Monday, April 29, 2013
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Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston Marathon bombing suspect, asked a court to appoint two lawyers with experience in death penalty cases to help with his defense.
Tsarnaev’s lawyer, Miriam Conrad, said in a filing in federal court in Boston that two lawyers who have defended capital prosecutions should be appointed, “given the magnitude of this case.”
Conrad cited the case against Jared Loughner, the gunman who killed six people and injured 13, including former Democratic congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was allowed to hire two attorneys with experience in death penalty matters to assist the public defender. Loughner pleaded guilty to the 2011 rampage and is serving life in prison.
Tsarnaev, 19, was charged with executing the April 15 bombings with his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died of injuries sustained in a gun battle with police four days after the attack.
The case is U.S. v. Tsarnaev, 13--mj-02106, U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts (Boston).
Monday, April 22, 2013
Sunday, April 21, 2013
Saturday, April 20, 2013
Boston bomings suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev bled for hours from neck, leg wounds, "might not have lived" if not found - CBS News
(CBS News) More details have emerged about the Friday night capture that brought the intensive manhunt for the Boston bombing suspects to an end. Suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, had been hiding in a boat in Watertown, Mass. Authorities responded to a call from a local man late Friday, after he observed that a tarp covering his boat had been disturbed and there was blood in the boat.
The FBI hostage rescue teams (HRT) planned and executed their operation to clear the boat by lobbing "flash-bangs" into it, which forced the young man to climb out, according to CBS News senior correspondent John Miller. Later the agents observed that Dzhokhar had been shot in the neck and in the leg.
Based on "the amount of blood" the homeowner saw in the boat, it is likely Dzhokhar was shot as long as 20 hours before being discovered, Miller said, referring to the battle earlier Thursday that led to the death of the other bombing suspect, Dzhokhar's 26-year-old brother, Tamerlan.
It was a "fierce gun battle with police after the carjacking and the car chase, at which point they were apparently exchanging gun fire, but also throwing homemade grenades and one large satchel bomb at police officers, so he had been bleeding for a long time," Miller said.
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In a photo of authorities apprehending Dzhokhar released Friday, a SWAT team medic can be seen administering an "ambu" resuscitation bag to assist him in his breathing. Another photo shows Dzhokhar climbing out of the boat under his own power, following the commands of the HRT (Hostage Rescue Team), and Miller said it is clear from the images that, "this is a guy who was very weak at this point and probably -- had he not been discovered -- he might not have lived."
A Department of Justice official told CBS News that the arresting agents used an exemption clause to the Miranda law, allowing them to first question Tsarnaev on immediate security concerns before reading him his rights.
"In a case when there are exigent circumstances -- public safety is involved," explains Miller, the exception can be invoked to quickly obtain information; namely "are there other explosives? Is there another plot to blow something up? Are there other people?"
Still, the use of the public safety exception is rare. "We almost never see that," Miller said, adding that i was last invoked to question Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the so-called "underwear bomber" on the Christmas Day 2009 flight into Detroit.
In the coming weeks authorities will continue to question Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who Miller calls "an intelligence windfall." He added that the primary questions for Tsarnaev are those posed by President Obama in his addresses to Boston and to the nation throughout the week: "How did you do this? How did you plan this? And did you have help?"
Friday, April 19, 2013
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
NBC News' Kristen Welker and WNBC's Jonathan Dienst discuss reports of a letter sent to President Obama containing a suspicious substance.By Pete Williams, Kristen Welker and Erin McClam, NBC News
A letter addressed to President Barack Obama and another sent to a senator — both of which tested positive for the poison ricin — carried an identical closing statement, according to an FBI bulliten obtained by NBC News on Wednesday.
According to the FBI bulletin, both letters, postmarked April 8, 2013 out of Memphis, Tenn., included an identical phrase, "to see a wrong and not expose it, is to become a silent partner to its continuance."
In addition, both letters are signed: "I am KC and I approve this message."
The letter to Obama was intercepted at an off-site White House mail facility and was being tested further, the FBI said. A federal law enforcement official said that the letter was “very similar” to one addressed to Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss.
Federal officials told NBC News that they believe they know who sent the letters, but no arrest was made because authorities were waiting for further test results.
Ricin is made from castor beans and can kill within 36 hours. There is no antidote. Some threatening letters simply contain ground castor beans, resulting in a positive field test for ricin without the concentrated poison. Results from full laboratory tests are expected in the next 24 to 48 hours.
Filters at a second government mail screening facility also tested positive for ricin in preliminary screening Wednesday.
