Hagel: US rethinks arming rebels
The Obama administration is rethinking its opposition to arming the rebels who have been locked in a civil war with the Syrian regime for more than two years, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Thursday, becoming the first top U.S. official to publicly acknowledge the reassessment.
During a Pentagon news conference with British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond, Hagel said arming the rebels was one option that the administration was considering in consultation with its allies. But he said he personally had not decided whether it would be a wise or appropriate move.
Bombing suspect’s body is claimed
The body of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was the subject of a massive manhunt and died after a gunbattle with police, was claimed Thursday.
Department of Public Safety spokesman Terrel Harris said a funeral home retained by Tsarnaev’s family picked up the 26-year-old’s remains. He had no more information.
The medical examiner determined Tsarnaev’s cause of death Monday, but officials said it wouldn’t become public until his remains were released and a death certificate was filed. It was unclear Thursday evening whether the death certificate had been filed.
Ricin case heads to Miss. grand jury
A dust mask that tested positive for ricin also contained DNA from a Mississippi man suspected of sending poison-laced letters to President Obama and others, an FBI agent testified today.
The testimony came during a preliminary hearing for James Everett Dutshcke, 41, who was arrested Saturday at his home in Tupelo and charged with making ricin, the same substance mailed April 8 to Obama, U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker and Lee County, Miss., Judge Sadie Holland.
Magistrate Judge S. Allan Alexander ruled that there was enough probable cause to send the case to a grand jury, which are secretive. It’s not clear when one would hear evidence in this case.
Calif. wildfires force evacuations
A wildfire fanned by gusty Santa Ana winds raged along the fringes of Southern California communities Thursday, forcing the evacuation of homes and a university while setting recreational vehicles ablaze.
The blaze erupted during morning rush hour along U.S. 101 in the Camarillo area about 50 miles west of Los Angeles. It was spread quickly by the winds, which also pushed other damaging blazes across the region.
The evacuation orders included the smoke-choked campus of California State University, Channel Islands, which has about 5,000 students.
Spire hoisted to top of WTC in New York
Adorned with an American flag that flapped in the breeze, the last pieces of a silver spire were hoisted to the top of the World Trade Center on Thursday as construction workers cheered its ascent.
The final two segments of the 408-foot spire will rest on a construction platform for several weeks until the entire needle is permanently installed. With the spire as its crown, the trade center will soar to a symbolic 1,776 feet in the air — a reference to the birth of the nation in 1776.