As violent protests against police brutality have roiled the country, so has a debate over the looting and property damage they have left in their wake.
The police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, just months after the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd, is the latest tragic demonstration that there’s something wrong with how police operate in the US: massive racial disparities in police killings, use of force, arrests, imprisonment, and more.
The police reactions to this year’s protests have in many ways validated the message that law enforcement too often operates with impunity, with viral videos showing police around the country abusing their authority by attacking demonstrators at random, pepper-spraying activists without cause, and in one instance, ramming their vehicle into protesters.
It’s all led to genuine rage against the system, which in several cases over the past year has culminated in a minority of protesters burning down buildings and looting businesses. That’s led to a debate about whether breaking windows and setting fires actually advances protesters’ goals or if the violence could backfire, moving the public against the protests.
A popular sentiment on social media suggests you’re either willing to forgive or overlook the rioting or you’re not really with the protesters. March for Our Lives co-founder Emma Gonzalez captured the argument in a sarcastic meme earlier this year stating, “I can excuse systematic murder but I draw the line at property damage.”
A related argument positions riots as a natural, necessary part of creating social change. In this view, civil rights and police reforms in the 1960s wouldn’t have been possible without the unrest of the ’60s — some of which was violent. I made a version of this argument in 2015, arguing that riots in the ’60s and ’90s ultimately led to necessary changes in policing, even if the changes didn’t go far enough.
But since then, empirical research has come out persuasively showing that riots in the past have not generally swung public opinion toward the causes they’re rooted in. Particularly with the 1960s riots, the evidence suggests white voters’ negative reactions to these uprisings in Black communities fueled the rise of “tough-on-crime” politicians whose policies perpetuated some of the problems that protesters in the ’60s stood against and that demonstrators today are now protesting.
We don’t know if this research on the 1960s uprisings can be perfectly generalized to protests today, when the circumstances, political climate, and population are different. There are other studies suggesting that, at least in limited circumstances, riots have helped some causes.
But there are concerning signs about the way today’s protests are going. With violence becoming a bigger and bigger part of the news, figures like President Donald Trump can ignore the overall message and cause of the protests and instead focus on calling for “law and order” and the deployment of the National Guard. Some, like Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), have called for military deployment in cities hit by riots. Unrest at protests is producing the very attitudes and positions — from “tough on crime” to the literal militarization of policing — that protesters are standing against. All of this was on full display at the 2020 Republican National Convention, which brought up the riots again and again as an example of disorder caused by a Democrat-backed movement.
Perhaps in anticipation of this turn, some activists have warned against violence. Julia Jackson, Jacob Blake’s mother, said the “violence doesn’t reflect my son.” Floyd’s brother, Terrence, in June voiced a similar message to violent protesters: “If I’m not over here messing up my community, then what are you all doing? You all are doing nothing. Because that’s not going to bring my brother back at all.” Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), who’s sympathetic to the protests, argued that the rioters “are not the people who are interested in helping get justice for George Floyd.” Former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee for president, called the violence “needless.”
The anger behind the protests and riots is real. But research from the past suggests the path to meaningful change, particularly for racial justice, is typically more successful through peaceful means.
The video of George Floyd’s death is enraging. There’s no context that can adequately explain a police officer putting his knee on a man’s neck until that man — who repeatedly shouts, “I can’t breathe!” — dies. Even other police departments and unions around the US have, in an unusual move, condemned the way Minneapolis police handled the situation.
The video of Jacob Blake’s shooting feels like a repeat of the same kind of tragedy, showing an officer repeatedly shooting Blake in the back. Blake is now reportedly paralyzed from the waist down.
Floyd’s death was the catalyst for this year’s earlier protests, and Blake’s shooting reignited the demonstrations. Both speak to a deeper problem: Police abuse of Black communities is routine in the US. According to the Guardian’s “The Counted” project, as of 2016 Black people were more than twice as likely to be killed by police than white people, at a respective rate of 6.66 per 1 million people versus 2.9 per 1 million people.
