The US will admit just 18,000 refugees in the next year

The United States will accept fewer refugees over the coming year than ever: 18,000 at most, down from a cap of 110,000 just two years ago. And a new executive order from President Donald Trump will allow state and local authorities to block refugees from settling in their areas.

The administration announced Thursday that it will lower the annual cap on refugees to 18,000, from 30,000 this year, in the coming fiscal year, which starts October 1. And local governments that do not have the resources to support refugees in becoming “self-sufficient and free from long-term dependence on public assistance” …

Vox Sentences: A whistle blown

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 whistleblower report is released; US intelligence confirms Syrian government chemical weapons attack in May.

Plus: Our Netflix show, Explained, is back for its second season! Catch new episodes each Thursday.


A complaint and a committee

Stephanie Keith/Getty Images
  • The whistleblower’s complaint in the unfolding Trump-Ukraine scandal contains two main allegations: One, that during the phone call with Ukranian President Zelensky on July

Trump threatens US officials who gave information to the Ukraine case whistleblower

In a private meeting with US staffers at the United Nations on Thursday, President Donald Trump ranted about the “spies” within his administration who gave information to the whistleblower in the Ukraine case and mused about punishing them the way “we used to do in the old days” — seemingly alluding to the practice of executing spies for treason.

“Basically, that person never saw the report, never saw the call, he never saw the call — heard something and decided that he or she, or whoever the hell they saw — they’re almost a spy,” Trump reportedly told the staffers, …

36 years ago today, one man saved us from world-ending nuclear war

On September 26, 1983, the planet came terrifyingly close to a nuclear holocaust.

The Soviet Union’s missile attack early warning system displayed, in large red letters, the word “LAUNCH”; a computer screen stated to the officer on duty, Soviet Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov, that it could say with “high reliability” that an American intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) had been launched and was headed toward the Soviet Union. First, it was just one missile, but then another, and another, until the system reported that a total of five Minuteman ICBMs had been launched.

“Petrov had to make a decision: Would …

Jeff Bezos says Amazon is writing its own facial recognition laws to pitch to lawmakers

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos says his company is developing a set of laws to regulate facial recognition technology that it plans to share with federal lawmakers.

In February, the company, which has faced escalating scrutiny over its controversial facial recognition tech, called Amazon Rekognition, published guidelines it said it hoped lawmakers would consider enacting. Now Amazon is taking another step, Bezos told reporters in a surprise appearance following Amazon’s annual Alexa gadget event in Seattle on Wednesday.

“Our public policy team is actually working on facial recognition regulations; it makes a lot of sense to regulate that,” Bezos said …

Amazon’s Alexa-powered ambitions contradict its promises to protect your privacy

During an event at its Seattle headquarters on Wednesday, Amazon unveiled 15 new gadgets — many of which are integrated with its artificially intelligent voice assistant Alexa — including a pretty ridiculous Alexa-enabled ring (yes, for your finger) called Echo Loop, a kind of intriguing set of Alexa earbuds dubbed Echo Buds, and a pair of Alexa eyeglasses called Echo Frames.

But the day’s keynote presentation, delivered by top Amazon executive Dave Limp, began on a now-familiar note for Big Tech companies adjusting to a new era of media and regulatory scrutiny: a nod to the idea …

Vox Sentences: Call and response

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 White House “transcript” of the Trump-Zelensky call is released; a mountain glacier in Italy is on the verge of collapse.


A quid pro quo?

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
  • As President Trump promised on Twitter yesterday, the White House released a transcript — well, sort of — of the president’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in July. [Washington Post / Devlin Barrett,

The Trump administration just inked another deal making it harder to claim asylum in the US

The Trump administration signed an agreement Wednesday that could require immigrants coming to America through Honduras to seek asylum there, regardless of whether they’re seeking help from the United States under international torture agreements or the asylum system.

The administration signed a similar agreement with El Salvador on Friday and another with Guatemala in July. Neither has gone into effect yet. Together, the three countries are the source of most migrants crossing the southern border.

The terms of Wednesday’s agreement, which are not yet public, allow the US to send migrants back to Honduras, in addition to El Salvador and …

Welcome to the June issue of Vox’s The Highlight

Facebook, and by extension, Instagram, doesn’t let weapons companies or retailers advertise the use or sale of firearms. But the rule doesn’t apply to gun influencers. In this month’s cover story, we go inside the world of the hired guns who have emerged to fill the gap: a sea of women whose cheery posts posing in athletic wear with gun pockets can skirt the rules.

Also in this issue, we explore the distinctly human need for speed; talk with journalist Anna Fifield’s on her jaw-dropping revelations about the misunderstood life of Kim Jong Un; look at a social

Scientists: humans are rapidly turning oceans into warm, acidifying basins hostile to life

Without the world’s oceans, climate change would actually be much worse. The oceans directly absorb about a quarter of the CO2 we have been spewing into the atmosphere. They also take in most of the heat generated by global warming. And they have been a buffer against even greater warming. But though they protect us, the oceans also are in great distress, as a sweeping new report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change clearly shows.

“The ocean has been acting like a sponge, absorbing heat and carbon dioxide to regulate global temperatures, but it can’t keep up,” IPCC …