Tuesday December 10, 2019
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After Syria, Trump Decides to Remove More Than 14,000 Troops From Afghanistan

White House insiders said Mattis was not pleased by Trump's decision to start pulling U.S. forces out of Afghanistan.

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USA, Afghanistan, Troops, peace talks
U.S. troops listen to a security briefing before leaving their base in Logar province, Afghanistan, Aug. 5, 2018. VOA

President Donald Trump is considering withdrawing roughly half of the more than 14,000 U.S. troops stationed in Afghanistan, senior administration officials say.

Under the reported plan, about 7,000 U.S. troops would start coming home in January, and the rest would exit in the coming months in a phased drawdown.

There was no comment from the Pentagon or U.S. Central Command.

The U.S. troops are part of a non-combat NATO force whose primary mission is training and advising Afghan forces in taking over responsibility for security in their country.

Afghanistan, afghan, USA, Troop
US special envoy for peace in Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, talks with local reporters at the US embassy in Kabul. VOA

The comments from the U.S. officials came a day after Trump’s stunning announcement that the U.S. would pull its troops out of Syria.

“I think it shows how serious the president is about wanting to come out of conflicts,” one official told The Wall Street Journal. “I think he wants to see viable options about how to bring conflicts to a close.”

The Trump administration has been looking for a negotiated settlement of the war in Afghanistan, which would include talks with the Taliban.

Earlier this week, Defense Secretary James Mattis, who announced Thursday that he would step down in February, said the conflicts in Afghanistan have been going on for almost 40 years and enough is enough.

Donald Trump, Prince, troops
U.S. President Donald Trump sits for an exclusive interview with Reuters journalists in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington. VOA

“It’s time for everyone to get on board,” Mattis said, and support those who are seeking peace, including the U.N. and the presidents of Afghanistan and India.

But some White House insiders said Mattis was not pleased by Trump’s decision to start pulling U.S. forces out of Afghanistan.

Also Read: U.S. Considers Total Withdrawal of Forces from Syria

Mattis did not specially mention Afghanistan in his resignation letter to Trump, but said the president has the “right to have a secretary of defense whose views are better aligned with yours.” (VOA)

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Americans Tend to Rely on Social Media for News which is often Unreliable: Report

Those who rely on social media and peers for news, on the other hand, don't see those platforms as reliable yet still choose to get their news from these sources

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Social Media
The findings of a research suggest that perceived reliability is not the only factor that drives what Americans choose as their go-to News sources on Social Media. Pixabay

Owing to lack of time and competing demands, one-third of Americans rely on news platforms they acknowledge are less reliable, mainly social media and peers, says a new report.

The other two-thirds of the public consider their primary news sources trustworthy, mainly print news and broadcast television, according to the report from California-based non-profit RAND Corporation.

“A lack of time and competing demands may explain why a third of Americans turn to news sources they deem less reliable, which suggests improving the quality of news content or teaching people how to ‘better consume’ news isn’t enough to address ‘Truth Decay,'” said Jennifer Kavanagh, senior political scientist and co-author of the report.

“Media companies and other news providers may need to provide more easily accessible and digestible ways for individuals to consume high quality investigative journalism”.

“Truth Decay” is a phenomenon defined as diminishing reliance on facts, data and analysis in public life.

The report draws from a national survey of 2,543 Americans to examine how reliability, demographics and political partisanship factor into news choices and how often people seek out differing viewpoints in the news.

About 44 per cent of respondents reported that news is as reliable now as in the past, while 41 per cent said it has become less reliable and 15 per cent – mostly women, racial and ethnic minorities and those without college degrees – said it is more reliable.

Social Media
Owing to lack of time and competing demands, one-third of Americans rely on News platforms they acknowledge are less reliable, mainly Social Media and peers, says a new report. Pixabay

Respondents who lean on print and broadcast platforms were more likely to deem them reliable.

Those who rely on social media and peers for news, on the other hand, don’t see those platforms as reliable yet still choose to get their news from these sources.

“The findings suggest that perceived reliability is not the only factor that drives what Americans choose as their go-to news sources,” said Michael Pollard, a sociologist and lead author of the report.
“Despite acknowledging that there are more reliable sources for news, people with demands on their time may be limited to using less reliable platforms.”

Asked whether they ever seek out alternate viewpoints when catching up on the news, 54 per cent said they “sometimes” do, 20 percent said, “always or almost always,” 17 per cent said “infrequently,” and 9 percent said, “never or almost never.”

The report also identified the four most common combinations of news media types consumed by Americans: print publications and broadcast television, online, radio, and social media and peers.

Those who are college-educated were less likely to get their news from social media and peers, instead opting for radio and online sources.

Social Media
Media companies and other News providers may need to provide more easily accessible and digestible ways for individuals to consume high quality investigative journalism, especially on Social Media. Pixabay

Those with less than a college education were more likely to report “never or almost never” seeking out news with alternate viewpoints.

“Those who are married were three times more likely than singles to rate their peers as the most reliable source for news,” said the report.

ALSO READ: Here’s how you can Appear More Competent Through your Clothing

Unmarried people were more likely than married people to report they “always or almost always” seek out sources with differing views. (IANS)