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Vox Sentences: If you’re planning a vacation to Cuba, think again

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Democrats pull off an election night upset, one year after being annihilated by Trump and the Republicans; Trump puts new restrictions on Americans traveling to Cuba; Delhi's air pollution is out of control.


Democrats had a very good night on Tuesday

Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images
  • Democrats had a very good showing in Tuesday's elections, a rare bright spot in an otherwise extremely dismal political year. [Vox / Andrew Prokop]
  • Democratic candidates Ralph Northam and Phil Murphy won high-profile gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey, and Dems picked up at least 15 seats in Virginia’s House of Delegates. They may not gain full control of that state’s legislature, but they’ve at least robbed Republicans of a decisive majority. [Washington Post / Fenit Nirappil]
  • The wins extended beyond those two states; Democrats also won big in municipal and local elections around the country. On top of that, there were a number of female, minority, and LGBTQ candidates who made history in states from New Hampshire to Montana, becoming the first woman, first African-American, or first openly gay person elected to office. [Vox / Ella Nilsen]
  • The most high-profile of these wins came from Democrat Danica Roem, who became the first transgender lawmaker in Virginia’s history, beating a longtime Republican incumbent who authored a bathroom bill restricting public bathroom use for transgender people. [Vox / Ella Nilsen]
  • So how to explain this blue wave just one year after Democrats got crushed by Republicans? It’s the first signs of a real Trump backlash, according to political analysts. [Larry Sabato via Twitter]
  • That people are starting to show their distaste for Trump at the polls is a very good sign for Democrats heading into the 2018 midterms. But the wins could also be deceptive because many took place in cities and states that were already left-leaning. [NYT / Nate Cohn]
  • While the party that’s not in power historically does well in midterm elections, Democrats face a steep uphill battle to up their numbers in the US House and Senate. [Vox / Andrew Prokop]
  • The things that Democrats have in their favor include a president whose approval rating was in the toilet as soon as he took office and is only getting worse, coupled with a Republican-led Congress that is struggling to get anything done and being criticized by plenty of GOP members. [Washington Post / Paul Kane]
  • Democrats have their own problems, but they managed to surprise everyone — including themselves — on Tuesday night. They have another year to see if they can replicate and expand on that success. [Politico / Gabriel Debenedetti]

Trump just made it a lot harder for Americans to travel to Cuba

Yamil Lage/AFP/Getty Images
  • The Trump administration introduced new restrictions on Cuba that it's been promising since the summer, making it more difficult for Americans to travel to the country and banning 180 Cuban entities from doing business with Americans. [NYT / Gardiner Harris]
  • The rules are intended to squeeze Cuba economically and are a return to the days before President Obama (who pursued a more relaxed relationship with the communist island nation). [Washington Post / Karen DeYoung]
  • Rather than being able to travel to Cuba on their own, American tourists will have to book their travel through companies approved by the government. [LA Times / Tracy Wilkinson]
  • The new restrictions come as the Cuban and American governments are investigation mysterious attacks on US diplomats in Havana that physically injured them and left some with minor brain injuries. But the US is maintaining that the new restrictions have nothing to do with those incidents. [CBS News / Steve Dorsey]
  • Ironically, the move hasn’t won Trump much praise. Republican lawmakers in Miami have said they don’t think these new rules go far enough, while pro-Cuba engagement groups are criticizing Trump as being too heavy-handed. [Miami Herald / Patricia Mazzei, Nora Gamez Torres, and Mimi Whitefield]
  • If you had your travel to Cuba booked before today’s announcement, you’re all set to go; the Trump administration said it won’t interfere with existing travel plans but is restricting future ones. [Reuters / Roberta Rampton and Susan Heavey]

Delhi’s deadly air

Sushil Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
  • Air quality has gotten so bad in the Indian city of Delhi that schools are closed for the rest of the week, and the city government is taking other measures to try to curb the smog. [Hindustan Times / Sweta Goswami and Ritam Halder]
  • Smog from emissions, fireworks, and smoke from local farmers burning crops is so bad that one government official likened the city’s air to “a gas chamber.” Delhi's air quality reading shows particle levels above 500; any level above 25 is unsafe, per the World Health Organization. [CNN / Huizhong Wu]
  • The current smog levels are far worse than in Beijing, and much worse that they are during other parts of the year in Delhi. Those two cities consistently top the charts for worst air quality worldwide. [Guardian / Michael Safi]
  • Weather (specifically, humid air and a lack of wind) is complicating the situation by letting smog settle. And things are likely to worsen throughout the week unless the weather changes. [Economic Times]
  • Government officials have issued health advisories telling people to avoid going outside, and have banned trucks from entering city limits, but have stopped short of declaring an actual state of emergency. [Indian Express]
  • Though the government hasn’t declared a public emergency, Indian medical associations have. Doctors warn that breathing in the air now is like smoking 50 cigarettes in a day, and are worried about the impact on people’s lungs. [Al Jazeera / Zeenat Saberin]
  • India’s government recently tried to ban fireworks during the Hindu celebration of Diwali to help curb pollution. But the ban sparked an outcry, and a lot of people still set off fireworks regardless. [NPR / Bill Chappell]

Miscellaneous

  • Forget pivoting to video. A mattress company is pivoting to print. [WSJ / Jack Marshall]
  • The next theme for the Costume Institute’s famous Met Gala is ... very red. And very Catholic. [Vogue / Laird Borrelli-Persson]
  • Scientists are trying to map your microbiome, the large and complex collection of bacteria that reside in your gut, intestines, and other parts of your body. [NYT / Jane Brody]
  • The clothing company Lularoe is pushing back against reports that it is a pyramid scheme, even as it’s facing two lawsuits accusing it of ripping off its salespeople. [BuzzFeed / Stephanie McNeal]
  • Facebook is trying out an ambitious experiment aimed at curbing fake news by promoting comments that question the truth of its content by calling stories fake. So far, people hate the new feature. [BBC]

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