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National electronic ID cards planned for Afghanistan

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KABUL – War-torn Afghanistan lacks basic national infrastructure, yet on Sunday the government unveiled plans for a $100 million electronic identification system with cards to be issued to all Afghans within five years.

A chip in the wallet-size identification cards will hold a drivers’ license, vehicle registration, signature and voting registration and would aid fairer, more transparent and efficient future elections, the Ministry of Communications said.

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After three decades of conflict, Afghanistan is struggling to rebuild its economy and crumbling infrastructure such as roads, electricity and water access.

A September parliamentary election was tainted by widespread allegations of fraud, including reports of fake voter identification cards and repeat voting.

“We consider this a very important initiative for the development of Afghanistan,” Minister for Communication and Information Technology Amirzai Sangeen told a news conference at which a $101.5 million contract for the project was signed with Afghan company Grand Technology Resources.

“In our country the need for having proper identification is a very urgent matter,” he said. “Giving ID cards to everyone is a process … probably it is a three to five year process.”

The Ministry of Finance will fund the project from its development budget, as the government believes the system will help improve the country’s security.

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Distributing ID cards in insurgent strongholds in the south and east of the country could prove difficult, however, as insurgents often intimidate or target Afghans seen to be cooperating with the government or foreign troops.

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We still don’t know how many people are in the hospital with COVID-19

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Late last month, Vice President Mike Pence sent a letter to administrators of the nation’s 6,000 hospitals requesting a favor.

He asked them to complete a form each day with data on the patients they are treating with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and submit it to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The data will help us better understand disease patterns and develop policies for prevention and control of health problems related to COVID-19,” Pence wrote.

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Mike Pence’s office punishes CNN for refusing to air his portion of coronavirus briefing

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Vice President Mike Pence has kept the nation's top health officials from appearing on CNN since the network stopped carrying the daily coronavirus briefings in their entirety.

The vice president's office, which is responsible for booking those officials to deliver pandemic information, told CNN that Dr. Deborah Birx or Dr. Anthony Fauci would not be permitted to appear on the network until it carries the briefings, including Pence's remarks, in full.

"When you guys cover the briefings with the health officials then you can expect them back on your air," a Pence spokesperson told CNN.

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‘Well-spoken cultist’: Bill Barr trashed for praising ‘statesmanlike’ Trump and urging an end to COVID-19 lockdowns

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During an interview with Fox News host Laura Ingraham Wednesday night, Attorney General Bill Barr praised President Trump's "statesman-like" effort at the "beginning" of the coronavirus epidemic where he "tried to bring people together" while "working with all the governors" -- a characterization that did not go over well with many of the President's critics on Twitter.

https://twitter.com/matthewamiller/status/1248241999297339394

https://twitter.com/andeparks/status/1248255118291742722

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