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Vox Sentences: Iran is quietly building up its military in Syria

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Trump signals support for a bipartisan background check bill in the wake of the Parkland shooting; Syria could be the setting of a potential conflict between Iran and Israel after heightened tensions between the two countries.

Trump just signaled support for a gun control bill

Mike Stocker/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images
  • On Monday, President Donald Trump announced a major policy change on gun control — that he would support a bipartisan Senate bill to tighten the national background check system. [Washington Post / Josh Dawsey]
  • The bill that Trump indicated he would sign is one called the Fix NICS Act. It was drafted by both Republican and Democratic senators. It doesn’t create new regulations so much as force federal agencies to upload criminal records to the national background check system, to prevent shooters from obtaining guns. [CT Mirror / Ana Radelat]
  • The announcement from the White House that Trump would support the legislation is a major change; last year, Trump said that increased gun control legislation would have made the shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, worse because it could have prevented the man who shot the shooter from getting a gun. [Talking Points Memo / Caitlin MacNeal]
  • The Fix NICS Act and a proposed ban on bump stocks have been around since deadly shootings in Texas and Las Vegas, but new urgency around them is coming after last week’s high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 people dead. [Miami Herald / Monique Madan, Rene Rodriguez, Alex Harris, and Martin Vassolo]
  • A new gun control protest movement is building after the Parkland shooting, and high school students have rapidly become the face of the campaign. Already, students have joined with national activist groups to plan two major protests in March. [Vox / German Lopez]
  • This weekend, videos of Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school student Emma Gonzales went viral as she spoke at a rally to end gun violence. Gonzales wiped away tears as she angrily chastised members of Congress and the president for inaction on gun control. [CNN]
  • Congress has essentially done nothing on the issue of gun control in recent years; since 2011, they have considered 100 pieces of gun reform legislation, but all have failed. It remains to be seen if this time will be different. [CBS News / Rebecca Shabad]

Tensions between Israel and Iran are escalating ... in Syria

  • The war of words is between Iran and Israel is heating up again, prompting new fears of a conflict between the two countries in the Middle East. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently warned Israel could retaliate against Iran amid heightened tensions. [Reuters / Robin Emmott and Thomas Escritt]
  • If this escalates into a physical fight, there are worries it could happen in Syria, where Iran has been quietly installing its own military leaders at airfields and military bases and backs certain militias in the country. [NYT / Ben Hubbard, Isabel Kershner, and Anne Barnard]
  • Netanyahu’s comments came after an Iranian drone flew into Israeli territory and was shot down. Iranian forces first came to the country to prop up Bashar Al-Assad’s forces in 2011 and have stayed without much objection from the Syrian government. The situation is also putting Russian President Vladimir Putin in a tough position as he tries to decide whom to back. [Haaretz / Anshel Pfeffer]
  • Iran has been similarly bullish, with the country’s foreign ministers saying that if Israel threatens it, it will strike back. [NBC News / Bill Neely and F. Brinley Bruton]


  • What’s in the German beer that Olympic athletes love to drink while they train? Not alcohol, for one thing. [NYT / Ben Crair and Andrew Keh]
  • The Farmer’s Almanac has been around since before the Civil War. With millions of people still subscribing, it has endured because — as it turns out — people still really like reading weather predictions. [Topic / Marin Cogan]
  • Snapchat just did a big redesign to promote its advertising power, and the social media app could be on the verge of an e-commerce venture. It’s all about that money, amirite? [Recode / Jason Del Rey]
  • There’s nothing like mixing business with government: Donald Trump Jr. is headed to India on an “unofficial” business trip, but is also set to deliver a foreign policy speech. [Washington Post / Annie Gowen]


“Kāpiti Coast’s blind, bisexual goose, Thomas was laid to rest in public ceremony on Saturday, marking the end of a life spent delighting residents and bird lovers.” [Dominion Post / Joel Maxwell]

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