Sunday, October 20, 2019

Vox Sentences: Hope for a US-Taliban peace deal

Vox Sentences is your daily digest for what’s happening in the world. Sign up for the Vox Sentences newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday, or view the Vox Sentences archive for past editions. US-Taliban peace talks inch toward a resolution; Justin Trudeau’s reelection prospects are in doubt amid scandal. Will Trump withdraw troops from Afghanistan? Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images The possibility of the US pulling its troops out of Afghanistan seems more and more plausible by the day. Today President Donald Trump met...

An exchange at an LGBTQ forum reopens questions about Joe Biden’s...

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the leading Democratic presidential contender, defended his record on LGBTQ issues at a forum on Friday, but in doing so, once again raised questions about his comportment towards women, and — after a misstatement in which he conflated sexual and gender identities — about his understanding of issues that affect queer and gender nonconforming voters. During a forum on LGBTQ issues hosted by GLAAD, the Advocate, and the Cedar Rapids Gazette, 10 Democratic candidates discussed their records on issues affecting the LGBTQ community, including the Trump administration’s transgender military ban, conversion therapy, protections for...

Game of Thrones finally acknowledged Ghost as the very good dog...

Game of Thrones’ series finale, “The Iron Throne,” didn’t exactly deliver the ending that many fans expected. But there was at least one character who got justice after being treated horribly in an earlier episode: Jon Snow’s beloved direwolf, Ghost. Ghost became the subject of social media outrage after the final season’s fourth episode, “The Last of the Starks,” saw his owner, Jon Snow, give the animal to Tormund and send him north to Castle Black — all without so much as a pat on the head goodbye. In an effort to explain why Game of Thrones chose not to show...

The Hong Kong government tried to ban face masks. Protesters are...

The Hong Kong government has invoked a colonial-era law to ban face masks in an attempt to crack down on the months-long protest movement that’s gotten increasingly tense in recent weeks. Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s embattled chief executive, announced the ban Friday. “The decision to enact an anti-mask law is not easy one, but it is a necessary decision considering the situation today,” Lam said at a press conference. The law, which went into effect Saturday at midnight local time, bans protesters from wearing any sort of mask or face covering, including paint, at any public gathering, including both lawful protests...

Shazam! is an unapologetically buoyant triumph of a superhero movie

Shazam has arguably the goofiest plot device in the long history of goofy superhero plot devices: In order to tap into his superpowers and transform into his superhero self, Billy Batson (played by Asher Angel in this movie), a 14-year-old runaway teen, must shout “Shazam!” into the ether and get throttled with a bolt of lightning. Saying that magic word grants him the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles, the speed of Mercury (SHAZAM!), and a body some 15 years older and at its physical peak...

High school students of color are protesting racism and inequality

Since the civil rights movement, student protests have been a powerful driver of social change. More than 60 years later, students of color are continuing to call attention to racial injustice and inequity, fueling a growing youth movement against racism. Alongside the Movement for Black Lives and college anti-racism movements like the 2015 University of Missouri protests, middle school and high school students in the US have become increasingly vocal about issues like police brutality, gun violence, school closings in communities of color, and racist incidents in their schools. The latest of these protests came in March, when scandals over...

Trump just issued an ultimatum to the Venezuelan military: abandon Maduro...

President Donald Trump just issued an ultimatum to Venezuela’s military: Either join with the US-led effort to depose Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, or suffer immense consequences. Maduro’s troops can defect and support the US-backed challenger — Juan Guaidó — “or you can choose the second path, continuing to support Maduro,” Trump said on Monday at Florida International University. “If you choose this path, you will find no safe harbor, no easy exit, and no way out. You will lose everything.” Since January, the Trump administration, joined by governments in the Americas and Europe, has called for Venezuela’s socialist president to step...

Michael Cohen’s explosive opening statement: Accusations about Trump, Roger Stone, and...

Michael Cohen’s prepared opening statement for his testimony before the House Oversight Committee Wednesday is out — and wow, is it a doozy. The New York Times obtained Cohen’s statement, and posted it online early Wednesday morning. Perhaps Cohen’s most explosive claim is that he heard Roger Stone tell Trump about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s plans to release hacked emails during the presidential campaign — the most direct allegation yet that Trump was in the loop about WikiLeaks’s plans. Special counsel Robert Mueller has been investigating this issue, and has attributed the theft of these emails to Russian intelligence officers. Cohen...

Vox Sentences: Methane emissions run free

Vox Sentences is your daily digest for what’s happening in the world. Sign up for the Vox Sentences newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday, or view the Vox Sentences archive for past editions. The Trump administration wants to roll back regulations on dangerous methane emissions; Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte returns to his post nine days after he resigned. The administration threatens progress on climate change again Shutterstock The Trump administration is planning a major rollback on the regulation of methane, a powerful greenhouse...

Democrats didn’t talk enough about racism in their first primary debate

In a Wednesday night debate marked by serious — and at times confrontational — discussions of policy, candidates didn’t have much to say about how these issues affect communities of color, a large swath of the population that plays a significant role in the Democratic electorate. It wasn’t that race wasn’t discussed at all. There was a robust discussion on immigration, and several candidates — including Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro — briefly commented on issues like police violence, voting rights,...