The War Nerd: That Russian airliner… bomb or loose screw?


As soon as I heard a Russian charter plane had crashed on its way back from Sharm-el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg, I started trying to guess the odds.

Because there are two very good possibilities here: either it was a bomb planted by Islamists angry at Russia’s intervention in Syria, or…well, to understand the second possibility, you have to have taken one of these winter charter flights from Moscow to Sharm.

I did. Three times, in fact. When I was living in Moscow in the early 2000s, you could get package deals for about $ 300 that included return airfare, with a week and two meals a day (good meals, too) in one of the very glitzy, mostly empty hotels along the shoreline of Sharm. Those hotels were built in the expectation that wealthy North Europeans would book them to capacity every winter. It didn’t happen, at least not then. 

Too many scary things were happening to tourists in Egypt. The cautious Germans, British, and Swedes went to safer places, like Thailand or Crete. Only Russians and Ukrainians would still book winter breaks in Sharm, because Eastern Slavs don’t scare easily. And since most Russians didn’t have the kind of money that Germans and Danes can casually throw away on a week in the sun, prices for these hotels dropped, until they were such a bargain that even expat Muscovites like us abandoned our Anglo caution and paid our $ 300…

Pando latest articles


Ahmed Mohamed got his clock, the one police thought was a bomb, back




Ahmed Mohamed, the 14-year-old boy who was arrested for bringing what officials thought was a bomb to his Texas school last month, has been reunited with the clock that started it all

“Got my clock back finally!!” Mohamed tweeted Friday along with a photo showing him proudly displaying the device, which he had created to impress his teachers at MacArthur High School


— Ahmed Mohamed (@IStandWithAhmed) October 23, 2015

Mohamed also tweeted a photo of the property bag the clock was returned in, which showed that the Irving Police Department had classified it as a “hoax bomb.” Read more…

More about Clock, Us World, Us, and Ahmed Mohamed