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  1. EQUAL RIGHTS Obama Hints at Gay Unions in Immigration Bill Mandel Ngan

    1. Gay Unions in Obama's Immigration Bill?

    President Obama says recognizing same-sex unions in a new immigration bill is “the right thing to do”—but it’s unclear if he’ll act on that statement. Speaking at a press conference in Costa Rica on Friday, the president stopped short of saying he would enforce an amendment including support for gay marriage in the sweeping bill, which is currently pending in Congress. Republicans, including Marco Rubio and others who helped draft the bill, have made it clear that they would turn down any such amendment.

    May 3, 2013 9:13 PM

  2. ESCALATION U.S.: Israel Airstrikes in Syria Shaam News Network via AP video

    2. U.S.: Israel Airstrikes in Syria

    This can’t be good. CNN reports that the U.S. now says that Israel probably conducted an airstrike in Syria on Thursday or Friday. In this window, the U.S. reportedly has data that shows that Israel flew warplanes over Lebanon—but the Israeli warplanes probably did not enter the nation. While Israel has not commented on the situation, a source “close” to the nation’s defense said that Israel will do anything to stop the transfer of weapons from Syria to terrorists. Officials also said they had no reason to believe Israel was targeting a chemical weapons facility.

    May 3, 2013 8:29 PM

  3. Pennies From Heaven $5B in Sequester Cuts Restored BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / AFP

    3. $5B in Sequester Cuts Restored

    The folks at the White House budget office have their abacus faces out. After doing some sliding around, they've figured out that $5 billion of the scheduled $85 billion in automatic sequestration cuts can be restored. That frees up an estimated $4 billion for the Pentagon and $1 billion to be used by the Homeland Security Department and NASA. With $80 billion in spending cuts still set to take effect—and starting to be imposed already—Congress is facing dire warnings from agencies over the negative effects of budget slashing.

    May 3, 2013 5:13 PM

  4. AUTOPSY Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s Cause of Death Revealed Glenn DePriest/Getty

    4. Tamerlan’s Cause of Death Revealed

    The official cause of death for Tamerlan Tsarnaev was leaked to the media Friday and is listed on his death certificate as gunshot wounds and blunt trauma. The owner of a funeral parlor in Worcester, where Tsarnaev’s body is being prepped for burial, showed reporters a copy of the certificate. The fatal injuries occurred after Tsarnaev was shot by police and then run over by a vehicle—allegedly with his younger brother, Dzhokhar, behind the wheel. It’s not yet clear where Tamerlan will be buried. Meanwhile, investigators discovered remnants of explosives at the home in Cambridge he shared with his wife, Katherine Russell.

    May 3, 2013 7:53 PM

  5. NEWTOWN MASSACRE Officials Debate Reopening Sandy Hook Mario Tama/Getty

    5. Officials Debate Reopening Sandy Hook

    Will the site of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre reopen its doors? That emotionally charged question was raised during a meeting Friday night between more than two dozen officials, who admitted the conversation was “difficult.” The other option on the table is to raze the building and open a new school down the street. Some Sandy Hook teachers reportedly emerged from the meeting in tears, while victims’ families are staunchly against children returning to the campus where 20 first-graders and six staffers were shot dead in December. "I will chain my body to it and protest if they try to reopen it," said Erica Lafferty, the daughter of late Sandy Hook Elementary School principal Dawn Hochsprung.

    May 3, 2013 9:46 PM

  6. GUN RALLY NRA Chief: It’s a Culture War Justin Sullivan/Getty

    6. NRA Chief: It’s a Culture War

    During a raucous Friday rally at the NRA’s Houston headquarters, the organization’s soon-to-be head touted the importance of their fight. “This is not a battle about gun rights,” said James Porter, whose father headed the NRA from 1959 to 1960. “[It’s] a culture war.” Porter, who says he’s hungry to strike down anyone trying to “go after our guns,” applauded the group’s recent win over President Obama and Congress. “[You] here in this room are the fighters for freedom. We are the protectors,” he said.

     

    May 3, 2013 12:47 PM

  7. SPLITSVILLE Pepsi Dumps Lil Wayne Chris Wolf

    7. Pepsi Dumps Lil Wayne

    Both parties have had a tough week, and now they’re splitting up. Pepsi announced Friday that it is cutting ties with rapper Lil Wayne, who had been a spokesperson for Mountain Dew, because of offensive lyrics about civil-rights icon Emmett Till. Weezy had rapped about beating a woman during sex, comparing the act to the brutal 1955 killing of Till, who was attacked as a young black teen in the South. Earlier this week, Pepsi yanked a racially sensitive advertisement developed by another rapper, Tyler the Creator. And Wayne was hospitalized for a seizure on Wednesday. His rep called the Pepsi split an "amicable parting."

