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Vox Sentences: Russia and the second Great Schism

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California homeowners win the battle against manufacturers that sold them lead paint; the Russian Orthodox Church splits from Constantinople.

Getting the lead out

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images
  • The Supreme Court declined Monday to hear an appeal from paint manufacturers that have been required to pay more than $400 million to fund the removal of lead paint from California homes, leaving a state court ruling requiring the cleanup in place. [AP]
  • The long-running litigation began as a product liability lawsuit in 2000, when homeowners in areas including Los Angeles County and the city of San Diego said residual lead contributed to severe health problems in children. To date, more than 2,000 children have tested positive for lead in their bloodstream in LA County. [LA Times / Michael Hiltzik]
  • The lawsuit was refiled as a public nuisance lawsuit in 2011. Sherwin-Williams argued that “pegging public nuisance liability to prior product promotion offers a tempting, facile way to shift responsibility from government policymakers and budgets onto corporations.” [Bloomberg / Greg Stohr]
  • Business groups urged the Supreme Court to take up the appeal and overturn the ruling requiring the paint companies to pay for cleanup. [SCOTUSblog]
  • Similar cases have been brought up elsewhere in the US — notably in Rhode Island and New Jersey — against paint manufacturers. [Reuters / Lawrence Hurley]
  • The cleanup matters because lead in the environment has long-term effects on children’s development, causing cognitive damage that can last for decades. [NPR / Rae Ellen Bichell]

A split between Russia and Constantinople

  • The Russian Orthodox Church severed ties with the Constantinople Patriarchate on Monday, in what many consider to be the biggest split in Orthodox Christianity since the Great Schism of 1054 between Eastern and Western churches. [NYT / Neil MacFarquhar]
  • Russia’s move came a few days after leaders in Constantinople, the “first among equals” and leading authority of the Orthodox religion, recognized the Ukrainian Orthodox Church as independent. [RT]
  • Although most clerics in Ukraine pledge loyalty to the Russian church, Moscow fears they will soon switch allegiance to the new independent religious body. [AFP]
  • The decision means that Russia and Constantinople will no longer be able to worship or perform ceremonies together. Additionally, Russian followers cannot participate in Eucharistic communion at unaffiliated churches or go to Mount Athos in Greece, the center of Eastern Orthodox monasticism. [Meduza]
  • Constantinople holds near-unprecedented influence in the religious community, with more than 300 million Orthodox followers around the world. The Moscow Patriarchate had 150 million members as of 2011. [BBC]


  • After an outcry from breakfast lovers worldwide, Apple resolved #Bagelgate in its latest iOS update by replacing the bone-dry bagel emoji with a more appetizing cream cheese-filled one. [9to5Mac / Ben Lovejoy]
  • If Uber Technologies Inc. decides to go public next year, some Wall Street banks suggest the company could be valued at as much as $120 billion in an initial public offering. [WSJ / Liz Hoffman, Greg Bensinger, and Maureen Farrell]
  • Lady Gaga is having a good week: Only a day after she became the first female artist to have five No. 1 albums top the Billboard 200 chart, the singer-songwriter (and now movie star) announced her engagement to Christian Carino at an Elle event. [The Cut / Sarah Nechamkin]
  • Jon Hamm evaded a question from host James Corden about the size of his, uhh, “Hamm-aconda” during a segment on The Late Late Show, opting instead to eat bull penis. [Rolling Stone / Emily Zemler]


“[Uganda] is going to be like Jurassic Park, or Disney World. ... What are the other industries that you’d like to build on, and have a discussion about what would make the country be a Wakanda?” [After Kanye West gave Uganda’s president a pair of his autographed sneakers, the two had a discussion about improving the nation’s tourism / AP]

Watch this: How GPS can make you a better runner

GPS and running: the good, the bad, and the art. [YouTube / Mac Schneider]

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