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Vox Sentences: No one knows what’s going to happen in Alabama

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Alabama prepares for election day; an attempted terrorist attack in New York snarls the morning commute; Venezuela slides further into dictatorship.

Jones-ing for a win

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  • Alabama residents head to the polls tomorrow to vote for a new US senator, in a race that has captured the attention of the country. [Vox / Brian Resnick]
  • Democrat Doug Jones, a civil rights attorney, is facing Republican Roy Moore, the former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, who has been accused by multiple Alabama women of sexual assault and harassment (some of whom were underage when it happened). [Washington Post / Stephanie McCrummen, Beth Reinhard, and Alice Crites]
  • The sex abuse allegations against Moore have become the most explosive story of the campaign so far. Multiple Republicans pulled their support for Moore, and some senators flatly said he should drop out of the race. [CBS News / Rebecca Shabad]
  • And for a while, it put a serious dent in Moore's polling numbers, with Jones racing ahead in the polls for a time. But after the initial allegations, and an endorsement from President Trump (who is facing his own sexual assault allegations), Moore’s poll numbers have clawed their way back. [NPR / Jessica Taylor]
  • As a result, the state of play is really hard to tell, with the polling spread all over the place. A Fox News poll released today showed the Democratic candidate 10 points ahead, while other polls have Moore up by 9 points. [RealClearPolitics]
  • The antics of the campaign are appearing to galvanize voters — Alabama officials are preparing for a turnout much higher than usual, with the number of absentee ballots in the election six times higher than the primary or runoff elections earlier this year. [ / Paul Gattis]
  • The story out of Alabama will be explosive no matter who wins; voters in a deeply red state will either send a Democrat to Washington or they’ll send a man accused of pursuing young teenage girls, who is likely to face an immediate Senate ethics investigation if he wins. [The Hill / Mallory Shelbourne]

Today’s attempted terrorist attack in NYC could have been much worse

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  • An attempted terrorist attack near the Port Authority bus and subway station in New York City snarled the Monday morning commute, but claimed no lives. [Vox / Zeeshan Aleem]
  • It could have been much worse; early in the morning, a man with a suicide bomb strapped to his chest with “a combination of Velcro and zip ties” entered the area and detonated his explosive. [NYT / Sarah Maslin Nir, Jonah Engel Bromwich, and William Rashbaum]
  • The only one gravely injured is the bomber himself, whom police later identified as 27-year-old Akayed Ullah, an immigrant from Bangladesh who was living in Brooklyn. Ullah sustained severe burns and injuries from the bomb exploding. Three other people received minor injuries. [CNN / Joe Sterling]
  • It’s unclear whether Ullah had any direct connection to ISIS, but authorities who interviewed the man said he carried out the attack in the name of the terrorist group and said he was getting revenge for Muslim deaths. [NBC News / Tom Winter, Jonathan Dienst, and Tracy Connor]
  • There will likely be more terrorist attacks like this morning’s attempted one, especially now that ISIS’s physical presence in the Middle East is diminished. With the terrorist group weakened and its self-proclaimed caliphate gone, it is telling recruits to carry out attacks in their home countries, rather than traveling to the Middle East. [Vox / Zack Beauchamp]
  • The White House quickly spotlighted the attack as a reason for the tighter vetting policies being pushed by President Trump. Ullah immigrated to the US in 2011 and was living here legally, but there is no evidence yet to tell whether he was radicalized before he came to the United States. [LA Times / Nina Agrawal]

Maduro bans the opposition

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  • Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro is further tightening his grip on power after his party swept municipal elections this weekend. [Guardian / Jonathan Watts]
  • Three of the four major opposition parties in Venezuela sat out the municipal elections to protest what they called Maduro’s dictatorial tendencies. As a result, Maduro’s socialist party won the vast majority of mayoral seats. [BBC / Katy Watson]
  • Soon after, Maduro declared that any opposition parties that sat out the weekend elections wouldn’t be allowed to compete in future ones. [CNN / Marilia Brocchetto]
  • The president insisted that he was just following the rules laid out by the country’s National Constituent Assembly, but that assembly is full of Maduro loyalists and helped give him the power to rewrite the constitution and grant himself extreme authority. Earlier this year, US officials called Maduro a “dictator” and slapped sanctions on him. [NPR / Scott Neuman]
  • With some opposition leaders under arrest, the movement against Maduro is struggling to come together, and the president is seizing the moment. [Voice of America]
  • Meanwhile, the Venezuelan economy continues to falter amid rampant corruption and problems with the oil industry. People are fleeing to other countries in droves, leading to a migrant crisis in neighboring countries like Brazil. [Reuters / Anthony Boadle]


  • Chef Mario Batali is taking a leave of absence after four female chefs accused him of groping them over a span of two decades. [Eater / Irene Plagianos and Kitty Greenwald]
  • In an attempt to alleviate student debt, Brown University is axing student loans from its financial aid packages starting next year, replacing the loans with scholarships that students don’t have to pay back. [Quartz / Amy Wang]
  • Randy Quaid, famous actor and recent backwoods Vermont transplant (as a result of some complicated legal drama), may be challenging Bernie Sanders for his US Senate seat in 2018. Or the whole thing could be the plot of a reality TV show ... no one really knows yet. [Seven Days / John Walters]
  • Rohingya Muslim women are being systematically and methodically raped by members of the Myanmar military, a tactic once condemned by the country’s de facto leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi. [Associated Press / Kristen Gelineau]


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