    May 3, 2013 6:07 PM

  8. License to Ill Beastie Boy Gets Brooklyn Playground Jason Merritt / Getty Images

    8. Beastie Boy Gets Brooklyn Playground

    Ch-check it out: Beastie Boy Adam “MCA” Yauch, who died from throat cancer last year, is being honored with a Brooklyn playground to be named after him. The Palmetto Playground on State Street in Brooklyn Heights, near where Yauch grew up, was officially renamed the Adam Yauch Playground in a dedication ceremony Friday. A press release about the honor says that Yauch used to ride his bike at the very playground that will now bear his name.

    May 3, 2013 1:59 PM

  9. 'This Is Beyond' Witherspoon Arrest Footage Leaks Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

    9. Witherspoon Arrest Footage Leaks

    Speaking about her arrest for drunken, disorderly conduct earlier this week, Reese Witherspoon said it was just “one of those nights.” Now, thanks to leaked footage of her arrest, we get to see exactly what kind of night it was. Choice gems include her shouting, “This is beyond!” while being arrested, and saying, “I’m a U.S. citizen, I’m allowed to stand on American ground.” And, of course, delivering the now-classic “Do you know my name, sir?” Enjoy all the clips over at TMZ.

    May 3, 2013 2:18 PM

  10. INTERVENTION Brooke Mueller Loses Custody of Twins Frazer Harrison / Getty Images Entertainment

    10. Brooke Mueller Loses Custody of Twins

    This sounds like it could be a modern-day Brady Bunch—at least with some tragic undertones. Charlie Sheen and Brooke Mueller’s twin 4-year-old sons have been taken out of Mueller’s custody—and they are currently staying with Sheen’s other ex-wife, Denise Richards. The Los Angeles Department of Family Services visited Mueller’s home on Thursday and deemed it an “unsafe environment,” according to TMZ. The twins are staying with Richards, who is mother to Sheen’s daughters Sam, 9, and Lola, 7, and has an adopted 22-month-old daughter Eloise.

    May 3, 2013 10:17 PM

  11. THE WIFE Bomb DNA Not From Tamerlan’s Widow Darren McCollester / Getty Images

    11. Bomb DNA Not From Tamerlan’s Widow

    The female DNA and fingerprints found on fragments of a bomb found at the Boston bombing scene do not match those of Katherine Russell, the widow of dead suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, but the FBI is still not entirely convinced that she’s not connected to—or at least had knowledge of—the attack. “I think they’re very skeptical of her story,” said former assistant FBI director and CBS News correspondent John Miller. “They want to know, is it possible all of this was going on concealed from you, or did you know the whole time?” Of particular interest is a phone call between Russell and Tsarnaev made hours after his image was first released by the FBI as a suspect.

    May 3, 2013 10:51 AM

  12. MISSING

    12. American Journalist Held in Syria

    Investigators believe that James Foley, the American journalist who was abducted at gunpoint in November in northern Syria, is being held by the Syrian government at a detention center near Damascus. Foley, a freelance journalist who had recently worked for GlobalPost and Agence France-Presse, was driving toward the Turkish border when an unmarked car intercepted him. He was last seen being forced out of his car by men holding Kalashnikovs and shooting in the air. GlobalPost says its representatives are meeting with the Syrian ambassador to secure Foley’s release.

    May 3, 2013 11:17 AM

  13. R.I.P. Slayer Guitarist Jeff Hanneman Dies Jeff Hanneman of Slayer performs in Indio, Calif. on April 23, 2011. (Kevin Winter/Getty)

    13. Slayer Guitarist Jeff Hanneman Dies

    Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman died Thursday at age 49. The cause of death was liver failure. Hanneman had recently taken a break from touring due to liver disease, which his bandmates said he contracted after a spider bite. In a Facebook post, his bandmates said Hanneman had been “in really, really bad shape” since the 2010 spider bite. Slayer was formed in the early ’80s, and Hanneman had been famous for his furious guitar solos and power chords. Slayer went on to be among the Los Angeles area’s “big four” of thrash-metal groups, along with Megadeth, Metallica, and Anthrax.

