Vox Sentences: Raging wildfires have consumed 2,000 homes and businesses in California

By Ella Nilsen

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A deadly wildfire is raging in California’s wine country; high-profile actresses level new accusations at Harvey Weinstein; Kenya’s opposition leader drops out of the presidential election rerun.

Up in flames

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  • Wildfires burning out of control in Northern California have so far claimed at least 13 lives and totaled or damaged more than 2,000 buildings. [LA Times / Paige St. John and Sonali Kohli]
  • Among the dead were “senior citizens who simply were not able to escape the flames that overcame their homes,” according to Vice President Mike Pence, who visited California on Tuesday. [NPR / Bill Chappell]
  • Two of the dead were a 100-year-old World War II veteran, Charles Rippey, and his wife, Sara, 98, who had been married for 75 years. [LA Times / Hailey Branson-Potts and Alene Tchekmedyian]
  • Another 150 people have been reported missing, and while authorities are hopeful they can locate them, they are also telling the public to prepare for the death toll to rise. [Washington Post / Cara Strickland, Scott Wilson, Breena Kerr, and Kristine Phillips]
  • The disaster struck at the heart of American wine country; about 17 separate wildfires are burning over 100,000 acres of land in Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino counties. [NYT / Thomas Fuller, Jonah Engel Bromwich, and Julie Turkewitz]
  • There could be long-term economic ramifications for tourism: The blaze comes at the end of the annual grape harvest, and so far, wineries say they are focused on protecting their crops and haven’t begun to estimate how much damages will cost them. [Sacramento Bee / Mike Dunne]
  • But in the case of wineries, it’s not just the buildings that matter. If vines burn, it can take years for new vines to mature enough to produce wine. [Vinfolio]
  • Heat, dry weather, and winds have caused the fires to grow at an extremely rapid rate. California’s Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency and asked President Trump for federal relief. [CNN / Ralph Ellis, Joe Sterling, Paul P. Murphy, and Eliott C. McLaughlin]
  • California’s wildfire season is worst in September and October, but the sheer volume of fires has grown in recent years. A recent federal report is also predicting a longer fire season this year and said the US government is spending more to combat wildfires. [Vox / Anastasia Selby]

The list of Harvey Weinstein accusers keeps growing

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  • Today saw a fresh number of allegations of sexual assault, harassment, and rape being leveled at Hollywood film executive Harvey Weinstein, including from some very famous actresses. [Vox / Constance Grady and Caroline Framke]
  • Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie have now joined the ranks of women accusing Weinstein of sexual harassment; they are the most high-profile actresses to do so. [NYT / Jodi Kantor and Rachel Abrams]
  • Paltrow, who first worked with Weinstein on the Jane Austen adaption Emma, told the New York Times that the producer propositioned her when she was just 22 years old, and she rejected him. Jolie said a similar thing happened to her. [NYT / Jodi Kantor and Rachel Abrams]
  • The New Yorker, meanwhile, published the results of a long investigation chronicling alleged abusive and predatory behavior from Weinstein toward a number of actresses and assistants who worked at his film companies for the past few decades. [New Yorker / Ronan Farrow]
  • Actresses including Asia Argento, Rosanna Arquette, and Mira Sorvino went on the record about Weinstein’s behavior, with Argento alleging she’d been raped. [New Yorker / Ronan Farrow]
  • The New Yorker also released a recording of Weinstein alternately pleading with and threatening an Italian woman named Ambra Battilana Gutierrez to come into his hotel room, a day after Gutierrez alleged he groped her. The audio was collected as part of an NYPD sting operation, but a case was never brought against Weinstein. [New Yorker]
  • Equally disturbing to the latest batch of allegations against Weinstein is the culture of silence around it. Though some male actors and directors have spoken out, more than 20 who worked with Weinstein over the years have so far remained silent about the allegations. [The Guardian / Sam Levin and Julia Carrie Wong]
  • And rumors of Weinstein’s behavior have been out in the open for years but have been quashed in part because of Weinstein’s influence. Some in the industry have openly said they were afraid of speaking out against him. [Vox / Constance Grady]

Kenya could be headed for a constitutional crisis

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