Campaign photo diary
October 5, 2012

In Colorado Springs, Colo., artist Jason Baalman poses in front of portraits of President Obama and Mitt Romney that he made entirely of Cheetos — more than 2,000 of them. The portraits were commissioned by the chip purveyor, and voters are being asked to weigh in on Facebook in a rather cheesy contest called "You decide: Who will be America's next 'big cheese'?" The Week Staff

Caught red-handed
9:35 a.m. ET

Officials have apprehended a group of thieves who attempted to break into China's ancient Guanghui Temple, in the Hebei province.

The eight-member gang of tomb raiders hatched quite an elaborate plan: They rented a restaurant near the temple and tried to dig a 165-foot tunnel into the ancient site. The group hoped to loot the temple's Hua Pagoda, which is decorated with elaborate carvings, including Buddhas as well as elephants and other animals, Ancient Origins reports. The temple dates to the Tang Dynasty, which lasted from 618 to 907 C.E.

The plan almost worked, too: The thieves made it within 65 feet of the pagoda before they were caught. Police grew suspicious when the restaurant never opened, and they eventually received a tip about suspicious activity at the restaurant, China's Xinhua reports. The officials found the tunnel just in time, and their investigation revealed that the group had been at work on the tunnel for months.

Five people involved in the attempted heist were arrested, but the other three are still at large. Ancient Origins notes that tomb raiding is common in China, and criminals are developing more and more elaborate schemes to get their hands on historical treasures. Meghan DeMaria

Fool me once
9:24 a.m. ET
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) didn't suffer facial fractures at the hands of some mob goons, according to a man who claims to have concocted that tall tale.

Larry Pfeifer, a 50-year-old from Las Vegas, tells the Las Vegas Sun that after seeing a conservative site question Reid's version of events — the senator said he sustained the injuries in a freak workout accident — he wanted to ensnare some gullible sites with an unfounded rumor of his own. Sure enough, the plan worked.

The rumor spread quickly after Hinderaker published it April 3, landing Pfeifer on conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham’s radio program six days later when Hinderaker was a guest host, and leading to a conversation between Pfeifer and Rush Limbaugh. Pfeifer said he tried to get on Limbaugh’s show, where he planned to admit he’d made up the story. [...] He said he decided to present the truth after Limbaugh rejected him as a guest but repeated the rumor April 15 on his talk-radio show. [Las Vegas Sun]

Pfeifer said he was surprised how rapidly the story spread considering he spiced it with blatantly false details. And he expressed remorse for bringing prolonged scrutiny to Reid's injuries.

"I would really like to apologize to Harry Reid and his brother," Pfeifer told the Sun. "What I did was [expletive] up." Jon Terbush

Boston Marathon Bombing
8:46 a.m. ET
FBI/Getty Images

A new poll shows that support for the death penalty for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has decreased in recent months among Massachusetts residents.

Only 15 percent of Boston residents believe that Tsarnaev should be executed, according to the poll. And while almost a third of Massachusetts residents reported support for the death penalty, just 18.9 percent thought Tsarnaev should receive it. That's a significant decrease from a Boston Globe poll in September 2013, which found that 33 percent of Massachusetts residents favored the death penalty for the bomber.

"It seems that voters have concluded that Tsarnaev does not deserve a quick death, but rather should spend the remainder of his days in a windowless cell contemplating the heinous acts that put him there," Frank Perullo, president of Sage Systems LLC, which conducted the poll, told The Boston Globe. “To voters, it would seem death is too easy an escape."

A jury is in the midst of Tsarnaev's trial's penalty phase, in which they will decide whether to sentence him to the death penalty or life in prison. Meghan DeMaria

This week in Washington
8:04 a.m. ET
Andrew Burton/Getty Images

The Senate is likely to vote this week on a bill giving senators some oversight of the Iranian nuclear deal being negotiated by Iran and the U.S., plus five other world powers. The bill passed out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with a 19-0 vote, but last week Republicans filed a number of amendments that would strip away support from Democrats, depriving the measure of not only its sheen of bipartisanship but also enough votes to overcome a filibuster or, if 60 senators still vote in favor, enough to overcome a veto from President Obama.

"It's important that this stays bipartisan," said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). "We should not intermingle emotional amendments with this bill. I'm appealing to people, 'Don't throw this bill in a ditch.'" The bill, as it stands now, would prevent Obama from waiving sanctions on Iran for 30 days while the Senate votes on the underlying bill. Some Democrats suggest that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) wants Obama to veto the legislation. Peter Weber

This just in
7:53 a.m. ET
Facebook.com/CorinthianCollegeCareers

Just weeks after being hit with a $30 million fine from the U.S. Department of Education, Corinthian Colleges has closed all 28 of its remaining schools. The department had fined for-profit Corinthian for providing students with false job placement rates.

Corinthian announced the closure on Sunday in a statement and an email to its 16,000 students. According to NBC News, Corinthian's closure marks the "biggest shutdown in the history of higher education in the United States."

"What these students have experienced is unacceptable," the Education Department said in a statement. "As Corinthian closes its doors for good, the department will continue to keep students at the heart of every decision we make." Meghan DeMaria

Noted
6:58 a.m. ET
Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

On Monday, South Korean President Park Geun-hye said she has accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Lee Wan Koo, two months after Lee took office and a week after he submitted his resignation in a bribery scandal. A businessman, Sang Wan-jong, said that he paid Lee about $27,000 in bribes in 2013; Sang committed suicide earlier in April. Lee denied the allegation. In South Korea, the president holds most of the levers of power. Peter Weber

nepal earthquake
6:31 a.m. ET

The devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake that rattled Nepal and parts of India has killed at least 3,700 people, including a confirmed 3,617 deaths in Nepal. Residents and visitors to Kathmandu are camping out on the streets or fleeing due to fear of aftershocks or because the hotels are full and the airport is in disarray. And at least 18 of the confirmed deaths are on Mt. Everest, where an avalanche swept through base camp. For people not familiar with the topography of the world's highest peak, BBC News has this explainer of the avalanche and where it hit, complete with 3D graphics. Everest is dangerous, but none of the climbers expected this. —Peter Weber

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