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You turn to Democracy Now! for ad-free news you can trust. Maybe you come for our daily headlines. Maybe you come for in-depth stories that expose government and corporate abuses of power. This month, Democracy Now! is celebrating our 23rd birthday. For over two decades, we've produced our daily news hour without ads, government funding or corporate underwriting. How is this possible? Only with your support. Right now, in honor of Democracy Now!'s birthday, every donation we receive will be doubled by a generous supporter. This means if you give $30 today, Democracy Now! will get $60 to support our daily news hour. Please do your part. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you and everybody else. Thank you! -Amy Goodman
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The surviving suspect of the Boston Marathon attack is reportedly being questioned from his hospital bed as he recovers from serious wounds sustained in a gun battle with police. Nineteen-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was detained Friday night after being found hiding inside a boat in a Watertown resident’s backyard. His capture ended a bloody standoff that killed his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, hours before. In addition to carrying out the Boston Marathon bombings that left three dead and over 170 wounded, the brothers are also accused of shooting dead an MIT campus police officer Thursday night. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is reportedly unable to speak, but police say he is communicating through a notepad. Authorities have used a public safety exception to delay reading him his Miranda rights to remain silent and to have an attorney present, a move that’s sparked controversy. A group of Republican lawmakers have also called for him to be held as an “enemy combatant,” but the Obama administration has signaled its intention to try him in civilian court. The Justice Department is expected to bring charges as early as today.
Boston police say investigators have discovered four undetonated devices, including one similar to the pressure cooker bombs used at the Boston Marathon. Police also believe the suspects may have been planning additional attacks. The brothers reportedly told the man whom they carjacked Thursday night that they wanted to drive down to New York. The FBI has acknowledged it questioned the older brother, Tamarlan Tsarnaev, at the request of the Russian government in 2011 after Russia flagged him as a “follower of radical Islam.” No wrongdoing was found, and he went on to spend six months in Chechnya and Dagestan in 2012.
The death toll from last week’s massive explosion at a fertilizer plant in Texas stands at 14, 12 of them first responders. More than 200 people were also left wounded. More details have emerged on how the plant’s owners neglected key oversight rules leading up to the blast. According to Reuters, the plant had been storing 1,350 times the amount of ammonium nitrate that would normally trigger government inspection. The plant’s owner, West Fertilizer, never told the Department of Homeland Security it was well over the limit, as it is required to do.
A U.S. drone strike in Yemen has killed at least two people. The victims in Sunday’s attack were described as suspected al-Qaeda militants. It was the second U.S. drone strike in Yemen in less than a week after several months of quiet. The week’s first bombing killed five people in the village of Wessab. A native of the village, Yemeni writer and activist Farea al-Muslimi, criticized the use of drones instead of attempting to arrest the suspects on the ground. Al-Muslimi wrote: “We used to think that drone strikes were a localized problem, with villages far from the Yemeni capital being spared. This is no longer the case. It seems no part of Yemen is safe from U.S. drones.”
The Afghan government is accusing the CIA of responsibility for a U.S. air strike that killed 17 Afghan civilians, including 12 children, earlier this month. The victims were killed after violence broke out between militants and U.S. forces. A CIA employee who headed a covert group of paramilitaries was also killed. A spokesperson for Afghan President Hamid Karzai said: “It was a CIA operation using a security structure that was in full service of the CIA and run by the CIA.” At the White House last week, McClatchy reporter Amina Ismail asked White House Press Secretary Jay Carney whether the strike can be considered a form of terrorism.
Amina Ismail: “President Obama said that what happened in Boston was an act of terrorism. I would like to ask, do you consider the U.S. bombing on civilians in Afghanistan earlier this month that killed — that left 11 children and a woman killed a form of terrorism? Why or why not?”
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney: “Well, I would have to know more about the incident, and obviously the Department of Defense would have answers to your questions on this matter.”
The death toll from Saturday’s massive earthquake in China’s Sichuan province has topped 180. Thousands more were wounded, and tens of thousands were made homeless. It was China’s worst earthquake in three years.
The U.S. military has expanded the force-feeding of hunger-striking Guantánamo Bay detainees. At least 16 prisoners are now being force-fed, up from 11 last week. Many human rights and medical groups consider force-feeding a form of torture. The U.S. government says allowing them to starve would be inhumane. The military has also now acknowledged the hunger strike has grown to 84 of Guantánamo’s detainees, though defense attorneys say the number is far higher.
The judge overseeing the historic trial against former U.S.-backed Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt has refused to obey another judge’s ruling that the case be adjourned. Ríos Montt has been tried on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity for the slaughter of more than 1,700 people in Guatemala’s Ixil region after he seized power in 1982. But as the trial neared a close last week, an appeals judge ordered the trial’s suspension and nullified all proceedings dating back to November 2011. In response, the judge trying Ríos Montt, Judge Yassmin Barrios, said she would defy the order but suspended further testimony pending a ruling by Guatemala’s highest court.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro was sworn in Friday one month after the death of Hugo Chávez and just days after winning the election to replace him. Heads of state from across Latin America attended the ceremony. The United States was notably absent as it continues to refuse recognition of Maduro’s victory. A standoff between Maduro and opposition candidate Henrique Capriles has slightly eased after Venezuela’s electoral council agreed to widen an electronic audit of the vote. Capriles has called for a manual recount.
Activists in Syria are accusing forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad of committing a new massacre outside of the capital Damascus. The activists say at least 85 people have been killed after Assad’s forces attacked a suburb following five days of clashes. The Obama administration, meanwhile, has agreed to double what it calls “nonlethal” aid to the Syrian opposition. In a joint statement with 10 allies, the United States said it would provide $250 million worth of assistance. In return, the rebels have pledged to keep the money away from “radical/extremist elements.”
Former Pakistani president and military ruler Pervez Musharraf has been arrested just weeks after his return from a four-year exile. Musharraf has been detained in connection with his dismissals of Pakistan’s top judges in 2007. He also faces charges over the murders of political leaders, including former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.
Bahrain’s crackdown on opposition protests intensified over the weekend as the country staged the annual Formula One Grand Prix auto race. Police clashed with demonstrators in areas around the capital of Manama, leading to dozens of arrests and injuries. In a statement, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights said it received “a large number of injury reports from across the country as a result of direct hits from tear gas canisters, shotgun pellets and tear gas inhalation.” Protests led to the race’s cancellation two years ago, but it’s gone ahead since under a heavy police mobilization against demonstrators.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has signed into law sweeping new curbs on abortion rights. The law declares that life begins “at fertilization,” blocks tax breaks for abortion providers, and prevents them from taking part in sex education at public schools.
Two people were wounded in Denver on Saturday after a shooting broke out at a pro-marijuana rally attended by thousands of people. The gathering was held to mark the annual 4/20 celebration of marijuana culture, the first to be held in Colorado since the state legalized pot last year.
The Boy Scouts of America has proposed what it bills as a compromise in the debate over ending its longstanding ban on gay members and leaders. Under the new policy, the Boy Scouts would allow openly gay scouts, but continue to prevent gay adults from serving as leaders. The proposal will be put to a vote at the group’s annual meeting next month. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Discrimination criticized the measure, saying it “[reinforces] the outrageous idea that gay people somehow pose a threat to kids, which experts … have dismissed for more than a decade.”