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Boston Marathon

11Report Finds Russia Withheld Information Regarding Boston Bomber

A new report suggests that the Russian government had information regarding the man responsible for the 2013 bombing of the Boston Marathon that it neglected to provide to American authorities. 

According to Fox News, an inspector general’s investigation found that Russian officials informed the F.B.I. about Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s involvement in radical Islam as early as 2011. Russian officials claimed Tsarnaev “had changed drastically since 2010 as he prepared to leave the United States for travel to the country’s region to join unspecified underground groups.” 

The report acknowledges that the F.B.I. believed Tsarnaev to be a greater threat to Russia than to the United States, but it also claims that Russian officials declined to reveal further information despite several requests by the American organization. 

According to the New York Times, the U.S. government has thus far been unable to find ties linking Tsarnaev and his brother Dzhokhar, the other major suspect in the attacks, to an international terrorism organization. 

Tsarnaev died during an exchange of gunfire with police after the attacks, while Dzhokhar was arrested. The Justice Department has claimed it will seek the death penalty against Dzhokhar.   


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11Woman Wins Marathon After Wrong Turn

When Meredith Fitzmaurice started running in a half-marathon in Ontario, CA, she thought she was doing exactly that -- running a half marathon.

But when the run seemed to grow longer and longer with no end in sight, the 34-year-old began to suspect that something was wrong. Indeed, Fitzmaurice had strayed from the route early in the race, and was now competing in the full Run for Heroes Marathon -- all 26.2 miles of it.

Said Fitzmaurice to the Ottawa Citizen, "I'm looking at the time and wondering where the finish line is. Once I realized what I had done, I figured, well, I'll just run 20 miles … and call it a day."

Instead of running just 20 miles, she made it to the end, and did so in a speedy time of 3:11:48. This time earned her the top place for women, and tenth place overall.

Said Fitzmaurice, “I didn’t even realize I was the first female until people started yelling at me and high-fiving me. Once I crossed the finish line and realized the magnitude of what I had done, I started crying.”

Before the wrong turn, her initial goal was to enter the run as a trial, and then compete in Detroit to earn a qualifying time for the Boston Marathon next year. Based on her performance on Sunday, she already qualifies for the Boston Event.

A race official on a bicycle followed Fitzmaurice for the final 10 kilometers of the marathon, and she credits his support for her win.

“When I crossed the finish line I saw my friend and I started to cry and then I hugged the guy on the bike,” she said, “Without him I wouldn’t have been able to do it.”

Prior to the event, Fitzmaurice had never run the distance of a full marathon. She said, “I had only ever run 20 miles, but I think at that point the adrenalin just pulled me through. I just kept thinking you can do this, just get it done. The last couple miles were really tough.”

Source: MSN, Daily Mail


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11Convenience Stores Announce Boycott of Rolling Stone Magazine for Boston Marathon Bomber Cover

Multiple convenience stores have announced plans to boycott Rolling Stone’s next issue because its cover is set to feature the alleged Boston Marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

CVS pharmacy and Tedeschi Food Shops recently wrote statements on their Facebook pages expressing their disapproval of Rolling Stone’s decision, claiming that it glorifies Tsarnaev and is offensive and insensitive to the people of Boston, according to the Boston Herald.

”CVS/pharmacy has decided not to sell the current issue of Rolling Stone featuring a cover photo of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect,” CVS wrote on its Facebook page. “As a company with deep roots in New England and a strong presence in Boston, we believe this is the right decision out of respect for the victims of the attack and their loved ones.”

Tedeschi Food Shops’ statement said that Rolling Stone — a magazine that covers music, politics and other entertainment trends — should not be writing about terrorism.

“Tedeschi Food Shops supports the need to share the news with everyone, but cannot support actions that serve to glorify the evil actions of anyone,” the statement read. “With that being said, we will not be carrying this issue of Rolling Stone. Music and terrorism don’t mix!”

In April, bombings at the Boston Marathon finish line killed three people and injured about 260, according to CNN.

Tsarnaev and his brother are accused as the bombers behind the Boston terror attack.

The article about the brothers is titled "The Bomber: How a popular, promising student was failed by his family, fell into radical Islam and became a monster," according to USA Today.

