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Vox Sentences: Mike Flynn goes for the immunity challenge on the Trump reality show

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Another blow to democracy in Venezuela; Michael Flynn seeks immunity; Arkansas’s arguably cruel and unusual execution schedule.

Cries of a coup in Venezuela

World Leaders Address The UN General Assembly
Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela
Photo by John Moore/Getty Images
  • Late Wednesday night, Venezuela’s supreme court seized power from its elected legislature, the National Assembly. The move further consolidates the power of President Nicolás Maduro, and is an enormous blow to the country’s struggling democracy. [New York Times / Nicholas Casey, Patricia Torres]
  • Opponents of President Maduro — some of whom held demonstrations Thursday — and their international allies allege that the move is a “self-inflicted coup.” [BBC]
  • Surprisingly, on Friday, Venezuela’s top prosecutor, Luisa Ortega Díaz — an ally of Maduro’s — came out in agreement with Maduro’s critics. "We call for reflection, so that the democratic path can be retaken,” she said, calling her denouncement an “unavoidable historical duty.”
  • Maduro has been in power since 2013, when he narrowly won the presidency after President Hugo Chávez died. The National Assembly, however, is led by the opposition party, and (perhaps not coincidentally) Maduro’s allies have accused it of acting in “contempt,” leading to its loss of power this week. [Reuters / Diego Oré, Andrew Cawthorne]
  • This power grab is the latest in the ongoing turmoil in Venezuela. The country is in the midst of an economic crisis; it faces the possibility of being barred from a coalition of North and South American countries called the Organization of American States for violating its charter, due to opposition party repression and human rights abuses; and it recently lost its right to vote in the UN General Assembly for the second year in a row. [New York Times / editorial board]

Flynn seeks to speak — with immunity

President Trump Holds Joint Press Conference With Japanese PM Shinzo Abe
Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

Death row in Arkansas

Police officers gather to remove activists during an anti death penalty protest in front of the US Supreme Court January 17, 2017, in Washington, DC.


  • Penn researchers did lab experiments testing male aggression both before and after Election Day last year. Take a wild guess how Trump winning changed things [Knowledge@Wharton]
  • Coal mines in the US employ fewer people than Arby’s. [Washington Post / Christopher Ingraham]
  • Thomas Royen, an obscure retired statistician in Germany, proved a decades-old mathematical conjecture that some mathematicians spent their whole careers working on. But few people in the math world seemed to notice. [Quanta / Natalie Wolchover]
  • Mohammed Abad and Andrew Wardle are the two men on earth with bionic penises. They do not like each other at all. [MEL / C. Brian Smith]
  • Uwe Boll was widely regarded as the single worst film director in the world. Now he’s retired and runs a restaurant in Vancouver. And he’s still mad as hell about the whole thing. [Vanity Fair / Darryn King]


  • “Imagine that door is soundproof and the only noises you’ve heard for almost two years are your own voice and the occasional faint metallic banging as someone loses his mind in another room near yours. Imagine being so deprived of stimulation that watching ants race to a chunk of cookie for hours was the most exciting event of those nearly 600 days. What you are imagining was my life.” [Minnesota Star Tribune / Robert Ives]
  • “We are gang-less.” [Senior Senate source to Politico / Burgess Everett and Seung Min Kim]
  • “I guess I just don’t know if I’m a good person because I’m a good person or if I’m a good person because I was taught to be a good person.” [Anonymous to NYT Mag / Taffy Brodesser-Akner]
  • “There is a thing all parents do. Our grandparents did it. Our parents did it. We do it, too. Everyone accepts it, as if parents always parented this way. There is even a cultural touchstone — that one scene from the movie we all loved, with that quote all parents say to each other ironically.” [Los Angeles Magazine / Joe Donatelli]
  • “Turns out that when you live with a federal symbol up close and personal, day in and day out, it’s a little harder to think of them as majestic. Bald eagles show up in the local police blotter alongside reports of drunk fishermen passing out in the wrong bunk or taking off in someone else’s forklift.” [California Sunday / Laurel Braitman]

Watch this: Why losing a dog feels like losing a family member

Their life arc is our life arc — from city to suburb, from tragedy to bliss. [YouTube / Dion Lee, Alvin Chang]

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