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Vox Sentences: A fine-tuned machine

Vox Sentences is your daily digest for what's happening in the world, curated by Dara Lind and Dylan Matthews. Sign up for the Vox Sentences newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday, or view the Vox Sentences archive for past editions.

Donald Trump holds the first press conference of his presidency. And what a press conference it was.


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Trump, having a great time Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images
  • Donald Trump held the first press conference of his presidency Thursday, a flabbergasting, often-disconnected-from-reality, whinging affair in which he characterized his administration as a "fine-tuned machine." [WSJ / Carol E. Lee and Damian Paletta]
  • You can read the output of that "fine-tuned machine" here, if you want to get a sense of just how mind-blowing this spectacle actually was. [Donald J. Trump via CNBC]
  • In theory, the president called the press conference to announce his nomination of Alex Acosta (a former member of the National Labor Relations Board, and assistant attorney general for civil rights under George W. Bush) to serve as secretary of labor, replacing first choice Andrew Puzder. But Trump didn't talk much about Acosta, so here's a profile. [Bloomberg / Shannon Pettypiece]
  • The president did manage to break some actual news, kind of. He clarified that his administration does, in fact, plan to issue a new executive order to replace the temporary ban on some visa holders and refugees that's been held up in court. [Vox / Dara Lind]
  • And he made some more news, though not in a good way. His aggressive, belittling response to a reporter who asked him to condemn bomb threats against synagogues — not, you might think, a hard thing to condemn — has alarmed some Jewish groups. [CNN / Eli Watkins]
  • Insofar as Trump is trying to badger the media into believing things are going well because he says they are, this press conference did not help his cause. [Vox / Andrew Prokop]
  • Insofar as he's just trying to get attention and stay in the limelight — instead of, say, his key advisers, or the people his policies are affecting — he is succeeding. [Vox / Tara Golshan]

Things are somehow getting worse for Samsung

Samsung’s Lee Jae-yong Xinhua/Lee Sang-ho via Getty Images
  • Lee Jae-yong, the de facto head of Samsung, was arrested by South Korean police today on bribery charges. [BBC]
  • The allegations against Lee stem from the scandal that led to the impeachment of South Korean President Park Geun-hye in December— involving influence peddling by her close confidante Choi Soon-sil. [Vox / Jennifer Williams]
  • In particular, Lee is being accused of inducing Park (via Choi) to approve a merger of two Samsung divisions... [Reuters / Hyunjoo Jin]
  • ...by paying millions of dollars to organizations affiliated with Choi — including having Samsung sponsor the horse-riding career of Choi's daughter, an "equestrian princess." [Reuters / Ju-min Park and Miyoung Kim]
  • It's hard to imagine this coming at a worse time for the company, which is at a strategic crossroads — its brand has been badly tainted by the fact that its batteries keep catching fire. [Vox / Timothy B. Lee]
  • The Fortune rankings of most respected brands, out Thursday for 2017, don't have Samsung in the top 50; last year, it ranked 35. [CNET / Chris Matyszczyk]
  • Lee's arrest might not be the most embarrassing thing to happen to the company in 2017, though — that would probably be the time a factory in which its fire-prone batteries are made caught fire. [The Verge / Jacob Kastrenakes]

aftermath of an ISIS bombing in Pakistan Asif Hassan/AFP/Getty Images
  • It's been a tragically busy 24 hours for the organization now officially (to the US government) known as ISIS. [USA Today / Tom Vanden Brook]
  • In Pakistan, the group claimed a suicide bombing that killed more than 70 people (and injured more than 100) outside a Sufi shrine. The bomber blew himself up in the middle of a crowd of dancing worshipers. [The Guardian / Jon Boone]
  • Sufis (a syncretic, mystic tradition in Islam) have been increasingly targeted in Pakistan in recent months, but this attack was particularly shattering. [Washington Post / Max Bearak]
  • ISIS still has only a small presence in Pakistan, but (along with its rivals, the Pakistani Taliban) it's increasingly been targeting Shiites and Sufis in bombings. [Deutsche Welle]
  • Meanwhile, in Baghdad, a car bombing claimed by ISIS killed 48 people. [BBC]
  • It's the third bombing in the Iraqi capital in the past three days (the previous two bombings killed a combined 24 people). [CNN / Yousuf Basil and Michelle Krupa]
  • The forces fighting to eliminate ISIS's territorial holdings in Iraq aren't necessarily conducting themselves pristinely, either. A new Human Rights Watch report alleges that forces trying to recapture Mosul are engaging in looting and are destroying houses without military reason. [Human Rights Watch]

Miscellaneous


Verbatim

  • "This race is like a cross between running for president and running for high school student council." [Pete Buttigieg via NBC News / Alex Seitz-Wald]
  • "The YPG was backed by U.S. air power and fighting alongside a coalition of Arab and Assyrian militias. Also within their ranks, though scantly reported, was a group of about 75 hardcore leftists, anarchists and communists from Europe and America, Belden among them, fighting to defend a socialist enclave roughly the size of Massachusetts." [Rolling Stone / Seth Harp]
  • "For most of my life, I always thought, like many Americans out there, that all terrorists were Muslim. That all immediately changed when I saw a movie called Speed 2: Cruise Control." [Clickhole / Wendell Hatosy]
  • "Our aim is to produce a hybrid elephant-mammoth embryo. Actually, it would be more like an elephant with a number of mammoth traits. We’re not there yet, but it could happen in a couple of years." [George Church to The Guardian / Hannah Devlin]
  • "The craft and professional culture of law is what makes politics possible; it is what keeps politics from spiraling into endless violence." [Boston Globe / Martha Minow and Robert Post]

Watch this: Here’s why you should stop memorizing your passwords

Have you ignored advice on using password managers? This video is for you. [YouTube / Dean Peterson and Alvin Chang]