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Vox Sentences: 16 shots in 14 seconds

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The man who fatally shot Laquan McDonald in 2014 takes the stand; Macedonia’s name-change referendum fails due to low voter turnout.

“We never lost eye contact”

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  • Jason Van Dyke took the witness stand Tuesday in his own defense for fatally shooting black teenager Laquan McDonald in 2014. The Chicago police officer, teary-eyed, said McDonald was advancing on him the night he killed him. [NPR / Michael Lansu]
  • Van Dyke has been charged with six counts of first-degree murder, 16 counts of aggravated battery, and one count of official misconduct. [AP]
  • The shooting spurred days of protests in November 2015 after a judge ordered the release of a grainy dash-cam video that which showed McDonald being shot 16 times in less than 15 seconds. The prosecution has argued that race played a factor in the killing. [Fox News / Barnini Chakraborty]
  • In June of last year, a grand jury also indicted three Chicago police officers who are suspected of conspiring to cover up Van Dyke’s actions. [AP]
  • Van Dyke testified Tuesday that McDonald swung a knife at him from a 15-foot distance, and that he had never fired a weapon while on duty prior to that night. He added that he never lost eye contact with the 17-year-old and that he was “in shock” after the shooting. [Chicago Tribune / Megan Crepeau, Jason Meisner, and Stacy St. Clair]
  • The trial has already ignited tensions throughout the US, with a group of black pastors calling for a day-long strike if the jury lets Van Dyke walk. [Chicago Sun-Times / Adam Thorp]

Macedonian voters back out on name-change vote

  • The decades-long name dispute between Macedonia and Greece may have to wait a little longer for a proper resolution, since an overwhelming majority of the former nation’s population opted out of voting on the referendum Sunday. [Atlantic / Yasmeen Serhan]
  • The vote came only a few months after negotiators from both sides met at a region near Lake Prespa, where Greeks agreed to Macedonia being renamed the “Republic of North Macedonia” and joining NATO and the European Union as a member nation. [LA Times / Maria Petrakis]
  • Less than 37 percent of eligible Macedonian voters turned up for the referendum, failing to meet the 50 percent threshold for participation. Instead, many citizens took to social media to protest the vote with a hashtag meaning “I boycott.” [Al Jazeera / Dimitar Bechev]
  • The boycott is sure to upset Macedonia’s supporters since many European leaders — including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg — visited the small Balkan country in September and urged voters to be a part of this “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” [Washington Post / Ishaan Tharoor]
  • Despite the turn of events, Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev declared the referendum vote a success, given that 91.5 percent of the votes backed the name-change arrangement and only 5.7 opposed it. [Atlantic / Yasmeen Serhan]


Amazon announced it will raise the minimum wage it pays its employees to $15 an hour, a move that will affect more than 350,000 workers. [WSJ / Laura Stevens]

  • Taylor Swift announced on Instagram that she’ll open the 2018 American Music Awards next week with a performance of “I Did Something Bad,” a track from her latest album. This is Swift’s first awards show set in nearly three years. [Us Weekly / Leanne Aciz Stanton]
  • Scientists have discovered a dwarf planet at the very edge of our solar system, nicknamed “the Goblin,” whose orbit may hint at the existence of the so-called “Planet X,” which could be 10 times the size of Earth. [Washington Post / Ben Guarino]
  • For her first solo trip overseas, first lady Melania Trump visited Ghana in order to learn ways the US may help the nation become more self-sufficient. She is also expected to make stops in Malawi, Kenya, and Egypt. [NPR / Tamara Keith]


“He is a fan of the technology.” [A spokesperson for Steven Mnuchin on the Treasury secretary’s transition lenses, which stole the show at a White House press conference Tuesday / The Cut]

Watch this: Why the Soviets doctored this iconic photo

This photo conceals a clue to a brutal story of vengeance. [YouTube / Coleman Lowndes]

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