Edition #9: April 22, 2013
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Ricin Scare Results in Arrest
U.S. Bomb Kills 30 at Afghan Wedding
By Alexandra Beyer
By Eddie Hartman
From wsj.com – Siobhan Hughes, Devlin Barrett, and Ryan Tracy
Paul Kevin Curtis was arrested in his Mississippi home on Wednesday for allegedly sending letters with a deadly poison in them to President Obama as well as a U.S. Senator from Mississippi. The poison in the letter is called ricin and simply a small amount, as small as a few grains of table salt, can kill an adult human. The police discovered the letter to Senator Roger Wicker (Rep. Miss.) on Tuesday and sent it for further testing. The letter to President Obama was subsequently discovered on Wednesday. The potential charges against Curtis range from sending threatening or harassing letters, to sending life-threatening material through the mail. Other suspicious packages were found and reported around the country, but they all turned out to be false reports. Even though these letters were found the same week as the Boston Bombing, the police do not believe that they are related.
A U.S. plane bombed a wedding in the southern Afghani province of Uruzgan on Tuesday killing at least 30 civilians. Residents of the small village told the BBC that at least 120 were wounded or killed. They also said that there were no Taliban or al Qaeda present in their village, but rather civilians, women, and children. Wedding guests were firing into the air, per Pashtun wedding tradition. This gunfire is could be what prompted American soldiers to drop the bomb. The Pentagon said that they detected anti-aircraft fire and responded with air support. It stated that one “errant” bomb missed its target in southern Afghanistan, but it couldn’t confirm reports of members of any wedding participants being killed.
Boston Marathon Bomber Manhunt Ends
Tsarnaev (19), initiated a shootout killing 26-yearold MIT police officer Sean Collier. The older Tsarnaev brother was also killed in the fight, leaving his younger sibling to lead authorities on a manhunt throughout the Boston area, shutting down the entire city for a day. Following a tip from a Watertown, Mass. resident, police found Dzhokar Tsarnaev holed up in a boat in a suburban backyard. After another round of gunfire and the use of flash grenades to disorient the suspect, police captured and arrested Tsarnaev alive. He was taken to the hospital is currently being treated for the wounds he sustained throughout the course of the chase.
By Elisa Weiss From cnn.com - Chelsea J. Carter and Greg Botelho
Following the Boston Marathon bombings, authorities kicked off a hunt to find the individuals responsible for killing three people and injuring over 170. Last Thursday, the FBI released the images of two men they believed to be associated with the tragedy. Later that night, the men were seen at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The suspects, who were later identified as Russian brothers Tamerian Tsarnaev (26) and Dzhokar
Politics Protests in Venezuela over Presidency By Zack Kadish From reuters.com – Brian Ellsworth and Diego Ore
After Venezuelan presidential candidate Henrique Capriles lost to Nicolas Maduro, he refused to accept the official election result. Capriles called for hundreds to peacefully protest in Caracas, the capital, to demand a recount. Capriles and his team have sources that show that Capriles actually won by more than 300,000 votes. The election was to decide the successor of the late Hugo Chavez. However, it was surrounded by controversy with Chavez having stated he would prefer Maduro, a member of the Socialist party, to be his successor. The peaceful protests quickly changed course with over 200,000 students throwing rocks and trying to enter a hotel full of foreign election observers, as they chanted “No more fraud!” The official results show Maduro winning by 265,000 votes but Capriles will only concede if there is a full recount.
Boy Scouts to Vote on Allowing Gay Members By Claire McCullough From nytimes.com – Erik Eckholm
The Boy Scouts of America leaders announced that they are in the process of eliminating their restrictions on gay members, but will not lift the ban on adult leaders. After years of controversy and negative reputations, the organization will vote on whether the ban should be lifted. About 1,400 votes from members of the Scouts’ National Council, which meets in Texas on May 20, are needed to make the change. “The proposed resolution also emphasizes that ‘scouting is a youth program, and any sexual conduct, whether homosexual or heterosexual, by youth of scouting age is contrary to the virtues of scouting.’” The Boy Scouts has been criticized for its ban of gay members and leaders, especially after a lesbian Club Scout leader was fired last year.
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Senate Stops Expanded Background Checks for Guns By Eddie Hartman From cnn.com – Ted Barrett and Tom Cohen
The United States Senate struck down a plan Wednesday that would have expanded background checks for guns and banned military style semi-automatic weapons. The compromise plan was part of a series of gun laws made by Obama’s administration as a result of the Newton school shooting back in December. President Obama was angry with the NRA and the senators who voted against the plan, saying, “Instead of supporting this compromise, the gun lobby and its allies willfully lied about the bill.” An NRA spokesperson said that the bill would not help the underlying issue of keeping schools a safe place. Victims and family members of people hurt by gun violence were present at the vote and expressed their disappointment in the Senate. Former Rep. Gabby Giffords, who was shot in the head several years ago, made a statement saying the Senate, “Ignored the will of the American people.” This statement is supported by evidence, as a recent poll conducted by CCN/ORC shows that 86% of Americans would support expanded background checks.
