vaccines, I trust scientists, but I don’t trust Donald Trump. At this moment the American people can’t either,” Biden said, adding a vaccine developed by Trump would need to answer three questions: What criteria will be used to ensure that a vaccine meets the scientific standard of safety? Who will validate the development was driven by science and not politics? And how will safe distribution be assured?
COVID-19 vaccine: Safety concerns as countries rush for cure
16:15 ET – Biden slams Trump’s town hall comments
Biden has slammed Trump’s comments on the coronavirus made during Tuesday night’s town hall.
During the Philadelphia event, Trump denied that he intentionally down-played the virus in the early days of the pandemic, as detailed in recorded interviews with reporter Bob Woodward. Trump instead told undecided voters he “up-played” the virus and hailed his administration as doing a “tremendous job” in responding to the pandemic.
“This virus is still taking nearly 1,000 lives a day. Forecast show that those numbers are likely to climb this winter, but incredibly Donald Trump insists that he wouldn’t have done anything differently,” Biden said on Wednesday.
“All President Trump had to offer last night was the same weak and feckless action, the same lies and empty promises that we’ve seen from the very beginning,” he said.
15:45 ET – New poll spells trouble for prominent Republican senators
A new Quinnipiac University poll spells trouble for Senators Lindsey Graham and Susan Collins, who are both running for re-election in November.
The poll shows Democrat Sara Gideon leading the race among likely voters in Maine 54 percent to 42 percent over Collins, who is seeking her fifth term and is considered one of the most moderate Republicans in the chamber.
Meanwhile, in South Carolina, Senator Lindsey Graham, who is seeking his fourth term and has largely tied his political fate to support for Trump, is tied with his Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison. Both candidates have 48 percent support of likely voters.
Democrats need to win four seats to claim a majority in the Senate if Trump is re-elected, and three seats if Biden wins. The vice president casts the tie breaking vote in the event the chamber is split.
15:15 ET – Donor says some Trump allies fear he is ‘overconfident’ on debate
A prominent Republican donor who supports Trump has said some in Trump’s orbit are worried he’s “overconfident” on the upcoming debates against Democrat Joe Biden.
Dan Eberhart says Trump came off as a “little coarse” when confronted by undecided voters at Tuesday’s town hall in Philadelphia, according to the Associated Press news agency.
Eberhart said: “Frankly, I expected President Trump to be better prepared to cajole undecided voters over to his side of the fence at the town hall.”
He added: “President Trump seemed unaware that he needed to downshift his rhetoric to something more moderate being as how his audience was undecided voters and not attendees of one of his rallies”.
Why is Trump worried about mail-voting? | Start Here
14:45 ET – The Take podcast: How will Black women voters affect the election?
Biden kept his vow of choosing a woman as his running mate, selecting Senator Kamala Harris.
Harris, the daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants, is the first Black woman on a major party ticket in US history.
This episode of Al Jazeera’s The Take podcast explores the power of Black women voters – one of the most important slices of the American electorate in deciding who takes the White House.
14:30 ET – Romney says Senate Biden probe ‘not legitimate role of government’
Senator Mitt Romney has sharply criticised a Republican investigation Biden’s son, saying it’s “not the legitimate role of government” to try and damage political opponents.
Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson has said the panel will issue a report on Hunter Biden’s activities in Ukraine before the November election. Johnson, a close ally of President Donald Trump, is leading the investigation into Burisma, a gas company in Ukraine that paid Hunter Biden to serve as a board member while Joe Biden was vice president.
Johnson insists that the investigation is not designed to hurt Biden. Democrats on Wednesday introduced a resolution to end the probe.
Romney, the former 2012 Republican presidential candidate, has repeatedly criticised the probe, saying at a committee meeting on Wednesday that the probe from the “outset had the earmarks of a political exercise”.
14:15 ET – White House sees decision ‘in short order’ on TikTok
The Trump administration will make a decision soon on a proposed deal for Oracle to become a “trusted technology provider” for the US operations of China’s social media platform TikTok, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany has said.
“We’ll have a decision here in short order,” McEnany said. “I don’t want to get ahead of the president but obviously we care deeply about protecting the data and security of American citizens.”
Marco Rubio and five other Republican senators have called on the Trump administration to reject the deal if ties to Chinese owner Bytedance remain.
