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Boston Marathon bomber suspect charged

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The only known surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings was charged by prosecutors in his hospital room Monday, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was charged with one count of using and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction in the U.S. and one count of malicious destruction of property with an explosive device. If convicted, Tsarnaev could face the death penalty if convicted.

Prosecutors charged Tsarnaev in his room at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where he remains in serious condition, NBC News reports. The White House said today that because he is a naturalized U.S. citizen, Tsarnaev will be charged in civilian court and not in a military commissions.

So far Tsarnaev, who is communicating with authorities through writing, has not listed a motive for last week's attacks. The parents of Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan, who was killed during a shootout with police late Thursday night, believe their sons were framed.

Two bombs exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon Monday afternoon, killing 2 people and sending more than 100 more to area hospitals with injuries, CNN reports.

Two hours after the first runners crossed the finish line, two explosions occurring just seconds apart sent shrapnel hurtling towards runners and spectators, leaving an 8-year-old boy and one other person dead and at least 130 injured. Witnesses report a gruesome scene covered in blood, with some people missing limbs.

Ambulances transporting the injured packed Boston's streets, as police encouraged onlookers to stay away and residents to stay inside their homes. Authorities say the bombs were believed to have been put inside trash cans, and detonated purposely around the time runners were crossing the finish line. Experts say the bombs were small, crudely made and packed with metal ball bearings; all signs that this attack was a terrorist attack designed to kill multiple people.

President Obama addressed the nation just hours after the attack, warning Americans not to jump to conclusions about the person behind the attacks until a full investigation can be carried out, the LA Times reports. While authorities are unsure of whether the attack was done by domestic or foreign terrorists, Obama says those responsible will be found and will feel the full weight of justice."

Man killed by police after taking firefighters hostage

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Police shot and killed a man who held five firefighters hostage Wednesday in a suburb of Atlanta, Time reports.

The firefighters were responding to a report of a medical emergency at 3:40 p.m. at a foreclosed home in the suburb of Suwanee, but were faced instead with an armed man that demanded his power and cable TV be turned back on. The man allowed one of the firefighters to leave the residence to move the fire truck that was parked out front, but held the remaining four hostage for almost three hours.

Around 7:30 p.m., police and hostage negotiators began to worry that the gunman might harm the firefighters, CNN reports. A SWAT team used explosives to distract the gunman, who was shot dead in the exchange of gunfire that followed. One police officer was also shot in the exchange, but sustained non-life threatening injuries. The firefighters sustained minor injuries from the explosives, but were expected to be released from the hospital Wednesday night.

Neighbors said the man, whose name has not been released, seemed like a "really nice, ... like a normal guy," but that his lawn and house were always messy. Authorities say the man's house had been in foreclosed and owned by a bank since mid-November, and his financial woes may have led him to taking the firefighters hostage.


Prosecutors in Colorado announced Monday that they will seek the death penalty against James Holmes, who killed 12 people and injured 58 others in an attack at a movie theater last July, the Denver Post reports.

District Attorney George Brauchler said he contacted over 800 survivors and family members of victims in making his decision, ultimately deciding that the only "justice is death." Prosecutors previously struck down a plea deal from the defense that would give Holmes, 25, life in prison without parole. Holmes showed no reaction as Brauchler recommended his sentence in a court hearing Monday.

Holmes faces 166 charges of murder and attempted murder in the July attack on a midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater, the Huffington Post reports. If sentenced, Holmes will join three others on Colorado's death row. The state has only executed one person since 1977, when the death penalty was reinstated.

Holmes' lawyers are expected to base their defense on their client's mental health at the time of the shooting, the New York Times reports. Holmes visited a school psychiatrist in the weeks leading to the shooting, so records from those visits and a notebook he sent to the psychiatrist the day before the attack are expected to be used as evidence. Although Holmes has not entered an insanity plea, his lawyers have called him "mentally ill."

Obama appoints first female Secret Service director

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President Obama announced Tuesday that he will appoint 30-year veteran agent Julia Pierson as the first female to lead the Secret Service, CBS News reports.

Pierson will take over for previous director Mark Sullivan, who announced his retirement last month. Her appointment comes during a time of turmoil for the agency, which is facing criticism after thirteen agents were caught in prostitution scandal while accompanying Obama on a trip to Colombia. Out of those involved, eight agents were forced to leave the agency in the wake of the incident.

In addition to her experience with the agency, many believe Pierson's appointment is an effort by the president to change the atmosphere in the male-dominated Secret Service and possibly avoid future scandals like the one in Colombia. Out of the 3,500 agents in the service, only 10 percent are women, and women only began serving with the agency in 1970.

In a statement, Obama made no mention of the prostitution scandal, but said Pierson "exemplified the spirit and dedication," the New York Times reports. Pierson is the first woman to serve as the director of the Secret Service since its inception in 1865.

Judge reverses NYC sugary drink ban

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A New York state judge reversed a ban on large, sugary beverages set to take effect on Tuesday, USA Today reports.

