WASHINGTON — In the years before the Boston Marathon bombings, Tamerlan Tsarnaev fell under the influence of a new friend, a Muslim convert who steered the religiously apathetic young man toward a strict strain of Islam, family members said.Under the tutelage of a friend known to the Tsarnaev family only as Misha, Tamerlan gave up boxing and stopped studying music, his family said. He began opposing the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He turned to websites and literature claiming that the CIA was behind the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and Jews controlled the world. Read More
TUPELO, Miss. — Charges of sending ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama and others were dropped Tuesday against an Elvis impersonator from Mississippi who has said since his arrest last week that he had nothing to do with the case. Read More
SACRAMENTO — More than a century ago John Muir argued that Congress should include a wildlife corridor with stunning vistas of the Merced River in the boundaries of Yosemite National Park. He lost to timber interests.
Now with the old-growth Ponderosa pine and cedar long gone, a California nonprofit is trying to make good on the famed environmentalist's vision. Pacific Forest Trust has agreed with a group of private landowners to sell the 1,600-acre parcel to the National Park Service. Read More
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has seized $21 million from troubled automaker Fisker Automotive Inc. just weeks after the company laid off three-fourths of its workers amid continuing financial and production problems.
Fisker had received $192 million in federal loans before a series of problems led U.S. officials to freeze the loan in 2011. Read More
WASHINGTON — States could force Internet retailers to collect sales taxes under a bill that overwhelmingly passed a test vote in the Senate Monday.Under current law, states can only require stores to collect sales taxes if the store has a physical presence in the state. As a result, many online sales are essentially tax-free, giving Internet retailers a big advantage over brick-and-mortar stores. Read More
MAKHACHKALA, Russia — The elder suspect in the Boston bombings regularly attended a mosque and spent time learning to read the Quran, but he struggled to fit in during a trip to his ancestral homeland in southern Russia last year, his aunt said.Tamerlan Tsarnaev seemed more American than Chechen and "did not fit into the Muslim life" in Russia's Caucasus, Patimat Suleimanova told The Associated Press. She said when Tsarnaev arrived in January 2012, he wore a winter hat with a little pompom, something no local man would wear, and "we made him take it off." Read More
WEST, Texas — 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. Read More
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." Read More
BOSTON — Plucking a couple of 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. Read More
CORINTH, Miss. — A Mississippi man accused of mailing letters with suspected ricin to national leaders believed he had uncovered a conspiracy to sell human body parts on the black market and claimed "various parties within the government" were trying to ruin his reputation.
Paul Kevin Curtis, 45, is charged with threatening President Barack Obama and others, according to a Thursday news release from the U.S. Department of Justice. He is scheduled to appear in federal court on the two charges later Thursday, and if convicted could face up to 15 years in prison Read More