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Vox Sentences: A global health emergency in the DRC

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El Chapo is sentenced to life in prison; the WHO declares a global health emergency over Ebola.

A life sentence for El Chapo

Daniel Cardenas/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
  • Joaquín Guzmán Loera, better known to the world as El Chapo, has been sentenced to life in prison by a federal court. [NBC News / Alex Johnson and Elisha Fieldstadt]
  • The court ordered Guzmán to serve life in prison plus 30 years and to pay $12.6 billion in forfeiture. The sentence comes after he was found guilty on 10 counts in February following a three-month trial. One of the counts — running a continuing criminal enterprise — already carried a mandatory life sentence. [CNN / Sonia Moghe, Mark Morales, and Eric Levenson]
  • Guzmán showed little remorse over his conviction. Addressing the judge, he claimed he’d been denied a fair trial and complained about being held in solitary confinement in Manhattan’s federal jail. [WSJ / Nicole Hong and Acacia Coronado]
  • He will most likely head to a Supermax prison in Colorado, which holds more than 400 of the “most violent, disruptive and escape-prone inmates” in the country. Because of his history of escaping prisons, he will most likely be kept in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day under strict camera surveillance. [CBS Denver]
  • As one of the most notorious criminals in recent history, Guzmán smuggled more than $12 billion worth of drugs, ran a powerful Mexican cartel, and caused the deaths of dozens of people. His influence ran deep in the Mexican government, where he would bribe both the police and top politicians to protect his business interests. [NYT / Alan Feuer]
  • The drug lord also gained notoriety for escaping prison in Mexico twice — in 2001 and 2015 — and was finally extradited to the US in 2017. [BBC]
  • The chase for Guzmán has been long and grueling. His life sentence may finally bring an end to the drug kingpin’s notorious and prolific criminal career. [AP / Tom Hays and Claudia Torrens]

The fifth global health emergency declaration in history

  • The World Health Organization has declared the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo a global health emergency, which many experts say is overdue. [NYT / Denise Grady]
  • The disease has killed more than 1,600 people, spreading to Uganda and the Rwandan border — and there’s little sign of it abating. The decision comes after a man died in the city of Goma in the DRC, which is home to about 2 million people and has a busy international airport. [WSJ / Nicholas Bariyo]
  • A global health emergency is not announced lightly; only four have been declared in the past, including the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014-’16 that killed more than 11,000 people. [BBC]
  • An expert panel had convened three times previously to determine if the situation had escalated enough to count as a global emergency, and determined it had not. Later, internal WHO documents revealed that officials were concerned a declaration would anger the countries involved and hurt their economies. [AP / Maria Cheng and Jamey Keaten]
  • WHO chief Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus pleaded for countries not to seal their borders to the DRC because it would only hinder the attempts to tackle the epidemic. [Guardian / Sarah Boseley]
  • A global health emergency will most likely draw more international attention to the outbreak. Experts had long pushed the WHO to declare a global health emergency in the hope of attracting more funding for relief efforts. [Vox / Julia Belluz]


  • A 21-year-old man accused of killing a 17-year-old social media influencer in a “jealous rage” allegedly posted selfies with her body on social media platforms afterward. [NBC News / David K. Li]
  • The ideal male body is becoming more and more unrealistic: the bulkier, the better. What does this mean for young men who are chasing an image that is getting harder and harder to achieve? [Guardian / Sirin Kale]
  • Police investigating some fishy noises around a sushi truck in New Zealand soon apprehended the culprits: two blue penguins. [Fox News / Janine Puhak]
  • A second Republican candidate for Mississippi governor has announced he will not be in a room alone with a woman other than his wife in a personal or professional setting, because “transparency’s important.” [CNN / Veronica Stracqualursi]
  • There’s long been a conspiracy theory that the US used ticks as a biological weapon to spread Lyme disease. And in New Jersey, where Lyme cases are on the rise, one Congress member wants the Pentagon to investigate. [Vice News / Kelly Vinett]


“Since the government of the United States is going to send me to a prison where my name will never be heard again, I take advantage of this opportunity to say there was no justice here.” [El Chapo, addressing the judge prior to being sentenced]

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