The research indicates that this isn’t driven solely by more crime in minority communities, but something else — potentially, racial bias. One 2015 study by researcher Cody Ross found, “There is no relationship between county-level racial bias in police shootings and crime rates (even race-specific crime rates), meaning that the racial bias observed in police shootings in this data set is not explainable as a response to local-level crime rates.”
This has been apparent again and again in federal investigation after federal investigation of police departments. The Justice Department’s report on the Baltimore Police Department in 2016 noted when a police shift commander created an arrest form for loitering on public housing; he didn’t even try to hide his racist expectations. In the template, there was no space to fill in gender or race. Instead, that information was automatically filled out: “Black male.”
The report found that Black people in Baltimore were much more likely to be stopped than their white counterparts even after controlling for population. One Black man in his mid-50s was stopped 30 times in less than four years — nearly one stop a month — despite never receiving a citation or criminal charge.
“Racially disparate impact is present at every stage of BPD’s enforcement actions, from the initial decision to stop individuals on Baltimore streets to searches, arrests, and uses of force,” the report concluded. “These racial disparities, along with evidence suggesting intentional discrimination, erode the community trust that is critical to effective policing.”
This is not something the Justice Department found solely in Baltimore. It appeared again and again: Whether it’s Baltimore, Cleveland, New Orleans, Ferguson, Missouri, or Chicago, the Justice Department has found horrific constitutional violations in how police use force, how they target minority residents, how they stop and ticket people, and just about every other aspect of policing.
At the same time, police are rarely held accountable for their actions. The National Police Misconduct Reporting Project analyzed 3,238 legal actions against police officers accused of misconduct from April 2009 to December 2010. Researcher David Packman, who established the project, found that only 33 percent were convicted, with 36 percent of convicted officers going on to serve prison sentences. Both of those are about half the rate at which members of the public are convicted or incarcerated.
This is what’s fueled the demonstrations, from the peaceful to the violent. These protests are focused on a real issue — one that has gone neglected in the US, even after the rise of Black Lives Matter in 2014. Given this context, it should be no surprise that some are turning to violence to express their fury; as Martin Luther King Jr. often said, “A riot is the language of the unheard.”
The best study I’ve seen on the broader national reaction to protests demonstrates that riots in the past backfired.
The research isn’t unanimous on this point. A 2019 study by Ryan Enos, Aaron Kaufman, and Melissa Sands found that the 1992 Los Angeles riot “caused a marked liberal shift in policy support at the polls.” Specifically, the riot appeared to mobilize some voters — particularly Black voters — who went on to register Democrat and vote the more liberal position on a slew of local school ballot issues. That indicated, the researchers argued, that the riots led to a progressive electoral turn.
But this study was narrow in scope. It focused on the local effects of one riot and looked specifically at education ballot initiatives. The researchers acknowledged that the reaction may be different for a series of riots: “perhaps, while a single riot invokes sympathy, a series of riots provokes backlash.” They also noted the overall national response could differ from the local, which “could affect the overall efficacy of violent protest.”
That’s what other research suggests. A study from Omar Wasow, recently published in the American Political Science Review, found the national backlash to 1960s riots was fierce — overwhelming support for the cause behind the protests.
According to the study, peaceful protests for civil rights and against police abuses in the 1960s tended to build support for Democrats, who in turn backed the civil rights causes of the time. But support for Democrats decreased after violent protests — and subsequently led to a focus on “law-and-order” style politics. (A note on methodology: For the purposes of this article, “violent protest” and “riots” means when protesters became violent. Wasow categorized protests in which demonstrators were peaceful but police or other state actors were not as separate.)
We don’t know how riots may have mobilized certain voters. Maybe the violence swayed some genuine swing voters. Maybe riots made it easier for politicians like Nixon to tap into existing racial resentment that enables punitive policies against minority communities. Maybe people who already harbored racist views were more motivated to vote by riots involving Black and brown Americans. There could be something else going on. But the research does suggest an effect.
To gauge the political impact of violence in the 1960s, Wasow simulated what the 1968 election would have been like if there hadn’t been nearly 140 violent protests immediately following Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination — calculating the shift in voting that would have occurred if there weren’t violent protests in the counties exposed to violence.
