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U.S., Taliban Made Steady Progress in Doha Talks: Khalilzad

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(Last Updated On: May 10, 2019)

The U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad who has ended up another round of talks with the Taliban delegation in Qatar said on Thursday that the two sides made “steady but slow progress” on the draft agreement prepared in the last round of talks.

After the sixth round of talks between the U.S. and Taliban representatives in Doha, the capital of Qatar ended late on Thursday, Khalilzad said in a tweet that the two sides are getting into the “nitty-gritty.”

“We made steady but slow progress on aspects of the framework for ending the Afghan war. We are getting into the ‘nitty-gritty.’ The devil is always in the details,” he said.

Khalilzad added that the current pace of talks is not sufficient when so much conflict rages and innocent people die.
“We need more and faster progress. Our proposal for all sides to reduce violence also remains on the table,” he stressed.

Meanwhile, Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban insurgent group said in a statement on Thursday that this round of talks was “positive” and “productive” since the two sides have listened to each other with care and patience.

The sixth round of Doha talks began on the 1st of May.

In October, U.S. and Taliban agreed in a draft on withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan in return for a Taliban guarantee that Afghanistan will not be used by militants to threaten the U.S. and the world.

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Twitter disabled Trump’s video tribute to Floyd for copyright reasons

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(Last Updated On: June 5, 2020)

Twitter has pulled down Donald Trump’s tribute video to George Floyd on its platform.

On a copyright complaint, Twitter has pulled down Donald Trump’s tribute video to George Floyd on its platform, news agencies report.

A Twitter representative has said, “We respond to valid copyright complaints sent to us by a copyright owner or their authorized representatives,”

The clip is said to be a collation of photos and videos of protest marches and instances of violence in the aftermath of Floyd’s death, with Trump’s voiceover.

The three-minute 45-second video is still on YouTube, with over 60,000 views and 13,000 likes – it was tweeted by Trump’s campaign on June 3.

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Afghanistan records highest Coronavirus death toll in single day

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(Last Updated On: June 5, 2020)

Nine people have died of Coronavirus in Afghanistan in the past 24 hours, the Public Health Ministry.

In a statement released on Friday, the ministry said that three people in Balkh, two in Herat, two in Samangan, and two others in Kunduz lost life after suffering COVID-19.

According to the statement, 915 people were tested positive for the Coronavirus in the past 24 hours.

The cases were registered as follow: 423 in Kabul, 201 in Herat, 116 in Balkh, 29 in Kunduz, 23 in Kunar, 21 in Kandahar, 21 in Farah, 21 in Sar-e-Pul, 20 in Helmand, 15 in Samangan, 11 in Paktia, 7 in Nangarhar, 4 in Maidan Wardak, and three in Laghman, the statement said.

It brings the total affected people to 18,969 in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, 178 people have recovered and fully discharged from the hospitals, bringing the total recoveries to 1,763, the ministry added.

So far, 309 people have died of the virus since its first case was detected in western Herat province.

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Facebook labels state-controlled media outlets

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(Last Updated On: June 5, 2020)

Facebook – a social media giant – said Thursday that it would start labeling state-controlled media outlets on Facebook.

Facebook would reportedly add labels to the Facebook pages of Russia Today, Russia’s Sputnik, China’s Xinhua News, Iran’s Press TV, and the People’s Daily, among others, saying that these were state-controlled outlets.

The Company said in a statement, “We’re providing greater transparency into these publishers because they combine the influence of a media organization with the strategic backing of a state, and we believe people should know if the news they read is coming from a publication that may be under the influence of a government.”

The giant tech company would also block state-controlled media outlets from buying advertising in the US this summer ahead of the US presidential election in November without setting an exact date.

“State-controlled media outlets rarely advertise in the US. Nevertheless, later this summer we will begin blocking ads from these outlets in the US out of an abundance of caution to provide an extra layer of protection against various types of foreign influence in the public debate ahead of the November 2020 election in the US,” Facebook said.

Other outlets that are run independently, would not be included in the labeling, Facebook said.

It comes as the company has recently faced a backlash from its employees for not adding warning labels to comments from the U.S. president linked to the ongoing violence across the country.

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