First Boston, then New York? Police say bomb suspects targeted Times Square for attack
NEW YORK (AP) — Armed with a pressure-cooker explosive and five pipe bombs, the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing made a spur-of-the-moment decision last week to give the Big Apple a taste of their mayhem, New York officials say.
The potentially deadly scheme fell apart when the brothers realized the car they had hijacked was low on gas.
"We don't know if we would have been able to stop the terrorists had they arrived here from Boston," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Thursday. "We're just thankful that we didn't have to find out that answer."
New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told interrogators at his hospital bed that he and his older brother spontaneously decided the night of April 18 to drive to New York and launch an attack.
But when the Tsarnaev brothers stopped at a gas station on the outskirts of Boston, the carjacking victim they were holding hostage escaped and called police, Kelly said. Later that night, police intercepted the brothers in a blazing gunbattle that left 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev dead. Dzhokhar, 19, was discovered hiding in a boat in a suburban back yard the next day. He was wounded.
US options on aiding Syrian rebels are limited despite report on use of chemical weapons
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House disclosure that the Syrian government has twice used chemical weapons still leaves the Obama administration stuck with a limited choice of military options to help the rebels oust President Bashar Assad.
Arming the rebels runs smack into the reality that a military group fighting alongside them has pledged allegiance to al-Qaida. Establishing a no-fly zone poses a significant challenge as Syria possesses an air defense system far more robust than what the U.S. and its allies overwhelmed in Libya two years ago.
President Barack Obama had declared that the Assad regime's use of chemical weapons in the two-year civil war would be "game changer" that would cross a "red line" for a major military response, but the White House made clear Thursday that even a quick strike wasn't imminent.
Reflecting a strong degree of caution, the White House said the intelligence community assessed "with varying degrees of confidence" that the Syrian regime had used chemical weapons on a small scale. The White House said in a letter to two senators that the "chain of custody" was unclear and that the determination was based on physiological samples.
The information had been known to the administration and some members of Congress for weeks despite public pronouncements from the White House. The revelation on Thursday strengthened proponents of aggressive military action, who challenged the administration to act and warned that going wobbly would embolden Assad.
Death toll from collapsed Bangladesh building hits 290
SAVAR, Bangladesh (AP) — Crews bored deeper Friday into the wreckage of a garment-factory building that collapsed two days earlier, hoping for miracle rescues that would prevent the staggering death toll from rising much higher, as angry relatives of the missing clashed with police.
Some of those trapped under fallen concrete in the Rana Plaza building were still alive, rescue workers said, but they were so badly hurt and weakened that they will need to be extricated within a few hours if they are to survive.
Rescue workers had to cut off Mussamat Anna's mangled right hand to pull the 18-year-old garment worker free from the debris Thursday night.
"First a machine fell over my hand and I was crushed under the debris. ... Then the roof collapsed over me," she told an Associated Press cameraman from a hospital bed Friday.
Brig. Gen. Mohammed Siddiqul Alam Shikder, who is overseeing rescue operations, said the death toll at the building had reached 290, and that 2,200 people have been rescued. The garment manufacturers' group said the factories in the building employed 3,122 workers, but it was not clear how many were inside it when it collapsed Wednesday in Savar, a suburb of Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka.
Select images from building collapse that is Bangladesh's worst garment industry disaster
Garment workers trapped in the rubble plead for help. Rescuers, some in hard-hats and others wearing slippers, pick through the broken concrete. They fashion colorful cloth into makeshift stretchers that hold and lift hurt survivors and dead victims.
Thousands of relatives wail their grief and worry outside a collapsed building in Savar, Bangladesh, where at least 275 people were killed and more than 2,000 were rescued.
It is the worst-ever disaster in Bangladesh's $20 billion garment industry that supplies global retailers but has a notorious safety record.
Here are some images from the scene.
38 people die after fire quickly sweeps through psychiatric hospital outside Moscow
MOSCOW (AP) — A fire swept quickly through a psychiatric hospital outside Moscow early Friday, killing 38 people, most of them in their beds, officials said.
The one-story brick-and-wood hospital building housed patients with severe mental disorders, Health Ministry officials said. An emergency ministry official said the fire started in a wooden annex and then spread to the main brick building which had wooden beams.
The patients were under sedatives and most of them did not wake up, Yuri Deshevykh of the emergency situations ministry told RIA Novosti.
At least 29 people were burned alive, said Irina Gumennaya, a spokeswoman for the Russian Investigative Committee.
Investigators said 38 people, including 36 patients and two doctors, have died. They said a nurse managed to escape and save one patients, while another patient got out on his own. The emergency services also posted a list of the patients indicating they ranged in age from 20 to 76. Gumennaya told Russian news agencies that most of the people died in their beds.
