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Vox Sentences: Marine Le Pen lifted a speech … from another presidential candidate

Dylan Matthews is a senior correspondent and head writer for Vox's Future Perfect section and has worked at Vox since 2014. He is particularly interested in global health and pandemic prevention, anti-poverty efforts, economic policy and theory, and conflicts about the right way to do philanthropy.

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

An unarmed black teenager killed by police; France’s far-right candidate accused of plagiarism; Trump and Putin talk Syria peacekeeping efforts.

Jordan Edwards, 15, was killed by a police officer while leaving a party

Jordan Edwards, a 15-year-old who was shot and killed by police in Balch Springs, Texas. Mesquite Independent School District via WFAA
  • On Saturday night, an unarmed black 15-year-old named Jordan Edwards was shot and killed by a police officer in Balch Springs, Texas. Edwards was sitting in the passenger seat of a moving vehicle along with his brother and three other unarmed teens who were all trying to leave a house party that had gotten out of control. An officer who arrived on the scene to investigate the party fired at the car and hit Edwards in the head. [WFAA / Bradley Blackburn]
  • Edwards’s 16-year-old brother was driving the car, and the group drove a block before realizing Jordan had been hit. Edwards’s brother reportedly stopped the car and flagged down another police cruiser that was approaching. Jordan was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. A lawyer for the Edwards family, Lee Merritt, said the boys in the car had not been drinking, and were not charged with any crimes. [Washington Post / Katie Mettler, Lindsey Bever]
  • Initially, the local police department said the officer shot at the car because it was backing toward the officer in an “aggressive manner.” However, after reviewing video of the incident, Balch Springs Police Chief Jonathan Haber said yesterday that the car was driving away from the officer when Edwards was shot. An updated statement from the police department describes the incident: “The vehicle then pulled forward as the officer continued to approach the vehicle giving verbal commands. The vehicle continued the main roadway driving away from the officer as an officer shot into the vehicle striking the passenger.” [New York Times / Liam Stack, Christine Hauser]
  • Haber said of the shooting, “We have a certain set of core values, and it did not meet our core values.” He has declined to release the footage or the name of the officer. [NBC News / Safia Samee Ali, Tim Stelloh]
  • Edwards is, according to the Washington Post, the youngest person to be shot and killed by police in 2017 so far. Of the more than 330 people who have been fatally shot by police this year, 25 percent have been black and 7 percent have been unarmed. [Washington Post / Katie Mettler, Lindsey Bever, Wesley Lowery]
  • Edwards’s death fits into a pattern of violence. When accounting for population, black Americans are more than twice as likely to be killed by police as white Americans. For black youth, the numbers are much worse. Black teenagers are 21 times more likely to be shot and killed by police compared with white teenagers. [Vox / German Lopez]
  • A vigil for Jordan Edwards was held outside Mesquite High School yesterday evening, where friends of the teenager shared memories. His funeral will take place Saturday, and a fundraiser for his family has been set up here. His family has requested that as they prepare for the funeral, no marches or protests take place in his name or in theirs. [WFAA / Jobin Panicker​]

The speech Marine Le Pen did not pen

Marine Le Pen
  • On April 15, French Republican presidential candidate François Fillon gave a speech in which he discussed France’s “three maritime borders” and the country’s relationship with Italy, which he called “our sister,” and quoted former French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau. Yesterday, far-right candidate Marine Le Pen did the same, pretty much verbatim. [CNN / James Master, Maud Le Rest]
  • By yesterday evening, French media had noted the similarities between the speeches and Le Pen was fighting accusations of plagiarism. She is hoping to win over conservative Fillon supporters for a runoff race on May 7 when she faces centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron, whom she trails in polls by roughly 20 percent. [New York Times / Aurelien Breeden]
  • Le Pen’s team tried to downplay the accusations. Her party’s deputy leader, Florian Philippot, called the speech a “nod-and-a-wink” to Fillon’s and said the party “completely owned up” to the similarities between the speeches. Her campaign manager, David Rachline, tried to cast Le Pen’s speech as a tribute to Fillon, saying the overlap “was appreciated, including by all of Mr. Fillon’s supporters.” [Reuters / Ingrid Melander, Sudip Kar-Gupta]
  • Though Fillon has not publicly acknowledged the incident, a video of his speech remains on his website, and a video of Le Pen’s is on her Facebook page. In a tweet, a comedy site that focuses on French politics shared a video of the speeches playing side by side with text that reads: “To speak to France, Marine Le Pen is forced to plagiarize WORD FOR WORD a speech of Fillon’s.” As Vox’s Sarah Wildman writes, “The similarities are so strong that you don’t much need French to get it.” [Vox / Sarah Wildman]
  • Leonid Bershidsky, raising the question of how Le Pen could so boldly paraphrase someone who was an opponent of hers mere weeks ago, argues for Bloomberg that “Fillon moved the French center-right closer to Le Pen's long-held anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim stance — and thus enabled Le Pen to quote him verbatim without batting an eyelash.” [Bloomberg / Leonid Bershidsky]
  • While Le Pen’s speech may have been too obvious an overture aimed at fans of Fillon, Macron doesn’t seem to have a chance at winning votes from supporters of the fourth top primary candidate, the far-left Jean-Luc Mélenchon. In a recent poll of Mélenchon’s supporters, 65 percent said they planned to either abstain from voting or spoil their ballot rather than vote for Macron. Mélenchon got 19.5 percent of the first-round vote, roughly 7 million people, but he and Fillon both failed to receive enough votes to qualify for the runoff. [Guardian / Kim Willsher​]

