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Vox Sentences: Syria’s government is still massacring its civilians

Khaled Akasha/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

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Syria unleashes a new bombing campaign on its civilians; Pennsylvania’s newly redrawn congressional map looks good for Democrats.

Horror unfolds in Syria. Again.

Khaled Akasha/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
  • The Syrian government has returned to viciously bombing its own people, as at least 250 civilians have been killed by government airstrikes in recent days, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. [CNN / Tamara Qiblawi and Sarah Sirgany]
  • It marks the worst civilian bloodshed in an area known as Eastern Ghouta, near Damascus, since 2013. [BBC]
  • Some aid workers have reported the use of barrel bombs in the area. Eastern Ghouta is also where the Syrian government used sarin gas in 2013 to kill more than 1,000 people. [Guardian / Kareem Shaheen]
  • Some aid groups are calling the latest bombing and attacks worse than the siege on Aleppo. Eastern Ghouta is home to 400,000 and is one of the last areas of Syria controlled by anti-government rebels. [NPR / Colin Dwyer]
  • At the same time, Syrian government forces are provoking conflict with the country’s neighbor Turkey. Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s military is moving toward the northern city of Afrin, to join Kurdish fighters who are defending the area from the Turks. [NYT / Anne Barnard and Carlotta Gall]
  • This is raising fears that Turkey and Syria could soon become embroiled in a conflict of their own. Turkey has supported anti-Assad rebels, and tensions between the two countries have been high for some time. [Reuters / Gulsen Solaker and Ellen Francis]

How to redraw a gerrymandered congressional map in (approximately) 10 days

  • Pennsylvania’s congressional districts are looking a lot different now that the state Supreme Court went back to the drawing board and drew a new, redistricted map. [Philadelphia Inquirer / Jonathan Lai and Liz Navratil]
  • Bottom line: The map looks good for Democrats. Democrats will likely pick up one or two more seats than they would have if the previous map had stayed. This could be seen as a partisan gerrymander for Democrats, but it’s actually more reflective of the state’s current electoral makeup. [FiveThirtyEight / Aaron Bycoffe]
  • The state’s Supreme Court ruled the previous map unconstitutional earlier this year, saying that state Republicans had done a partisan gerrymander to benefit their party. It was well known for its strange, sprawling districts that consolidated voting power in Republican districts. [Washington Post / Christopher Ingraham]
  • After the Supreme Court ruled the map unconstitutional, state Republican legislative leaders redrew the map, which Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf promptly rejected. Therefore, the Supreme Court stepped in again to redraw the final version. But it’s possible that state lawmakers could challenge the new map. [Morning Call / Steve Esack]


  • Regrets. A biohacker who injected himself with DNA encoding for CRISPR in an attempt to grow his muscles (while taking pulls of Scotch) has had a few. [Atlantic / Sarah Zhang]
  • A small Australian town is trying to brand itself as the official home of the mullet by hosting a festival to celebrate the hairstyle. (And yes, in case you were wondering, there’s a mullet-growing competition.) [Associated Press]
  • The eruption of Indonesia’s Mount Sinabung on Monday prompted an aviation warning. Here’s how volcanic ash can bring down an airplane. [The Verge / Rachel Becker]
  • Tennis legend Roger Federer called himself out for faulting on his first serve and started a fight with the referees when they disagreed. Then, because he’s Roger Federer, he served the second ball and won the point anyway. [Daily Dot / Josh Katzowitz]


“I want to see the things they have to offer [in Africa]. After all, the media does not show the good. We see Africa as a third-world country but it is probably so much more.” [Seventh-grader Scottia Coy after seeing Black Panther, to NYT / Kevin Noble Maillard]

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