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Federal judges toss out Ohio’s congressional map, citing gerrymandering; two Reuters reporters are released from prison in Myanmar after more than 500 days.


Court: Ohio’s congressional map is unconstitutional

Aurora Samperio/NurPhoto via Getty Images
  • A federal court ruled on Friday that Ohio’s congressional map is unfairly drawn to benefit Republicans — just a week after a Michigan court made a similar ruling for the state’s map. [Cleveland.com / Rich Exner]
  • The current map, which was drawn by a Republican-controlled legislature in 2011, is unconstitutional because it violates Democratic voters’ rights by diluting their votes, the court ruled. It has ordered lawmakers to create a new version by June for the 2020 elections. [Roll Call / Simone Pathé and Stephanie Akin]
  • Ohio’s attorney general said he would appeal to the Supreme Court, which is already reviewing two gerrymandering cases from Maryland and North Carolina — the former map favoring Democrats and the latter favoring Republicans. They are expected to make a decision by the end of this spring. [Cincinnati Enquirer / Jessie Balmert]
  • Until now, the higher court has only restricted racial gerrymandering and has never found partisan gerrymandering to be unconstitutional. The Supreme Court, however, will now have to deliberate on a key question: How does one differentiate between unconstitutional partisan maps and acceptable political maps? [Washington Post / Robert Barnes]
  • Ohio voters are also on board with making the process of mapping congressional districts fairer. In 2018, they passed a ballot measure that would require a map to receive 50 percent support from the minority party. [NPR / Gabe Rosenberg]
  • Lower courts and voters are collectively sending a message to the Supreme Court that partisan gerrymandering is an immediate issue that has to be addressed. [NYT / Trip Gabriel and Michael Wines]

Reuters reporters released after more than 500 days

  • Two Reuters journalists were finally freed from Myanmar after more than 500 days in prison. [Reuters / Simon Lewis and Shoon Naing]
  • Wa Lone, 33, and U Kyaw Soe Oo, 29, were arrested while investigating the death of 10 Rohingya Muslim men and boys, which was part of a military-led attack against the minority group. [CNN / Euan McKirdy and James Griffiths]
  • They were sentenced to seven years in prison after being charged under the Official Secrets Act for receiving documents from a police officer. Reuters has maintained the reporters’ innocence. [NYT / Russell Goldman and Mike Ives]
  • The two men, along with their Reuters colleagues, were awarded a Pulitzer Prize in April for “expertly exposing the military units and Buddhist villagers responsible for the systematic expulsion and murder of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar.” [Pulitzer.org]
  • Although the reporters’ repeated appeals to the court were rejected, they were pardoned under an amnesty granted by the president to more than 6,000 other prisoners. It is not unusual for Myanmarese authorities to grant pardons to criminals during the beginning of the traditional New Year, which began on April 17. [NPR / Laurel Wamsley]
  • The two reporters had become the faces of a global campaign for press freedom. Journalists, foreign diplomats, and human rights activists demanded their release. [LA Times / Shashank Bengali and Cape Diamond]
  • The journalists’ report and arrest contributed to a darker global image of Myanmar’s civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who was once an international icon for democracy. [Washington Post / Shibani Mahtani]

Miscellaneous

  • A company called Liquid Death is selling tallboy cans of “punk rock” water. Naturally, it led to plenty of internet jokes. [BuzzFeed News / Ryan Broderick]
  • In 2017, a man who was later found to be highly intoxicated killed eight people in Texas. The bartender who served him the night of the crime could face up to a year in prison. [NBC News / Ben Kesslen]
  • A Japanese fashion tycoon who paid a hefty deposit to become SpaceX’s first commercial passenger to the moon now says he’s broke — and some wonder how this may impact the company’s funding for the project. [Futurism / Kristin Houser]
  • If you played a lot of Pokémon when you were a kid, it’s likely that a specific area in your brain is dedicated to identifying the characters. [Engadget / Christine Fisher]
  • The theme of last night’s Met Gala was camp. No, not as in camping in the wild. Think over-the-top, glam, flamboyant. [The Cut / Kelly Conaboy]

Verbatim

“We conclude that the 2012 map dilutes the votes of Democratic voters by packing and cracking them into districts that are so skewed toward one party that the electoral outcome is predetermined.” [Federal judges in their 301-page decision tossing out Ohio’s congressional map]


Watch this: China’s secret internment camps

… and the internet detectives working to find them. [YouTube / Danush Parvaneh]


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