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Vox Sentences: A #MeToo reckoning in Costa Rica

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Trump picks a World Bank skeptic to lead the institution; Costa Rica’s former president faces sexual assault allegations.

A (skeptical) World Bank president

Mario Tama/Getty Images
  • President Trump has nominated David Malpass for World Bank president. Malpass is the undersecretary of Treasury for international affairs and a vocal critic of the international institution. [Vox / Dylan Matthews]
  • Malpass isn’t an outsider; before the current administration, he served under Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and worked as chief economist at investment bank Bear Sterns in 2007 and 2008 when the US entered a recession. [NPR / Jim Zarroli]
  • Ivanka Trump led the search for a new World Bank president with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Malpass’s strong relationship with China, one of the bank’s largest shareholders, may have been one of his best selling points as a nominee. [Politico / Victoria Guida]
  • As a member of the Trump administration, Malpass has openly opposed the World Bank loaning money to countries he doesn’t think deserve the funds. He has also argued for a fixed budget for the bank and limited salaries for its staffers. [Vox / Dylan Matthews]
  • Malpass outlined his ideas about the bank in testimony before the US Senate last year. He argued the bank should only give loans to developing countries, not countries without need, citing the fact that it lends the most money to China, which often re-lends these funds to developing countries. [Foreign Policy / Keith Johnson]
  • A Trump nominee who rejects multilateralism will likely inspire doubts from the bank’s executive board, which makes the final call on the position. As the bank’s biggest shareholder, the US historically names the president — but Trump’s anti-global message has contradicted the organization’s mission to alleviate global insecurity. [Bloomberg / Andrew Mayeda]

Sexual assault allegations against a former Costa Rican leader

  • Óscar Arias Sánchez, the 1987 Nobel Peace Prize winner and former president of Costa Rica, has been accused of sexual assault by three women. [Tico Times / Alejandro Zύñiga]
  • The first accuser, Dr. Alexandra Arce von Herold, 34, is a psychiatrist and nuclear activist who frequently met with 78-year-old Arias. Arce filed a report with federal prosecutors on Monday stating that Arias assaulted her in 2014. Arias denied the allegations. [NYT / Frances Robles]
  • Then a second woman, Emma Daly, told the Washington Post that Arias groped her in the 1990s when she was a reporter. In an email to the Post, one of Arias’s attorneys said his legal team was not able to comment on Daly’s allegation because it is part of an ongoing investigation. [Washington Post / Kevin Sieff]
  • A third accuser, Nono Antillón, said in an interview with La Nación on Tuesday that Arias sexually assaulted her when she was his adviser in the mid-1980s. None of the women accusing Arias spoke publicly immediately following the assaults, saying it was considered acceptable at the time for men to harass women and they wouldn’t have been believed. [Tico Times / Alejandro Zύñiga]
  • In Costa Rica, long-held gender norms have actually escalated violence against women. Only one politician has ever been forced out of office for a sexual harassment complaint. [NYT / Frances Robles]
  • “Politics today is a conspiracy of insinuations,” Arias wrote in an op-ed for La Nación last month, in response to separate accusations of criminal malfeasance against him for approving a mining project in 2008 before environmental studies were completed. [NYT / Frances Robles]


  • The House Intelligence Committee voted on Wednesday to release all transcripts from its investigation into Russia to special counsel Robert Mueller, who may use these to corroborate his own records. [Roll Call / Griffin Connolly]
  • Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, who is third in line for the state’s governorship, admitted to dressing up in blackface for a college party at the University of Virginia in 1980. The Democrat’s statement on Wednesday has continued to roil Virginia’s leadership, as Gov. Ralph Northam faces pressure to resign for a racist photograph that appeared in his 1984 med school yearbook and Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax faces allegations of sexual assault. [WSJ / Jon Kamp and Scott Calvert]
  • At the State of the Union, Trump issued dire warnings about lawlessness and danger at the southern border. But for the denizens of the multicultural communities along the border, his words don’t reflect reality. [NYT / Jose A. Del Real]
  • Active-shooter drills are meant to prepare America’s students for potential attacks, but schools might be overpreparing for the small risk of a shooting attack, and young people are paying the psychological costs. [Atlantic / Erika Christakis]
  • Climate change received less public support before President Trump took office. Now Americans are starting to show more interest in — and concern about — the dangers of a warmer global climate. [FiveThirtyEight / Maggie Koerth-Baker]


“Pope Benedict had the courage to dissolve a women’s congregation that had a certain level because this slavery of women had entered, even sexual slavery, by clerics or by the founder.” [Pope Francis admits sexual abuse against nuns by Catholic bishops and priests during a news conference, via CNN]

Watch this: False Positive

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