Trump and Putin discuss pushing for peace in Syria

Putin and Trump (Suzanne Cordeiro/AFP/Getty Images and Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Today, President Trump and Russian leader Vladimir Putin had a phone call during which they discussed cooperating to bring a diplomatic end to the Syrian civil war, which has displaced millions of people and killed hundreds of thousands. The Kremlin has continued to back Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and this call was the first publicly announced conversation between Trump and Putin since the US military launched 59 missiles against an airbase in Syria last month. [AP News / Julie Pace]
  • According to the White House, the two leaders discussed the idea of creating safe zones for civilians fleeing the violence, and the US committed to sending representatives to ceasefire talks in June. [The Hill / Jordan Fabian]
  • Trump and Putin also talked about meeting in person in July when the G20 summit is going on in Hamburg, Germany. [Reuters / Alexander Winning]
  • Following the call, both administrations expressed satisfaction, but nothing concrete was accomplished. A statement from the White House reads in part: “President Trump and President Putin agreed that the suffering in Syria has gone on for far too long and that all parties must do all they can to end the violence.” [New York Times / Peter Baker, Neil MacFarquhar]
  • While Trump’s missile strike against Syria seemed like a major move out of step with his predecessor’s foreign policy, most of the president’s foreign policy actually resembles Obama’s closely, particularly when it comes to Russia. Sanctions on the country following its invasion of Ukraine and its meddling in the US election remain in place, among other Obama-era initiatives and orders. [Vox / Yochi Dreazen]
  • So it will be interesting to see how this peacekeeping effort moves forward. If anything, today’s call makes it sound like, as Joshua Keating characterizes it for Slate, “the events of the past few weeks notwithstanding, Trump is following Putin’s lead on Syria.” But that approach wouldn’t necessarily help the situation or mark a major departure from the status quo, since rebel forces in Syria have long called for safe zones maintained by the US — and not by Russia — as they say they need protection from both the regime and Russian forces. [Slate / Joshua Keating]
  • Meanwhile, the violence in Syria shows little sign of letting up. Early this morning, ISIS militants attacked people in Rajm Sleibi, a town on the border between Hasakah province, which is under Kurdish control, and ISIS-held areas in the south. More than three dozen people, mostly civilians, were killed. [Washington Post / Associated Press / Zeina Karam]



  • “Type 1 diabetes, in theory, should be relatively easy to solve. That has been the mantra of researchers for the last 30 years. And I still take insulin every day.” [John Glass to Slate / Jacob Brogan]
  • "If you paid Ja Rule $10,000 for anything in 2017, you deserve whatever the fuck happens to you." [Very Smart Brothas / Dustin Seibert]
  • “Cristina, an immigrant from Mexico who arrived in the United States as a teenager in the 1980s, began to apply for a special visa for victims of abuse that would set her on a path to citizenship and her own freedom. Then last month, she told her lawyer that she no longer wanted to apply. She was too fearful, she said, not of her husband, but of the government.” [NYT / Jennifer Medina]
  • “It’s hard to pin down, on some level, the most ludicrous element of the document. Perhaps it’s the fact that the 43-page deck resembles an amalgamation of a Miami Beach spa package with selfies you might find saved on a teenager’s smartphone. Or perhaps it’s the fact that the employees who work for Fyre (yes, it’s more than just a festival, it’s an app too!) are referred to as ‘The Fyre Squad.’ Or maybe it’s that a pitch deck seeking $25 million in funding ends with a quote from the philosopher and poet Rumi, noting: ‘Seek those who light your flames.’” [Vanity Fair / Nick Bilton]
  • “Kerry Krepps, a retiree in Kansas City, Mo., has seen the lasting effects of lunch shaming. Her adult son refuses to eat peanut butter because it reminds him of middle school in western Minneapolis, when students with debt were sent to a table to make peanut butter sandwiches. ‘The humiliation has persisted for 20 years,’ she said. ‘It shows how lasting these experiences can be.’” [NYT / Bettina Elias Siegel]

Watch this: Going green shouldn’t be this hard

Going green does not need to be a sacrifice, either for us as individuals or for businesses, governments, and the economy. [University of California, Vox]

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