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Live Reporting

Edited by Helier Cheung

All times stated are UK

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  1. Thank you for following our live updates

    Candidates and their spouses wave at the end of the vice-presidential debate on Wednesday

    Thanks for following our live reporting on the US election vice-presidential debate - we're bringing it to a close now.

    Here's a recap of what we saw and heard on Wednesday in Salt Lake City, Utah:

    • The candidates exchanged heated remarks on a range of policy issues including taxes, healthcare and climate change - however, both candidates also made remarks that were misleading or inaccurate
    • The strongest disagreements were about President Trump's handling of the coronavirus crisis - Pence defended the administration's record but Harris called it "the greatest failure of any presidential administration".
    • The pair on stage were separated by glass barriers as a precaution from coronavirus
    • Despite the policy issues discussed on both sides, a fly that landed on Pence's head generated the most excitement online

    For more, you can read our reporter Anthony Zurcher's five takeaways from the debate. We'll be back next week with live coverage of the second presidential debate, and in the meantime you can also follow our live coronavirus coverage here.

    The VP debate coverage was brought to you by our teams in the US and UK. The writers were Boer Deng, Rebecca Seales, Ritu Prasad, Max Matza, Tara McKelvey, Tom Gerken, Marianna Brady, Jessica Lussenhop, David Walker and Georgina Rannard. The editors were Vicky Baker, Matthew Davis and Helier Cheung.

  2. 'Debate offers a look into the future'

    Anthony Zurcher

    BBC North America reporter

    Video content

    Video caption: 'Mr Vice-President, I am speaking' - Harris and Pence clash at VP debate

    This vice-presidential debate gave the Americans who chose to watch a look at US politics present and future.

    For the current election, both candidates did their best to defend their running mate and land shots on the top of the opposing ticket.

    The participants in this debate were also looking beyond November, however.

    Pence - like most vice-presidents - has his eyes on a presidential bid of his own. To do that, he'll have to win over Trump's base while also casting a wider net to Republicans and right-leaning independents who may have become disaffected with Trumpian politics.

    Harris, who at this point last year was running for president herself, tried to prove that she can be a capable standard-bearer for the Democrats once Joe Biden exits the political stage. When given the chance, she spoke about her upbringing and background, taking the opportunity to introduce herself to a larger US audience.

    Both Pence and Harris live to fight another day - and that day could come in just four years.

    Read more: Five takeaways from the VP debate

  3. Facebook's new US election measures

    A 3D-printed elections box and Facebook logo are placed on a keyboard in front of U.S. flag in this illustration taken October 6, 2020.

    Amid all the coverage of the debate, you might have missed this news from Facebook. The social media platform has announced a new series of measures regarding the US election.

    Noting that final election results may take longer to come in than usual due to the pandemic and postal voting, the social media giant said on Wednesday it was trying to "prevent the spread of misinformation".

    New measures include:

    - Notifications on posts saying the count is ongoing, if a "candidate or party declares premature victory before a race is called by major media outlets".

    - Banning content that "seeks to intimidate voters", including "calls for people to engage in poll watching when those calls use militarised language or suggest that the goal is to intimidate".

    - Not running political or social issues adverts after the polls close on Election Day

    Facebook recently banned adverts seeking to "delegitimise any lawful method or process of voting".

    Read more: Social media's nightmare scenario

  4. Plexiglass and a fly: The VP debate in pictures

    Mike Pence and Kamala Harris share a stage at the vice-presidential debate on Wednesday
    Image caption: Mike Pence and Kamala Harris share a stage at the vice-presidential debate on Wednesday

    Facial expressions, an errant fly, and plexiglass screens were the strongest visuals of the debate on Wednesday which was marked by pointed exchanges on policy matters.

