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Vox Sentences: Hawaiians fight for their sacred land

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Hawaiians protest the building of a telescope on their sacred land; Boris Johnson looks likely to be the UK’s next prime minister.

Hawaiians protest construction of telescope on sacred land

Moment Editorial/Getty Images
  • The construction of a massive telescope on top of a sacred Hawaiian volcano was supposed to begin last week –– but it’s being delayed by local protests. [USA Today / Jay Cannon]
  • After the government blocked the road leading up to the summit to make way for construction trucks, protesters have been forming human blockades, and about 30 elders were arrested last Wednesday as a result. As of now, no trucks have been able to make their way up to the summit. [Reuters / Steve Gorman]
  • Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano, is important to locals because it is believed to be where Hawaiians originated. Many of the natives have also buried their ancestors there. [CNN / Dakin Andone, Sarah Jorgensen, and Polo Sandoval]
  • But to astronomers, Mauna Kea, the highest point in Hawaii, is also one of the world’s best places for looking into space, which is why the summit is already dotted with several telescopes. Locals, however, have finally drawn the line at the Thirty Meter Telescope, which would be the largest telescope in the Northern Hemisphere. [NYT / Mihir Zaveri]
  • Locals tried to fight the telescope in court, which delayed its construction for years, but the state Supreme Court ultimately gave the project a green light in October 2018. [AP / Jennifer Sinco Kelleher]
  • For many locals, their objections go beyond the issue of the telescope: Protesters said that Hawaiians have a long history of being oppressed by foreigners, and they see this as another example of losing their sovereignty. [Popular Science / Kat Eschner]

Boris Johnson is expected to be the UK’s next prime minister

  • The next UK prime minister will be announced tomorrow, and Boris Johnson is expected to win. [BBC]
  • Johnson has gained popularity for his determination to meet the October 31 deadline for leaving the European Union — even if he has to do it without a deal. The other candidate, Foreign Secretary Jeremey Hunt, has also pledged to carry out a no-deal Brexit if needed, though he said he’d be open to delaying Britain’s departure if it could lead to a better deal. [USA Today / Kim Hjelmgaard]
  • The government is already experiencing turmoil as Johnson’s victory grows more and more likely. Alan Duncan, a junior foreign office minister, has resigned amid the possibility of a no-deal Brexit, and several other officials have expressed similar sentiments. [Bloomberg / Alex Morales, Kitty Donaldson, and Joe Mayes]
  • Just last week, MPs voted to ban the new prime minister from blocking Parliament between October 9 and December 18 in fear that Johnson would push through a no-deal Brexit without their approval. [BBC]
  • And lawmakers have good reason to worry: The National Institute of Economic and Social Research announced on Monday that there’s already a 25 percent chance that Britain is heading toward a recession and a no-deal Brexit could lead to a “severe downturn” in the economy. [Al Jazeera / Ylenia Gostoli] [Reuters / William James and Elizabeth Piper]
  • Despite politicians’ opposition of Johnson’s leadership, many voters simply want an end to the Brexit debacle and think Johnson seems the most promising candidate to bring it about. [NYT / Ellen Barry]
  • Keep in mind, however, it is only the 160,000 Conservative Party members who vote because only the governing party has a say in who the next prime minister is under the parliamentary system. The other 99 percent of voters are frustrated they don’t get to vote for their future, especially because they are uncomfortable with Jonson’s proposal of a no-deal Brexit. [NYT / Ceylan Yeginsu]
  • While the results of the election might not be much cause for concern for Johnson at this point, ruling over unhappy politicians and voters should be. [Guardian / Rowena Mason]


  • A school district in Pennsylvania sent a threatening letter to parents: pay your child’s lunch debt or risk having your child sent to foster care. [CNN / Amir Vera]
  • Scientists have found a new species of shark in the Gulf of Mexico, and it glows in the dark. The 5.5-inch shark produces a luminous fluid near its gills to attract prey. [CBS News / Caitlin O’Kane]
  • A Democratic state House candidate in Florida told a powerful story about removing 77 bullets from 32 people as an ER doctor following the Pulse nightclub shooting. It turned out she was lying. [Washington Post / Antonia Noori Farzan]
  • After pressure from student activists, Oregon will now allow students to take “mental health days.” Until now, most schools only gave excused absences for physical ailments. [The Hill / Owen Daugherty]
  • Kathy Zhu, a conservative activist at the University of Michigan, was crowned Miss Michigan by the Miss World America organization. A day later, she was stripped of her title for “offensive, insensitive and inappropriate content” on her social media about black and Muslim people. [NYT / Neil Vigdor]


“I believe that this struggle is more about the heart of Hawaii and our sense of self and dignity, especially for the Hawaiian people, than it is about a telescope. It is about cultural recognition and people’s self worth.” [Hawaii Lt. Gov. Josh Green on the need for a peaceful resolution regarding locals’ frustration with the telescope construction]

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How Trump and McConnell are changing the country for a generation. [YouTube / Madeline Marshall]

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