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Vox Sentences: Kentucky's lone abortion clinic goes to court

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Congress approves Harvey relief money as Irma wallops the Caribbean; a prominent Indian journalist and dissident is murdered; the fight over the fate of Kentucky's last abortion clinic starts.


Harvey money is approved as Irma comes barreling in

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  • As the US House of Representatives passed an $8 billion relief package to help Houston recover from Hurricane Harvey flooding, another powerful hurricane is ripping through the Caribbean, with US territories in its path. [Vox / Brian Resnick]
  • Two people are confirmed dead on the small French Caribbean islands of St. Martin and St. Barthélemy, and French President Emmanuel Macron said those islands have sustained serious damage. [NYT]
  • Trump himself may have already sustained a big loss from Irma. The storm pummeled St. Martin, where Trump owns a lavish, 11-bedroom house valued at $16.9 million. [Washington Post / Matea Gold]
  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), meanwhile, is down to its last $1 billion and burning through cash. [Bloomberg / Christopher Flavelle and Erik Wasson]
  • Tied to Harvey aid was a deal to raise the debt ceiling for three months, a move supported by Democrats and opposed by Republicans. In a surprise twist, Trump ended up agreeing with Democrats. Congress will now face a budget showdown in mid-December, rather than at the end of this month. [Vox / Andrew Prokop]
  • The move stunned and angered Republican leadership. Explaining the news to reporters, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the president wanted to avoid a partisan showdown during the Harvey aftermath. [NYT / Thomas Kaplan and Peter Baker]
  • Congress may soon have to approve more relief money for Irma. The storm's track is uncertain, but the hurricane is projected to hit the US territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands and it could also damage parts of Florida. [Miami Herald / Jenny Staletovich]

Journalists and dissidents keep getting murdered in India

Burhaan Kinu/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
  • Prominent Indian journalist and left-wing activist Gauri Lankesh was shot dead just outside her home last night, in the Southern city of Bangalore. [CNN / Manveena Suri]
  • Lankesh was well-known for her criticism of Hindu nationalism and the Bharatiya Janata Party, the ruling party of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. She had clashed with them on multiple occasions; she recently was appealing a conviction on defamation charges for a story she wrote about local members of the ruling party, for which she had been sentenced to six months in jail. [BBC]
  • At this point, it’s unclear who killed Lankesh. Police are investigating the incident, but some activists told reporters they fear the violence will go unpunished. [The Guardian / Michael Safi]
  • That’s because she’s not the only Indian journalist and dissident to have been killed in recent years; other scholars and writers who were critical of Hindu nationalism have also been murdered. So far, no one has been prosecuted in connection with their deaths. [Associated Press / Nirmala George]
  • Hinduism is India’s largest religion, and tension there is rising as right-wing Hindu nationalists have targeted religious minorities like Christians and Muslims in cases that sometimes get ignored by authorities. [BBC / Divya Arya]
  • Other people say Lankesh’s slaying is just the latest troubling indication that dissent and press freedom is not being tolerated in the world’s largest democracy. [FirstPost]
  • A recent survey by the Committee to Protect Journalists showed that reporters working for smaller, Indian-based publications are in more danger. In the past 25 years, 40 Indian journalists have been killed in targeted assassinations, with another 27 slain in incidents whose motives are unconfirmed. [Committee to Protect Journalists]

Kentucky has one abortion clinic. Soon, it could have none.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images
  • Kentucky has just one abortion clinic left, and now there’s a legal battle underway that could shut it down. [Reuters / Chris Kenning]
  • The EMW Women's Surgical Center in Louisville is at the center of a federal court case that started today, which will determine whether it gets to stay open or if it have to close its doors. [The Courier Journal / Deborah Yetter]
  • If it has to close, Kentucky would become the first state with no abortion clinics, causing women in the state who need an abortion to have to drive even longer hours to get one. [Vice News / Carter Sherman and Alison McCann]
  • EMW filed the court case, challenging regulations put in place by Kentucky’s Republican Gov. Matt Bevin. These regulations required abortion clinics to have agreements with local hospitals and ambulance services to transport patients in case someone has a medical emergency. [NBC News / Corky Siemaszko]
  • In its suit, the clinic said they had no advance warning about the administration’s new rules. They nearly had to shut down at one point, before a federal judge ruled they could stay open while the case was being decided. [NPR / Sarah McCammon]
  • Bevin’s administration said the rules are in place to keep women safe. But opponents say it’s just another way to restrict abortion access by effectively shutting down clinics that can’t comply, and it's made it more difficult for women to get safe abortions. [Associated Press]

Miscellaneous

  • An all-girls basketball league in Somalia is refusing to get off the court, despite death threats and violence from Islamist extremists. [The New Yorker / Alexis Okeowo]
  • Wildfires have been raging for the past month in Glacier National Park, and they recently destroyed a historic park chalet where hikers had stayed for more than 100 years. [Outside Magazine / Wes Siler]
  • After years of the Chinese government rebuilding the country’s rail infrastructure, high-speed trains are back. The rail lines make up one of the most massive infrastructure projects in history. [The Economist]
  • Cybersecurity analysts are worried that the next target of Russian hackers will be the US energy grid. [BuzzFeed / Jim Collier]
  • There’s a persistent idea in the US that low-income people are obese, but the data doesn’t bear that out; 41 percent of adults with obesity are well above the poverty line. [The Conversation / Tasia Smith]

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