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10 things you need to know today: April 16, 2013
Bombs devastate the Boston Marathon, a deadly earthquake shakes Iran, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
A piece of debris rests against a police barricade near the scene of a twin bombing at the Boston Marathon.
A piece of debris rests against a police barricade near the scene of a twin bombing at the Boston Marathon. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

1. BOMBS KILL THREE AT BOSTON MARATHON FINISH LINE
Two bombs exploded 12 seconds apart near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, killing three people — one of them an 8-year-old boy — and wounding more than 130 others. Pandemonium erupted as spectators scattered and doctors on hand to treat runners jumped in to help people with battlefield-type injuries, including severed limbs. Nearly two-thirds of the 23,000 competitors had already completed the run, meaning several thousand were still on the course. One runner, Dr. Natalie Stavas, was nearing the finish line when the street shook. She ran to the scene, performing CPR on a woman. "She wasn't breathing, her legs pretty much gone," she said. "Then ambulances started coming in by the dozens." [Boston Globe, New York Times]
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2. WHITE HOUSE CALLS BOMBINGS ACT OF TERROR
White House officials said Monday evening that investigators were treating the Boston Marathon bomb blasts as a terrorist attack. "Any event with multiple explosive devices, as this appears to be, is clearly an act of terror, and will be approached as an act of terror," a White House official said. President Obama addressed the nation from the White House several hours after the bombs exploded at 2:50 p.m., and promised to bring the "full weight of justice" on anyone found to be responsible. "We will get to the bottom of this," Obama said from the White House. "We will find who did this." [Jerusalem Post, Washington Post]

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3. DEADLY EARTHQUAKE HITS IRAN
A major earthquake hit Iran along its border with Pakistan on Tuesday, seismologists say. The 7.8-magnitude quake hit in a sparsely populated area, but early reports suggested that at least 40 people had been killed, though there are no confirmed counts yet. The jolt was felt across the Middle East and as far away as New Delhi, India. "It was the biggest earthquake in Iran in 40 years and we are expecting hundreds of dead," an Iranian official said. [Associated Press, ReutersWall Street Journal]

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4. SUPREME COURT TURNS DOWN CHALLENGE TO CONCEALED WEAPON LAW
The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a challenge to New York's "concealed carry" law, leaving open the question of whether the Constitution's Second Amendment guarantees a right to carry a gun in public. The New York law strictly limits who can legally carry a weapon on the streets, requiring them to convince local officials they have a "special need for protection." Just one-tenth of one percent of New Yorkers have the permits, compared to more than six percent in neighboring Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Several gun owners denied permission to carry concealed weapons challenged New York's law, saying it violated their Second Amendment rights. [Los Angeles Times]
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5. U.K. TIGHTENS SECURITY FOR LONDON MARATHON
After the Boston Marathon bombing, officials around the world braced for the possibility of copycat attacks. British authorities on Tuesday called for a review of security plans for the next major international race, Sunday's London Marathon. Before that, police and military officials are implementing extensive measures to safeguard the public and dignitaries at former prime minister Margaret Thatcher's funeral on Wednesday. "In light of the awful attacks in Boston, [both events] will require extra vigilance," Home Secretary John Reid said. [New York Times]
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6. SOLDIER SENTENCED FOR SELLING SECRETS TO RUSSIA
A military court sentenced a U.S. soldier stationed in Alaska to 16 years in prison and a dishonorable discharge for selling military secrets to an FBI agent posing as a Russian spy. Spec. William Colton Millay, 24, pleaded guilty last month to attempted espionage. His lawyer said Millay was emotionally unstable and seeking attention. Prosecutors say he's a white supremacist who was fed up with the Army and the U.S., and wanted to strike back by divulging potential harmful information. [Guardian]
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7. ASSAD OFFERS AMNESTY... AGAIN
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad declared a general amnesty for crimes committed before Tuesday, a day after his country celebrated its 1946 independence with a national holiday. Assad issued a similar decree in October, and other amnesty offers his regime has announced since the uprising against his rule started more than two years ago have failed to do anything to calm the fighting. Meanwhile, United Nations officials in charge of humanitarian relief and aiding refugees warned that they were coming "precariously close" to being forced to suspend some aid if world leaders don't do more to stop the escalating violence in Syria. [Voice of America]
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8. 17 DIE IN GHANA MINE COLLAPSE
Seventeen people were killed in Ghana Monday when an old gold mine collapsed on them. The dead were reportedly mining illegally in the closed pit. Rescuers pulled out 16 buried bodies and six injured miners, one of whom died later in a hospital. The abandoned mine has attracted many unauthorized miners, and the government's efforts to stop them have reportedly proved futile. [Reuters]
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9. COMPOSER CONVICTED FOR TWEETS INSULTING ISLAM
A Turkish court on Monday convicted composer and pianist Fazil Say for insulting religion in a series of tweets last year that critics said denigrated Islam. In one of the posts, he invoked a verse by the 11th-century Persian poet Omar Khayyam, who asks pious believers if heaven is a tavern or brothel, since they expect wine and virgins to await them there. He received a 10-month suspended sentence, so he'll remain free as long as he doesn't commit a similar infraction for five years. That didn't comfort free-speech activists, one of whom said the case still "sends a message that criticizing religion is an area that’s off-limits." [Los Angeles Times]
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10. PSY FOLLOWS UP 'GANGNAM STYLE' WITH ANOTHER VIRAL HIT
PSY's follow-up to his viral smash "Gangnam Style" appears to be another instant mega-hit for the South Korean rapper. His new video, "Gentleman," smashed the YouTube record for most views on its first day. "51 million views in 40 hours!!My God!!" PSY tweeted on Monday. "Gentleman" had piled up 82 million views by Tuesday. It still has a long way to go to approach the success of "Gangnam Style," which has set a YouTube record with more than 1.5 billion views and made PSY a household name around the world. [Reuters]

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at TheWeek.com. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami HeraldFox News, and ABC News.

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