    May 3, 2013 7:40 AM

  14. EMBARRASSING Cathie Black Emails Released Black and Mayor Bloomberg at City Hall in New York in Nov. 2010. (Seth Wenig/AP)

    14. Cathie Black Emails Released

    Hundreds of emails were released Thursday relating to the high-profile failure to make Cathleen Black the city’s schools chancellor—and it paints a fairly embarrassing picture. Black, a Hearst magazine executive who had no prior educational experience, was appointed chancellor in November 2010, and city officials quickly embarked on a PR campaign for her—although she was pushed out of the job just five months later. Since she had no education experience, the city had to get a waiver from the state to appoint Black—and its big strategy to drum up support was to get some high-profile women to back Black. Black herself even tried to reach out to Oprah Winfrey and Caroline Kennedy, while the office worked hard on others such as Nora Ephron, Diane von Furstenberg, and Suze Orman. Kind of pandering, but is that really why the city spent $25,000 to keep these emails secret?

    May 3, 2013 7:38 AM

  15. SNOW?!?! May Snowstorm Hits Midwest Pedestrian ward off snow in Denver on Wednesday. (Ed Andrieski/AP)

    15. May Snowstorm Hits Midwest

    Hope nobody was expecting spring to come in May. A rare May snowstorm on Thursday dumped 18 inches of snow across parts of Wisconsin and 15 inches in southern Minnesota. May storms are not totally uncommon in the northern parts of the state, but this storm was both larger than normal and hit farther south. Three cities in Iowa, meanwhile, topped records for the heaviest snowfall in May, with 11 inches reported in Algona and 10.5 inches in two other towns. Trace amounts of snow were reported in Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle, although the ground was too warm for accumulation.

    May 3, 2013 7:20 AM

  16. SHADY BUSINESS Bhutto Prosecutor Assassinated Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali in Feb. 2011. (Farooq Naeem/AFP/Getty)

    16. Bhutto Prosecutor Assassinated

    He was prosecuting the high-profile killing of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto—now he’s dead. Chaudhry Zulfikar Ali was shot as he drove to work in an Islamabad suburb. His car was ambushed by assailants on a motorcycle and another car who opened fire on Ali’s vehicle. No one has claimed responsibility for the fatal ambush. Ex–military head Pervez Musharraf is facing charges in connection to Bhutto’s death in 2007.

    May 3, 2013 9:29 AM

  17. ATROCITIES ‘Dozens Dead’ in Suspected Syrian Massacre Defense Secretary Hagel at the Pentagon on Thursday. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

    17. ‘Dozens Dead’ in Suspected Syrian Massacre

    Between 50 and 100 civilians are estimated to have been killed Thursday when Syrian government forces stormed the coastal village of al-Baida, opposition fighters said. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the number could exceed even 100, and many of those killed appeared to have been “summarily” executed by shooting or stabbing. Meanwhile, the United Nations–Arab League envoy for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, said he will step down, making the diplomatic efforts to end the bloody civil war seem even more distant. President Obama said Thursday that he is “looking at all options” about Syria, hours after the U.S. Defense secretary said the U.S. could possibly arm the opposition.

    May 3, 2013 7:07 AM

  18. SHAKE IT ... OR NOT

    18. 33 Students Suspended for ‘Twerking’

    “Twerk”: verb; to dance suggestively by shaking what your mama gave you. Thirty-three San Diego high school students were suspended after a video of them twerking was posted online. While the students at Scripps Ranch High School have spotless track records, the booty dance has gotten them banned from going to the prom, walking at graduation, and participating in sports. It’s unclear whether school administrators feared that the perpetrators would gyrate at these events or if the relatively harsh punishment was intended to deliver a Footloose-inspired warning to the student body’s bodies.

    May 3, 2013 9:01 AM

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  20. KEEPS GETTING WORSE Bangladesh Death Toll Tops 500 After identifying victim of building collapse on Friday in Dhaka. (Wong Maye-E/AP)

    19. Bangladesh Death Toll Tops 500

    The death toll in the deadly Bangladesh building collapse topped 500 on Thursday, while the country’s Finance minister tried to downplay the tragedy, calling it “not really serious.” “These are individual cases of ... accidents,” Finance Minister Abud Maal Abdul Muhith said Friday. “It happens everywhere.” Muhith insisted that the disaster would not harm Bangladesh’s garment industry, the country’s biggest export industry. But he may have his work cut out for him: last month Disney decided to pull its factories from Bangladesh. Although Disney represented less than 1 percent of Bangladesh’s garment industry, others could follow the entertainment giant’s lead.

