Tuesday April 30, 2013

Prominent death penalty lawyer Judy Clarke appointed for Boston Marathon bombing suspect

BOSTON (AP) -- Prominent death penalty lawyer Judy Clarke is joining the team representing the suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings.

The appointment of Clarke, based in San Diego, Calif., was approved Monday by U.S. Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler.

Bowler denied a request from Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s public defender to appoint a second death penalty lawyer. Bowler says Tsarnaev’s lawyers could renew their motion to appoint another death penalty expert if Tsarnaev is indicted.

The 19-year-old Tsarnaev has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction during the April 15 marathon. Three people were killed and more than 260 injured when two bombs exploded near the finish line.

Clarke’s clients have included Unabomber Ted Kaczynski; Susan Smith, who drowned her two children; and most recently Tucson, Ariz., shooter Jared Loughner. All received life sentences instead of the death penalty.

A city job, and a world that suddenly explodes: Surviving a Bangladesh factory collapse

SAVAR, Bangladesh (AP) -- Merina was so tired. It had been three days since the garment factory where she worked had collapsed around her, three days since she’d moved more than a few inches. In that time she’d had nothing to eat and just a few sips of water. The cries for help had long since subsided.


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The moans of the injured had gone silent.

It was fatigue she feared the most. If sleep took her, Merina was certain she would never wake up.

"I can’t fall asleep," the 21-year-old thought to herself, her face inches from a concrete slab that had once been the ceiling above her. She’d spent seven years working beneath that ceiling, sewing T-shirts and pants destined for stores from Paris to Los Angeles. She worked 14 hours a day, six days a week, with her two sisters. She made the equivalent of about $16 a week.

Now she lay on her back in the sweltering heat, worrying for her sisters and herself. And as the bodies of her former coworkers began to rot, the stench filled the darkness.

Bangladesh police question owner of collapsed building, as rescuers use heavy equipment

SAVAR, Bangladesh (AP) -- A Bangladesh court on Monday gave police 15 days to interrogate the owner of a building that collapsed last week, killing at least 382 people, as rescuers used heavy machinery to cut through the destroyed structure after giving up hopes of finding any more survivors.

Mohammed Sohel Rana, who was arrested Sunday as he tried to flee to India, will be held for questioning on charges of negligence, illegal construction and forcing workers to join work. His father, Abdul Khaleque, was also arrested on suspicion of aiding Rana to force people to work in a dangerous building.

The illegally constructed, 8-story Rana Plaza collapsed in a heap Wednesday morning as thousands of people worked inside in five garment factories. About 2,500 survivors have been accounted for.

Rana was brought to the Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court in a bullet-proof vest, and led away to an unknown detention place after the magistrate granted a police request to hold him longer before filing formal charges. The crimes he is accused of carry a maximum punishment of seven years. More charges could be added later.

The collapse was the deadliest disaster to hit Bangladesh’s garment industry, which is worth $20 billion annually and supplies global retailers.

Syrian prime minister narrowly escapes assassination attempt in heart of Damascus

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) -- Syria’s prime minister narrowly escaped an assassination attempt in the heart of the heavily defended capital Monday, state media said, laying bare the vulnerability of President Bashar Assad’s regime.

The bombing, which killed several other people, highlights an accelerating campaign targeting government officials, from mid-level civil servants to the highest echelons of the Syrian regime.

State television said Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi was not hurt in the bombing, which struck his convoy as it drove through the posh Mazzeh neighborhood -- home to embassies, government officials and business elites with close ties to the regime. Footage of the scene broadcast on state TV showed the charred hulks of cars and the burnt-out shell of a bus in a street littered with rubble.

The attack on al-Halqi punctuated a series of attacks on government officials in recent weeks. On April 18, gunmen shot dead the head of public relations at the Ministry of Social Affairs while he dined at a Mazzeh restaurant. A day later, a Syrian army colonel was killed in Damascus, and five days after that a bomb killed an official from the Electricity Ministry.

Then there are the larger attacks that have shaken the regime to its core.

Standard & Poor’s 500 edges above its previous record high; technology stocks lead the way

NEW YORK (AP) -- Technology companies are leading the stock market higher, pushing the Standard & Poor’s 500 index to another record high.

A pair of strong economic reports also encouraged investors Monday. Wages and spending rose in the U.S. last month, and pending home sales hit their highest level in three years.

The S&P 500 closed at 1,593, a fraction above its previous record high reached on April 11. It rose 11 points Monday, or 0.7 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 106 points at 14,818, a gain of 0.7 percent.

Major tech companies had the biggest gains in the Dow: Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft and IBM.

FDA will investigate added caffeine in foods after new caffeinated gum introduced

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Food and Drug Administration says it will launch a new investigation into foods with added caffeine and their potential impact on the health of children and adolescents.

The FDA’s new look at added caffeine is in response to a caffeinated gum introduced this week by Wrigley. Called Alert Energy Gum, it promises "The right energy, right now."

Michael Taylor, FDA’s deputy commissioner of foods, said in a statement Monday that the proliferation of caffeine added to foods is "beyond anything FDA envisioned."

Taylor said the agency will look at the potential impact these "new and easy sources" of caffeine will have on children’s health and will take action if necessary. The agency previously launched an investigation into the safety of energy drinks.

Lawyer asks government for temporary housing for former ricin suspect

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) -- A Mississippi man charged with making a deadly poison sent to President Barack Obama and others was ordered held without bond until a hearing later this week when prosecutors are expected to describe what evidence they have against him.

James Everett Dutschke made a brief appearance Monday in federal court wearing an orange jumpsuit with his hands shackled. Authorities spent several days last week searching Dutschke’s home and former business but have said very little about the suspect beyond a news release announcing the charge of making and possessing ricin over the weekend.

Dutschke’s arrest early Saturday capped a week in which investigators initially zeroed in on a rival of Dutschke’s, then decided they had the wrong man. A lawyer for the former suspect says the government should pay to repair his house, which she describes as uninhabitable.

Dutschke (pronounced DUHS’-kee) has denied involvement in the mailing of the letters, saying he’s a patriot with no grudges against anyone. He has previously run for political office and was known to frequent political rallies in northern Mississippi.

The 41-year-old suspect said little during his hearing other than answering affirmatively to the judge’s questions about whether he understood the charges against him.

Man accused of stabbing choir at Albuquerque church is formally charged; 4 sent to hospital

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- The man accused of stabbing four churchgoers during Sunday Mass told police that he was after the choir leader because he thought the man was a member of a secret society.

According to a criminal complaint, Lawrence Capener, 24, said he was going after the choir leader at St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church because his "speech was different" and he was "99 percent sure he was a Mason."

He told the investigator that Masons are a group involved "in a conspiracy that is far more reaching than I could or would believe."

Capener said he stabbed the others who tried to subdue him because he thought they might be Masons, too.

The affidavit said Capener apologized for stabbing the others after he was read his rights and agreed to speak to police.

Jackson song about his children played for jurors as civil case opens in LA

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- An attorney for Michael Jackson’s mother has played a song during opening statements at a wrongful death trial that the lawyer says the superstar wrote for his children.

Attorney Brian Panish also read jurors a note on Monday that the singer wrote to his mother to demonstrate their relationship.

Katherine Jackson is suing concert giant AEG Live, claiming it failed to properly investigate a doctor who cared for Jackson and was later convicted of involuntary manslaughter in his 2009 death.

AEG has denied wrongdoing and its attorney is expected to address jurors later Monday.

Panish told jurors they would ultimately decide whether to find AEG liable for Jackson’s death and how much his mother and children should receive.