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10 things you need to know today: April 24, 2013
Charges dropped against a ricin suspect, Rhode Island to vote on gay marriage, and more in our roundup of stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
According to a recent poll, 81 percent of young adults support gay marriage.
According to a recent poll, 81 percent of young adults support gay marriage. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

1. AUTHORITIES DROP CHARGES AGAINST RICIN SUSPECT
Authorities dropped charges against Paul Kevin Curtis, who was accused of sending ricin-laced letters to the White House, a senator, and a Mississippi judge. A federal magistrate judge ordered the charges dropped because "the ongoing investigation has revealed new information." Authorities are now investigating whether someone may have tried to falsely implicate Curtis, an Elvis impersonator. As Curtis was cleared of suspicion, the FBI may have turned its attention to another man in connection with the poison attacks: James Everette Dutschke, of Tupelo, Miss. The FBI reportedly searched his home Tuesday afternoon in connection with the ricin letter case, according to The Associated Press. Dutschke says he is innocent, and that he doesn't know anything about using ricin. [Washington Post]
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2. BANGLADESH BUILDING COLLAPSES, KILLING 70
An eight-story building that housed several garment factories collapsed near Bangladesh's capital Wednesday morning, killing at least 70 people and injuring at least 700 more, officials said. The collapse stirred memories of a fatal fire at a garment factory in November that killed 112 people and raised an outcry about safety in the nation's garment industry. Workers in the Rana Plaza building said it had developed such severe cracks the day before that it had been reported on local news channels, but supervisors had assured them conditions were not dangerous. [Huffington Post]
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3. TSARNAEV SAYS FOREIGN WARS MOTIVATED BOSTON ATTACKS
Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev informed investigators that he and his brother were not directed by a foreign terrorist organization. Instead, they were "self-radicalized" and motivated to kill, in part, by U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, The Washington Post reported. The 19-year-old also reportedly acknowledged his role in the attack while being questioned. Tsarnaev, who has a gunshot wound to the throat and was sedated, responded in writing. Investigators have also been questioning deceased suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev's wife for details and are suspicious that Inspire, an al Qaeda magazine, assisted the brothers in the development of their plot. [Yahoo! News]
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4. U.S. NOT CONVINCED THAT SYRIA USED CHEMICAL WEAPONS
U.S. officials said Tuesday that they are not persuaded that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime used chemical weapons against rebels, despite Israel's insistence that he did. Secretary of State John Kerry, who is in Brussels for a NATO meeting, said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was not prepared to assert that chemical weapons had been used when they discussed a new Israeli intelligence assessment Tuesday. "I think it's fair for me to say that he was not in a position to confirm that in the conversation that I had," Kerry said. "I don't know what the facts are. I don't think anybody knows what they are." [Los Angeles Times]
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5. RHODE ISLAND SENATE TO VOTE ON GAY MARRIAGE
State lawmakers in Rhode Island could decide whether the nation's smallest state becomes the 10th to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry. The bill easily passed the House in January and has the support of independent Gov. Lincoln Chafee. Gay marriage legislation has been introduced in Rhode Island's General Assembly for nearly two decades only to languish on the legislative agenda. Heavily Catholic Rhode Island is now the only state in New England that does not allow same-sex couples to marry. Wednesday's vote comes after the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 7-4 Tuesday to forward the legislation to the Senate floor. [ABC News]
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6. U.S. FILES SUIT AGAINST LANCE ARMSTRONG
The Justice Department late Tuesday formally filed its case against Lance Armstrong and his company, Tailwind Sports, for millions of dollars that the U.S. Postal Service spent to sponsor the cycling team. Armstrong was banned from cycling after he was found to have used performance-enhancing drugs repeatedly. "The USPS paid approximately $40 million to sponsor the USPS cycling team from 1998 to 2004," the court document says. The government said it was intervening to recover triple the amount of the sponsorship funds under the False Claims Act, which could bring a total of more than $100 million in damages. [CNN]
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7. FALSE WHITE HOUSE EXPLOSION TWEET ROILS MARKETS
The short-lived Twitter hoax in which The Associated Press purportedly stated that two explosions in the White House had occurred, injuring President Obama, briefly erased $200 billion of value from U.S. stock markets and sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbling roughly 145 points in an instant on Tuesday. The aftermath of the false tweet underscored the vulnerability of financial markets to computerized trading programs that buy and sell shares without human intervention even though the AP deleted and discounted the tweet. It also raised pointed concerns about Twitter's user security. The market quickly recovered the losses afterward. In a Twitter post, a group identifying itself as the Syrian Electronic Army took responsibility for the fake message. The group, which describes itself as "a group of enthusiastic Syrian youths" who support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has recently targeted other media organizations. [Wall Street Journal]
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8. COOPER UNION WILL CHARGE TUITION BEGINNING IN 2014
New York's Cooper Union, one of the last tuition-free colleges in the country, announced on Tuesday that for the first time in more than a century it will charge undergraduates to attend. The decision ends almost two years of roiling debate about the free education that stood as the school's most distinguishing feature, insulating it until now from concerns about the rising cost of a college degree. Under the plan adopted by Cooper Union's trustees, the college will continue need-blind admissions. But beginning in fall 2014, it will charge students based on what the college described as a steeply sliding scale, with those deemed able paying around $20,000, and many others, including those "with the greatest needs," still attending free of charge. The change would not apply to undergraduates enrolled as of this fall. [New York Times]
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9. PETRAEUS TO TEACH IN NEW YORK CITY
David Petraeus, who resigned as CIA director in disgrace last year after admitting to an extramarital affair with biographer Paula Broadwell, has been named visiting professor of public policy at Macaulay Honors College at CUNY. The retired Army general starts his new post Aug. 1. "CUNY is profoundly honored to welcome Dr. Petraeus to our academic community," Chancellor Matthew Goldstein said in a statement Tuesday. [New York Daily News]
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10. ACTOR AND PHOTOGRAPHER ALLAN ARBUS DIES
Allan Arbus, best known for his dozen appearances as the sarcastic psychiatrist Maj. Sidney Freedman on the '70s series M*A*S*H, died Friday at his Los Angeles home, his daughter, photographer Amy Arbus, told The New York Times. He was 95. In addition to numerous roles on TV and in movies, the New York City native was also a photographer, as was his one-time wife, Diane Arbus. [People]

 
Terri is a freelance writer at TheWeek.com. She's a graduate of Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism, and has worked at TIME and Brides.

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