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Vox Sentences: Foxconned

Vox Sentences is your daily digest for what's happening in the world, curated by Ella Nilsen. Sign up for the Vox Sentences newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday, or view the Vox Sentences archive for past editions.

China and India are on a collision course over disputed land; the US Department of Justice says the law doesn't cover LGBTQ people from workplace discrimination; tech giant Foxconn could be coming to Wisconsin.

The world’s most controversial dirt road

Lintao Zhang/Getty Images
  • An unpaved road on a stretch of land just 34 square miles could be pushing India and China closer to war. [NYT / Steven Lee Myers, Ellen Barry and Max Fisher]
  • For the fourth week, the two world powers are facing each other in an armed standoff over a disputed stretch of territory in the Himalayan Mountains. [The Diplomat / Ankit Panda]
  • Tensions between the two major world powers have been escalating for months, but the thing that really prompted the standoff is when China’s military started expanding a dirt road through the Doklam Plateau. [BuzzFeed / Megha Rajagopalan]
  • The stretch of road is technically situated in the tiny neighboring state of Bhutan, which sits smack dab in the middle of China and India. Bhutanese soldiers discovered the road and contacted its ally India to send it reinforcements. [NYT / Steven Lee Myers, Ellen Barry and Max Fisher]
  • India’s move across the border is what really upset China, which says it has claim over the disputed territory. For its part, India reportedly was concerned that China’s expansion of the road could lead to encroachment on a key road it controls nearby. [The Diplomat / Ankit Panda]
  • The conflict over this territory is old, and India and China actually went to war over it in 1962, which resulted in a tenuous stalemate. [South China Morning Post / Tsering Shakya]
  • Leaders from each country are meeting with each other, but both have also made clear they don’t intend to back down yet. [China Daily / Wang Qingyun]

A no good, very bad day for LGBTQ rights

Omer Messinger/NurPhoto via Getty Images
  • The same day that President Donald Trump set off a firestorm by announcing a ban on transgender people serving in the military, his Justice Department launched another volley at LGBTQ rights.
  • Yesterday, the Department of Justice filed paperwork arguing that a major federal civil rights law doesn’t protect employees from discrimination based on their sexual orientation. [Vox / German Lopez]
  • This is a change from the Obama administration and the protections laid out by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which is charged with dealing with complaints of discrimination. Recently, the EEOC expanded the ban on sex discrimination from protecting women to also protect LGBTQ employees as well. [Vox / German Lopez]
  • The Department of Justice’s position also goes against a ruling made this spring by the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit that said civil rights law protects LGBTQ employees from discrimination. [Slate / Mark Joseph Stern]
  • Even with that court rule, the DOJ’s argument is basically that because Congress has not codified laws on sexual orientation, judges should not be interpreting the law. [BuzzFeed / Dominic Holden]
  • So what happens now? The case could eventually advance to the US Supreme Court for a final ruling. [Washington Post / Fred Barbash]

Foxconn is coming to Wisconsin (maybe)

Craig Ferguson/LightRocket via Getty Images
  • Foxconn, the Taiwanese tech manufacturing giant that makes smartphones and other gadgets, announced yesterday it’s in talks to build a huge factory in Wisconsin to build display screens for TVs. [NYT / Nelson Schwartz and Vindu Goel]
  • The news was hailed as a jobs creation win by President Trump in an official White House announcement. Foxconn estimated the deal will bring 3,000 jobs to the state, with the potential to grow to 13,000. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / Patrick Marley and Jason Stein]
  • But the deal is far from done, and Foxconn has plenty of time to back out, as they’ve done in the past. [MarketWatch / Cara Linnane]
  • In 2014 the company announced it was building a new plant in Pennsylvania and bringing 500 jobs there. It never happened. [Washington Post / Todd Frankel]
  • Wisconsin is trying to sweeten the deal to entice the Taiwanese giant, giving them a $3 billion, 15-year tax credit incentive package. [WSJ / Tripp Mickle and Rebecca Ballhaus]
  • That means the state is paying around as much as $1 million per job created, potentially making the deal better for Foxconn than it is for Wisconsin. [Bloomberg / Tim Culpan]
  • The other thing to watch out for is whether Foxconn will really hire up to 13,000 people as it’s hinted, or stick to its bottom line using automation. [Bloomberg / Tim Culpan]


  • Scientists are trying to figure out why sperm count is plummeting in the world’s richest countries. [New Scientist]
  • SoundCloud used to be known as the independent streaming service for musicians who didn’t want to be burdened by the demands of a label. For a while, everything was going well, until the company was toppled by its own success. [Pitchfork / Marc Hogan]
  • The beloved birthday tradition of blowing out your candles is really just a way to spray your cake with a bunch of germs. [The Atlantic / Sarah Zhang]
  • The man who invented graphs in the late 1700s was a “Forrest Gump of the Enlightenment,” who had little regard for the well-established practice of making rhetorical arguments and a penchant for trouble. [Atlas Obscura / Cara Giaimo]
  • The comprehensive case to be made for turning off all (well, most) your push notifications. [Wired / David Pierce]


  • "I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock." [Anthony Scaramucci to The New Yorker / Ryan Lizza]
  • “Indeed, the only point of actually being here in a physical sense is to transmit the details on here to somebody else who’s there...Instagramming a picture of the awesome concert you’re at so that everybody who’s there wishes they were here—just as those of us who are here can peruse Instagram and wish we were somewhere else.” [JSTOR Daily / Alexandra Samuel]
  • “The beauty of Saguache County can be an inconvenient one, though, particularly in the 21st century: It has some of the worst internet in the country. That’s in part because of the mountains and the isolation they bring.” [FiveThirtyEight / Clare Malone]
  • “If you and your spouse want to compete in the Wife Carrying World Championships, you must come to Finland. The Mobile Phone Throwing World Championships? Finland. The World Berry Picking Championship and the Air Guitar World Championships? Finland and Finland.” [NYT / Andrew Keh]
  • “Nothing prepares you for this. I didn’t campaign to be the mayor of London and go to funerals.” [Sadiq Khan to The New Yorker / Sam Knight]

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