BBC Sneaks Reporter into North Korea as Student By Zack Kadish From cnn.com – Jethro Mullen
BBC journalist, John Sweeney, snuck into North Korea by disguising himself as a
student from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). While in North Korea, he was able to film footage for his prime time show “Panorama”. Officials from the school are angry that Sweeney did not explain the situation to the students putting them in extreme danger and also that he may have jeopardized the school’s future visits there. LSE has stated that the trip was not institutional based but was organized by non-students and the BBC, who recruited some current LSE students to participate. The LSE has asked BBC to not only withdraw “Panorama” TV broadcast but also make a fully apology. The BBC has dismissed these requests. Many are upset with the program as they believe it does not show anything informative about North Korea other then what the country usually shows tourists, and was a dangerous waste of resources.
7.8 Magnitude Earthquake in Iran
Earthquake Hits China’s Sichuan Province
By Philip Anderson
By Alexandra Beyer
From nytimes.com - Thomas Erdbrink
On Tuesday, April 16th, Iran and much of the Middle East and Asia felt the tremors of a 7.8 magnitude earthquake. Despite the intensity of the earthquake, there were few casualties and only minor damage to buildings because the tremor was more than 56 miles beneath the ground. The epicenter was said to be near Khash, Iran, which is near the borders of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Mohammad Savar, leader of the emergency medical center in Iran, stated, “We still do not have an accurate number of casualties but due to the low population density, we foresee the number of casualties is not high.” Even though this was the most powerful earthquake in the area for 40 years, they are still common in this area of the world. Take for example the 6.6 magnitude earthquake that hit in 2003 and killed at least 26,000 people, and one in 1990 that killed at least 30,000 near the Caspian Sea.
From wsj.com – AP
Early Saturday morning, a magnitude 7 earthquake struck the Sichuan province in China where an earthquake struck just five years ago. The quake left at least 32 dead and 600 injured, but the death toll will most likely continue to climb rapidly. The quake was shallow, as close as 8 miles below the surface, which increased its devastation. Many buildings toppled over, many of which were older brick buildings. The area is home to 1.5 million people, and is also a well-known preserve for pandas. In 2008 a 7.9 magnitude earthquake hit the same area leaving 90,000 missing and assumed to be dead.
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Fertilizer Plant Blast Rocks Small Texas Town
Toyota to Begin Production of Lexus in Kentucky
By Elisa Weiss
By Claire McCullough
From cnn.com – Paul Moseley
From nytimes.com – Hiroko Tabuchi
A massive explosion at a fertilizer plant in the small Texas town of West, about 18 miles north of Waco, has left at least 12 people dead, and hundreds of others injured. Initially starting off as a fire whose cause is still unknown, the explosion demolished the surrounding neighborhoods for blocks. The small 2,800-person town already knew the names of the dead before investigators had officially released the names of the fatalities, many of whom were first responders. “It is a small community, and everyone knows the first responders, because anytime there’s anything going on, the fire department is right there, all volunteer,” said Christina Rodarte, a West resident for 27 years. Rescue crews spent much of the day after the blast searching for survivors, but efforts are still ongoing. Authorities searched and cleared 150 buildings, but still had about 25 to examine on Friday. Due to the ongoing threat of another explosion at the plant, a large swath of West has been evacuated until investigators are able to clear the possibility of another deadly explosion.
Toyota announced the company would begin manufacturing its Lexus for the first time in America. This move will create 750 new jobs at Toyota’s factory in Georgetown, Kentucky. The United States is the company’s largest foreign market, so Toyota is interested in strengthening the presence of the luxury brand in the U.S. Toyota also aims to move manufacturing from Japan to foreign markets to protect the company from losing profit due to currency fluctuations, which has plagued them the past few years. “For communities like Georgetown, Toyota’s decision to expand auto production came as a vote of confidence in American auto manufacturing after years of painful cutbacks by domestic automakers,” said a Toyota spokesperson. With foreign auto companies continuing to increase production here, the U.S. continues to be one of the world’s best auto manufacturers and employers. States are providing benefits to encourage foreign automakers to expand production here. The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority is giving $146.5 million in tax cuts to assist Toyota’s manufacturing expansion in Georgetown.
Airlines Computer Problem Grounds American Airlines Planes By Philip Anderson
Airlines and US Airways were said merge eventually, but the integration of their systems has yet to take place.
FAA Approves Battery Fix for Boeing
From nytimes.com – Jad Mouawad
By Catherine Quinlan
Last Tuesday, American Airlines had to stop all its flights for a few hours due to a computer system malfunction. The airline company was unable to access their reservation system, which reserves seats for passengers, prints boarding passes, keeps track of luggage, along with other important duties. American Airlines is unsure what the cause of the problem was; other airlines that use the same operating system have not had similar problems. It was not until about 3:30 central time that flights started to resume. Though American Airlines said it would transfer purchased tickets to another flight or give a full refund for a canceled flight, passengers were still disgruntled about the situation. American
From nytimes.com – Christopher Drew and Jad Mauawad
Boeing’s 787 Dreamliners have been grounded since January due to battery problems resulting in smoke and fire erupting on two different planes. On Friday, the F.A.A. approved Boeing’s plans to fix the lithium-ion batteries, which could allow the planes to fly again in a few weeks. The delivery of these more fuel-efficient jets can now resume, and modified batteries are currently being installed in those jets that were already in use. The instillation of the new batteries takes only five days. Despite facing large costs for the setback, Boeing’s stock rose 2.14% after the announcement on Friday.