10 things you need to know today: April 21, 2014

Runners at Boston Marathon
(Image credit: (AP Photo/Matt Rourke))

1. Huge field lines up to run the Boston Marathon

About 36,000 athletes converged to run in the 118th Boston Marathon under tight security on Monday, part of the storied race's emotional return a year after a deadly bombing at the finish line. The field is the event's second largest ever — race organizers expanded it so roughly 5,000 runners prevented from finishing after last year's blast could run again. "We're taking back our finish line," a runner from California said.

The Boston Globe Reuters

2. Biden heads to Ukraine as diplomatic deal falters

Vice President Joe Biden began a two-day trip to meet with Ukrainian leaders on Monday as violence frayed a diplomatic deal calling for separatists to give back occupied government buildings in eastern Ukraine. At least three people died Sunday in a gunfight between Ukrainian nationalists and pro-Russia separatists. New photographic evidence appears to confirm some of the "green men" occupying government facilities are Russian special forces.

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USA Today The New York Times

3. Al Qaeda suspects targeted in unprecedented Yemen operation

A "massive and unprecedented" combination of drone strikes and raids by Yemeni commandos is underway against suspected al Qaeda fighters in Yemen, a Yemeni official told CNN early Monday. At least 30 militants reportedly have been killed. Strikes a day earlier killed at least a dozen. The attacks targeted a mountain ridge where Nasir al-Wuhayshi, leader of the terrorist group's Yemeni branch, met with followers in a video released recently.


4. South Korean president harshly criticizes ferry captain

South Korean President Park Geun-hye said Monday that the actions of the captain and some crew of the sunken ferry Sewol were "akin to murder." Capt. Lee Joon-seok is facing several charges in connection with the sinking and botched evacuation last week. A crew member said in a radio transcript released Sunday that the ship rolled over so fast passengers couldn't reach lifeboats. Sixty-four people are confirmed dead; 238 remain missing.


5. Teen survives flight to Hawaii in jet's wheel well

A 16-year-old stowaway survived a flight from San Jose, Calif., to Maui in the wheel well of a Hawaiian Airlines jet. FBI investigators said the teen was "lucky to be alive" after facing severe cold and a lack of oxygen at 38,000 feet for several hours. "Doesn't even remember the flight," said Tom Simon, FBI spokesman in Honolulu. "It's amazing he survived that." A 16-year-old died after stowing away on a 2010 Charlotte, N.C., flight to Boston.

The Associated Press

6. Crowd gathers for Colorado marijuana celebration

Tens of thousands of people turned out on Sunday to celebrate the once-underground 4/20 marijuana holiday in Colorado, the first state to legalize recreational pot use. The celebration, long observed by diehard pot smokers, culminated this year with a massive smoke-out in a Denver park. "It feels good not to be persecuted anymore," said Joe Garramone, puffing on a joint while his 3-year-old daughter played in the park.

The Associated Press

7. Malaysia Airlines flight makes an emergency landing after tire bursts

A Malaysia Airlines flight was forced to turn back during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Bangalore, India on Sunday after a tire in its landing gear burst on take-off. The plane made an emergency landing back in Kuala Lumpur after about four hours in the air. None of the 159 passengers and seven crew members were injured. Search crews are still looking for another Malaysia Airlines flight that vanished on March 8.

CBS News

8. Economy set to bounce back from chill of winter storms

A harsh winter hurt the U.S. economy's growth in the first three months of 2014, but warm spring weather should trigger a rebound, according to a quarterly survey released Monday by the National Association for Business Economics. A series of brutal snow and ice storms probably dragged first-quarter growth below the 2.6 percent rate of the last quarter of 2013, but forecasters expect a rate as high as 3.6 percent in the second quarter.


9. Afghan presidential frontrunner appears unlikely to avoid a run-off

Figures released Sunday suggested that Afghanistan's presidential election is headed for a run-off. With half the votes cast on April 5 counted, frontrunner Abdullah Abdullah widened his lead, but still appeared unlikely to take the 50 percent of the vote needed to win without a second round. Abdullah, who finished second behind Hamid Karzai in 2009, had 44.4 percent of the vote, ahead of Karzai adviser Ashraf Ghani, who had 33.2 percent.

The New York Times

10. Wrongfully convicted former boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter dies

One-time middleweight boxing contender Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, who spent 19 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted for a triple murder at a Paterson, N.J. bar, died in Toronto Sunday of complications from prostate cancer. He was 76. Carter, who was black, was convicted twice by all-white juries. He became a cause celebre, with his case inspiring a song by Bob Dylan before a judge set aside his conviction in 1985.

Los Angeles Times

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Harold Maass

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 Herald, Fox News, and ABC News. For several years, he wrote a daily round-up of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and two sons.