xoNEWS: An Invasion, A Bomb Threat, And Some Terrible Air Travel Etiquette

Some of the headlines you might have missed, neatly summarized.
Amanda Lauren
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Some of the headlines you might have missed, neatly summarized.


Conflict this week wasn’t simply limited to land, it was also in the skies. Two flights had to be diverted this week, basically because (and I wish I could find a better way to say this) people were acting like jerks.

One of my goals with this column is to write the kind of thing I’d like to read myself -- simplified versions of the story. Honestly, as much as detailed information is helpful, sometimes it makes it more difficult to understand what is really going on, especially with really complex news stories. So, I’ve provided a little history lesson to try and explain what is currently going on in the Ukraine. 

Let me know what you think in the comments or just tweet me @AmandaLauren.

Russia Invades The Ukraine

If you haven’t been keeping up with Russia, here’s a little history lesson/explanation to fill you in. This is very much a simplified version of the story, so if you want every single detail, you’re in the wrong place. If you just want to know the basics of what's going on, you’re in the right one. 

In 1991, the Soviet Union (USSR) dissolved. Some people were happy about it, others not so much. Cut to today: the Ukraine is divided. Some people want the country to stay independent, but others don’t agree. The people who aren’t into the whole independent Ukraine thing are called separatists. Several countries (including the US, The European Union, Norway, Canada and Australia) wanted to prevent this situation in the first place, so earlier this summer, they placed trade sanctions on Russia.

But this deterrent failed, because Russia invaded the Ukraine on Tuesday. The Ukrainian government announced the attack on Twitter (I can’t make this up). Russia has denied that the invasion has even taken place, although NATO satellite imagery revealed on Thursday suggests otherwise. Russia doesn’t see aiding the separatists as an attack on the Ukraine, which has called the situation “a full scale invasion” intended to destabilize the country. In the meantime, the United States and European Union are discussing strengthening trade sanctions against Russia further.

You Thought Your Flight Was Bad…

Two flights were diverted for the same reason this week: a passenger was unhappy the woman in front of him wanted to recline her seat. 

On Sunday, a United Airlines Flight from Newark, NJ to Denver had to be diverted to O’Hare in Chicago. A man sitting the Economy Plus section, which offers four additional inches of legroom compared to the Regular Economy section, was using a device called the “Knee Defender,” which attaches to the seat in front of you to prevent that seat from reclining. The woman in front of him, who couldn’t recline her seat, wasn’t happy and when he wouldn’t remove the device, she threw a cup of water in his face. No arrests were made because the TSA didn’t deem the incident to be a threat to anyone’s safety and said it was a customer service issue. And if you were wondering, the “Knee Defender” is banned on United Airlines, as well as most major airlines.

The second diversion took place on Wednesday on a flight from Miami to Paris, which had to be diverted to Boston. Paris resident Edmund Alexandre became upset when the woman in front of him reclined her seat. A flight attendant attempted to calm him down, but Alexandre grabbed his arm. An Air Marshall intervened and subdued Alexandre, who then was arrested and taken upon arrival to the hospital for a pre-existing medical condition. He has been released pending a hearing in December.

Boston Bomber’s Sister Arrested For Making A Bomb Threat

The sister of Boston Bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was arrested in New York City this week for threatening her boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend. On a phone call, Ailina Tsarnaeva said, “Leave us alone. I know people who can put a bomb on you.” After being reported to the police, Tsarnaeva turned herself in at a Harlem Police station and was arrested on suspicion of aggravated harassment and making a phone threat, which is a misdemeanor. Tsarnaeva has been released and her hearing is next month.  


• After 9 years and 6 children, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were married privately last Saturday in a civil ceremony in Correns, France at Château Mirival. 

• The ambiguous ending to the television show, “The Sopranos” has left audiences wondering for years whether fictional patriarch Tony Soprano is dead or alive. On Wednesday, creator David Chase gave an interview to Vox.com, which implied that Tony was alive. The interview went viral, but Chase claims his words were misconstrued. Chase’s rep issued a statement to Variety on Thursday, which said, “To simply quote David as saying, ‘Tony Soprano is not dead,’ is inaccurate. There is a much larger context for that statement and as such, it is not true.”

• Legendary comedian Joan Rivers was receiving throat surgery on Thursday at a New York clinic when she stopped breathing. She was rushed to Mt. Sinai Hospital where she is currently in stable condition.