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Vox Sentences: The US left 80 million unexploded bombs in Laos. Now it’s helping clean them up.

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President Obama apologizes for the "secret war" in Laos; the Filipino president has some respect issues; more news at Fox News.

Buried shame and unexploded bombs

USAF Captain Billie D Tedford
  • President Obama announced Tuesday that the US would triple its aid to Laos, to find and dismantle some of the 80 million unexploded bombs left over from the US's bombing campaign between 1964 and 1973. [NYT / Mark Landler]
  • The announcement — and Obama's visit to Laos, which is the first by a sitting president — is intended as an explicit apology for the US's long-unacknowledged but devastating "secret war," conducted as part of the war in Vietnam.
  • The US dropped the equivalent of a planeload of bombs on Laos every eight minutes for nine years. [Mother Jones / Jerry Redfern and Fatima Bhojani]
  • Millions of those bombs did not explode, but only 1 percent of the "unexploded ordnance" bombs have been found. 20,000 people — including 8,000 children — have been killed or maimed by UXOs. [CNN / Rebecca Schmidt]
  • The threat has also impeded the country's development; land where bombs haven't been cleared can't be used for farms or schools. [UNICEF / Andy Brown]
  • UXOs have gotten less deadly lately (a matter of dozens of deaths per year). [AP / Josh Lederman and Kathleen Hennessey]
  • And the US government had already given Laos some money ($100 million over the past 20 years), though it was much less substantial than the president's promise now. [The Nation / John Cavanagh]
  • But some of the architects of the "secret war" — like former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger — continue to deny that the US government killed many civilians in Southeast Asia at all. [Washington Post / Karen Coates and Jerry Redfern]

So disrespectful!

Jes Aznar/Getty Images
  • President Obama was supposed to meet with recently elected Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte during his Laos visit — reportedly to ask him some pointed questions about the fact that police officers have killed 1,100 drug users since Duterte took office, with vigilantes killing 1,300 more. [Time / Rishi Iyengar]
  • But the US has canceled the meeting. [Fox News]
  • The cancellation is a diplomatic slap in the face. (For comparison, the last time the US did something like this was canceling a 2013 Obama/Putin meeting after Russia accepted Edward Snowden.) [WSJ / Carol E. Lee]
  • Duterte's offense isn't encouraging the deaths of 2,400 people, but rather his reaction in a Monday speech to news that Obama would criticize him over those deaths: "Son of a bitch, I will swear at you." [CNN / Sheena McKenzie and Kevin Liptak]
  • Both sides have expressed insincere-sounding "regrets" about the incident. It's a little odd for the Obama administration to say it canceled the meeting out of concern that the "son of a bitch" would overshadow the important issues, given that Duterte was cursing the idea of Obama bringing up those issues. [Reuters / Roberta Rampton and Manerl Mogato]
  • And it's very odd for Duterte to "regret" calling Obama a "son of a bitch," since he has used the same word to insult the US ambassador to the Philippines (and, for that matter, Pope Francis). [IBT / Christina Silva]

Fox settles with one woman, gets ditched by another

Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images
  • 21st Century Fox, the parent company of Fox News, has paid $20 million to former anchor Gretchen Carlson to settle Carson's sexual harassment suit against the network. [NPR / Bill Chappell]
  • Carlson's lawsuit has already made a huge impact at Fox: It set off a cascade of sexual assault allegations against network head Roger Ailes, leading to Ailes's ouster last month. (Gabriel Sherman has the inside story.) [NY Mag / Gabriel Sherman]
  • The Ailes fallout is continuing. Greta Van Susteren announced today that she'd left the network, reportedly because it had refused to renegotiate her contract after Ailes's departure. [CNN Money / Brian Stetler and Dylan Byers]
  • But Ailes himself doesn't appear to be in too much trouble. Even though Carlson sued Ailes personally in addition to Fox News, 21st Century Fox is reportedly paying the entire settlement. [NYT / John Koblin and Michael M. Grynbaum]
  • And Ailes appears to have a new gig (or at least some way to occupy his time): consulting for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. [Huffington Post / Jason Linkins]
  • Maybe Ailes will be able to help Trump launch what's widely expected to be his next move after losing the presidency: Trump TV. [Washington Examiner / Myra Adams]


  • America's professional softball players are some of the best athletes in the world. Why is no one paying attention? [Fusion / Kelsey McKinney]
  • Why doesn't Keeping Up With the Kardashians show the family's nannies, who make their lives possible? [NY Mag / Laura June]
  • Exam questions for a class on world history in the 2010s. [FT / Gideon Rachman]
  • Republican state Senate candidates in Iowa recently unveiled a set of TV ads … in which each of them had the exact same kids cast as their children. [Iowa Inside Line / Pat Rynard]
  • When Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has a reporter profiling him, he tries to set up that reporter with his security detail. [Washingtonian / Andy Kroll]


  • "You never make her wait. She is his mother. Now you explode the world. Yes, you have to. You say something like: 'Mrs. Booker. I have terrible, terrible news. Ernest died today.'" [NYT / Naomi Rosenberg]
  • "Most students and adults write far more in a given day than they did just 10 or 20 years ago, choosing to write to one another over social media or text message instead of talking on the phone or visiting. The more one writes, the better a writer one becomes. … There is evidence that college students are writing more rhetorically complex essays, and at double the length, than they did a generation ago." [NYT / Anne Trubek]
  • "The leaders of Theranos stood before their employees and surveyed the room. Then a chant erupted. 'Fuck you ...,' employees began yelling in unison, 'Carreyrou.' [the reporter who exposed Theranos] It began to grow louder still. 'Fuck you, Carreyrou!' Soon men and women in lab coats, and programmers in T-shirts and jeans, joined in. They were chanting with fervor: 'Fuck you, Carreyrou!,' they cried out. 'Fuck you, Carreyrou! Fuck. You. Carrey-rou!'” [Vanity Fair / Nick Bilton]
  • "Perhaps such formality was to be expected, given that both [Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander] have done their finest work as robots." [New Yorker / Anthony Lane]
  • "They told her they had found a malignancy. Cancer. 'Gilda cried,' Wilder recalled, 'but then she turned to me and said, "Thank God, finally someone believes me!"’" [Medium / Abby Norman]

Watch this: Proof of evolution that you can find on your body

You have your mom's smile, your dad's eyes, and the ear muscles of a Triassic mammal. [YouTube / Joss Fong and Sarah Turbin]