14:00 ET – Top Trump health officials say they are not aware of new health plan
Three top Trump administration health officials have said they are not aware of a Trump health care plan that would replace the Obama-era Affordable Care Act, as the president and his aides have said a new plan would soon be announced.
Trump has sought to overturn the Affordable Care Act, but has not introduced a plan that would replace it.
Testifying before a senate committee, Brett Giroir, the assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services, Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Dr Robert Kadlec, the assistant secretary for preparedness and response said they were not aware of the new health plan the president has referenced. The officials all said developing such a plan was not part of their primary responsibilities.
Kayleigh McEnany just told @kaitlancollins to “come work at the White House” in response to her questioning on who’s working on the Trump health care plan.
Isn’t the entire purpose of the WH briefing to find out more about what’s going with WH policy?
— Chris Johnson (@chrisjohnson82) September 16, 2020
When asked who was working on the new plan, if the top health officials in the administration are not, White House spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany said “We have a wide array of people working on it”.
When pushed, she responded: “I’m not going to give you a readout of what our health care plan looks like and who’s working on it. If you want to know come work here at the White House”.
Obamacare: Affordable Care Act under threat in US
13:30 ET – Biden receives virtual coronavirus briefing
Joe Biden is receiving a virtual briefing from a former US surgeon general and a collection of health experts on how best to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Biden’s campaign created a virtual studio that connected the former vice president via video with former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and six other experts at a theater in downtown Wilmington, Delaware. Biden will give a speech on the topic later in the day.
David Kessler, board chairman and director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, stressed for Biden the important of requirements increasing “universal masking” but also increased testing and contact tracing. He suggested doing so could save thousands of lives and ultimately be more effective between now and early next year as vaccines are being developed.
13:00 ET – CDC director denies agency altered publications on coronavirus
The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has told Senate lawmakers that his agency has not altered its scientific publications on the coronavirus.
That comes despite pressure from Trump officials who allege the agency has worked against the re-election of Trump.
Dr Robert Redfield testified that the CDC’s “scientific integrity … has not been compromised and it will not be compromised under my watch.”
Last week news outlets reported that Michael Caputo, a Health and Human Services Department political appointee, tried to gain editorial control over CDC’s weekly scientific report. In a separate online video last week, Caputo reportedly said some CDC scientists constituted a “resistance unit” conspiring against the Trump administration.
12:30 ET – Report: Group pays teenagers to pump out pro-Trump disinformation on social media
An affiliate of a prominent conservative youth organisation based in Arizona is paying teenagers, including minors, to pump out pro-Trump disinformation on social media, according to a Washington Post report.
The operation is similar to those used by bots to send out spam-like messages, but is carried out by people paid to use their own accounts, according to the newspaper. It is being bankrolled by Turning Point Action, which is an affiliate of Turning Point USA, a prominent conservative youth organisation. The posts to do not reveal any connection to the group.
The Post reported the operation had generated thousands of posts over summer on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, in what experts said was one of the most ambitious domestic election influence campaigns of this election cycle.
Twitter and Facebook suspended several accounts after being contacted by the newspaper, meanwhile, a field director for Turning Point Action said the comparison to a troll farm was a “gross mischaracterisation”, describing the the operation as “sincere political activism conducted by real people who passionately hold the beliefs they describe online, not an anonymous troll farm in Russia.”
The Strange Death of American Civility: Part 1 | People and Power
12:00 ET – Billionaire Sheldon Adelson plans to spend up to $50m to support Trump
Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson is planning a spending spree that could total up to $50 million to help Trump beat Biden, according to CNBC.
A source told CNBC that Adelson was currently in touch with Republican officials over where to best deploy the money, amid reports that Trump’s war chest is lacking following a free-spending approach early in the campaign.
Billionaire Mike Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, said earlier this week that he would spend $100 million to help Biden win Florida, a state considered essential to any path to victory for Trump.
11:30 ET – Democrat poised to become US highest ranking transgender elected official
Sarah McBride, a transgender rights activist, is set to become the country’s highest ranking openly transgender elected official after winning the primary for a State Senate seat in Delaware , according to the New York Times.
McBride, 30, is expected to easily win during the general election in November.
“Right now in America, we are seeing voices that for so long were pushed to the margins and to the shadows finally being heard,” she told the newspaper.
Biden wrote the forward to McBride’s 2018 book, which detailed her work for transgender rights.
