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BOSTON (AP) — Survivors, first responders and family members of those killed came together Tuesday to mark the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing with solemn ceremonies.
 
"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 gathered at the Hynes Convention Center, not far from the marathon finish line where three people died and more than 260 others were injured a year ago.
 
In Washington, President Barack Obama planned to observe the anniversary with a private moment of silence at the White House.
 
"Today, we recognize the incredible courage and leadership of so many Bostonians in the wake of unspeakable tragedy," Obama said in a statement. "And we offer our deepest gratitude to the courageous firefighters, police officers, medical professionals, runners and spectators who, in an instant, displayed the spirit Boston was built on — perseverance, freedom and love."
 
Obama said this year's race, scheduled for Monday, will "show the world the meaning of Boston Strong as a city chooses to run again."
 
Vice President Joe Biden was in Boston for the ceremony, and he said the courage shown by survivors and those who lost loved ones is an inspiration for other Americans dealing with loss and tragedy. He praised four survivors who spoke before he did and said that though he's not a Boston sports fan, Boston is an incredible city.
 
"We are Boston. We are America. We respond. We endure. We overcome. And we own the finish line," he concluded, to loud applause.
 
Earlier in the day, a wreath-laying ceremony drew the families of the three people killed — Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell and Lu Lingzi — as well as relatives of Massachusetts Institute of Technology police Officer Sean Collier, who was killed in the aftermath of the blasts.
 
Gov. Deval Patrick, Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley were among those who attended the morning ceremony held in a light rain as bagpipes played. O'Malley offered a prayer.
 
They were also honored at the Hynes center, where the survivors who spoke included newlywed Patrick Downes and dancer Adrianne Haslet-Davis, both of whom lost their lower left legs in the bombings.
 
"We should have never met this way, but we are so grateful for each other," Downes said, describing the sense of community that has developed among the survivors.
 
Carlos Arredondo, the cowboy hat-wearing spectator who was hailed as a hero for helping the wounded after the bombings, said he came to the tribute ceremony to support survivors and their families. Biden also mentioned him.
 
"You can see how the whole community gathered together to support them and remember," Arredondo told reporters before the program began.
 
Boston police Commissioner Williams Evans said the anniversary is an emotional day and brings back "some terrible memories."
 
"Hopefully, today brings the city and the families some sense of comfort and some healing," he said before ceremonies began.
 
Between 2:30 p.m. and 3 p.m., a flag-raising ceremony and moment of silence will be held at the marathon finish line, to mark the time and place where two bombs exploded on April 15, 2013.
 
Authorities say two brothers planned and orchestrated the attack and later shot and killed Collier during an attempt to steal his gun. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died following a shootout with police several days after the bombings. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 20, has pleaded not guilty to 30 federal charges and is awaiting trial. He faces the possibility of the death penalty.
 
The Tsarnaevs, ethnic Chechens who lived in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan and the Dagestan region of Russia, settled in Cambridge, outside Boston, more than a decade ago after moving to the U.S. as children with their family.
 
Prosecutors have said Dzhokhar Tsarnaev left a hand-scrawled confession condemning U.S. actions in Muslim countries on the inside wall of a boat he was found hiding in following the police shootout.
Published in National News

BOSTON (AP) - In a courtroom packed with survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing, police officers and others, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (joh-HAHR' tsahr-NEYE'-ehv) has pleaded not guilty to charges of carrying out the bombing.

   In his first court appearance, Tsarnaev appeared with his arm in a cast and his face swollen. He appeared nonchalant and almost bored during the hearing. His two sisters, both in Muslim garb, were in the courtroom.

 

   Tsarnaev leaned over toward a microphone and said, "Not guilty," several times in a Russian accent. He was then led out of the courtroom, making a kissing motion with his lips toward his family as he left.

 

   Tsarnaev faces 30 federal charges in the attack that killed three people and wounded more than 260. The charges include using a weapon of mass destruction to kill. He could get the death penalty if prosecutors choose to pursue it.  Authorities say Tsarnaev orchestrated the attack along with his older brother, Tamerlan, who died following a shootout with police three days after the bombing.

 
Published in National News

   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.

 

Published in National News

   BOSTON (AP) — The angry and grieving mother of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects insists that her sons are innocent and that she's no terrorist.

   But Zubeidat Tsarnaeva is drawing increased attention after federal officials say Russian authorities intercepted her phone calls, including one in which she vaguely discussed jihad with her elder son. In another, she was recorded talking to someone in southern Russia who is under FBI investigation in an unrelated case, U.S. officials said.

   In photos of her as a younger woman, Tsarnaeva wears a low-cut blouse and has her hair teased like a 1980s rock star. After she arrived in the U.S. from Russia in 2002, she went to beauty school and did facials at a suburban day spa.