Controversy stems from more than the presence of Tsarnaev on the Rolling Stone cover. It comes also from the “soft” photo of him that is featured, in which he is displayed differently — in a noncriminal light — from the way alleged terrorists are usually shown in America.

Social media has flooded with comments concerning the new cover since news of it came out Tuesday. Rolling Stone’s own Facebook page received some comments from people voicing outrage against the cover.

"I am so disappointed with Rolling Stone Magazine,” read one comment. “I have enjoyed your magazine up until now. I will no longer buy/read the mag. You have just made him a "rock star". How could you?"

Chris Colbert, chairman of Holland Mark, a Boston advertising firm, said Rolling Stone sales could possibly increase because of the magazine’s decision to use the controversial photo.

“The sad truth is it will move magazines,” Colbert said. “But loyal readers who feel it’s supposed to be a music magazine will react negatively. Why are they sensationalizing this tragedy? Others may pick Rolling Stone up for the first time because of a sick curiosity about people who do these things.”

Colbert said he did not approve of Rolling Stone’s decision.

“But economically, I can understand why they thought it was worth the risk,” he said. “In a desperate attempt to get noticed, marketers and media companies are pushing the moral envelope. Humans today are seduced by extremes. They love other people’s misery. I think it makes them feel better about themselves.”

Sources: Boston HeraldUSA TodayCNN

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11State Rep. Stella Tremblay Still Insists Government is Behind Boston Marathon Bombings

Stella Tremblay, a New Hampshire state representative (R-Auburn), has found what she believes to be irrefutable evidence of the government’s conspiracy and involvement in the Boston Marathon bombings — a man “was not in pain” after his legs were blown off.

Though fourth grade English essays contain more logical arguments, this state representative seems to believe that, without even speaking to this man, he was not in pain when his legs were blown off by one of the bombs; so, as one plus one equals four, the government must be behind these bombings.

Tremblay made the comments on The Pete Santilli Show, a conservative talk show, on Wednesday. Tremblay claims that Jeff Bauman, a bombing victim who helped investigators identify the suspects, was not screaming in pain when his legs were blown off.

"My first gut reaction seeing the horror of that person that has their legs blown off," Tremblay said. "You know, the bone sticking out? He was not in shock. I looked and I thought, there’s something … I don’t know what’s wrong, but it seems surreal to me. I talked to my sister, who’s not into politics at all, and she said, 'Yes, I saw the same thing.' He was not in shock. He was not in pain. If I had had those type of injuries, I’d be screaming in agony."

So there you go.

Sources: Huffington Post, I4U News

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11Additional Arrests Made in Connection with Boston Marathon Bombings

Three additional arrests were made in connection with the Boston Marathon bombings on Wednesday morning.

While little is known about the people who were apprehended, the Boston Globe is reporting that all three are college students. The Boston police’s official Twitter account reported 20 minutes ago that “additional suspects were taken into custody.”

To date, only two people had been accused of organizing and taking part in the Boston Marathon bombings that occurred on April 15. One of them, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed in an altercation with police; Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was eventually captured and charged with using a weapon of mass destruction and malicious destruction of property resulting in death.

This story will be updated as additional information comes in.


Sources: Boston Globe, Gawker, Boston Police

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11Twitter Hedonometer Reveals Boston Marathon Was Saddest Day in Five Years

Everyone knew the world was saddened by the Boston bombings, but now there is proof of that with a Twitter "happiness index" which indicates April 15, 2013 was the saddest day in five years.

The site went online today, and reveals the average emotions of Twitter users in much the say way as the FTSE 100 index expresses economical health. 

There are tens of millions of Twitter users all over the world, so the hedonometer can track the emotions of many people. 

It works by analyzing words in Twitter updates for "sad," "happy" and "neutral" emotions. Words are assigned a score of 1-9, one being the saddest and nine being the happiest.

Words like "happy," "hahaha," and "cherry" are higher in score than words like "pancake," "and," and "the" which are more neutral. Sad words include "victims, "explosion," "kill," "crash," and "war."

Because many updated their Twitter status to include sad words on April 15, the graph shows a major dip on the day of the bombings. 

"Reporters, policymakers, academics - anyone - can come to the site and see population-level responses to major events," Dr. Chris Danfort, one of the mathematicians who developed the site, said.