    Plexiglass screens were erected around the candidates' desks as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus
    Image caption: Plexiglass screens were erected around the candidates' desks as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus
    The debate saw sharp but civil exchanges between the candidates on topics including coronavirus, the climate, healthcare and taxes
    Image caption: The debate saw sharp but civil exchanges between the candidates on topics including coronavirus, the climate, healthcare and taxes
    Senator Kamala Harris reminded Mike Pence several times not to interrupt her while she was speaking
    Image caption: Senator Kamala Harris reminded Mike Pence several times not to interrupt her while she was speaking
    A fly took residence on Mike Pence's head for a full two minutes during the debate, attracting a lot of attention online
    Image caption: A fly took residence on Mike Pence's head for a full two minutes during the debate, attracting a lot of attention online

    For the full gallery, click here.

  5. The VP debate is over - what's next?

    Donald Trump and Joe Biden will face each other again on 15 October
    Image caption: Donald Trump and Joe Biden will face each other again on 15 October

    The next big event in the election calendar is the second debate between President Donald Trump and Democrat candidate Joe Biden in one week in Florida.

    Scheduled for 15 October at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, the 90-minute debate will have local residents in the audience who can pose questions to the candidates.

    But Trump's recent coronavirus diagnosis raised questions about whether the event will go ahead. The president has insisted he will be well enough to attend, and Joe Biden said on Monday he would share a stage with Trump as long as medical experts gave the go-ahead.

  6. The US election simplified

    Graphic showing Joe Biden and Donald Trump

    The debate on Wednesday was more substantive than when President Donald Trump and Joe Biden debated last week. For a quick reminder on the US election and how it works, take a look at these links:

    First: Here's our really simple guide.

    Or, watch this look at how you become President.

    You can also watch our breakdown of which voters actually decide the election here.

    You can also have a go at the election results yourself, with our election game here.

    Want to know when we might actually learn who wins the election? Read our explainer here.

    And we've also answered the specific questions that you, our readers, sent in, here.

    Still don't see an answer to your queries? Tell us about it here.

  7. VP debate dominates Indian media coverage

    US Vice President Mike Pence, his wife Karen Pence, the Democratic vice presidential nominee and U.S. Senator Kamala Harris and her husband Douglas Emhoff are seen on the stage at the end of the 2020 vice presidential debate moderated by Susan Page of USA Today, on the campus of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S., October 7, 2020

    The VP debate is receiving prominent coverage in Indian media today, and "Kamala" is one of the top trending topics on Twitter in India along with #VicePresidentialDebate2020, and #VPDebate, BBC Monitoring reports.

    The US and India are allies, but there is also a high level of interest in the debate because Kamala Harris' mother was born in India.

    So what was Indian media's verdict on the debate? The consensus seems to be - nothing spectacular, but at least it was more substantial than the presidential debate.

    News channel NDTV said the VP debate was "unlikely to alter the trajectory of the race" while News18 concluded that, despite "important issues" being discussed, "a fly still became the most interesting thing".

    Meanwhile, newspaper Hindustan TImes wrote: "Despite tensions between the two camps, both Harris and Pence debated relatively more calmly compared to last month’s acrimonious opening debate between Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and President Donald Trump."

    Either way, the reviews are more favourable than those of the presidential debate last week - where news channel AajTak accused both Trump and Biden of "mud-slinging", while the Times of India wrote: "The US embarrassed itself before the world for 100 minutes."

  8. How did debate moderator Susan Page do?

    USA Today's Susan Page moderated Tuesday's vice-presidential debate
    Image caption: USA Today's Susan Page moderated Tuesday's vice-presidential debate

    After last week's chaotic presidential debate, a lot of attention on Tuesday was on moderator Susan Page - could she bring some discipline to the show?

    The verdict online is that while this debate was undoubtedly better at airing important issues, the USA Today journalist did not do enough to stop the candidates interrupting each other or dodging questions.

    Democrat Kamala Harris had to remind her opponent "Mr Vice-President, I'm speaking" when Mike Pence interrupted her numerous times.

    "Susan Page’s ultimate failure is that she made the first black woman ever to participate in a #VPdebate fight for equal treatment and equal time," tweeted one Democrat activist.

    According to a tally by CBS, Pence interrupted Harris twice as many times as she did him over the course of their 90-minute debate.

