Ryan won’t seek reelection » House Speaker Paul Ryan dropped a bombshell on Washington yesterday. The speaker announced that he’ll retire from Congress when his current term is finished in January.
Many analysts give Republicans a 50/50 chance of keeping control of the House. But Ryan says whether he would be speaker or minority leader next year did not factor into his decision.
RYAN: Some of you know my story. My dad died when I was 16, the age my daughter is. And I just don’t want to be one of those people looking back at my life thinking if I spent more time with my kids, when I know if I serve another term, they will only know me as a weekend father.
Ryan’s signature accomplishment is ushering tax reforms through Congress late last year. But he struggled to push forward sweeping changes in other policy areas like immigration and healthcare. He also had a rocky relationship with President Donald Trump.
Ryan was was elected to Congress back in 1998. He chaired the powerful Budget and Ways and Means committees before taking over as speaker in 2015. He was also Mitt Romney’s running mate in the 2012 presidential election.
Trump: missiles will be coming to Syria » President Trump on Wednesday told Russia that missiles “will be coming” in Syria. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin has more.
KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The president issued the warning to Moscow amid a growing conflict between the U.S. and Russia over Saturday’s chemical attack on Syrian civilians. The Syrian government and Russia have both denied the attack ever happened.
A Russian ambassador told a Hezbollah media outlet on Tuesday that Russia would target any U.S. missiles fired at Syria. Trump responded via Twitter on Wednesday morning, saying, “Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!’”
He added: “You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!”
Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin.
Hundreds die in Algerian plane crash » More than 250 people are dead after a military plane crashed shortly after takeoff in northern Algeria on Wednesday. The country’s Defense Ministry said the plane was carrying soldiers and their families. The flight had just departed an air base, about 20 miles southwest of the capital city of Algiers. Authorities have launched an investigation into the cause of the crash. It is believed to be the worst aviation disaster in the country’s history.
Zuckerberg testifies again » Mark Zuckerberg says government regulation of social media is ‘inevitable.’ The Facebook CEO was back on Capitol Hill Wednesday for a second day of public testimony following his company’s recent privacy scandal. He told lawmakers, he expects the government will step in at some point, but he urged caution.
ZUCKERBERG: I think a lot of time regulation, by definition, puts in place rules that a company that’s larger, that has resources like ours can easily comply with, but that might be more difficult for a smaller startup.
Zuckerberg’s comments followed five hours of Senate questioning on Tuesday.
In the hearings, lawmakers expressed concern not just about Facebook’s privacy practices but also about political bias on the platform.
Numerous pro-life groups have complained their content is sometimes censored. Zuckerberg admitted to lawmakers that he’s not aware of a single instance in which abortion giant Planned Parenthood’s content has been censored on Facebook.
Pro-life walkouts » Meantime, students at schools nationwide participated in a pro-life walkout on Wednesday to protest legal abortion and the taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood. WORLD Radio’s Paul Butler has that story.
PAUL BUTLER, REPORTER: The protest was called “the Pro-Life Walkout.” Students exited their classrooms at hundreds of high schools and colleges across the country at 10 am local time. It was organized by Students for Life of America, which called for the students walk out for 17 minutes of silence and prayer to honor the 10 babies who would die at abortion centers during that time.
The event was initiated by Brandon Gillespie, a student at Rocklin High School near Sacramento, California. He and other student organizers asked their principal and the Rocklin Unified School District for the same accommodations that were given to students for a recent walkout to protest gun violence.
Those accommodations included no scheduled tests and the use of the school’s amphitheater and sound system. But the district declined the pro-life students’ request. That has some pro-life legal groups accusing the district of illegal “viewpoint discrimination.”
Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Paul Butler.
Hybels retires » Pastor Bill Hybels says he’s stepping down as senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in suburban Chicago. That announcement follows accusations of sexual misconduct made by women several times during his years in ministry. Hybels was scheduled to retire in October after more than 40 years of leading the megachurch.
Church elders said they investigated accusations against Hybels and found them unsubstantiated. Last month Hybels called the complaints against him “flat-out lies,” but in in a statement this week he said, “I apologize for a response that was defensive, instead of one that invited conversation and learning.”
He added that in the past he “communicated things that were perceived in ways I did not intend, at times making people feel uncomfortable.” He said for that he’s “very sorry.”
I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: A report on the growing number of teacher protests around the country. And Jamie Dean on declining international adoptions. This is The World and Everything in It.