They have been tracking Twitter users' emotions for five years.

"Many of the articles written in response to the bombing have quoted individual tweets reflecting qualitative micro-stories," Danforth said. "Our instrument reflects a kind of quantitative macro-story, one that journalists can use to bring big data into an article attempting to characterize the public response to the incident."

It is updated every 24 hours, but if they develop it further, it could provide a minute-to-minute update of global happiness. 

"We're not trying to tell you that contentment is better than happiness - we're not trying to define the word. We're just saying we're measuring something important and interesting. And, now, sharing it with the world," Danforth said.

Sources: Daily Mail, Live Science

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11Sen. Stacey Campfield Slammed for 'Joke' Picture About Pressure Cooker

Stacey Campfield, a Tennessee state senator, has offended many after he posted a picture of a pressure cooker on his blog to mock gun control advocates.

The photo features an image of a pressure cooker, labeled "Assault Pressure Cooker." It also says "Here comes Feinstein again," in a reference to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who created an assault weapons ban after the Sandy Hook massacre.

It also features labels comparing parts of the cooker to guns. It says it has a "tactical pistol grip" and "folding stock," with "large-capacity, can cook for hours without reloading."

Though he has received criticism for it, he is not apologizing for it or admitting that it was tasteless.

"I think it's tasteless when Obama will drag everybody he can up to Capitol Hill and try to pass gun control," he said in an interview. "I think that was classless and tasteless."

"I was showing the hypocrisy of Dianne Feinstein, the gun grabbers - of their inability to realize that it is a person that does activity, not an inanimate object, be it a gun or a pressure cooker."

In his blog, he wrote a follow up post saying he was surprised anyone found it offensive, even though it was posted less than a week after the Boston Marathon.

"Really?" he wrote. "If my post was inappropriate talking about 'crock pot control' then where is the outrage from the left when they push for gun control after the Sandy Hook shooting? I'm sorry if I exposed your double standard…Well, not really."

A few commented in defense of his post.

"So the solution to school shootings is to outlaw the weapons used because 'the people of Sandy Hook deserve a vote' but the solution to bombings is not to outlaw the bomb materials?" one person wrote.

Others criticized him for being insensitive.

"Your crackpot control post essentially is joking about the means of death, injury and mutilation suffered only a week ago by victims in Boston," one said. 

"Those who want gun control are not joking about guns, background checks, Sandy Hook, victims, etc. In fact, they are doing what they believe is best for preventing these kind of tragedies from occurring so frequently. Your post does nothing to help anyone, yourself included."

Sources: NY Daily News, Huffington Post

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11Boston Bombing Survivor Victoria McGrath Meets Hero Who Lied About Being Veteran to Calm Her

A Boston bombing victim was lied to by one of her rescuers who said he was a wounded Afghanistan veteran in order to calm her, but she said she doesn't mind.

Victoria McGrath sustained a serious injury to her leg when it was shredded by shrapnel form one of the bombs. She was five feet from it when it went off and was bleeding profusely, as one of her arteries had ruptured.

Tyler Dodd, an ex-oil rig worker, came to comfort her when he saw her. He said he went through a similar injury when he was on duty in Afghanistan.

Dodd, a recovering alcoholic, said "he saw the terror in the eyes" of the woman and knew he had to talk to her.

"She asked me not to leave her. She was holding my hand. There was some kind of connection on a spiritual level, I would have to say, cause when I told her it was going to be okay, she believed me," he said.

McGrath, who attends Northeastern University, said that Dodd told her he was a Marine. When he told her he was injured in the war, she felt calmer.

When he appeared on the news and was asked about his service, he admitted that he lied to her in order to offer her some comfort.

"He wasn't a combat soldier in Afghanistan - he wasn't in combat," McGrath said. "I don't regret it - I don't regret him telling me that."

McGrath is now recovering from her injuries. She has extensive nerve damage from the bomb when shrapnel tore through it.

She was also recently reunited with three of her other heroes, including Bruce Mendhelson, Alicia Shamba and firefighter Jim Plourde. 

McGrath credits Mendhelson for saving her life, as it was revealed that the tourniquet he applied to her leg could be the reason she is still alive as it stopped the severed artery from bleeding. 