    May 3, 2013 7:18 AM

  21. WILD Hundreds Evacuated Due to CA Fire Wildfire in Thousand Oaks, California, on Thursday. (Nick Ut/AP)

    20. Cali Inferno Heads for Malibu

    Hundreds of Southern California residents were evacuated Thursday night as a massive fire pushed toward the Pacific Coast near Malibu. “I opened the door, and the whole mountain was on fire,” said Ventura County resident Paul Doebler, 80. The fast-moving brush fire has already burned through 8,000 acres, damaging 15 homes. Thousands more homes are still threatened Friday as the fire remained just 10 percent contained and it pushes toward Malibu. Known as the Springs Fire, the blaze started at 7 a.m. and burned 100 acres in less than an hour, finally reaching the Pacific Coast late Thursday evening.

    May 3, 2013 7:04 AM

  22. historic vote Rhode Island Approves Gay Marriage PEDRO ARMESTRE / AFP

    21. Rhode Island Approves Gay Marriage

    It’s official: Rhode Island became the 10th state to legalize same-sex marriage Thursday evening. The legislation passed the Rhode Island House of Representatives, with 56 votes in favor, to applause from the galleries and House floor. Legislators even broke into a rendition of “My Country ’Tis of Thee.” The bill, which was later signed by Gov. Lincoln Chafee, allows same-sex weddings beginning August 1, and gives couples already in civil unions the right to change their status to married. “At long last, you are free to marry the person you love,” Chafee said.

    May 2, 2013 9:00 PM

  23. Epidemic

    22. U.S. Suicide Rates Surge

    No good news here. A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that suicide rates among middle-aged Americans have risen dramatically over the last decade. Between 1999 and 2010, suicide among 35- to 64-year-olds jumped almost 30 percent—most pronounced among men in their 50s. The baby-boomer suicide rise is complex, but experts say they believe it's connected to the years of economic downturn and access to prescription medication.

    May 2, 2013 9:33 PM

  24. 'IDLED YOUTH' U.S. Leads Youth Unemployment Among Large, Wealthy Economies Spencer Platt

    23. U.S. a Leader in Youth Unemployment

    Excited about today's decent jobs report? This will temper your enthusiasm. There are more unemployed young adults in the U.S. than in much of Europe, according to new figures. In fact, the U.S. currently has the lowest share of employed 25- to 34-year-olds among large, affluent economies—a "historic turnaround," one economist tells The New York Times in a piece titled "The Idled Young Americans." Experts say the reversal stems from the fact that youths in the U.S. have been particularly hard hit by the country’s lack of new jobs over the past 12 years.

    May 3, 2013 6:06 PM

  25. OUTRAGE Tsarnaev Body Given Back to Family Van carrying body of Tsarnaev in Attleboro, Mass. on Thursday. (Stew Milne/AP)

    24. Tsarnaev Body Given Back to Family

    The body of suspected Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev was given back to his family Thursday, while outraged crowds noted that it had arrived at a funeral home about 30 miles south of Boston the same day. A state official said Tsarnaev’s body will not be returning to Russia, after a rejection to conduct the funeral in Dagestan. It’s unclear exactly where Tsarnaev’s funeral will be held. Meanwhile, his brother, Dzhokhar, told investigators Thursday that the brothers had originally been planning an attack for July Fourth, but they moved the date up when they finished the bombs early.

    May 3, 2013 7:01 AM

  26. that arrest Witherspoon Pleads No Contest Noel Vasquez / Getty Images

    25. Witherspoon Pleads No Contest

    Elle Woods would approve of Reese Witherspoon's gracious acceptance of responsibility for the incident last month which landed her husband with a DUI and her in handcuffs for disorderly conduct. Witherspoon pled no contest to charges and her husband, Jim Toth, pled guilty. She will pay a $213 fine and Toth will perform community service and take an alcohol education program. Earlier Thursday on Good Morning America, Witherspoon owned up to the bad judgement exhibited by her and her husband.

    Watch this revealing dashcam footage of Reese Witherspoon's arrest.

    May 2, 2013 5:35 PM

  27. GEW Rat Meat Sold As ‘Lamb’ in China Mike Clarke

    26. Rat Meat Sold As ‘Lamb’ in China

    In the latest gag-inducing food scandal to hit China, authorities have revealed that the chemical-soaked flesh of rats was being sold as “lamb meat” in Shanghai markets. Mink, fox, chicken claws, and other faux meats were also being packaged as cow meat and mutton in the nearby province of Jiangsu. Police have made more than 900 arrests and seized 10 tons of the meats, but only after a criminal operation had sold roughly $1.6 million of the stuff. The rat-meat announcement comes at the end of a three-month national campaign that began in late January to uncover more than 382 meat-related offenses, seizing a total of 20,000 tons of fake, diseased, or otherwise adulterated meat.

    May 3, 2013 4:00 PM