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Vox Sentences: Terror in Barcelona

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More than a dozen people are dead in a terrorist attack in Barcelona; student activists are jailed in Hong Kong; Oregon passes a sweeping law increasing access to abortion and contraception.

Spain is the site of the latest terror attack

David Ramos/Getty Images
  • Thirteen people are dead and at least 100 more have been hospitalized, after a van drove into a crowded pedestrian area in Barcelona today. [Washington Post / William Booth, Karla Adam, and Brian Murphy]
  • Spanish officials have declared the incident a terrorist attack and have so far made two arrests. [Associated Press]
  • The Islamic State said its followers were responsible for the attack a few hours after it occurred, in a statement the terror group put out through its news agency. [Rukmini Callamachi via Twitter]
  • The Spanish newspaper El Pais identified one of the attackers as a Moroccan-born man named Driss Oukabir, and said Oukabir had rented the van. [El Pais / F. Javier Barroso]
  • The Barcelona incident highlights a disturbing new trend in terror attacks, where vehicles are being used to mow people down. In Europe, van attacks have been used in France, Germany, Britain, and now Spain. [The Telegraph / Ed Wisesman]
  • Foreign and domestic terrorists are both employing the tactic; for instance, a white nationalist plowed into a crowd of protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, this weekend, killing one woman and injuring others. And in London, a British man drove a rented van into a crowd of people standing outside a mosque. [CNN / Holly Yan]
  • President Trump responded quickly to today’s terror attack, pledging support to the Spanish government. It’s worth noting he took much longer to condemn the Charlottesville incident in his own country. [The Guardian / Julian Borger]

Hong Kong’s “umbrella movement” activists are jailed

Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images
  • Three young activists in Hong Kong have been jailed for their role in organizing massive, peaceful protests against the Chinese government in 2014. [NYT / Alan Wong]
  • Joshua Wong, Alex Chow, and Nathan Law were initially supposed to do community service, but prosecutors wanted a harsher punishment, asking for the three men to serve jail time. [Washington Post / Emily Rauhala]
  • The jailings will have a chilling effect on Hong Kong, which was promised some autonomy from China and where free speech against the government has been tolerated in the past. [Associated Press / Kelvin Chan]
  • In 2014, protests organized by Wong, student groups, and pro-democracy organizations grew into a massive demonstration of more than 10,000 people. The protests were nicknamed the “umbrella movement,” after protesters held up umbrellas to guard against the elements and police pepper spray. [BBC]
  • Their main demand was free elections, after news that Beijing’s government planned to vet candidates running for Hong Kong’s top government position. [The Guardian / Tom McCarthy]
  • Even though Hong Kong has its own government, there is increasing concern about encroachment and influence from Beijing, most recently as Hong Kong agreed to let Chinese police enforce laws there. [The Guardian / Benjamin Haas]

Oregon doesn't want women to have to pay for abortion or birth control

Scott Olson/Getty Images
  • As many states in the US pass restrictions on abortion, Oregon is doing the exact opposite. Yesterday, Gov. Kate Brown signed a sweeping abortion bill into law, which requires health insurers to cover birth control and abortion without charging a copay. [Washington Post / Sandhya Somashekhar]
  • But the new law will cover much more than abortion; it will also cover STI screenings and the cost of postpartum care for new mothers. [The Oregonian / Janaki Chada]
  • The state will also reimburse health care providers that provide reproductive health care to undocumented immigrants. [The Oregonian / Janaki Chada]
  • Many consider it the most progressive reproductive health law now in effect in the country, because it allows people to be covered no matter their gender identity, immigration status, or their ability to pay. Republican lawmakers in Oregon have vowed there will be lawsuits challenging the legality of taxpayers funding abortions. [Associated Press / Andrew Selsky]
  • However, Oregon is not the first state to require health insurers to cover abortion; California and New York also require private insurers to cover the procedure. [Kaiser Family Foundation / Laurie Sobel, Alina Salganicoff, and Caroline Rosenzweig]


  • Colorado is bracing for clogged highways this weekend as thousands of solar eclipse tourists drive toward neighboring states Wyoming and Nebraska, parts of which are in the total eclipse zone. [The Gazette / Seth Boster]
  • Academic tenure is supposed to protect professors from being fired if someone disagrees with their research. But some students believe the system is also shielding some professors accused of sexual harassment. [BuzzFeed / Tyler Kingkade]
  • A cartoon explainer of socialism’s history in America and the reasons it’s making a comeback. [The Nib / Andy Warner and Jackie Roche]
  • Climate change is bad news for many species — but warming temperatures are a boost to at least one species of endangered butterfly, spotted in Scotland for the first time since the late 1880s. [The Guardian / Patrick Barkham]
  • There’s a fierce battle playing out in Africa over access to birth control, which is extremely low in some parts of the continent. Those trying to increase access are up against misleading campaigns portraying birth control as immoral and physically dangerous to women. [Pacific Standard / Kathryn Joyce]


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