National and International News Briefs




Romanian nightclub fire kills 27

Twenty-seven people were killed Oct. 30 when a fire erupted at a nightclub in Bucharest, Romania. More than 160 people were injured, said authorities.

Colectiv, a club built in the basement of a communist-era factory, was hosting the band Goodbye to Gravity, which had just released a new album and was performing a free concert. Eyewitnesses believed that the fire initially may have been a part of the show. Approximately 300-400 people were packed inside and scrambled to get to the only exit in the building.

According to a CNN article, the Romanian government declared three days of mourning and President Klaus Iohannis visited the scene.

“I wanted to see the scene of the tragedy,” he told a local TV station. “It’s incredible. This location is completely unfit. … It is unimaginable that this location hosted so many people at the concert. And it’s unimaginable that this tragedy happened so quickly because simple rules were ignored.”

The cause of the fire is unknown but authorities are investigating the scene.

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Russian passenger plane crashes in Egypt

A Russian passenger plane crashed Saturday in Egypt killing all 224 people on board.

According to a Fox News article, the Metrojet plane was took off from Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh for St. Petersburg, Russia, but crashed 23 minutes into the flight. Egyptian ground officials said that the plane was in good shape before it took off although the wife of co-pilot Sergei Trukhachev told “state-controlled NTV” that he had complained about the condition of the plane.

Air controllers lost contact with the pilot when the plane was at 36,000 feet. The pilot radioed that the plane was having technical difficulties and needed to prepare for an emergency landing.

Investigators said that the plane broke up at a high altitude. They realized this by observing that fragments of the plane were scattered over a large area indicating disintegration while in the air.

The plane’s black box was recovered and has been sent for analysis.

Russian President Vladimir Putin declared Sunday a national day of mourning.

Alexander Smirnov, deputy general director of Metrojet, said Monday that the plane could only have broken up because of “external impact.”

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China adopts Two-Child Policy

China announced last week that all married couples would be allowed to have two children, ending the “one-child” policy. Chinese leaders were driven by fear of the economic impact of an aging population.

According to the New York Times, the decision will not go into effect immediately. It must be endorsed by the central government then enforced by the provincial-level governments

Under the one-child policy, citizens were subjected to forced abortions and crippling fines to inforce the law. It also skewed the Chinese sex ratio as families favored boys over girls.

The policy was adopted by China in the 1970s due to concerns that China’s growing population would limit China’s economic growth. It has been one of the government’s most controversial programs.

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Paul Ryan elected Speaker of the House

Republican Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan was elected Speaker of the House last week, succeeding Ohio Republican John Boehner and pledging to shake up how Congress does business.

“I am not interested in laying blame. We are not settling scores. We are wiping the slate clean,” he said.

An article from the Washington Times said that Ryan is a nine-term Congressman. He was elected to the House of Representatives at 28 years old and by his 40s, he was the chairman of the House Budget Committee.

He was also Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s running mate in the 2012 presidential election. As Speaker of the House, he is second in the line of succession for the presidency behind Vice President Joe Biden.

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Shooting in Colorado Springs leaves 4 dead, including gunman

A shooting in Colorado Springs, Colorado, left four people dead including the gunman. The victims were shot and killed on the street, resulting in an exchange of fire between the gunman and the police.

According to a CNN article, the shooting occurred Saturday at about 8:45 a.m. The crime scene stretched for several city blocks.

The police shot and killed the gunman, whose name has not been released. Two women and a bicyclist were killed. Police are unsure if the gunman knew the victims. No motive has been released.

The sheriff’s office has taken over the investigation, and the officers who shot the suspect have been put on routine administrative leave.

CBS reports that the gunman has been identified by a law enforcement official as Noah Jacob Harpham, 33.  The official, who is directly knowledgeable about the investigation, spoke anonymously because he has not been authorized to speak publicly.

The police are waiting for autopsies to be complete before officially releasing the identities of the victims or the gunman.

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Republicans call for changes in primary debates

Following last week’s CNBC debate, Republican candidates have called for changes in the way primary debates are handled.

They criticized the debate moderators for asking “gotcha” questions, the network for being biased, and the debates for being poorly run.

According to an article from The Washington Post, the Republican National Committee (RNC) has suspended its partnership with NBC, which was supposed to broadcast a presidential debate in February.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich felt that there needed to be more time for candidates to answer questions.

“I know that Harry Truman couldn’t get elected president explaining the United States’ health-care plan in 30 seconds,” said Kasich on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson wants to broadcast the debates on the internet only and have longer opening and closing statements. Carly Fiorina supported the RNC, saying that she had never seen an audience boo the moderators.

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