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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.
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NEW YORK (AP) -- Google has bought Titan Aerospace, a maker of solar-powered drones, saying it could help bring Internet access to remote parts of the world as well as solve other problems.

Financial terms were not disclosed. Google Inc. said Monday that atmospheric satellites could also be used in disaster relief and assessing environmental damage.

Titan's atmospheric satellites, which are still in development and not yet commercially available, can stay in the air for as long as five years, according to reports. Before it was updated Monday to reflect the acquisition, Titan's website cited a wide range of uses for the drones, including atmospheric and weather monitoring, disaster response and voice and data communications.

Facebook Inc. was also in talks to buy New Mexico-based Titan earlier this year, but it acquired U.K.-based solar drone company Ascenta instead, hiring "key members of the team," as CEO Mark Zuckerberg put it, to work at Facebook.

Both Google and Facebook have launched ambitious projects that aim to get everyone on the planet online. Google's Project Loon sends giant balloons bearing Internet-beaming antennas into the stratosphere. Facebook, meanwhile, leads Internet.org, a coalition of companies that wants to get everyone in the world access to basic Internet service. Its Connectivity Lab, which is part of the Internet.org effort, is researching different technologies that aim to make the Internet accessible and affordable to everyone.

Zuckerberg said late last month that Facebook is working on building its first high-altitude drone to broadcast Internet signals.

"With the efficiency and endurance of high altitude drones, it's even possible that aircraft could remain aloft for months or years," Zuckerberg wrote in an online post on March 28. "This means drones have more endurance than balloons, while also being able to have their location precisely controlled."

© 2014 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THIS MATERIAL MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED, BROADCAST, REWRITTEN OR REDISTRIBUTED. Learn more about ourPRIVACY POLICY and TERMS OF USE.

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Lower U.S. gasoline prices kept consumer inflation in check last month, helping offset higher costs for food and clothing.

The Labor Department said Tuesday that the consumer price index rose 0.2 percent in March, after scant 0.1 percent increases the previous two months. Prices have risen just 1.5 percent year over year. That remains well below the Federal Reserve's 2 percent target for inflation.

Excluding the volatile food and energy categories, core prices increased 0.2 percent in March and 1.7 percent in the past year.

Prices at the gas pump tumbled 1.7 percent in March, lowering costs for the entire energy category.

But food prices jumped 0.4 percent, led by increases in eggs, milk, butter, oranges, pork chops, ground beef and poultry. Prices for clothing, used cars and cable television also rose.

Overall, signs point to continued low inflation. Sluggish growth and a tough job market have limited price increases, making it harder for retailers and other businesses to charge more.

Consumer prices rose just 1.5 percent for all of 2013, down from 1.8 percent in 2012.

Though shoppers welcome lower prices, super-low inflation can stall economic growth. Lower prices encourage consumers to delay purchases. Extremely low inflation can also raise inflation-adjusted interest rates, thereby discouraging borrowing.

Still, low inflation has enabled the Fed to pursue extraordinary stimulus programs to try to boost economic growth.

The Fed is now trying to unwind some of that stimulus. It plans to buy $55 billion in bonds this month, down from $85 billion in March of last year. The bond purchases are intended to lower long-term rates, which can spur borrowing and spending.

Despite scaling back its purchases, Fed officials have expressed concern about inflation running below their target. As a result, the Fed is prepared to hold shorter-term rates near zero even if unemployment falls by roughly a percentage point from its current level of 6.7 percent. This suggests that the Fed might not raise rates until the middle of 2015.

© 2014 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THIS MATERIAL MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED, BROADCAST, REWRITTEN OR REDISTRIBUTED. Learn more about ourPRIVACY POLICY and TERMS OF USE.

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