Child soldiers in South Sudan. Photo: Stefanie Glinski/AFP/Getty Images

A new State Department-funded study found that at least 382,000 people have been killed in South Sudan's grueling civil war, two years after UN officials estimated the total death toll to be around 50,000, the Washington Post reports.

The big picture: The deputy chief of mission at Washington's South Sudanese Embassy told The Post that the new number is "not accurate," and he believes the death toll is "less than 20,000." But those that worked on the study say the estimate is conservative, highlighting the geopolitical challenges surrounding keeping accurate death counts. For example, the New York Times reported earlier this year that the UN last estimated the number of people killed in Syria in 2016, and "advocates worry that the conflict with simply grind on indefinitely" without a correct tally.

Go deeper

Cleanup on aisle Biden

Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

After two gaffes and a low blow from President Trump questioning his faith, Joe Biden spent Thursday evening off his own message — clarifying comments and responding to attacks.

Why it matters: Biden’s responses reflect what we could see a lot more of in the next few months — cringeworthy comments and Trump smears, smacking into each other and pulling the Democrat off course.

2020 election strategy: Hire all the lawyers

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The coronavirus has sent overall U.S. unemployment into the double digits — but it's a sort of full-employment act for election law attorneys.

The big picture: The prospect of extended court fights over COVID-19-related voting changes, an absentee ballot avalanche, foreign interference and contested presidential results has prompted a hire-all-the-lawyers binge by candidates and campaigns — not just in swing states but around the country.

Right-wing media defanged by dissolving anti-Biden storylines

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

The three biggest anti-Joe Biden storylines in right-wing media over the last year have either fizzled or are getting less online traction than they used to, according to data from NewsWhip provided exclusively to Axios.

Why it matters: This dynamic has rendered a formidable media ecosystem less effective in boosting President Trump as we move into the heart of the 2020 campaign.