After she began recovering from her injuries, she asked to meet Dodd.

"I had no idea this is what he [God] had planned for me," Dodd said. "It was pure chaos immediately following. There were people screaming, a lot of people with lower extremity injuries, and a lot of blood. It was really surreal. In this situation, you run on autopilot, so you don't have to really feel anything. To be honest with you, I didn't know what to feel at the time. It was an unbelievable scene."

"What sticks out in my mind more than the injuries or the chaos or the trauma was peoples' selflessness in the situation and how many people were willing to help despite police telling us we were in immediate danger."

Sources: Today, Daily Mail

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11Mysterious Man Named 'Misha' Believed to Have Influenced Tamerlan Tsarnaev

In the aftermath of the Boston bombings, the death of Tamerlan Tsarnaev and the capture of his brother, Dzhokhar, Americans are still attempting to make sense of how and why a seemingly well-adjusted set of immigrants could covert to such an extremist ideology on American shores.

An extensive investigation conducted by the AP and published Tuesday explains that Tamerlan’s sudden interest in radical Islam could be attributed to the influence of a newer friend of Tamerlan’s named Misha. Attempts to identify the mysterious man have been unsuccessful so far.

According to family members such as Tamerlan’s uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, Misha was a recent convert to Islam and had extensive conversations with Tamerlan about radical Islam in the years leading up to the bombings. In fact, Tamerlan had given up boxing and stopped studying music due to Misha’s opinions, and also became an outspoken critic of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq. Beyond that, Tamerlan reportedly started to read more in-depth research on conspiracy theories linking the CIA to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

"Somehow, he just took his brain," said Tamerlan's uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, who said that Tamerlan’s father had called Tsarni multiple times concerned about Misha’s influence over Tamerlan.

The AP spoke at length with Elmirza Khozhugov, 26, who is the ex-husband of Tamerlan's sister, Ailina. Khozhugov told them that Tamerlan was the ring-leader of his friends and family, and that they all adored and respected Tamerlan.

"They all loved Tamerlan. He was the eldest one and he, in many ways, was the role model for his sisters and his brother," Khozhugov said. "You could always hear his younger brother and sisters say, `Tamerlan said this,' and `Tamerlan said that.' Dzhokhar loved him. He would do whatever Tamerlan would say.”

Khozhugov describes Misha as a slightly heavyset, older bald man with a long, reddish beard who was born in Armenia and had recently converted to Islam.

"I heard about nobody else but this convert," Tsarni said, referring to the conversations he had with the Tsarnaevs’ father, Anzor, about Tamerlan. "The seed for changing his views was planted right there in Cambridge."

Sources: Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal

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11Reddit Apologizes for Starting Boston Bomber 'Witch Hunt'

The Boston Marathon spurred some of the most heated online discussions and postings ever seen. Many Internet users took it upon themselves to become amateur detectives, scouring photos of the massacre for evidence of the bombers.

But many of these investigators, unsurprisingly, targeted the wrong people. This resulted in a flood of misinformation being spread online.

One of the main methods people used to gather and convey information about the bombings was Reddit. Reddit general manager Erik Martin sent out a public apology for the Reddit community starting a "witch hunt" and targeting innocent people.

"Though it started with noble intentions, some of the activity on Reddit fueled online witch hunts and dangerous speculation which spiraled into very negative consequences for innocent parties," Martin wrote. 

One person in particular was the subject of much discussion: Sunil Triphathi. He was named by amateur detectives as one of the suspects. That information was quickly spread online once it was posted on Reddit.

"We have apologized privately to the family of missing college student Sunil Triphathi, as have various users and moderators," Martin said. "We want to take this opportunity to apologize publicly for the pain they have had to endure."

"This crisis has reminded us of the fragility of people's lives and the importance of our communities, online as well as offline. After this week, which showed the best and worst of Reddit's potential, we hope that Boston will also be where Reddit learns to be sensitive of its own power."

Reddit moderators also learned from the experience, and are now going to monitor posts more closely.

While the site doesn't have many rules, it does say users should not post personal information about people.

"We will certainly be more proactive in our enforcement of that no personal information policy in these situations," Martin said.

"The conversation has been and is already taking place on Reddit. We want that to continue and for people to realize what's at stake."

Sources: The Verge, RT

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