An FBI official told NBC News that the agency did not initially believe the letters were related to the attack on the Boston Marathon on Monday.
Authorities also for a time cleared the atrium of a Senate office building Wednesday, removing suspicious envelopes and a package, before reopening the offices. Capitol police were also investigating a suspicious package at the office of Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala. Shelby’s staff had not been evacuated.
The Wicker letter had no return address. The FBI confirmed the preliminary positive test on it Tuesday. That letter was intercepted at a postal facility in Maryland that screens mail sent to Congress, and never reached Wicker’s office.
Other senators were made aware of the Wicker letter during a briefing Tuesday evening on the bombing in Boston. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said that the person who sent Wicker the letter writes often to elected officials.
People can be exposed to ricin by touching a ricin-laced letter or by inhaling particles that enter the air when the envelope is opened. Touching ricin can cause a rash but is not usually fatal. Inhaling it can cause trouble breathing, fever and other symptoms, and can be fatal.
At a hearing Wednesday on the Postal Service’s finances, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said that while there have been ricin scares in the past, the recent discoveries were unprecedented.
“There's never been any actually proved that have gone through the system,” Donahoe said. “But we've got a process that we make sure that our employees know -- We can actually track the mail back through the system to double check from an employee health standpoint."
Field tests are conducted anytime suspicious powder is found in a mail facility, and the FBI cautioned that field tests and other preliminary tests can produce inconsistent results. When tests show the possibility of a biological agent, the material is sent to a laboratory for full analysis.
Robert Windrem, Kasie Hunt, Kelly O’Donnell, Richard Esposito, Jeff Black, Mike Viqueira and Dr. Kristina Krohn of NBC News contributed to this report.
This story was originally published on Wed Apr 17, 2013 11:34 AM EDT
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Serdar Ozturk, who was staying at the Fairmont Hotel in Boston, said that when the bombs went off, it was "one of the craziest scenes" he's ever seen. NBC's Brian Williams reports.By M. Alex Johnson, staff writer, NBC News
Runners and spectators scattered in panic as two loud explosions went off Monday near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
In interviews with NBC News, witnesses described a scene of "pandemonium" after the blasts, which killed three people and injured more than 100 others. Authorities offered no immediate information on who might be responsible.
Beck Dangler, who was on a fifth-floor patio overlooking the finish line, told NBC News that he could see a plume of smoke "and then the immediate scatter."
"You could smell it — it smelled like a giant firecracker," Dangler told NBC News. "... Then there was immediate pandemonium."
Mark Wolfe, 49, of Corvallis, Ore., used the same word — "pandemonium" — as he told NBC News by cellphone what he saw.
"It's utter pandemonium," said Wolfe, who finished his ninth Boston Marathon earlier in the day. "Everybody's just in disbelief and sadness."
"If it was 30 seconds earlier, we'd be in the hospital right now," said Bob Miller, who passed by the scene with his 16-year-old niece and her boyfriend.
"Some people were very badly hurt," says a runner in the Boston Marathon. Janet Wu of NBC station WHDH of Boston reports.
The three were returning from a Boston Red Sox game at Fenway Park and had stopped to cheer on the runners at the end of the Marathon, Miller, 36, told NBC News. He estimated that they passed with 50 feet of the scene of the first explosion.
The panicked crowd tried to squeeze through a sidewalk wide enough for only two people, he said, and "everyone started shoving and pushing as hard as they could."
Whitney Hunter, a competitive road runner from La Center, Wash., told NBC News that he was only 300 yards away when the first blast went off.
"About 20 seconds later, the second explosion happened," Hunter said by email. "I saw barriers fly and I knew that it was not right so I stopped. ...
"My wife was right across the street," Hunter said. "She saw people laying in the road."
Alycia Lane of NBC 4 of Los Angeles was at lunch nearby at the Lenox Hotel when the bombs went off.
"The whole room rattled," Lane told NBC News' Kerry Sanders.
About 10 seconds later, the second blast went off.
"The building across the street from the spectator stands — which was a mirrored office building, a tall office building — was shaking," she said.
The explosions caused effects far beyond the race site.
NBC News reported that the candidates in the special election to replace Secretary of State John Kerry in the U.S. Senate had suspended their campaigns.
"Right now we need to let the trained emergency personnel do their jobs to ensure that there are no other threats, and that we can get a better sense of what happened," Republican Rep. Stephen Lynch said in a statement.
Businessman Gabriel Gomez, who is also seeking the Republican nomination, ran in Monday's race and was uninjured, his campaign said.
