Vox Sentences: The far-right White House guest

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Trump meets with Hungary’s far-right prime minister; Sri Lanka imposes its third social media ban following the Easter bombings.


Trump welcomes Hungary’s authoritarian leader

 AFP/Getty Images
  • President Trump welcomed Hungary’s far-right Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to the White House today, and some are worried that the president is adding another authoritarian to his list of allies. [NYT / Benjamin Novak and Patrick Kingsley]
  • The Trump administration has characterized the meeting as a strategic attempt to reengage with Central European countries as Russia and China attempt to interfere in the region. [NPR / Joanna Kakissis]
  • Orbán is a controversial figure because of his attempts to erode democracy in Hungary, such as blocking independent media and putting limits on elections. He’s also staunchly anti-immigrant and has erected a fence to keep migrants out. [Bloomberg / Margaret Talev and Zoltan Simon]
  • Orbán’s last meeting with a US president was with Bill Clinton, and back then, he was still a young centrist. Former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama have both avoided meetings with Orbán. [PBS / Layla Quran]
  • Some have expressed concerns that Trump is welcoming another leader that further isolates him from America’s traditional, more liberal, allies in Europe. [CNN / Kevin Liptak]
  • Orbán’s “soft fascism” — a system that stomps out dissent without taking hard measures — could also be a chilling guideline for Trump and the GOP if their desire for power trumps their respect for democracy, Vox’s Zack Beauchamp writes. [Vox / Zack Beauchamp]

Violence in Sri Lanka sparks a social media ban and curfew

  • Sri Lanka blocked social media for the third time since the Easter bombings, and imposed a nighttime curfew following incidents of anti-Muslim violence. [BBC]
  • It’s been three weeks since Islamist militants targeted Sri Lanka on Easter to set off bombs that killed more than 200 people. Since then, religious tensions have been growing, and anti-Muslim riots have been happening for the past two days. [CNN / Rishi Iyengar]
  • The government will temporarily ban apps such as Facebook, Snapchat, WhatsApp, and Viber (a popular messaging app in the country) in hope of curtailing hate messages and false information. A nationwide curfew is also imposed from 9 pm to 4 am. [UPI / Ed Adamczyk]
  • The new restrictions follow a series of violent incidents against Muslims in parts of North Western Province, which include attacks on mosques and damage to shops and businesses run by Muslim owners. [Reuters / Alexandra Ulmer and Omar Rajarathnam]
  • Authorities believe the attacks were sparked in part by a Facebook post from a Muslim shopkeeper. Local Christians from his town of Chilaw, who interpreted the post as a sign of imminent violence, sacked the man’s shop and vandalized a nearby mosque. [Guardian / Michael Safi]
  • Some have praised the country’s efforts to shut down the spread of misinformation through social media during hectic times. But others have expressed concern that the country, which is already incredibly restrictive of the media, is expanding its reach to social media as well. [BuzzFeed News / Pranav Dixit]
  • People are also pointing out how this incident fits in into the troubling trend of violence against Muslims following the Easter bombings. [Al Jazeera]

Miscellaneous

  • An Australian university’s library was evacuated after staff thought a pungent smell indicated a gas leak. Turns out the culprit was durian, a very smelly but delicious fruit. [CNN / Jack Guy]
  • Electric scooters are a fun way to get around the city. They’ve also led to hundreds of injuries, both big and small. [Chicago Tribune / Mary Wisniewski]
  • Scientists have long thought that the radiation from the Chernobyl disaster wreaked havoc on the wildlife surrounding the area. There are growing voices, however, that claim the contrary: The ecosystem seems to be thriving in a land completely void of humanity. [Wired / Adam Rogers]
  • A Danish politician decided to reach out to constituents by taking out ads on a rather unconventional platform: Pornhub. [Politico / Paul Dallison]
  • With just 80,000 koalas remaining in Australia, the Australian Koala Foundation says the species is “functionally extinct” and at risk of not being able to sustain future generations. [Newsweek / Christine Adams-Hosking]

Verbatim

“I know he’s a tough man but he’s a respected man. Probably, like me, a little bit controversial, but that’s OK. That’s OK.” [President Trump on Hungary’s Prime Minsiter Viktor Orbán during a photo op before talks began this morning]


Watch this: How Game of Thrones uses costume design to show power

Costume design links Sansa Stark and Cersei Lannister. [YouTube / Genevieve Valentine, Gina Barton, and Bridgett Henwood]


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