Boston police safely blow up suspicious backpacks BOSTON (AP) - Survivors, first responders and relatives of those killed in the Boston Marathon bombing marked the anniversary Tuesday with tributes that combined sorrow over the loss of innocent victims with pride over the city's resilience in the face of a terror attack. "This day will always be hard, but this place will always be strong," former Mayor Thomas Menino told an invitation-only audience of about 2,500 people at the Hynes Convention Center, not far from the finish line, where two pressure cooker bombs hidden in backpacks killed three people and injured more than 260 others a year ago.
Ukraine bares teeth against eastern uprising KRAMATORSK, Ukraine (AP) - In the first Ukrainian military action against a pro-Russian uprising in the east, government forces repelled an attack Tuesday by about 30 gunmen at an airport, beginning what the president called an "anti-terrorist operation" to try to restore authority over the restive region. The central government has so far been unable to rein in the insurgents, who it says are being stirred up by paid operatives from Russia and have seized numerous government facilities in at least nine eastern cities to press their demands for broader autonomy and closer ties with Russia. Complicating the political landscape, many local security forces have switched to their side.
Police say 5 dead in Calgary stabbings CALGARY, Alberta (AP) - A recent graduate of the University of Calgary was charged in the fatal stabbing of five people at a house party that the police chief called the worst mass slaying in the western Canadian city's history. Matthew Douglas de Grood, the son of a 33-year veteran of the Calgary police force, picked up a large knife shortly after arriving at the party and stabbed the victims one by one shortly after 1 a.m. Tuesday, said police Chief Rick Hanson.
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South Korea says 295 missing in ferry disaster SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - Nearly 300 people were still missing Wednesday several hours after a ferry carrying 477, most of them high school students, sank in cold waters off South Korea's southern coast, killing at least two and injuring seven, officials said. A government official earlier said that more than 100 people were still unaccounted for, but officials later changed the number to 295.
China's growth slows to 7.4 percent in 1Q BEIJING (AP) - China's economic growth slowed further in the latest quarter but appeared strong enough to satisfy Chinese leaders who are trying to put the country on a more sustainable path without politically dangerous job losses. The world's second-largest economy grew by 7.4 percent over a year earlier, down from the previous quarter's 7.7 percent, government data showed Wednesday. It matched a mini-slump in late 2012 for the weakest growth since the 2008-09 global crisis.
College Board provides a glimpse of new SAT WASHINGTON (AP) - Anxious students - not to mention their parents - can get a heads-up for how the redesigned SAT might look in two years. Sample questions for the new version of the college-entrance test were released on Wednesday by the College Board, which announced last month that the new test will include real-world applications and require more analysis. Students will also be asked to cite evidence to show their understanding of texts.
End of NYPD Muslim surveillance program applauded NEW YORK (AP) - Muslim groups and civil liberties advocates applauded the decision by New York Police Department officials to disband a controversial unit that tracked the daily lives of Muslims as part of efforts to detect terror threats, but said there were concerns about whether other problematic practices remained in place. The Demographics Unit, conceived with the help of a CIA agent working with the NYPD, assembled databases on where Muslims lived, shopped, worked and prayed. Plainclothes officers infiltrated Muslim student groups, put informants in mosques, monitored sermons and catalogued Muslims in New York who adopted new, Americanized surnames. NYPD spokesman Stephen Davis confirmed Tuesday that detectives assigned to the unit had been transferred to other duties within the department's Intelligence Division.
Court to weigh challenge to ban on campaign lies WASHINGTON (AP) - Negative campaigning and mudslinging may be a fact of life in American politics, but can false accusations made in the heat of an election be punished as a crime? That debate makes its way to the Supreme Court next week as the justices consider a challenge to an Ohio law that bars false statements about political candidates during a campaign. The case has attracted national attention, with groups across the political spectrum criticizing the law as a restriction on the First Amendment right to free speech.
At Boston Marathon, a chance to finally finish LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Just one tiny misstep at mile 15 of the Boston Marathon last spring ruined any chance of amputee runner Jeff Glasbrenner breaking four hours. He stumbled over a pothole, opening a cut where his running blade attached below his right knee. Glasbrenner cursed his luck as he stopped every mile to clean the wound.
A year after background check defeat, modest goals WASHINGTON (AP) - Democratic worries about this November's elections, a lack of Senate votes and House opposition are forcing congressional gun-control supporters to significantly winnow their 2014 agenda, a year after lawmakers scuttled President Barack Obama's effort to pass new curbs on firearms. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., recently said he needs additional votes before revisiting a proposed expansion of gun sale background checks that the Senate derailed last April. That has left advocates of tighter gun curbs hoping Reid will allow votes on more modest proposals, such as one by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., to add convicted stalkers to the list of criminals barred from acquiring guns.