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Vox Sentences: 3 governors in 5 days

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Puerto Rico gets its third new governor in less than a week; a new UN climate change report recommends big changes to curb global warming.

Is the third time the charm for Puerto Rico?

Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo/AP
  • Puerto Rico has had three governors in the past week. [Miami Herald / Jim Wyss and Bianca Padró Ocasio]
  • It all goes back to last Friday, when Pedro Pierluisi was sworn in as governor after having been picked as secretary of state by Gov. Ricardo Rosselló right before Rosselló stepped down. The previous secretary of state, who would have been next in line of succession for the governorship, had resigned after being involved in a scandal over vulgar text messages that sparked the protests in Puerto Rico (and also led to Rosselló’s resignation). [WSJ / Arian Campo-Flores and Andrew Scurria]
  • Pierluisi seemed like the perfect pick as he formerly served as the territory’s non-voting delegate in the US House of Representatives. The one catch: Pierluisi wasn’t approved by the Senate, although Rosselló argued that the secretary of state did not need legislative approval under a 2005 statute. [Reuters / Luis Valentin Ortiz]
  • The Senate sued, and the Puerto Rico Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that Pierluisi’s succession was unconstitutional –– likening Rosselló’s appointment of Pierluisi to a king passing down his throne. [NYT / Alejandra Rosa, Patricia Mazzei, and Frances Robles]
  • Now Justice Secretary Wanda Vázquez has been sworn in as governor, although in the past she’s made it clear she doesn’t want the position. [NBC News / Nicole Acevedo]
  • And it remains to be seen how long she will be able to hold on to the position considering her unpopularity with the people. Protesters have threatened to throw her out because of political baggage, which includes accusations of improperly intervening in a case against her daughter and failing to investigate the rise of violence against women. [CNN / Ray Sanchez]
  • Many are unsure where Puerto Rico will go from here: elections aren’t until 2020, and some even anticipate Vázquez will stay in office just long enough to nominate a new secretary of state who can take her place as governor. It remains to be seen if there’s even a candidate that can receive the approval of both lawmakers and the people at this point. [Vox / Alexia Fernández Campbell]

The way we eat affects climate change

  • A new United Nations climate change report bears bad news: The way we manage our land and consume our food is driving climate change — and we’re running out of time to save the planet. [UN News]
  • Humanity currently exploits Earth’s water and land at unprecedented rates, according to the report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Up to a third of the planet’s land is used for food, feed, fiber, timber, and energy — which is why we have 46 percent fewer trees than we did at the beginning of civilization. [Vox / Umair Irfan]
  • The way we eat causes the Earth a lot of harm because of the methane, a potent greenhouse gas, produced by our massive livestock operations. [Nature / Quirin Schiermeier]
  • Here’s what you can do as an individual: Change your diet to cut down on red meat and increase plant-based foods. This could reduce carbon pollution by 15 percent of its current emission levels by 2050. [AP / Seth Borenstein and Jamey Keaten]
  • Agricultural methods have to change too: We need to stop draining wetlands and cutting down forests in an attempt to create more land for harvesting. Restoring forests and growing trees in areas where there were none before will also help. [Vox / Umair Irfan]
  • The consequences of not taking immediate action will be dire: The global food supply could rapidly decrease in the next few decades, which will likely affect poor regions more severely than richer ones. Already, 10 percent of the world’s population is undernourished. [NYT / Christopher Flavelle]
  • Scientists don’t want you to take this as a death sentence. There is still hope to curb climate change before it becomes life-threatening; it simply needs a massive amount of financial support and attention. [NPR / Rebecca Hersher and Allison Aubrey]


  • A Kenyan lawmaker was kicked out of the parliament chamber for bringing her infant after being unable to find last-minute child care. Fellow female lawmakers walked out with her in solidarity. [NYT / Carlos Mureithi and Megan Specia]
  • #GreenShirtGuy: A viral Twitter video shows a man laughing hysterically at protests against sanctuary city measures in Tucson, Arizona. The man later said he was laughing at how absurd it was for the protesters to make the time to spread hate. [NBC News / Dareh Gregorian]
  • Scientists have discovered a new prehistoric parrot — nicknamed “Squawkzilla” — that is estimated to have been as big as a small child. [NPR / Vanessa Roma]
  • You’ll have to think twice before sitting on the Spanish Steps in Rome — it could now cost you $450 in fines. City officials are hoping the new ordinance will discourage bad behavior from tourists.[AP / Dolores Hinckley]
  • 15 years ago today, Dave Matthews Band’s tour bus dumped 800 pounds of human waste into the Chicago River. The worst part of the story: The waste landed directly on top of people enjoying an architecture boat tour. [CBS Chicago]


“If a country’s ruler were empowered to choose his successor, or possible successor, without a minimal guarantee of democratic consensus, there would not be much difference between our system of government and a monarchy. We do not live in a monarchy.” [Justice Ángel Colón Pérez’s concurring opinion to the Supreme Court’s ruling that Pedro Pierluisi’s succession was unconstitutional]

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