    Page's polite approach to encouraging candidates to finish speaking has also been criticised. Politico notes that Page said versions of "thank you" or “thank you, Mr Vice President" 22 times to Pence, but with little effect. Some also criticised Page for calling Kamala Harris by her first name at one point (instead of Senator Harris) but addressing Mike Pence by his title vice-president.

    On matters of substance, critics said Page allowed the candidates to dodge answering difficult questions - including Harris on the Supreme Court, and Pence on whether he wanted to ban abortion in his home state.

  9. Why was 'pink eye Covid' trending?

    Mike Pence
    Image caption: Pence's left eye sparked speculation and Google searches

    Google says that “pink eye Covid” was one of the top search trends within the first half-hour of the debate. Why?

    Well, a lot of viewers noticed that Pence's left eye looked a bit red at the start of the debate - and started speculating over whether it was a symptom of Covid-19, particularly given the recent outbreak at the White House.

    It's worth bearing in mind that eye problems are not among the main symptoms of Covid-19 - the World Health Organization says the most common symptoms are a fever, dry cough and tiredness.

    It does describe conjunctivitis, which can lead to red or pink eyes, as one of the less common symptoms.

    But the White House says Pence has been tested daily, and consistently tested negative - including on Wednesday, before the debate was held.

  10. New book on Harris' teenage years in Canada

    Kamala Harris

    There's been a lot of coverage of Ms Harris's black and Indian roots.

    But she also lived in Canada as a teenager, when her mother took a job teaching at McGill University.

    And a new book about her early years in Canada claims she had a strong campaigning streak even when she was a high school student.

    The 12-page bilingual comic book Kamala in Canada, by author and illustrator Kaj Hasselriis, tells how Ms Harris took on the landlord of her family's apartment in Montreal, Quebec, who had stopped children playing football in the courtyard.

    Back in August, when Harris was confirmed as Joe Biden's running mate, we noted that the choice inspired people from a lot of different countries - including India, Jamaica and Canada.

  11. If you've just woken up - here are some of the key moments

    If you're joining us now from Europe - or if you're just catching up on the VP debate now, here's a handy video of some of the key exchanges.

    The vice-presidential candidates debated the administration's response to the coronavirus pandemic - but also tackled subjects like foreign policy, racial justice and the environment.

    Video content

    Video caption: Pence and Harris clash on President Trump's record
  12. Recap: Trump calls Covid infection 'a blessing'

    President Trump had a busy evening on Twitter, which included releasing a new video where he called his coronavirus infection "a blessing from God" in disguise.

    In the five-minute footage filmed outside the Oval Office, Mr Trump said he wanted all Americans to have access to the treatments he was given - and promised to provide the drugs free of charge.

    He wrongly claimed the experimental antibody cocktail he received last week was a cure rather than a therapeutic - and said hundreds of thousands of doses were nearly ready.

    View more on twitter

    US media reports said the video was supposed to have been released a day earlier, but was ultimately made public just over three hours before Vice-President Mike Pence was scheduled to debate his Democratic challenger, Kamala Harris.

    Mr Trump, who has Covid-19, hasn't been seen in public since Monday.

  13. What the candidates got right, and wrong

    In the course of a 90-minute live debate, it's possible for even the most well-intentioned candidate to say something inaccurate.

    Luckily, our Reality Check team were watching where the errors crept in.

    Here's where both candidates got it wrong on coronavirus... and partly right on other claims.

  14. Indian Americans no pushover despite Kamala connection

    Soutik Biswas

    BBC News, Delhi

    Indians have been mixed in their response to Ms Harris’s ticket.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s supporters are ambivalent, partly because of Ms Harris’ criticism of his move to revoke Kashmir’s autonomy, and the refusal of his foreign minister to meet a congressman who has been critical of the same move.

    And although Indian-Americans have historically voted for Democrats for being immigration friendly, President Trump is considered a friend of India and Mr Modi. It will be interesting to see how much support Ms Harris can garner from Indian-American voters in these polarised times.

    More from Soutik: Why Kamala Harris embraces her biracial roots

    Video content

    Video caption: Who is vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris?
  15. The fly that captured the buzz at debate

    Video content

    Video caption: US election 2020: Fly steals the show at vice-presidential debate

    Okay, we have to explain about the fly.

