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Vox Sentences: Trade wars ruin everything

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A new jobs report signals a slowing economy; UN human rights experts allege a “staggering number” of unlawful deaths in the Philippines.

A sharp drop in job creation could signal bad news for the economy

Joe Raedle/Getty Images
  • Job creation dropped drastically in May, with initial estimates suggesting a number much lower than what experts had initially predicted. [NYT / Nelson D. Schwartz]
  • Only 75,000 jobs were added in May, a stark contrast from the 224,000 from April. Part of the decline was to be expected, as growth in 2018 saw a dramatic boost from major tax cuts and government spending. [USA Today / Paul Davidson]
  • Trade wars, however, have become a wild card: Manufacturing and construction added fewer than 5,000 jobs, which indicates that President Trump’s recent trade war with China has negatively impacted blue-collar sectors. [Washington Post / Heather Long and Thomas Heath]
  • Manufacturing is especially vulnerable to trade wars because it can “raise costs, disrupt supply chains and depress foreign demand,” according to NPR’s Scott Horsley. [NPR / Scott Horsley]
  • Because the data was collected in May, the report doesn’t include the outcomes of tariffs on Mexico — which could add to the destabilization of the economy. [WSJ / Sarah Chaney and Eric Morath]
  • The unemployment rate is still low at 3.6 percent, but despite the smaller pool of available workers, wage growth remained stagnant; average hourly increased by only 6 cents. [Reuters / Lucia Mutikani]
  • A major takeaway from the jobs report: The economy may have been expanding, but the middle and working classes saw few benefits from it. [Vox / Alexia Fernández Campbell]

Are human rights in danger in the Philippines?

  • UN human rights experts are sounding the alarms on the disturbing number of killings by the Philippine government, and are urging the Human Rights Council to set up an independent investigation. [Rappler / Jee Y. Geronimo]
  • President Rodrigo Duterte has not shied away from prosecuting people under his war on drugs. More than 5,000 suspected drug dealers have been killed by police under his tenure, per government officials. [Reuters]
  • The country’s human rights commission thinks that number is actually closer to 27,000. The government has yet to respond to these claims. [NYT / Nick Cumming-Bruce]
  • Duterte has also been accused of attacking voices critical of the government, including human right defenders, watchdog organizations, journalists, and lawyers. [ / Christia Marie Ramos]
  • It doesn’t help that he recently withdrew the Philippines from the International Criminal Court — which many believe he did in order to evade scrutiny. [Philippine Star / Gaea Katreena Cabico]
  • Despite the government’s track record on human rights, Duterte and his allies celebrated a sweeping victory in recent midterm elections. [CNN / Euan McKirdy]
  • The UN human rights experts, however, could be signaling to Duterte that he will not be able to avoid international scrutiny, no matter how powerful he is back home. [Al Jazeera]


  • Did you know that Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie” is a cover? And did you know that Valerie is a real person? [Vice / Rajul Punjabi]
  • In the 1970s, a man wrote to the FBI asking it to analyze hair he’d found that he said might have come from Bigfoot. Now, 40 years later, the bureau has released its findings. [NYT / Liam Stack]
  • If you’re stressed, so is your dog. And it may be because of dogs’ emotional reliance on their owners. [AP / Jeremy Rehm]
  • Lauren Kope is a professional caretaker of the nation’s oldest rose garden in Philadelphia, a job she says she enjoys because each rose has a story to tell. [WSJ / Te-Ping Chen]
  • Parents sometimes struggle to identify whether their baby is crying because they’re ill or if they’re just in a bad mood. This new AI technology aims to help. [Futurism / Kristin Houser]


“There are now thousands of grieving families in the Philippines. We call on the international community to do everything possible to ensure there will be no more.” [UN human rights experts’ statement on what it says are widespread killings in the Philippines]

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