The Wider World

House Speaker battle drags on

U.S. CAPITOL, seat of Congress (Shutterstock).

The issue of who will be the next Speaker of the House of Representatives remained undecided on Wednesday.

According to The Associated Press, the House held fourth, fifth and sixth ballots and could not agree on a choice.

Republicans have a small majority, and most support Kevin McCarthy for the post, but the far-right “Freedom Caucus” is keeping him from winning a majority.

The House voted 216 to 214 to adjourn for the night. Without a speaker, members can’t be officially sworn in, committees can’t be formed and legislation proposed, debated or passed.

Russians blame losses on cell phones

When an artillery strike demolished a Russian army barracks and ammunition depot this week, killing perhaps hundreds of soldiers, was it because of the use of cell phones?

THE USE OF mobile phones is being blamed for high Russian casualties (Shutterstock).

According to The New York Times, the Russians Defense Ministry is claiming that the banned but widespread use of the phones is helping the Ukrainian forces – using high-tech American artillery – to fire volleys with pinpoint accuracy.

Some experts doubt the reliability of “geolocation” in warfare but it’s widely believed that many Russian soldiers are disregarding orders to stop using mobile phones near the front lines.

Also in the news … Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in California on Wednesday as a “bomb cyclone” approaches the coast. Northern California is expected to be hit on Wednesday night and Thursday; rain should resume on Thursday in Southern California.

Sports: The dilemma of suspended game

The suspended game between the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals – stopped because of the cardiac arrest of Damar Hamlin during the game – is posing challenges to the National Football League.

Options include going ahead with the Week 18 schedule, declaring the Bills-Bengals game a tie or “no contest” or rescheduling the game at a later date.

It’s possible that the playoff schedule could be compacted to shorten the usual two-week pause before the Super Bowl.

Weather: Rain and wind on the way

RAIN and wind are forecast for Orange County on Thursday. (Shutterstock).

Batten down the hatches … Rain and wind – perhaps gusting to over 40 miles an hour – is forecast Wednesday for the West Orange County area.  Swells as high as 15 feet could hit the shore in Huntington Beach and other coastal areas.

Thursday should be a bit calmer with winds to 20 miles an hour. The daytime high should be 61 with an overnight low of 45. The forecast for Friday is for partly cloudy skies and a high of 63, low of 44.

Saturday should be mostly cloudy and 64 (47), but the rain is supposed to return on Sunday.

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