Monday January 21, 2019
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OnePlus Makes its Entry into US With T-Mobile

The company has included a fast-charging 3700mAh battery and a 6.41-inch 2K OLED screen

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OnePlus
There's no standard 3.5-mm headphone jack this time but that isn't much of a deal-breaker.

With the launch of OnePlus 6T at an event here, Chinese smartphone maker OnePlus late Monday marked its entry into the US after partnering with mobile services operator T-Mobile.

“The OnePlus 6T and T-Mobile’s LTE network were made for each other. Customers have been asking us to help bring OnePlus to the US. We listened and delivered,” John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile, said in a statement.

“We found a kindred spirit in OnePlus — a company who is just as focused and customer experience obsessed as the Un-carrier.”

The five-year-old Chinese smartphone player’s new device is in line with the recent leaks and features a very small waterdrop style notch, high-end specifications and an affordable price when compared against the 2018 flagship competition.

“The OnePlus 6T is coming exclusively to the Un-carrier, making T-Mobile the first and only wireless provider in the United States to offer a OnePlus device ever! And to celebrate, T-Mobile customers can get their hands on this super hot superphone for more than half off,” the company said.

Un-carrier customers can snap one up earlier than anyone else exclusively at the T-Mobile Times Square store starting Tuesday.

OnePlus
The Shenzhen-based smartphone company was set to launch the handset at an event in India on Tuesday. (IANS)

Starting November 1, the OnePlus 6T goes on sale nationwide in T-Mobile stores and on T-Mobile.com.

The OnePlus 6T packs 128GB of internal storage and 8GB RAM and the much talked about fingerprint under display functionality.

There’s a flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processer under the hood, a 16MP + 20MP dual rear camera and 16MP front facing camera.

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The company has included a fast-charging 3700mAh battery and a 6.41-inch 2K OLED screen.

The Shenzhen-based smartphone company was set to launch the handset at an event in India on Tuesday. (IANS)

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Afghanistan Elections Conclude, IEC Criticized For Mismanagement

The presidential vote, scheduled for July 20, is also under scrutiny because of the lack of serious reforms to prevent a repetition of previous fraud-marred Afghan elections.

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Afghanistan
Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani, center, speaks to journalists after arriving to register as a candidate for the presidential election at the Independent Elections Commission, in Kabul, Jan. 20, 2019. (VOA)

The process of submitting nomination papers for the upcoming presidential vote in Afghanistan concluded Sunday, with President Ashraf Ghani and his ruling coalition partner Abdullah Abdullah among the candidates seeking the country’s top office.

Ghani and Abdullah, who was appointed chief executive in a deal mediated by the United States after the disputed 2014 election, filed their nomination papers just hours before the Independent Election Commission (IEC) closed the proceedings.

The election activity comes as an early morning suicide car bombing of a government convoy in eastern Afghan province of Logar killed at least eight security forces, underscoring serious security challenges facing the country in the wake of a raging Taliban insurgency.

The presidential vote, scheduled for July 20, is also under scrutiny because of the lack of serious reforms to prevent a repetition of previous fraud-marred Afghan elections.

IEC officials, however, dismiss concerns and insist their rescheduling of the polls from the original April 20 date has given them enough time to fix the problems and to lay the ground for a better organized vote.

“Our [candidates’] goal should be to work toward ensuring this election process results in a strong government and nation. Whatever consensus regarding any reforms is required must be achieved now to remove any doubts about the election outcome,” Ghani said in televised comments after formally registering his candidacy with IEC.

Afghan
Afghan security forces inspect the site of a car bomb blast in Kabul, Jan. 15, 2018.(VOA)

The IEC was heavily criticized for failing to prevent mismanagement and alleged rigging in the October parliamentary election. The final results are still awaited, fueling traditional mistrust and suspicions among voters about the upcoming election.

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a former ethnic Pashtun warlord accused of war crimes and once listed as terrorist by the U.S., has also joined the presidential race.

Hekmatyar stopped his Hizb-i-Islami group from waging insurgent attacks against foreign forces and returned to Kabul from years of hiding in 2016 after signing a U.S.-backed peace deal with President Ghani’s government.

Hekmatyar’s fighters have been blamed for committing atrocities during the Afghan civil war that enabled the Taliban to capture most of Afghanistan in 1996.

Several former officials of the Ghani-led National Unity government are also among the contestants. They include Hanif Atmar, former national security adviser; Rahmatullah Nabil, ex-chief of the Afghan intelligence agency; Zalmai Rassoul, a former foreign minister who came third in the last presidential election; and Shaida Abdali, a former diplomat.

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Afghanistan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, center, shakes hands with his supporters after arriving to register as a candidate for the presidential election, in Kabul, Jan. 20, 2019.

Peace talks with Taliban

The United States, meanwhile, has intensified efforts to seek a politically negotiated settlement to the 17-year-old conflict with the Taliban, which control nearly half of the country and maintain battlefield pressure on U.S.-backed Afghan forces to capture more territory.

Chief American peace negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad, and his team spent several days in neighboring Pakistan, where authorities tried to arrange the next round of U.S.-Taliban talks.

Also Read:U.S. Determined To Address ‘Legitimate Concerns’ To Achieve Peace in Afghanistan

A U.S. Embassy statement announced Sunday said Khalilzad visited Islamabad from January 17-20 where he met with Pakistani civilian and military leaders. It said that “both sides reaffirmed their commitment to advance the Afghan peace process.”

Khalilzad highlighted that all countries in the region will benefit from peace in Afghanistan, the statement concluded, though it was not clear whether Pakistani efforts to bring the two sides to the negotiating table succeeded. (VOA)