And organizers of the London Marathon said they were reviewing their security plans ahead of their race Sunday.
"It is a very sad day for athletics and for our friends and colleagues in marathon running," Nick Bitel, the marathon's chief executive, said in a statement.
Wolfe, the Oregon runner, said he was usually "exhausted but elated" after having finished each of his nine marathons. But after Monday's incident, "nine is enough, he said.
"Pray for those runners."
Jonel Aleccia, Sarah Boxer, Melissa Dahl, Bill Dedman, Luke Russert, Kerry Sanders and Frank Thorp of NBC News contributed to this report.
This story was originally published on Mon Apr 15, 2013 8:57 PM EDT
Monday, April 15, 2013
BOSTON — Two bombs exploded near the finish of the Boston Marathon on Monday, killing two people, injuring 22 others and sending authorities rushing to aid wounded spectators, race organizers and police said.
One runner, a Rhode Island state trooper, said he saw at least two dozen people with very serious injuries, including missing limbs.
About two hours after the winners crossed the line, there was a loud explosion on the north side of Boylston Street, just before the photo bridge that marks the finish line. Another explosion could be heard a few seconds later.
The Boston Marathon said that bombs caused the two explosions and that organizers were working with authorities to determine what happened. The Boston Police Department said two people were killed and 23 others injured.
Competitors and race volunteers were crying as they fled the chaos. Bloody spectators were being carried to the medical tent that had been set up to care for fatigued runners. Authorities went onto the course to carry away the injured while stragglers in the 26.2-mile race were rerouted away from the smoking site.
Roupen Bastajian, a 35-year-old state trooper from Greenville, R.I., had just finished the race when they put the heat blanket wrap on him and he heard the first blast.
"I started running toward the blast. And there were people all over the floor," he said. "We started grabbing tourniquets and started tying legs. A lot of people amputated. ... At least 25 to 30 people have at least one leg missing, or an ankle missing, or two legs missing."
A Boston police officer was wheeled from the course with a leg injury that was bleeding.
"There are a lot of people down," said one man, whose bib No. 17528 identified him as Frank Deruyter of North Carolina. He was not injured, but marathon workers were carrying one woman, who did not appear to be a runner, to the medical area as blood gushed from her leg.
Smoke rose from the blasts, fluttering through the national flags lining the route of the world's oldest and most prestigious marathon. TV helicopter footage showed blood staining the pavement in the popular shopping and tourist area known as the Back Bay.
"There are people who are really, really bloody," said Laura McLean, a runner from Toronto, who was in the medical tent being treated for dehydration when she was pulled out to make room for victims of the explosions. "They were pulling them into the medical tent."
Cherie Falgoust was waiting for her husband, who was running the race.
"I was expecting my husband any minute," she said. "I don't know what this building is ... it just blew. Just a big bomb, a loud boom, and then glass everywhere. Something hit my head. I don't know what it was. I just ducked."
Runners who had not finished the race were diverted straight down Commonwealth Avenue and into a family meeting area, according to an emergency plan that had been in place.
Sunday, April 14, 2013
Authorities: 1 dead, 18 hurt in van crash on Florida Turnpike; driver lost control - The Washington Post
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Saturday, April 13, 2013
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Takata has also supplied the faulty air bags to foreign carmakers, said Toyohiro Hishikawa, a spokesman for the Tokyo-listed components maker. The company’s shares tumbled almost 10 percent Thursday.
The recall — the biggest since Toyota pulled back more than seven million vehicles in October — underscores the risk of global supply chains as automakers increasingly rely on a handful of suppliers for common or similar parts to cut costs.
Toyota, the world’s biggest-selling automaker, is recalling about 1.73 million vehicles produced between November 2000 and March 2004, including 580,000 vehicles in North America and 490,000 vehicles in Europe.
Some air bags protecting the front passenger seat may not inflate correctly because of a problem with the propellant used in the air bag inflator, said the Toyota spokesman Ryo Sakai.
The Tokyo-based Takata supplies air bags and seat belts to major automakers outside Japan, including Daimler and Ford Motor, as well as to the Japanese brands.
A second Takata spokesman, Hideyuki Matsumoto, said the defect had been caused by problems in the manufacturing process.
There were no injuries or deaths reported as a result of the faulty air bags, Toyota said. The automaker said there was a risk of fires or injuries because of the flawed inflators.
Toyota will exchange the faulty inflators for new ones, a fix that is expected to take about an hour to two-and-a-half hours for most models, Mr. Sakai said. He declined to give the costs related to the recall.
