United States

Where did Operation Neptune Spear kill Al-Qaeda leader?

American forces in Iraq were withdrawn in large numbers in 2009 and 2010, and the war in the region was declared formally over in December 2011. But months earlier, Operation Neptune Spear led to the death of the leader of Al-Qaeda in Pakistan. In the presidential election of 2016, Republican Donald Trump was elected as the 45th president of the United States. On January 20, 2020, the first case of COVID-19 in the United States was confirmed. As of August 2020, the United States has over 4.5 million COVID-19 cases and over 150,000 deaths. The United States is, by far, the country with the most cases of COVID-19 since April 11, 2020.


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  • The phrase "United States" was originally plural, a description of a collection of independent states—e.g., "the United States are"—including in the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, ratified in 1865. The singular form—e.g., "the United States is"—became popular after the end of the Civil War. The singular form is now standard; the plural form is retained in the idiom "these United States." The difference is more significant than usage; it is a difference between a collection of states and a unit.

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  • Originating within U.S. military defense networks, the Internet spread to international academic platforms and then to the public in the 1990s, greatly affecting the global economy, society, and culture. Due to the dot-com boom, stable monetary policy, and reduced social welfare spending, the 1990s saw the longest economic expansion in modern U.S. history. Beginning in 1994, the U.S. entered into the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), prompting trade among the U.S., Canada, and Mexico to soar.

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  • Over time, indigenous cultures in North America grew increasingly complex, and some, such as the pre-Columbian Mississippian culture in the southeast, developed advanced agriculture, grand architecture, and state-level societies. The Mississippian culture flourished in the south from 800 to 1600 AD, extending from the Mexican border down through Florida. Its city state Cahokia is the largest, most complex pre-Columbian archaeological site in the modern-day United States. In the Four Corners region, Ancestral Puebloan culture developed from centuries of agricultural experimentation.

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  • At home, the U.S. experienced sustained economic expansion and a rapid growth of its population and middle class. Construction of an Interstate Highway System transformed the nation's infrastructure over the following decades. Millions moved from farms and inner cities to large suburban housing developments. In 1959 Hawaii became the 50th and last U.S. state added to the country. The growing Civil Rights Movement used nonviolence to confront segregation and discrimination, with Martin Luther King Jr. becoming a prominent leader and figurehead. A combination of court decisions and legislation, culminating in the Civil Rights Act of 1968, sought to end racial discrimination. Meanwhile, a counterculture movement grew which was fueled by opposition to the Vietnam war, black nationalism, and the sexual revolution.

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