   But in recent years, people noticed a change. She began wearing a hijab and cited conspiracy theories about 9/11 being a plot against Muslims.

   Tsarnaeva insists there is no mystery and that she's just someone who found a deeper spirituality. She fiercely defends her sons — Tamerlan, who was killed in a gunfight with police, and Dzhokhar, who was wounded and captured.

   "It's all lies and hypocrisy," she told The Associated Press in Dagestan. "I'm sick and tired of all this nonsense that they make up about me and my children. People know me as a regular person, and I've never been mixed up in any criminal intentions, especially any linked to terrorism."

   At a news conference in Dagestan with her ex-husband Anzor Tsarnaev last week, Tsarnaeva appeared overwhelmed with grief one moment, defiant the next. "They already are talking about that we are terrorists, I am terrorist," she said. "They already want me, him and all of us to look (like) terrorists."

   Amid the scrutiny, Tsarnaeva and Anzor say they have put off the idea of any trip to the U.S. to reclaim their elder son's body or try to visit Dzhokhar in jail. Tsarnaev told the AP on Sunday he was too ill to travel to the U.S. Tsarnaeva faces a 2012 shoplifting charge in a Boston suburb, though it was unclear whether that was a deterrent.

   Tsarnaeva arrived in the U.S. in 2002, settling in a working-class section of Cambridge, Mass. With four children, Anzor and Zubeidat qualified for food stamps and were on and off public assistance benefits for years. The large family squeezed itself into a third-floor apartment.

   Zubeidat took classes at the Catherine Hinds Institute of Esthetics, before becoming a state-licensed aesthetician. Anzor, who had studied law, fixed cars.

   By some accounts, the family was tolerant.

   Bethany Smith, a New Yorker who befriended Zubeidat's two daughters, said in an interview with Newsday that when she stayed with the family for a month in 2008 while she looked at colleges, she was welcomed even though she was Christian and had tattoos.

   "I had nothing but love over there. They accepted me for who I was," Smith told the newspaper. "Their mother, Zubeidat, she considered me to be a part of the family. She called me her third daughter."

   Zubeidat said she and Tamerlan began to turn more deeply into their Muslim faith about five years ago after being influenced by a family friend, named "Misha." The man, whose full name she didn't reveal, impressed her with a religious devotion that was far greater than her own, even though he was an ethnic Armenian who converted to Islam.

   "I wasn't praying until he prayed in our house, so I just got really ashamed that I am not praying, being a Muslim, being born Muslim. I am not praying. Misha, who converted, was praying," she said.

   By then, she had left her job at the day spa and was giving facials in her apartment. One client, Alyssa Kilzer, noticed the change when Tsarnaeva put on a head scarf before leaving the apartment.

   "She had never worn a hijab while working at the spa previously, or inside the house, and I was really surprised," Kilzer wrote in a post on her blog. "She started to refuse to see boys that had gone through puberty, as she had consulted a religious figure and he had told her it was sacrilegious. She was often fasting."

   Kilzer wrote that Tsarnaeva was a loving and supportive mother, and she felt sympathy for her plight after the April 15 bombings. But she stopped visiting the family's home for spa treatments in late 2011 or early 2012 when, during one session, she "started quoting a conspiracy theory, telling me that she thought 9/11 was purposefully created by the American government to make America hate Muslims."

   "It's real," Tsarnaeva said, according to Kilzer. "My son knows all about it. You can read on the Internet."

   In the spring of 2010, Zubeidat's eldest son got married in a ceremony at a Boston mosque that no one in the family had previously attended. Tamerlan and his wife, Katherine Russell, a Rhode Island native and convert from Christianity, now have a child who is about 3 years old.

   Zubeidat married into a Chechen family but was an outsider. She is an Avar, from one of the dozens of ethnic groups in Dagestan. Her native village is now a hotbed of an ultraconservative strain of Islam known as Salafism or Wahabbism.

   It is unclear whether religious differences fueled tension in their family. Anzor and Zubeidat divorced in 2011.

   About the same time, there was a brief FBI investigation into Tamerlan Tsarnaev, prompted by a tip from Russia's security service.

   The vague warning from the Russians was that Tamerlan, an amateur boxer in the U.S., was a follower of radical Islam who had changed drastically since 2010. That led the FBI to interview Tamerlan at the family's home in Cambridge. Officials ultimately placed his name, and his mother's name, on various watch lists, but the inquiry was closed in late spring of 2011.

   After the bombings, Russian authorities told U.S. investigators they had secretly recorded a phone conversation in which Zubeidat had vaguely discussed jihad with Tamerlan. The Russians also recorded Zubeidat talking to someone in southern Russia who is under FBI investigation in an unrelated case, according to U.S. officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation with reporters.

