10 things you need to know today: April 29, 2014

Putin's former chief of staff
(Image credit: (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Pool, File))

1. Putin allies hit with sanctions over Russia's support of Ukrainian separatists

The U.S. cranked up pressure on Russia for what the White House called its "continued illegal intervention in Ukraine" by imposing sanctions on seven individuals and 17 companies connected to President Vladimir Putin's "inner circle." Among the individuals affected were oil magnate Igor Sechin and tech executive Sergei Chemezov. The European Union on Tuesday also targeted 15 people, including Russian military leaders, with new sanctions.

BBC News The Associated Press

2. Sponsors abandon the Clippers over racist comments attributed to owner

Several major sponsors — including CarMax, Virgin America, Kia, State Farm, and Red Bull — have ditched the Los Angeles Clippers over racist comments attributed to team owner Donald Sterling. The loss of revenue could give the National Basketball Association the ammunition it needs to suspend Sterling, who has become an overnight pariah. The statements "can negatively impact the business of the NBA," one sports attorney said.

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Los Angeles Times

3. More deadly tornadoes bring two-day death toll to 28

Tornadoes killed at least 11 people in Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi on Monday, bringing the death toll to 28 over two days of severe weather across the central U.S. and the South. Mississippi state Sen. Giles Ward (R) said he, his wife, four other family members, and their dog huddled in a bathroom as a tornado pulverized his two-story brick house. "For about 30 seconds, it was unbelievable," Ward said.

The Associated Press

4. McAllister declines to run again after kissing scandal

Rep. Vance McAllister (R-Louisiana), who was caught on surveillance video kissing a married member of his staff, announced Monday that he would serve out his term but not seek reelection in November. "The past few weeks have been a trying time for my family," said McAllister, who won the seat in a special election last year. "As I've said before, there's no doubt I've made a mistake." His wife, Kelly, said she was "behind him 100 percent."

Daily World

5. Major search effort ends for Washington mudslide victims

Officials of Snohomish County, Washington, announced Monday that they were ending the "active search" for the two people still listed as missing after a March 22 mudslide that killed at least 41 people near Oso. About 30 people, down from as many as 1,000, will keep searching a limited area. Frank Hadaway, whose brother Steve is one of the missing, said he understood. "Reality is reality," he said. "We knew this day was coming sooner or later."

The Seattle Times

6. North Korea announces more live fire drills near disputed sea border

North Korea conducted live fire drills Tuesday on a disputed maritime border with South Korea. The artillery blasts were expected to be similar to those Pyongyang fired in late March near the Northern Limit Line, a sea border that has been a matter of contention since the 1950-53 Korean War. Ahead of the drills, South Korean military leaders told residents in the area to go to shelters.


7. Year's first solar eclipse wows... penguins

The first solar eclipse of the year appeared Monday night, although the only inhabited places where it was partially visible were in the southern Indian Ocean and Australia. The event occurred while the moon was slightly closer to the Earth than normal, so it could not completely block out the sun, leaving a glowing, fiery ring around the moon's edges. The best view was in an entirely uninhabited part of Antarctica, which is why some called it the "Penguin Eclipse."


8. Roughly 1 in 25 death row inmates don't belong there

About one in 25 people sentenced to death in the U.S. is innocent, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal. The researchers said that at least 4.1 percent of death row inmates are innocent, making it all but certain that innocent people have been executed.

Richmond Times-Dispatch

9. Heat win first-round series in bid for third consecutive NBA crown

The Miami Heat got a step closer in their bid for a third straight NBA championship Monday night by defeating the Charlotte Bobcats to complete a four-game, first-round sweep. The Heat won 109-98 thanks in part to a game-high 31 points from star LeBron James, who went on a 19-point scoring spree after suffering a thigh bruise in the third quarter. The Heat await the winner of a Brooklyn-Toronto series, now 2-2, that could last until Sunday.

The Associated Press

10. Ferguson says he is leaving CBS' Late Late Show

Craig Ferguson announced Monday that he would step down as host of CBS' Late Late Show in December. "CBS and I are not getting divorced, we are 'consciously uncoupling,'" Ferguson said during taping of the show, making a reference to the way actress Gwyneth Paltrow and Coldplay frontman Chris Martin described their recent split. No word yet on who will replace Ferguson.