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   DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syrian state TV and residents of Damascus say a powerful explosion has hit the country's capital.

   The nature of Tuesday's explosion in the heart of Damascus was not immediately clear. Resident say they heard a powerful blast and saw thick, black smoke billowing from behind a group of buildings.

   Gunfire was heard in the area immediately after the Tuesday morning blast.

   Syrian TV says the explosion occurred in the central district of Marjeh, although the target was not immediately clear.

   The blast comes a day after Syria's prime minister narrowly escaped an assassination attempt in the heavily protected area of Damascus.

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   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.

 

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   PRAGUE (AP) - A powerful explosion has damaged a building in the center of the Czech capital, Prague, injuring up to 40 people. Authorities say they believe some people are buried in the rubble.

   Police spokesman Tomas Hulan says it is not certain what caused the blast in Divadelni Street, but it was likely a natural gas explosion

   The street was covered with rubble and has been sealed off by police who have also evacuated people from nearby buildings and closed a wide area around the explosion site.

   Zdenek Schwarz, head of the rescue service in Prague, says up to 40 people have been injured.

   Windows in buildings located hundreds of meters from the blast were shattered, including some in the nearby National Theater.

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