The ban would put a 16 ounce size limit on beverages with more than 25 calories in an 8 oz serving at locations across the city like restaurants, delis, movie theaters, and and street vendors. The ban would exclude beverages that are 100 percent juice, or milk.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been championing the ban, citing the negative health effects of sugary drinks and their link to obesity. Bloomberg maintains that the ban really isn't a ban at all, rather "portion control."

A New York state judge reversed the ban Monday, after various business groups sued the city over the impending ban, CNBC reports. Judge Milton Tingling called the ban ""arbitrary and capricious," and decreed it invalid.

Bloombreg took to Twitter to say that the city must take a stand against obesity, and limits on sugary drinks is one way to do that. He said the city will appeal the judge's decision on the ban, and believes it will ultimately be upheld.

Baby born after fatal hit-and-run crash dies

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A premature baby delivered by emergency Cesarean after a hit-and-run crash that killed both parents has died, the LA Times reports.

The baby died Monday, one day after a hit-and-run crash in Brooklyn killed the baby's parents, Nathan and Raizy Glauber. The couple were on their way to the hospital after Raizy– who was seven months pregnant – complained of not feeling well, when a BMW struck the cab they were traveling in. The cab driver suffered minor injuries.

Police are searching for the driver of the BMW who fled after the crash, CBS News reports. The suspect has been identified by police as 44-year-old Julio Acevedo, who had a DWI just last month. Authorities say he was traveling at least 60 mph when his car struck the Glauber's cab.

Members of the Orthodox Jewish community to which the couple belonged are asking for Acevedo to turn himself in to authorities, calling him a "coward" for running. Hundreds of mourners packed the streets of the couple's Brooklyn neighborhood for their funerals on Sunday. A spokesman for the community said the baby will be named and circumcised according to Jewish tradition before being laid to rest, USA Today reports.

Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop dies

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Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop died Monday at his home in Hanover, N.H. at the age of 96, CNN reports.

Koop – who served from1982 to 1989 under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush – was known for his outspoken views on smoking and work concerning HIV/AIDS. Koop used his position as a platform for anti-smoking efforts, the New York Times reports. Koop stated that he wanted to see a smoke-free America by 2000. During his time in office, the percentage of Americans who smoked dropped from 33 to 26.

Koop wrote and issued a pamphlet regarding HIV/AIDS in 1988 that was mailed to 107 million American households, setting a record for largest public health mailing ever. He was criticized by many for speaking out against AIDS while staying relatively silent on the topic of abortion. Although he opposed abortion, he chose to avoid preaching his views while in office.

Koop stayed active in the years since he left office, including appearing in a 2010 commercial against the Democratic healthcare proposal, and founding a medical information website in the late 90s. In a news release from Dartmouth College announcing his death, Dartmouth President Carol L. Folt said that Koop's legacy would be the impact he had on the health of the general public.

"Dr. Koop's commitment to education allowed him to do something most physicians can only dream of: improving the health of millions of people worldwide," Folt said.

Crash injures fans at Daytona

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A crash during a NASCAR race at Daytona Speedway in Daytona, Fla. Saturday injured at least 28 fans, Reuters reports.

The incident occurred during the end of the Nationwide NASCAR race, when debris from a 10 car crash broke through a fence and flew into the stands. Driver Kyle Larson's car went airborne and broke into pieces, sending tires and an engine into the spectator area. All 10 drivers, including Larson, were checked out at a medical tent on site and released, CNN reports.

At least 14 fans were transported to two area hospitals, where at least four were reported to be on trauma alert. The rest were treated onsite and released. NASCAR officials say that although the protective fence broke, it did its job in preventing what could have been a much worse disaster.

Driver Tony Stewart was able to avoid the pileup, and went on to win the race. The Nationwide race comes one day before one of NASCAR's biggest events, the Daytona 500. SportingNews.com reports that track employees are working to repair the damaged fence in time for tomorrow's race, which is expected to go on as planned.

President Obama gave his annual State of the Union address Tuesday to congress and guests gathered at the U.S. Capitol building, focusing his speech on the issues of job creation, immigration reform, and gun control USA Today reports.

In the address, Obama spoke on the issue of job creation, stating that the creating new jobs for the middle class is necessary for full economic recovery. He also stated that immigration laws must be overhauled, in order to give a viable path to citizenship to more than 11 million illegal immigrants.

Obama's push for stricter gun control struck an emotional chord for many in the audience, the Chicago Tribune reports. Among those gathered at the Capitol were the parents of Hadiya Pendleton, a Chicago teen who died as a result of gun violence days after performing at President Obama's inauguration. Many present in the audience also wore green ribbons, in memory for those who died in December school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

The Republican response to the State of the Union address came from Florida Senator Marco Rubio. In his response, given in both Spanish and English, Rubio shared his experiences as the middle-class child of immigrants while addressing Obama's plans for economic recovery and the debt that has accumulated since Obama took office in 2008.

Rubio's response put him in the spotlight in a position that many consider a precursor to running for President, Politico reports. Rubio is among one of the strongest GOP candidates for the next presidential election, with a quick rise to political fame similar to Obama's that leads many to believe he will run in 2016.

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