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Vox Sentences: Kenyans fear election chaos

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North Korea vows retaliation over latest UN sanctions; Chicago plans to sue the DOJ; unrest grows in Kenya ahead of national elections.

North Korea vows to make the US "pay dearly" for new sanctions

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  • Late last week, the United Nations Security Council hit North Korea with a fresh round of economic sanctions in response to its latest test of an intercontinental ballistic missile at the end of July. [NYT / Rick Gladstone and David Sanger]
  • The North Korean regime responded today with a direct, if vague, threat directed at the United States. In a statement, the regime vowed to continue its nuclear program, promising to retaliate against the United States with “ultimate measures,” although it did not specify what that meant. [NPR / Merrit Kennedy]
  • The sanctions primarily target North Korea’s economy, especially its mineral and seafood exports to other countries, which together account for about a third of its total exports, or about $1 billion. [Vox / Alexia Fernandez Campbell]
  • Since its first missile test in 2006, North Korea has been under sanctions from multiple countries including the US, EU, South Korea, and Japan — as well as the United Nations. These sanctions are stronger; they’re escalating caps on exports into full-fledged bans. [Washington Post / Adam Taylor]
  • It’s worth noting that China participated in drafting the latest sanctions, showing that a longtime ally of North Korea is now pushing back hard against its nuclear ambitions, too. But many are waiting to see if this is just talk from China, or if the country will continue to provide economic assistance to the regime. [USA Today / John Bacon]
  • These sanctions are bad news for North Korea, but it’s so far unclear whether they’ll actually help halt the country’s fast-growing nuclear program, which has already successfully tested weapons capable of hitting the continental US. [CNN / Zachary Cohen and Barbara Starr]
  • In spite of the sanctions, many foreign policy experts believe North Korea still will not disarm itself anytime soon. Some of these experts are urging US officials to change their strategy from requiring full disarmament from North Korea to accepting the existence of the country’s weapons program. [Foreign Policy / David Lai and Alyssa Blair]

Return of the Rahm

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  • A couple weeks ago, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the Justice Department was taking another step to go after sanctuary cities that shelter illegal immigrants: taking away their federal funding. [Vox / Dara Lind]
  • Now, one of those sanctuary cities is fighting back. Chicago is preparing to sue the US Department of Justice for threatening to pull federal funding for its police department if it retains its status as a so-called “sanctuary city.” [CNN / Daniella Diaz and Laura Jarrett]
  • Today, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he wouldn’t allow the city’s police force to become political pawns; at the same time, he said Chicago had no plans to back down and relinquish its status as a sanctuary city. [Chicago Sun-Times / Lynn Sweet]
  • Hanging in the balance is a $3.2 million federal grant that Chicago’s police force typically uses to buy things like police cars, radios, and equipment for its SWAT team. [Chicago Tribune / Hal Dardick]
  • The DOJ, via a spokesperson, quickly fired back at Emanuel, accusing him of prioritizing the safety of illegal immigrants over that of his own officers. [Washington Post / Sandhya Somashekhar]
  • The backdrop to this is the Trump administration’s crackdown on illegal immigration. Attorney General Sessions is trying to tighten the screws on sanctuary cities by threatening to withhold federal funds to cities like Chicago, Baltimore, and New York. [Vox / Dara Lind]
  • If a federal judge takes the case on, a decision could have wide-reaching implications for the Trump administration’s immigration policy, as a ruling would apply to other sanctuary cities across the country. [Chicago Tribune / John Byrne and Hal Dardick]

Kenya faces tense election

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  • More than 150,000 police officers are spreading out across Kenya, preparing to keep the peace if the country’s hotly contested national elections turn violent tomorrow. [The Guardian / Jason Burke]
  • President Uhuru Kenyatta is seeking reelection, and his main challenger is Raila Odinga. The two men are no strangers to competing against each other; Kenyatta beat Odinga in an election five years ago, which Odinga appealed to the country’s supreme court. [CNN / James Masters]
  • The big issues in the election are Kenya's lagging economy and a persistent drought in parts of the country; but supporters of the two men also fall between ethnic lines, with Kikuyu voters supporting the president and Luo voters supporting his rival. [Washington Post / Leonardo R. Arriola, Donghyun Danny Choi and Victor Rateng]
  • Right now, the race between the two men is tight; polls are showing no clear winner. Major issues in the election include a slumping economy and a persistent drought in parts of the country’s farmland. [BBC / Alastair Leithead]
  • Having a race this tight is unusual in African countries, where several presidents have historically held onto power for decades. [Washington Post / Leonardo R. Arriola, Donghyun Danny Choi and Victor Rateng]
  • There’s widespread fear that these elections could turn violent, as did the Kenyan elections 10 years. That resulted in over 1,000 people killed and hundreds of thousands more left homeless. [Reuters / Katherine Houreld]
  • Those fears were compounded last week, when the Kenyan government official in charge of overseeing fair elections was found dead from strangulation, with signs that he was tortured. Three people have been arrested in connection to his death, but it’s unclear what the motivation for the killing was. [Daily Nation / Julius Ocungi]
  • Today, former President Barack Obama (whose father was from Kenya) called for peaceful elections and urged political leaders there to accept the outcome of the vote, whatever it may be. [NYT / Peter Baker]


  • As the earth continues to warm, scientists are increasingly contemplating geo-engineering methods like injecting aerosols into the atmosphere as a stopgap measure to cool down the planet. [The Atlantic / Robinson Meyer]
  • Housing apparently isn’t the only expensive thing in San Francisco. A couple in the city’s pricey South Bay neighborhood recently bought an entire street for $90,000, and are contemplating charging residents $120 bucks a pop to park there. [San Francisco Chronicle / Phil Matier and Andy Ross]
  • A history of presidential lying — from Eisenhower to Trump. [NYT / Sheryl Gay Stolberg]
  • The e-commerce website Etsy, known for supporting sellers of vintage and handmade goods, took some aggressive steps toward profitability a few years ago. It’s working for the company’s bottom line, but some employees feel it's changed the company’s core mission. [BuzzFeed / Caroline O’Donovan]
  • A tiny town in rural Oregon that hosts physical storage space for user data for Microsoft, Google, and Facebook is thriving. The terrain is ideal to generate cheap, hydro-powered electricity, which makes it especially appealing for tech companies. [Outside Magazine / Abe Streep]


  • “They don’t feel safe in our country anymore, so what does that say about us as a country?” [Matthew Turner to North Country Public Radio / Zach Hirsch]
  • “Guns aren’t scary in rural Vermont. They’re just another tool that you learn to respect at a young age, just like the ax or maul you use to cut firewood, the hatchet you use to kill chickens, or the knife you carry to gut trout and feather kindling.” [Anonymous Vermonter to VPR / Taylor Dobbs and Sarah Simon]
  • “My favorite doughnut is the pineapple fritter. It literally blows up in your mouth — it’s unbelievable. The problem with it is that after you eat one, the next day you crave another, and by the third one, you’re down on Fifth and Main begging for quarters.” [Danny Trejo to Eater / Greg Morabito]
  • “When Flake tried to defend Republicans’ decision to block Merrick Garland’s Supreme Court confirmation, a man near the front barked ‘Bullshit!’ while the rest of the crowd chanted ‘Shame on you!’ At one point, a man with a buzz cut walked up and flipped him off with both hands before casually ambling back to his seat.” [The Atlantic / McKay Coppins]
  • “If you want to be a chef, you need to wash dishes. If you don’t know where things go or how a kitchen functions — who does what and where — you have no business.” [Paul Sorgule to The Washington Post / Tom Sietsema]

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