By Jacob Solis
224 dead after Russian passenger plane crashes in Egypt
A Russian charter plane carrying 224 passengers and crew members crashed into Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula Saturday, killing everyone onboard.
Investigators from at least five countries have converged on the crash site, according to The New York Times. What brought the plane down remains unknown, though the plane’s owner, Metrojet, has been quick to rule out any mechanical or human failure. Aviation officials have disputed this claim, however, saying it is far too early to tell if that’s the case.
The Guardian has reported that the plane was only 18 years old, relatively young by aircraft standards, and that the plane was damaged in 2001. This damage could have theoretically compromised the plane’s longevity, but again, any conclusions remain up in the air.
Some additional concerns that the crash was the result of international terrorism have surfaced, but many in the intelligence community and elsewhere remain skeptical. While the so-called Islamic State has claimed responsibility, it is unlikely that they are supplied with missiles powerful enough to reach the plane’s cruising altitude. However, investigators have not yet ruled out the possibility of a bomb, not unlike the one that took down Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988.
Paul Ryan takes up speaker’s gavel after a month of turmoil in the House
Paul Ryan, R-Wis., officially took up the mantle of speaker of the house on Thursday, succeeding Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio. Ryan’s promotion has capped a tumultuous month in the House of Representatives that saw a multitude of increasing divisions among House Republicans.
Boehner had tendered his resignation at the beginning of October and had expected to find his successor in Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. In an unexpected turn of events, however, McCarthy withdrew from the speaker’s race under intense pressure from the right-wing House Freedom Caucus. The Freedom Caucus was one of the strongest voices calling for Boehner’s exit since his election in 2010.
Once McCarthy took himself out of the race, calls for Ryan to take the job as a unifying figure intensified. Ryan had, for most of October, been resolute in his will not to be speaker, saying multiple times that he was not the man for the job. Even so, Ryan eventually bowed to the pressure.
Ryan was quick to distance himself from Boehner and the Republican establishment, saying it was time to “[wipe] the slate clean.”
Reporter, photographer charged after scuffle at Tesla Gigafactory
A reporter and a photographer for the Reno Gazette-Journal were each charged with misdemeanor counts of trespassing on Thursday after getting into an altercation with Tesla Gigafactory security earlier this month.
The photographer, Andy Barron, was originally going to be charged with felony counts of battery with a deadly weapon after he allegedly struck security with an RGJ jeep. Those charges were eventually reduced to misdemeanor battery charges.
Jacob Solis can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @TheSagebrush.