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AP News in Brief at 8:58 p.m. EST

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 18, 2013 at 8:00 pm •  Published: April 18, 2013
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FBI releases images of 2 suspects in Boston Marathon bombing; one set down a backpack

BOSTON (AP) — Plucking a couple of blurry faces in baseball caps out of a swarming crowd, the FBI zeroed in on two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing and shared surveillance-camera images of them with the world Thursday in hopes the public will help hunt them down.

The photos and video depict one young man in a dark cap and another in a white cap worn backward, both carrying backpacks and one walking behind the other on the sidewalk near the finish line as marathoners run by.

The man in the white hat was seen setting down a backpack at the site of the second explosion, said Richard DesLauriers, FBI agent in charge in Boston.

"Somebody out there knows these individuals as friends, neighbors, co-workers or family members of the suspects," he said. "Though it may be difficult, the nation is counting on those with information to come forward and provide it to us."

They looked much like typical college students, but DesLauriers described them as armed and extremely dangerous, and urged anyone who sees or knows them to tell law enforcement and "do not take any action on your own."

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AP PHOTOS: Images from FBI video of 2 suspects in Boston marathon bombing

In surveillance-camera footage released by the FBI, two men identified as suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing are seen walking one behind the other in the crowd. The suspect wearing a white hat was seen setting down a backpack at the site of the second explosion, said Richard DesLauriers, FBI agent in charge in Boston.

This series of chronological images from the FBI video shows the two suspects walking through the crowd at the Boston Marathon.

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Crews seek survivors, bodies after Texas fertilizer plant explosion; death toll is unclear

WEST, Texas (AP) — Rescuers searched the smoking remnants of a Texas farm town Thursday for survivors of a thunderous fertilizer plant explosion, gingerly checking smashed houses and apartments for anyone still trapped in debris while the community awaited word on the number of dead.

Initial reports put the fatalities as high as 15, but later in the day, authorities backed away from any estimate and refused to elaborate. More than 160 people were hurt.

A breathtaking band of destruction extended for blocks around the West Fertilizer Co. in the small community of West. The blast shook the ground with the strength of a small earthquake and crumpled dozens of homes, an apartment complex, a school and a nursing home. Its dull boom could be heard dozens of miles away from the town about 20 miles north of Waco.

Waco police Sgt. William Patrick Swanton described ongoing search-and-rescue efforts as "tedious and time-consuming," noting that crews had to shore up much of the wreckage before going in.

There was no indication the blast, which sent up a mushroom-shaped plume of smoke and left behind a crater, was anything other than an industrial accident, he said.

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Armed officers in haz-mat suits enter Miss. home of man accused of mailing ricin to leaders

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — A team of law enforcement officers has entered the home of a Mississippi man accused of sending letters with poisonous ricin to the president and others.

At least a dozen armed officers wearing gas masks and hazardous-material suits went into the home Thursday evening in Corinth, about 100 miles east of Memphis, Tenn.

There was no immediate word on what they found inside.

Police had blocked off the home with crime-scene tape since Paul Kevin Curtis' arrest on Wednesday. No neighbors have been evacuated.

The 45-year-old Curtis appeared briefly in court Thursday and his attorney said he was innocent.

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Senators unveil immigration bill with wide coalition of supporters as conservatives attack

WASHINGTON (AP) — Four Democratic and four Republican senators formally unveiled a sweeping immigration bill Thursday at a news conference attended by traditional opponents from big business and labor, conservative groups and liberal ones. The lawmakers argued that this time, thanks to that broad-based support, immigration overhaul legislation can succeed in Congress.

"Powerful outside forces have helped defeat certain other initiatives in Washington, but on immigration, the opposite is proving true," Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said a day after senators under intense lobbying pressure blocked a major gun control package. "I am confident this issue will not fall victim to the usual partisan deadlock."

Support for the bill is already being put to the test as conservatives grow more vocal in opposition. Two Republican senators held a dueling news conference with law enforcement officials to bash the bill's security provisions, and several conservative bloggers seized on one provision of the legislation to falsely claim that it would allow people here illegally to get free cellphones.

The 844-page bill is designed to secure the border, allow tens of thousands of new high- and low-skilled workers into the country while requiring employers to verify their legal status, and put 11 million people here illegally on a path to citizenship, as long as certain border security goals are met first.

"Yes, we offer a path to citizenship to people who didn't come here legally," said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., anticipating opposition to that provision. "They're here, and realistically there is nothing we can do to induce them all to return to their countries of origin."

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Gun control: Everything in Obama's power turned out to be no match for gun rights advocates

WASHINGTON (AP) — Four months ago, President Barack Obama promised a grieving nation he would do everything in his power to change gun laws after 26 students and staff were shot to death at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Turns out his power and the impassioned pleas of devastated families were no match for the force of gun rights advocates in Congress and across the nation.