“The inflators themselves are not so expensive, but there is the cost to cover for the hours spent to fix the problem,” said Kohei Takahashi, an auto analyst at JPMorgan in Japan.
Honda said it was recalling about 1.14 million vehicles worldwide. Nissan Motor said that it was recalling about 480,000 vehicles globally and that there might be more. Mazda Motor said it was recalling about 45,500 vehicles.
Takata estimates about two million vehicles use the defective air bag, Mr. Matsumoto said.
The air bag problem, announced during Japanese trading hours, hit Takata’s shares much harder than it did those of automakers.
Takata’s shares plunged 9 percent to close at ¥1,819, or $18.26.
Shares in Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Mazda, which continue to be supported by a weakening yen and Japan’s new economic policies, were up between 3.1 and 5.8 percent, outpacing a 2 percent rise in the benchmark Nikkei.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
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But it needs to find a way to play a bigger role in delivering what consumers want from their phones: ways to communicate, find answers to questions, shop and be entertained. The company would especially like to become that workhorse for the vast majority of its users who live outside the United States and from whom, so far, it barely profits.
The company will make its biggest leap yet in that direction Thursday, when it is expected to introduce a moderately priced phone, made by HTC, powered by Google’s Android operating system, and tweaked to showcase Facebook and its apps on the home screen.
The Facebook phone adheres to two crucial product announcements in the last three months: A new search tool that encourages users to use their Facebook friend network to seek out everything from restaurants to running trails, and a news feed remade for mobile devices.
The details of the would-be Facebook-centric phone are under wraps. But the motivation is certain.
“Facebook would like to be, literally and figuratively, as close to its users as its users are to their phones, within arm’s reach when they are searching for information, news, time wasting, shopping, communication,” said Rebecca Lieb, an analyst with the Altimeter Group.
That can be especially attractive if the new phone is affordable to emerging market users: Brazil and India are home to the largest blocs of Facebook users after the United States, and their numbers are growing swiftly as smartphone penetration increases in those countries. Many Indian cellphone makers, for that reason, have Facebook already installed on their home pages.
But Facebook makes little money by advertising to those international users.
By partnering with HTC, a phone maker based in Taiwan, the social network is signaling that it is “making an international push,” says Michael Pachter, an analyst with Wedbush Securities.
“The more people you get to use it on phones, the more ads you can deliver,” Mr. Pachter said.
Facebook made a little more than $4 a user in North America and $1.71 in Europe, but barely more than 50 cents in the rest of the world, including large markets like Brazil and India.
Ads are its principal moneymaker, and Facebook is under intense pressure to show Wall Street that it can make more money, and fast. Its stock market value is still far below its initial public offering price, and many analysts blame the company’s belated push into mobile devices.
Mr. Zuckerberg announced last year that Facebook was retooling itself as a mobile-first company. He has consistently said that it is not in the company’s interest to manufacture a phone.
“It’s not the right strategy for us,” he told market analysts in an earnings call in January. He wanted rather to see Facebook integrated into every device that its billion users hold in their hands.
Two-thirds of Facebook’s roughly one billion users worldwide log in to the social network on mobile devices.
A study commissioned by Facebook and carried out by the research firm IDC found that those users checked their Facebook pages an average of 14 times a day; in short, users checked in two-minute bursts adding up to about half an hour each day. Mostly, the users check their news feed.
The new Facebook-optimized phone will use a modified version of the Android software, The New York Times reported last week. When turned on, it will display the Facebook news feed.
Facebook already functions much like a phone, allowing users to chat, send group messages and even, in one experiment with users in Canada, to make free phone calls over the Internet. Its platform hosts a variety of applications that deliver things like music and news, and its newsfeed has been tweaked to showcase photos, which is what Facebook users post by the millions everyday.
There are fledgling experiments with commerce. Facebook users can buy online and offline gifts on Facebook with their credit cards. Equally important, Facebook’s insistence on real names means that Facebook can be something like an identity verification service. It is well-positioned to be a kind of mobile wallet, containing the equivalent of an identity card and seamless way to buy things.
“They want to have all the services that consumers want to use in the mobile world,” said Karsten Weide, an analyst with IDC. “They want to be the major consumer Internet platform.”
The Thursday announcement, which Facebook has described as an opportunity to “come see our new home on Android,” illustrates a fundamental problem for the company. Facebook must accommodate itself to mobile operating systems controlled by Internet rivals, Apple and Google.
Mr. Weide described them as “frenemies, mutually dependent but competing.”