By Jacob Solis


Syrian troops retake historic city of Palmyra

The Syrian Army reported Sunday that it had taken full control of the Syrian city of Palmyra from ISIS, according to The New York Times. ISIS fighters had controlled the city, a UNESCO World Heritage site, for nearly one year after capturing it last May.

The capture itself comes after a three-week push from the Syrian Army, including its Russian allies, that killed hundreds of ISIS fighters as per reports from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

While ISIS had drawn the ire of the world for videos showing the destruction of some of Palmyra’s historic buildings, Maamoun Abdulkarim, Syria’s director general of antiquities, said that the destruction was not as bad as some had feared.

This fall of Palmyra has drawn a rare moment of praise for the besieged Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who’s been criticized over human rights abuses in the country since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011. It also underscores the role of the Russian military in the conflict, as it was Russian bombs from dozens of airstrikes that paved the road to Palmyra.


California lawmakers reportedly reach deal on $15 minimum wage

California legislators and unions have allegedly reached a deal on increasing the state’s minimum wage to $15, according to the Los Angeles Times. Speaking to anonymous sources close to negotiations, the Times report says that the change would come gradually, first with an increase to $10.50 next year, while finally reaching $15 in six years.

The deal would pre-empt a likely costly political battle in the state over a ballot measure to accomplish the same goal. The City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County have each raised their minimum wages to $15, but Gov. Jerry Brown has been hesitant to approve any increases since 2013.

Earlier this year, however, California unions threatened to put the issue up to the voters, and just last week the first of two minimum wage initiatives qualified for the Nov. 8 ballot, again according to the Times. Union leaders remain hopeful that this reported deal will allow those initiatives to be withdrawn.


Second case of Zika virus reported in Clark County

The Southern Nevada Health District reported the second case of the Zika virus in Clark County on Monday, just one week after the first case was discovered, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

In a news release, the health district said the positive test came from a woman who recently traveled to Brazil. The first case of Zika came just last week from a man who had recently traveled from Guatemala.

These are the only two cases in Nevada so far, and though SNHD Chief Health Officer Joseph Iser has said that they expect to report more positive tests in the future, the chance of an outbreak in Nevada remains low, especially since both cases thus far have been contracted outside the U.S.

Jacob Solis can be reached at and on Twitter @TheSagebrush.