By Edward VanWagnerThe sight was something I never expected to see in my lifetime. Not that I didn’t believe that this could happen. I suppose, after 28 years in emergency services, I simply hoped I wouldn’t witness such a sight.The entire emergency department was in chaos. Don’t get me wrong. Chaos is normal in any ED in America. But this was different. Very different. Every inch of space was filled with the acutely sick and dying. The hallways were packed with stretchers with grievously ill people. Oxygen tubing was jerry-rigged through the ceiling tiles in all directions, pumping high level...
Beaming and waving her arms in the air, teenage pilot Zara Rutherford was euphoric Thursday after completing a solo, round-the-world flying odyssey with the dream of getting into the record books.
"It was very difficult but very rewarding," confessed the 19-year-old Belgian-British sensation who can claim to being the youngest woman to have circumnavigated the globe alone in a cockpit.
She touched down at an airfield outside the Belgian town of Kortrijk, welcomed by a crowd of journalists, well-wishers and family just over five months after she set off on 18 August, 2021.
"It's very strange being back here," she told a media conference, adding that, after an epic journey with stops in nearly 30 countries, she was looking forward to putting her feet up for a while in just one place.
"I'd like to do nothing next week," she laughed. "It was harder than I imagined."
Rutherford -- whose both parents are pilots and her father flew for Britain's air force -- field questions in English, French and Dutch.
She explained that Russia's vast, frozen expanse of Siberia was the "scariest" leg of her journey: a place of overwhelming distance between habitations, and where the temperature fell below minus 30 degrees Celsius (-22 degrees Fahrenheit).
"I'd be going hundreds and hundreds of kilometres without seeing anything human -- I mean no electricity cables, no roads, no people -- and I thought 'if the engine stopped now I'd have a really big problem'," she said.
Navigating the world in a tiny, 325-kilogram (717-pound) Shark UL single-propellor plane, loaned to her under a sponsorship deal, meant she had to skirt around clouds and could not fly at night.
The restrictions meant many times she had to divert or make hasty landings -- including taking to ground quickly early this month, just a short distance from Dubai, to avoid getting caught in the first thunderstorm that city had seen in two years.
There was also a long three-week stretch for most of November in a Russian eastern coastal town called Ayan where she could not take off because of the weather, relying on kind locals who were "very willing to help with anything I might need".
She did not escape the Covid pandemic and related restrictions, either.
China barred her from its airspace because of virus curbs, "which meant I had to do a huge detour to avoid North Korea -- and that took six hours over water," she said. "That was a pretty nerve-wracking experience."
She was subjected to PCR tests "all the time" to get clearance, and "Asia was extremely strict, so I had to make sure that I had to stay in hotels".
But the 52,000-kilometer (32,000-mile) trip, tracked on her website and caught on cameras she took with her, also brought its share of unique experiences.
They included flying around the Statue of Liberty and seeing a SpaceX launch in California, soaring above Saudi Arabia's "diverse" landscape, stopping in Colombia, seeing an isolated house on its Icelandic island, and powering along "beautiful" Bulgarian valleys.
'Do something crazy'
"I've been through some stuff," Rutherford said, adding: "So many countries, so many kilometers, but every single one was amazing."
"It will be very strange to not have to fly every single day anymore -- or try to fly every single day," she said.
"I'm just happy to finally be in the same spot for, you know, a few months hopefully."
Rutherford is not the youngest to have flown around the world solo. That title goes to an 18-year-old Briton, Travis Ludlow, who completed his feat in July last year.
But, once confirmed by Guinness World Records, she assumes the title of the youngest woman to do so, displacing a US pilot of Afghan origin, Shaesta Waiz, who circumnavigated the planet in 2017, aged 29.
More than that, though, she said her feat is a tribute to seizing hold of dreams and making them happen, saying she had to get past her initial fears that her goal would be "too expensive, too dangerous, too complicated".
In sum, she said, "I want to encourage people to do something crazy with their lives -- to go for it".
© 2022 AFP
InfoWars Jan. 6 case could reveal a lot about the case against Ali Alexander and militia members: expert
InfoWars' Owen Shroyer appeared at his hearing Thursday before United States District Judge Tim Kelly in a case that legal analyst Marcy Wheeler said could be an indication of what to expect for event organizer Ali Alexander's case and that of some militia members. Shroyer's lawyer filed a motion to dismiss, which was quickly denied.
"There is no doubt in my mind that probable cause for an arrest existed here," Judge Kelly said.
Shroyer is using the defense that he was on the East steps, which were permitted by Alexander for the event. There was no permit to break into the building. The DOJ doesn't have photos of those men entering the Capitol. Shroyer was on stage with InfoWars leader Alex Jones and Alexander in some of the photos. So the charge of trespassing isn't going to work if they can't prove he was inside the building.
This is significant bc Ali Alexander has been telling the same fairy tale about why he was inciting a riot on the East steps (to both Jan 6 Committee and in lawsuits). And Alex Jones plans to tell the same fairy tale.— emptywheel (@emptywheel) 1642691603
Shroyer can also claim that because he works for InfoWars he is a journalist, which goes a long way to protecting him. Where he does run into trouble is that he was charged with another crime after he attended a House Judiciary Committee hearing and started yelling at Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY). He signed a Prosecution Agreement (DPA) which specifically prohibited him from the Capitol grounds.
Judge Kelly told Shroyer that he and others marched over the caution tape and an "area closed sign" and were told the phrase: "hole you guys breached over there." The bodycam of the officers also shows that one specifically told the men to go somewhere else. There was a sign they walked over that said "area closed" and photos reflect it, as Wheeler pointed out.
Here's the bodycam showing that Shroyer and Alex Jones and Ali Alexander WALKED OVER an "Area Closed" sign.pic.twitter.com/nlgfou1OTH— emptywheel (@emptywheel) 1642692461
The judge continued to hear motions, and they closed the hearing with Shroyer's lawyer, Norman Pattis, revealing that he has COVID. So the ruling will come in 45 days.
Investigators doubted South Dakota attorney general Jason Ravnsborg's claims that he was unaware that he had struck a person with his car.
One of the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation agents who handled the investigation into the hit-and-run killing of 55-year-old Joe Boever testified Wednesday during a legislative impeachment hearing that the Republican attorney general had to have realized he had hit a human despite telling authorities he didn't know, reported the Argus Leader.
"You walk by a flashlight that's on and there's a body that's laying within two feet of the roadway ... I believe he would have had to see him," testified Arnie Rummel, one of two BCI agents who investigated Boever's death at the request of Highway Patrol due to Ravsnborg's law enforcement role.
Boever's body was discovered the morning after Ravnsborg told a 911 dispatcher he had struck "something" while driving on Sept. 12, 2020.
Both agents who testified the House impeachment committee said they concluded Ravnsborg was lying after interrogating him and reviewing forensic evidence.
"He did not report what he'd actually seen," Rummel said. "Some of the things we asked him directly about were not factual."
Ravnsborg denied using a cell phone, but the investigation found he had been viewing news articles and Joe Biden conspiracy theories while driving, and he accidentally admitted to seeing the body the night of the crash.
"I don't know exactly where I turned around and saw him," Ravnsborg told investigators during a Sept. 30, 2020, interrogation, before correcting himself. "I didn't see him. I did not see him."