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Vox Sentences: Pakistan passes a sweeping transgender rights law

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North Korea frees three American hostages; Pakistan passes a sweeping anti-discrimination bill for the country’s transgender population.

North Korea’s goodwill gesture

Matthew Lee/AFP/Getty Images
  • New Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is returning from his North Korea trip on Thursday with three American hostages held captive by the regime for years. [NPR / Bill Chappell and Camila Domonoske]
  • The three captives are researcher and university Kim Hak-song, university professor Tony Kim, and businessman Kim Dong-chul. [NYT / Russell Goldman]
  • All are Korean-American men who were imprisoned by North Korea in 2016 and 2017. The first two men were colleagues at the same university; one was arrested on suspicion of being a spy, while the other two were imprisoned for “hostile acts.” [NYT / Russell Goldman]
  • President Trump and the White House praised the release of the prisoners as an “act of goodwill” ahead of a high-stakes meeting between Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un later this month. [Washington Post / Carol Morello, Anna Fifield, and David Nakamura]
  • The hostage release is a huge deal for Trump, and the fact that North Korea is doing this likely means they want the Trump meeting to happen. Typically, North Korea tries to extend the hostage negotiating process, but ahead of the Trump meeting, there is more motivation to make things happen fast. [Vox / Alex Ward]
  • The crux of the meeting between Trump and Kim is to talk about North Korea’s denuclearization. It marks a turn of events that’s much more diplomatic than the beginning of Trump’s term. [Politico / Louis Nelson]

Pakistan’s transgender rights law is a historic step

  • Yesterday, Pakistan’s parliament passed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, a wide-ranging and historic new bill protecting the country’s trans people, a group that has faced serious discrimination. [Independent / Samuel Osborne]
  • The bill allows citizens to choose their gender and bans discrimination in public places like schools, work, public transportation, and doctors’ offices. [NPR / Sasha Ingber]
  • It comes at a time when Pakistan’s trans people are becoming more visible. The country has a trans news anchor, 21-year-old Marvia Malik. Many hope the new law will pave the way for more acceptance. [Reuters]
  • But trans people in the country still face a lot of discrimination and the threat of violence. Already, four transgender women have been killed so far this year, and 57 have been killed since 2015, according to law enforcement statistics. [Human Rights Watch / Saroop Ijaz]


  • There’s a species of tick that’s going to turn all of us into vegetarians. (Seriously — the Lone Star tick is no joking matter.) [Grist / Zoya Teirstein]
  • Poland found itself in a sticky situation after a tractor-trailer truck carrying tons of liquid chocolate turned sideways and spilled chocolate all over six lanes of traffic. [Montreal Gazette]
  • Bad news for allergy sufferers: There’s a nationwide EpiPen shortage. [CBS News]
  • In a major renewable energy push, California is poised to implement a new rule requiring solar panels to be installed on all new homes. [Associated Press]


“Game and Fish suggested that she douse the owl with water. But the owl drank the water and kept its grip on the woman and steering wheel.” [The Arizona Republican reporting on a motorist who recently got a strange passenger / Nathan Fish]

Watch this: The “duck curve” is solar energy’s greatest challenge

Renewable requires change in the energy supply chain. [YouTube / Carlos Waters]

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