The National Rifle Association and its energized supporters overcame national outrage over the deaths of innocent first graders. The Senate rejected expanded background checks for gun buyers in the face of strong public support for the change, pleas from a former congresswoman still healing from bullet wounds and a campaign bankrolled by a billionaire mayor. Foes of new controls were stronger than Obama's moral indignation from the president's "bully pulpit" and his political machine that won two elections but couldn't translate its grass-roots power to win the gun vote.

Obama, angry and defiant over the defeat, is vowing to fight on. And the NRA says it is taking him seriously. "We are prepared for a very long war and a very expensive war," association spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said Thursday.

The NRA's success is built on the passion of gun advocates, activists on both side of the debate agree. That's how they were able to defeat expanded background checks despite polling that shows up to 90 percent of Americans support the idea.

"You know what I hear from the members of Congress?" said Vice President Joe Biden. "I just met with one. He says, 'Well that may be true, Joe, but that 10 percent who doesn't agree, they are going to show up. They're going to show up and vote. And that 90 percent thinks it's a good idea, but they're not going to vote for me or against me because of how I vote on this,'" Biden said during a Google Plus online chat Wednesday.

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Man who finished Boston Marathon seconds before bombing witnesses Texas explosion days later

People keep asking Joe Berti if he feels unlucky.

A bomb exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon seconds after Berti finished the race. Two days later, he was in his home state of Texas when he saw a fertilizer plant explode near Waco.

"I was just like, 'I can't believe this!'" said Berti, who said he had never witnessed an explosion before. Then he thought: "I just want to get out of here and get away from all these explosions."

But Berti, as it turns out, is far from unlucky. Instead, he feels fortunate. He left both tragedies unscathed, while members of his running group and his wife — who was closer to the Boston explosion than he was — were also unhurt.

"It's a miracle," he said in an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday. "People keep saying, 'Don't you feel unlucky?' and I was actually the opposite — saying not only do I not feel unlucky, but I feel blessed that my wife could be 10 yards from the explosion and not have a scratch."

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Teen whose photo ran on newspaper front says he was stunned at portrayal as potential suspect

REVERE, Mass. (AP) — A teenager said he is scared to go outside after he was portrayed on the Internet and on the front page of the New York Post as connected to the Boston Marathon bombings.

Photos of Salah Eddin Barhoum, 17, and friend Yassine Zaime were posted on websites whose users have been scouring marathon finish line photos for suspects. The two were also on the Post's front Thursday with the headline: "Bag men: Feds seek these two pictured at Boston Marathon."

The Post reported later Thursday that the men weren't considered suspects, and the FBI has since identified two other men as suspects in the bombings Monday that killed three and injured more than 180.

But Barhoum, a track runner at Revere High School, said he is convinced some will blame him for the bombings, no matter what.

He was so fearful on Thursday that he ran back to the high school after a track meet when he saw a man in a car staring at him, talking into a phone, he said.

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Pa. abortion clinic worker: I saw more than 10 babies breathe, 3 move limbs during abortions

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A whistle-blowing worker testified Thursday that she saw more than 14 babies born alive at a Philadelphia abortion clinic, capping a month of prosecution evidence in her former boss's capital murder trial.

Prosecutors chose Kareema Cross as their final witness before resting their case against Dr. Kermit Gosnell. Cross said she saw more than 10 babies breathe, with their chests moving up and down.

"I thought they were breathing," testified Cross, 28. "He would say they're not really breathing."

Cross also described seeing three babies move, one after being born in a toilet, and heard a fourth give a "soft whine." Gosnell explained the movements as a last reflex amid the death process, she said.

Under defense questioning, Cross said she had seen a baby move after its neck had been snipped, and after it had been given a drug meant to stop its heart. Defense attorney Jack McMahon challenged her on the statement and will no doubt pursue it when he asks a judge Monday to dismiss the charges for lack of evidence.

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Jeter out until after All-Star break with new ankle crack, raising questions about his future

NEW YORK (AP) — Derek Jeter will be sidelined until after the All-Star break because of a new fracture in his broken left ankle — a blow to a New York Yankees team already reeling from injuries and one that raises long-term questions about the 38-year-old shortstop's future.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Jeter should be able to resume his rehabilitation when the new crack heals, in about four to eight weeks. Cashman has repeatedly maintained the 13-time All-Star should be able to return at his previous level of play.

Jeter will not require surgery for the break, Cashman said after speaking with Dr. Robert Anderson, who operated on the Yankees' captain on Oct. 20.

"He told me 95 percent of the people that have this, they come back from it fine. You just have to back off," Cashman said.

"But it's a setback, so it's not a good situation," he said.