In more than 7,500 of 10,000 simulations, Democrat Hubert Humphrey, a lead author of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, defeated Republican Richard Nixon, one of the architects of the modern war on drugs and national “tough-on-crime” politics. It’s impossible to say for certain, but that could have prevented some of the exact policing abuses that protesters are now demonstrating against.
The 1960s riots did lead to some positive change. The Kerner Commission in 1968, for example, reviewed the cause of the uprisings and pushed local police reforms, including more active hiring of minority police officers, civilian review boards of cases in which police use force, and residency requirements forcing police to live in the communities they monitor.
“It’s safe to say some changes would have happened a lot more slowly had there not been disruptive protests,” Thomas Sugrue, a historian at New York University who’s also studied the 1960s riots, told me back in 2015.
But Sugrue warned: “Riots cut both ways. They do give a voice to the voiceless, but they can also lead to consequences that those who are challenging the system don’t intend.”
Indeed, many of the Kerner Commission’s reforms were ultimately undone or outweighed by the national “tough-on-crime” politics embraced by Nixon, followed by President Ronald Reagan, and over time doubled down on by other politicians — including some Democrats — who seized on the circumstances and popular sentiment to trumpet the message of “law and order.”
The irony today is that the “law-and-order” and “tough-on-crime” politics from back then helped fuel the police abuses leading to the current demonstrations.
We simply don’t know if Wasow’s findings — which come from, after all, just one study — apply to all riots or the past week’s events. As the Los Angeles riot study suggests, the effects of riots may vary at the local level. Maybe a series of riots has a different effect than a single uprising. Perhaps the public will be more sympathetic if there’s, for example, video evidence of police abuse — as there was in 1992 and there is today. A rapidly diversifying country could also be less sympathetic to police abuses, regardless of how such abuses are protested. Maybe Americans will treat Trump, as the incumbent, differently than Nixon in an open contest.
But one of Wasow’s findings seems increasingly relevant to today’s circumstances.
Wasow found that “events in which protester-initiated violence occurred, irrespective of police response, were much more likely to construct frames that played to dominant group biases and invoke language associated with disorder and social control.” To put it another way, violence at protests tends to take over the public discussion, above the actual cause and message of the demonstrations.
This is reflected in the media coverage of the current protests. While much of the attention on social media has gone to police abuses at the demonstrations, the media has focused a lot on on protesters’ vandalism and arson — with photos of protesters standing in front of burning wreckage all over TV news, after Floyd’s death and now Blake’s shooting.
Wasow’s core insight — that faced with at times violent civil rights protests, Nixon managed to ride a focus on “law-and-order” to victory — also has eerie relevance today.
Under Trump, the Justice Department has already abandoned its oversight of police — halting investigations of local departments and reversing reforms implemented by former President Barack Obama’s administration, which Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden (who previously took “tough-on-crime” positions) has promised to bring back should he defeat Trump.
During the current protests, Trump has ignored the overall message of the demonstrations and instead emphasized the need for public safety. In one of many tweets, Trump simply wrote, “LAW & ORDER!” The bulk of his comments have focused on ending protesters’ violence rather than addressing the cause behind the demonstrations, with invocations of the upcoming presidential election.
If that works to get Trump reelected, the protests almost certainly won’t accomplish the policy changes that many movement leaders want. We don’t know if history will repeat itself, but there are signs that it could.
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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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The 10 Best Deals of January 12, 2021
Tech3 months ago
Charge Your Phone Wirelessly With 50% off a Multifunctional LED Lamp
Uncategorized1 month ago
Asparagus and Feta Tartlet with Phyllo Crust
Uncategorized4 months ago
The 10 Best Deals of January 12, 2021
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The 10 Best Deals of November 23, 2020
Tech5 months ago
Keep That Hotdish Hot With 65% Off a Luncia Casserole Carrier, Only $11 With Promo Code
Food8 months ago
Berkeley Is First in the U.S. to Ban Candy, Chips, and Soda From Grocery Store Checkout Lanes
Tech7 months ago
Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum
Sports6 months ago
Toronto FC hoping to make MLS Cup run having spent much of 2020 far from home