In the Loop: Plane Crash, Admissions Corruption, and Brexit

Jesse Berlin, Copy Editor

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March 10 Plane Crash Stuns the World

An Ethiopian Airlines plane crashed just six minutes after it departed from Ethiopia’s capital city Addis Ababa, killing all 157 people on board. Investigators recovered the black box the next day, a device designed to help piece together the cause of tragedies such as this one by recording flight data and the voices in the cockpit. As of yet, it is still not clear what went wrong. But what the world does know is that this plane was a Boeing 737 MAX 8, a particular aircraft that appeared in the news back in October 2018 following the crash of Lion Air Flight 610. Because of this, countries such as China, France, Germany, Australia and the U.K. have suspended all usage of the MAX 8 until investigators working the Ethiopian Airlines case can determine that something else besides potentially faulty engineering of the MAX 8 was responsible for this disaster.

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March 12 – College Admissions Corruption

Federal prosecutors charged at least 46 people in what the Justice Department is calling the biggest college admissions scam they’ve ever seen. The 46 defendants include 33 parents who, according to the prosecution, paid between $200,000 to $6.5 million to the admission consulting firm Edge College & Career Network. The firm allegedly orchestrated a fraudulent operation involving schools such as Yale and Stanford, altering entrance exam scores and bribing coaches to award students athletic scholarships based on fabricated athletic profiles. Along with the 33 parents, 13 coaches and Edge College & Career Network associates have been charged, including the ringleader, the firm’s founder William Singer, who pleaded guilty to his crimes and made approximately $25 million off the scandal.

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March 12 – Parliament Shuts Down May’s Second Deal

After Parliament rejected her first deal with the EU in January, the U.K.’s Prime Minister Theresa May decided to try again and met with EU officials to draft another one. However, Parliament didn’t accept her second deal either, leaving Britain with two options in the country’s Brexit process: request that the EU extend their March 29 deadline to a later date or vote for a hard Brexit, meaning a Brexit without a deal with the EU in place. Regardless of which option the British government decides on, a significant problem surrounding Brexit will be the future of the border between the U.K. and Ireland.

Ireland is still a member of the EU, and before Brexit, there was an open border between the two countries, meaning goods and people could move back and forth without much restriction. In a hard Brexit, that open border would be eliminated. This led to a compromise between the EU and Britain called the backstop. With the backstop, Britain could leave the EU but still retain its open border with Ireland, albeit temporarily as Britain and the EU came up with a better alternative. However, some on the pro-Brexit side have expressed concern that the backstop will impede on Britain’s efforts to fully break away from the European Union.

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