Tonight sends a powerful signal that candidates like me can win.
Everyone deserves to see themselves in government, to follow their dreams, and to be accepted by their community.
I will never take for granted the honor of carrying that mantle. https://t.co/B9ScJXddkF
— Sarah McBride (@SarahEMcBride) September 16, 2020
11:00 ET – Twitter labels Biden video tweeted by Trump ‘manipulated media’
Twitter has labeled a video shared twice by US President Donald Trump of Democratic presidential rival Joe Biden as “manipulated media”.
The video, which appeared to show Biden playing rap group NWA’s song, “F— tha Police,” now displays a warning that links to collated tweets showing the actual event, where Biden pulled out his phone to play Luis Fonsi’s hit “Despacito” at a Hispanic Heritage Month event in Florida after being introduced by Fonsi.
Trump has cast himself as a “law-and-order” president during the campaign, in response to widespread protests, most of them peaceful, following the police killing of George Floyd, a Black man in Minneapolis. He tweeted with the edited video: “What is this all about?”
A Twitter spokeswoman said the video, which garnered more than 2.8 million views, was labeled based on its synthetic and manipulated media policy. The United Spot, self-described as making satirical videos, posted the original tweet.
Biden in Florida: Latino vote courted in key swing state
10:30 ET – Delaware: Political firebrand wins Republican primary Senate seat
Political newcomer and firebrand Lauren Witzke, who campaigned on halting US immigration for 10 years, has won the Republican US Senate primary in Delaware, defeating the party’s endorsed candidate.
In November, Witzke will challenge incumbent Senator Chris Coons, who easily won the Democratic primary and is expected to win handily in the deeply blue state.
Witzke, who worked as an Iowa field operator for President Donald Trump last year, defeated attorney James DeMartino, a former marine who has twice run unsuccessfully for the legislative seat held by Delaware’s Democratic state House speaker.
Witzke has tried to distance herself from accusations by some opponents that she supports QAnon. The far-right conspiracy theory centres on an alleged anonymous, high-ranking government official known as “Q”, who shares information about “deep state” enemies of Trump often tied to child sex trafficking.
America First beat the GOP establishment tonight! Lets get ready take it to Chris Coons next!!
Thank you all so much for your support!
Let’s Make America Great Again! 🇺🇲 pic.twitter.com/RqUYjWgfL9
— Lauren Witzke for U.S. Senate (@LaurenWitzkeDE) September 16, 2020
10:00 ET – Biden campaign releases new healthcare advertisements
The Biden campaign has said it is increasing spending in battleground states, including two new advertisements that focus on healthcare.
Two of the advertisements feature parents, a mother in Texas and a father in Arizona, who recount their experience having a child with a pre-existing condition.
The advertisements come after Trump was confronted at a Tuesday town hall over the Obama-era Affordable Care Act, which Trump has repeatedly sought to repeal, without presenting an alternative plan.
— Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) September 16, 2020
09:30 ET – Biden to deliver speech on COVID-19 vaccine
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden will lay out on how he plans to develop and distribute a safe coronavirus vaccine, seeking to draw a contrast with Trump’s approach to combating the pandemic.
Biden will deliver remarks in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, after being briefed by public health experts on the efforts to develop a vaccine for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
Biden has continually attacked what he describes as Trump’s mishandling of the pandemic. While he has said he wants a vaccine as soon as safely possible, he has questioned whether Trump is pressuring drug safety agencies to fast-track an inoculant before the November 3 election.
At a Philadelphia town hall on Tuesday, Trump again asserted a vaccine could be available within a month, despite health experts saying such a timeline is extremely unlikely.
09:00 ET – White House seeks to clarify Trump ‘herd mentality’ statement
White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany has sought to clarify statements made by Trump during a Tuesday town hall in which he said the virus would go away over a period of time as “herd mentality” would develop.
McEnany, in an interview on Fox News, said Trump was referring to “herd immunity”.
“Well, the term ‘herd immunity’ is a medical term which means that when you have a certain percentage of a population with antibodies, you have herd immunity,” McEnany said. “It can be done via a vaccine or via prior illness that you develop the antibodies.”
“What the president said very clearly there is that a vaccine gets you there quickest,” she said.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the US elections. This is Joseph Stepansky.
Read all the updates from yesterday (September 15) 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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