Why it matters: The U.S. has responded to standoffs with North Korea, Russia, Iran and Venezuela in unorthodox and unpredictable ways. Alliances are rupturing, authoritarians are rising, and China is steadily becoming the most powerful rival America has ever faced.

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In photos: Protests in Chile rage on, fourth months later

A barricade burns during a protest in Santiago, Chile on Feb. 21. Photo: Martin Bernetti/AFP via Getty Images

Protestors clashed with riot police in Santiago, Chile on Friday after four months of sustained protests against the government initially sparked by grievances over metro fare pricing and the national cost of living.

The big picture: Chile has the greatest level of income inequality among all countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Wall Street Journal reports. Chileans have cited education and health care costs as especially cumbersome.

Go deeperArrow20 mins ago - World

U.S. military officially stops offensive operations in Afghanistan

Citizens in Afghanistan celebrate the first day of reduced violence. Photo: Javed Tanveer/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. military officially ceased offensive operations against the Taliban in Afghanistan early Saturday morning, The Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: This is the first step in the U.S.-Afghanistan peace process. If the "reduction of violence" for the next seven days if effective, the U.S. government and Taliban will likely sign a peace deal at the end of February.

Go deeperArrow8 hours ago - World

House warned of Russian effort to re-elect Trump

Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Trump meet at the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, last June. Photo: Susan Walsh/AP

The nation's top election-security official warned the House Intelligence Committee last week that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election to help President Trump get re-elected, continuing to attempt to sow discord among the American electorate, the AP reports.

Why it matters: The warning raises questions about the integrity of the presidential campaign and whether Trump's administration is taking the proper steps to combat the kind of interference that the U.S. saw in 2016.

U.S. and Taliban announce first step in Afghanistan peace process

Photo: Karim Jaafar/AFP/Getty Images

The State Department confirmed Friday morning the U.S. and Taliban have "reached an understanding" that starts a 7-day "reduction of violence" to be followed by a signed U.S.-Taliban agreement.

Why it matters: The Afghanistan war is the longest war in U.S. history. President Trump has previously pulled out of talks at the last minute, only to restart them.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Feb 21, 2020 - World
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