Senate passes bill to end airport delays; House leaders say quick approval expected there
WASHINGTON (AP) — WASHINGTON (AP) — Legislation to end furloughs of air traffic controllers and delays for millions of travelers is headed to a House vote after a dark-of-night vote in the Senate that took place after most lawmakers had left the Capitol for a weeklong vacation.
The bill passed late Thursday without even a roll call vote, and House officials indicated it likely would be brought up for quick approval there.
Under the legislation, the Federal Aviation Administration would gain authority to transfer up to $253 million from accounts that are flush into other programs, to "prevent reduced operations and staffing" through the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year.
In addition to restoring full staffing by controllers, Senate officials said the available funds should be ample enough to prevent the closure of small airport towers around the country. The FAA has said it will shut the facilities as it makes its share of $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts — known as the sequester — that took effect last month at numerous government agencies.
The Senate acted as the FAA said there had been at least 863 flights delayed on Wednesday "attributable to staffing reductions resulting from the furlough."
Samsung to close down access to app store in Iran over 'legal barriers'
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian users of Samsung mobile applications said Thursday that the company had notified them that they will no longer have access to the company's online store as of May 22.
The move is seen as part of international sanctions on the country over its disputed nuclear program. The West has imposed banking and insurance sanctions on Iran since it suspects Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies.
At a Tehran shopping mall, owners of mobile phones and tablets said Thursday that they had received the message via email from the company late the night before. Retailers said they had no power over the decision.
"We have heard about it, but we are only responsible for hardware here, not software and apps," shopkeeper Bijan Ashtiani said.
In the message, Samsung said that it cannot provide access to the store, known as Samsung Apps, in Iran because of "legal barriers." It apologized to customers in emailed statement seen by the Associated Press on Thursday.
Reggaeton star Don Omar is top winner at Billboard Latin Music Awards; Jenni Rivera honored
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — Reggaeton star Don Omar was the top winner of the Billboard Latin Music Awards, though the bigger star of the show might have been the one who wasn't there: The late Mexican-American singer Jenni Rivera.
Don Omar took home 10 prizes at the annual show Thursday honoring Spanish-language songs and performers. Rivera won six prizes, including artist of the year. The California-born superstar was killed in a plane accident last year in Mexico.
The show paid homage to Rivera with a tribute that included clips from live performances and her reality television show. Her brother Juan Rivera sang his sister's song "No Llega el Olvido" accompanied by a mariachi band.
"You are my diva," Rivera's father, Pedro Rivera, said in accepting the prizes. "May God bless you, my daughter."
Rivera sold more than 15 million copies of her 12 major-label albums during her career, which was cut short in December in a crash that killed her and six other people. She was born in Los Angeles and started her career by selling cassette tapes at flea markets. She went on to become adored by millions on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border drawn to her soulful singing and honest portrayal of her tumultuous personal life.
Linemen rule NFL draft, with Te'o, running backs and quarterbacks waiting for Day 2
NEW YORK (AP) — More than 2½ tons of linemen, five trades, one quarterback and no Manti Te'o.
The first round of the NFL draft delivered an enormous portion of beef, with 18 teams devouring linemen from the opening pick of offensive tackle Eric Fisher by Kansas City to center Travis Frederick by Dallas at No. 31.
But perhaps the biggest story of the first round was Teo's name not being called by Commissioner Roger Goodell during the 3-hour, 33-minute session Thursday night.
Te'o, the All-America linebacker from Notre Dame, became a tabloid sensation in January with revelations that the girlfriend who supposedly died during the season was actually a hoax. But what may have hurt his draft status most was his poor play in the national title game loss to Alabama, and his slow 40-yard dash time at the NFL combine.
Te'o wasn't the only big-name player who will have to wait until Friday's second round. West Virginia's Geno Smith was expected to be taken, but instead the only quarterback picked was Florida State's EJ Manuel by Buffalo with the 16th spot, acquired in a trade with St. Louis. It was the lowest the first QB was taken since 2000, when Chad Pennington went 18th to the Jets.
US tourists swim for nearly 14 hours after boat sinks near St. Lucia
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — The fishing trip off the rugged north coast of St. Lucia was supposed to last all day, but about four hours into the journey, the boat's electric system crackled and popped.
Dan Suski, a 30-year-old business owner and information technology expert from San Francisco, had been wrestling a 200-pound marlin in rough seas with help from his sister, Kate Suski, a 39-year-old architect from Seattle. It was around noon April 21.
He was still trying to reel in the fish when water rushed into the cabin and flooded the engine room, prompting the captain to radio for help as he yelled out their coordinates.
It would be nearly 14 hours and a long, long swim before what was supposed to be a highlight of their sunny vacation would come to an end.
As the waves pounded the boat they had chartered from the local company "Reel Irie," more water flooded in. The captain threw life jackets to the Suskis.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.