    Despite the candidates' best efforts, nothing they said resonated with people online quite like the wanderings of one unsuspecting insect.

    For approximately two minutes, a fly landed on Vice-President Mike Pence's head and became an instant internet celebrity.

    The phrase "the fly" has been tweeted and retweeted more than 700,000 times since it appeared during the debate.

    The Biden campaign has taken full advantage, registering the domain "", while a picture of Joe wielding a fly-swatter (or is it a horse whip?) has been liked more than 500,000 times.

    Want the full story? Fly this way...

    View more on twitter
  16. 'Mansplaining and man-dodging'

    In the absence of a physical spin room, where campaign 'surrogates', advisers and aides give their pitch for why their candidate won the debate, the campaign has held calls with reporters.

    Biden's communications director Liz Allen and senior adviser Symone Sanders say Harris was the only candidate on stage who presented a plan.

    Sanders accused Pence “mansplaining,” and “man-dodging” as he interrupted Harris and the debate moderator.

    The Biden camp said Harris will be back in Washington for Senate hearings next week, and refused to answer questions on whether the Democrats would try to expand the US Supreme Court if Trump's nominee is approved by the Republican-controlled Senate.

    Read more: Who is Trump's Supreme Court pick?

  17. Just joining us? Here's the debate in brief

    People watch the debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris outside a tavern in San Diego, California

    If you're just waking up in Europe, or catching up at lunchtime in Asia - welcome! Here's a quick summary of the VP debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris:

    • You're going to be seeing a lot of stories about a fly. That's because an insect landed on Mike Pence's head and remained there for two minutes - to the glee and fascination of Twitter. Let's move on...
    • Basically, it was less of a bad-tempered bust-up than the presidential debate last week. Methodical Mike Pence showed a calmer demeanour than his boss, and Kamala Harris kept it civil
    • As Pence defended the White House's record on coronavirus, Harris lost the advantage by failing to press him on the burgeoning cluster of cases linked to the president
    • Both candidates dodged questions - Harris on the Supreme Court, and Pence on whether he wanted to ban abortion in his home state
    • The sharpest exchanges came on the topic of racial division and law enforcement. Harris accused Trump of struggling to condemn white supremacists, and Pence bridled at suggestions that America is systemically racist
    • The big question: Who won? Read our expert analysis here
  18. WATCH: 'I won't take a Trump vaccine'

    During the debate, Harris voiced concerns about the Trump administration's attempt to change regulations to get a Covid-19 vaccination approved urgently. Democrats say Trump may try to push out dangerously untested therapies ahead of election day.

    "If the doctors tell us we should take it I'll be the first in line to take it, absolutely," Harris said. "But if Donald Trump tells us we should take it, I'm not gonna take it."

    Pence fires back that vaccine trials are moving at record speed, telling her to "stop playing politics with people's lives".

    Video content

    Video caption: Mike Pence: 'Stop playing politics with people's lives'
  19. Respect, but tough exchanges

    Peter Bowes

    North America correspondent

    For the most part this was a more orderly and respectful encounter than last week’s debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. But there were heated clashes between the two candidates, who were separated by two plexiglass dividers and seated almost four metres apart.

    Coronavirus dominated the first section, with Mike Pence accusing Kamala Harris of undermining public confidence when she said she would not take a vaccine if told to do so by President Trump.

    Pence avoided answering a question about whether he’d talked to the president about succeeding him, if he were to become too ill, or disabled, and unable to carry out his duties.

  20. Reality Check

    Has the Trump administration added 11.6m jobs?

    Defending the Trump administration's handling of the US economy, Vice-President Pence said: "Right after a time where we're going through a pandemic that lost 22 million jobs at the height, we've already added back 11.6 million jobs".

    That’s roughly correct, although the unemployment rate is still significantly higher than it was prior to the pandemic.

    From March to April this year, more than 22.7 million Americans lost their jobs.

    Since then, around 11.4 million jobs have been added.

    The unemployment rate is currently 7.9%. It was 3.5% in February this year, before the coronavirus outbreak hit in the US.