   The conversations are significant because, had they been revealed earlier, they might have been enough evidence for the FBI to initiate a more thorough investigation of the Tsarnaev family.

   Anzor's brother, Ruslan Tsarni, told the AP from his home in Maryland that he believed his former sister-in-law had a "big-time influence" on her older son's growing embrace of his Muslim faith and decision to quit boxing and school.

   While Tamerlan was living in Russia for six months in 2012, Zubeidat, who had remained in the U.S., was arrested at a shopping mall in the suburb of Natick, Mass., and accused of trying to shoplift $1,624 worth of women's clothing from a department store.

   She failed to appear in court to answer the charges that fall, and instead left the country.

Published in National News

WASHINGTON (AP) — The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee says he believes the Boston Marathon bombing suspects had some training in carrying out their attack.

Rep. Michael McCaul is citing the type of device used in the attack — shrapnel-packed pressure-cooker bombs — and the weapons' sophistication as signs of training.

Homemade bombs built from pressure cookers have been a frequent weapon of militants in Afghanistan, India and Pakistan. Al-Qaida's branch in Yemen once published an online manual on how to make one.

McCaul also tells "Fox News Sunday" that he thinks the suspects' mother played "a very strong role" in her sons' radicalization process and that if she were to return to the United States from Russia, she'd be held for questioning.

Published in National News

BOSTON (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union and the public defender's office have raised concerns about investigators' plans to interrogate the surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect without reading him his Miranda rights.

The Massachusetts Federal Public Defender's office says it will take the case of 19-year-old bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (joh-KHAR' tsahr-NEYE'-ehv). Public defender Miriam Conrad says there are "serious issues" regarding the interrogation.

ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero says the legal exception applies only when there is a continued threat and is not open-ended.

It's not clear when Tsarnaev will be able to answer questions. He's hospitalized in serious condition and under heavy guard after being arrested Friday night following a daylong manhunt punctuated by gunfire.

Published in National News

   WATERTOWN, Mass. (AP) - Police say one of two suspects in the shooting of an MIT police officer is dead and a massive manhunt is underway for another, who is tied to the Boston Marathon bombing.

   Shortly after the MIT officer was shot Thursday night, police got a report of a carjacking in Cambridge, just outside Boston.

   Police say of the at-large suspect, "We believe this to be a terrorist."

   The FBI is investigating whether the fatal shooting of a campus police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and gunfire and explosions in a nearby town are related to the Boston Marathon bombings.

   A Massachusetts State Police spokesman said early Friday that one person suspected in the gunfire and explosions has been accounted for and one is at large.

   The FBI said it is working with local authorities to determine what happened.

   The MIT shooting on the Cambridge campus Thursday night was followed by reports of violence in nearby Watertown, about 10 miles west of Boston.

   State police spokesman David Procopio said there is a "strong possibility" the incidents are related.

   The MIT officer had been responding to report of a disturbance Thursday night when he was shot multiple times, according to a statement from the Middlesex district attorney's office and Cambridge police. It said there were no other victims.

   In Watertown, witnesses reported hearing multiple gunshots and explosions at about 1 a.m. Friday. Dozens of police officers and FBI agents were in the neighborhood and a helicopter circled overhead.

   State police spokesman David Procopio said, "The incident in Watertown did involve what we believe to be explosive devices possibly, potentially, being used against the police officers."

   Boston cab driver Imran Sais said he was standing on a street corner at a police barricade across from a diner when he heard an explosion.

   "I heard a loud boom and then a rapid succession of pop, pop, pop," he said. "It sounded like automatic weapons. And then I heard the second explosion."

   He said he could smell something burning and advanced to check it out but area residents at their windows yelled at him, "Hey, it's gunfire! Don't go that way!"

   MIT said right after the 10:30 p.m. shooting that police were sweeping the campus in Cambridge and urged people to remain indoors. They urged people urged to stay away from the Stata Building, a mixed-use building with faculty offices, classrooms and a common area.

   Hours later, MIT, which has about 11,000 students, said the campus was clear but the shooter was still on the loose.

   

Published in National News

   BEIJING (AP) — A state-run Chinese newspaper says the third person killed in the Boston Marathon bombings is a Chinese graduate student at Boston University originally from China's northeastern city of Shenyang.

   The Shenyang Evening News reported Wednesday on its official Twitter-like microblog account that the victim is named Lu Lingzi. An editor at the newspaper says that Lu's father confirmed his daughter's death when reporters visited the family home.

   The Chinese Foreign Ministry and Consulate General in New York are not releasing the victim's name at the request of the family. But on Tuesday, Boston media quoted a Chinese Consulate General official as saying Chinese national Lu Lingzi was missing in the wake of the bombings that killed three and wounded more than 170 people.

Published in National News

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