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Vox Sentences: Here today, Sean tomorrow

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Spicer is out as press secretary; cholera continues to devastate Yemen; a Sicilian mayor is trying to stop an alt-right group from intercepting humanitarian boats that help migrants.


Spicey, out

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
  • Sean Spicer is out; Anthony Scaramucci is in. [NYT / Glenn Thrush]
  • After a short six months on the job, White House press secretary Sean Spicer resigned today because he vehemently objected to President Trump hiring New York financier Scaramucci (also known as “Mooch”) as White House communications director, which would have made him Spicer’s new boss. [Washington Post / Abby Phillip, Ashley Parker, and Damian Paletta]
  • Trump offered Scaramucci the job Friday morning, according to the New York Times. Two hours later, Spicer had quit. [NYT / Glenn Thrush]
  • Spicer’s public profile had already diminished in the past few months. He was holding fewer press briefings, leaving that task to Deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders (who is taking over Spicer's role). [Associated Press]
  • Spicer’s departure is evidence of a rift between two distinct camps in the White House over Scaramucci’s hiring, with Trump’s family members including daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law/presidential adviser Jared Kushner wanting to bring on the New York financier, and Spicer, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and chief strategist Steve Bannon opposing the move. [Axios / Jonathan Swan]
  • It’s also the latest sign that the White House cannot get its act together. Trump has been in office a grand total of six months. In that time, nine people working for him have either resigned or been fired. (Not counting dozens of US attorneys and career officials also laid off). [Washington Post / Philip Bump]
  • Also, RIP Melissa McCarthy’s Sean Spicer impression. [Saturday Night Live]

Disease is becoming a weapon in Yemen’s civil war

Stringer/AFP/Getty Images
  • Cholera is devastating the population in war-torn Yemen, but aid organizations are telling people to prepare for the outbreak to get worse. [Associated Press]
  • The country is about to start its months-long monsoon season, and the rains could worsen the spread of cholera, which people contract from drinking contaminated water. [World Health Organization]
  • Yemen's cholera epidemic has already been declared the world’s worst. It’s spread to all parts of the country and claimed 1,800 lives; there are more than 200,000 confirmed cases, and 5,000 more are being confirmed per day, according to the United Nations. [UNICEF]
  • Many of the deaths are children, and Oxfam estimates the toll could rise to more than 600,000. [UNICEF]
  • The disease has spread so far that the UN recently reversed a decision to try to vaccinate people in Yemen, as doing so would prove ineffective against the spread. [NYT / Nick Cumming-Bruce and Rick Gladstone]
  • Yemen is in the middle of a brutal civil war between forces loyal to the current government and Houthi rebels; each group controls part of the country. [Al Jazeera / Faisal Edroos and Yarno Ritzen]
  • Other governments in the region are propping up each side, with the Shia Houthis getting support from Iran and Sunni government forces receiving the backing of neighboring Saudi Arabia. [BBC News]
  • Civilians bear the brunt of the fighting, but besides conventional weapons, diseases like cholera are also being used in the fight. [Stat / Homer Venters]
  • Hospitals and water treatment facilities are being targeted in the fighting, making it much easier for water to be contaminated and much more difficult for people to receive treatment. [Vox / Rebecca Tan]

An alt-right group in Europe is trying to intercept migrants

Paolo Manzo/NurPhoto via Getty Images
  • For the past few weeks, an alt-right group that calls itself “Generation Identity” has been preparing to launch a sea campaign, stopping humanitarian ships that are helping migrants attempting to flee to Europe. [Vox / Sarah Wildman]
  • Now a mayor in Sicily is trying to stop that from happening. Enzo Bianco of Catania is trying to get authorities in Sicily to deny Generation Identity’s ships from docking in his city, before they arrive. [The Guardian / Angela Giuffrida]
  • Generation Identity has been actively fundraising in the past few months to get a boat and launch a campaign to intercept migrant and humanitarian vessels, but it has not started its mission. [DW / Alastair Walsh]
  • The group has been around for a couple of years, and formed in response to the rising number of migrants fleeing war in the Middle East and Africa and seeking refuge in Europe. [DW / Alastair Walsh]
  • The United Nations estimates that more than 2,000 migrants have drowned while attempting to cross the Mediterranean this year alone. Humanitarian groups and NGOs are some of the main organizations helping to rescue migrants. [IOM]
  • Meanwhile, European countries are trying to limit the number of migrants coming across their border. Italy recently threatened to close its ports to migrants, saying it’s reached critical mass and complaining the European Union has done little to provide assistance. [The Independent / Lizzie Dearden]

Miscellaneous

  • After the 2016 election, Republicans were in the best spot they could have hoped for to repeal Obamacare. But their efforts only seem to be making the law more popular, even among people who used to hate it. [NYT / Kate Zernike and Abby Goodnough]
  • The quietest place in the United States (according to measurable decibel levels) is one square inch, tucked into a rainforest in Olympia, Washington, and marked by a small red pebble. [Atlas Obscura]
  • Japan’s government is so worried about that country’s declining birth rate that it is literally paying people to go on dates. But economists say the country’s shifting gender dynamics and lack of good jobs for men are bigger factors. [Kouta Takada to the Atlantic / Alana Semuels]
  • Mudslides and intense rainfall closed a popular driving route in Big Sur, California, and it’s having a huge impact on the local economy there, to the tune of $500,000 per day. [WSJ / Jim Carlton]
  • There’s more bad news for big tobacco: China has been levying huge taxes on cigarettes to get people to stop smoking, and there’s more evidence to show that the high costs are actually working. [Bloomberg / Sterling Wong]

Verbatim

  • “When I moved to Sacramento I thought I knew everything about humidity. Then I came to Washington, and there’s a sort of weather you can wear.” [California Rep. Tom McClintock to Washington Post / T. Rees Shapiro]
  • “On a scale of desirability, the house for sale on Whittner Drive in Land O' Lakes would rank fairly low. It's a short sale; it sits on an unstabilized sinkhole and it's within a few miles of two houses that collapsed into a gargantuan hole July 16.” [Tampa Bay Times / Susan Taylor Martin]
  • “Although, and I want to make this clear, especially because you're the HuffPost, children don't deserve to laugh as much as adults because they're not aware of their own mortality. But that doesn't mean that they shouldn't be compelled to laugh.” [T.J. Miller to HuffPost / Claire Fallon]
  • “In each room, Ms. Gabe, tucked safely under an umbrella, could press a button that activated a sprinkler in the ceiling. ... Jets of warm air blew it all dry. The full cycle took less than an hour. Runoff escaped through drains in Ms. Gabe’s almost imperceptibly sloping floors. It was channeled outside and straight through her doghouse, where the dog was washed in the bargain.” [NYT / Margalit Fox]
  • “For me, Bennington’s singing has always felt athletic, determined, wildly urgent — like a long-distance runner just barely hurling his depleted body across a finish line. Sometimes, in the midst of a particularly furious run, it can seem as if we are actually hearing his vocal cords separating, fraying, going up in flames.” [New Yorker / Amanda Petrusich]

Watch this: Why white supremacists love Tucker Carlson

Tucker Carlson is the new king of Fox News, hosting the most-watched news show on cable. But he's also become a hero to white supremacists like David Duke and Richard Spencer. To understand why, you need to look at the way he talks about immigrants. [YouTube / Carlos Maza and Coleman Lowndes]


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