Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: April 4, 2015

Government report critiques 2013 Boston bombing manhunt, Netanyahu criticizes Iran nuclear deal, and more


Report finds 'weapons discipline was lacking' in 2013 Boston bombing manhunt

Nearly two years after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, a government report released on Friday critiqued the city's immediate response to the attack and subsequent manhunt of the suspects. While the report praised Boston's overall response as a "great success," it was less complimentary of the law enforcement officials who tracked alleged bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to a boat several days later. "Weapons discipline was lacking," the report said, when police officers opened fire on the boat after hearing a gunshot, which they attributed to Tsarnaev but which actually came from a fellow police officer.


Netanyahu criticizes Iran nuclear deal framework

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Friday that any final agreement with Iran concerning its nuclear program must include "a clear and unambiguous Iranian commitment of Israel's right to exist." Netanyahu convened his Israeli Cabinet for a special session to discuss the emerging deal's framework, a tentative agreement which was announced Thursday following marathon negotiations in Switzerland. But Netanyahu said he and his Cabinet are "united in strongly opposing" the deal, which was made by Iran and six world powers, including the U.S.


U.S. economy added just 126,000 jobs in March

The U.S. economy created just 126,000 jobs in March, while the unemployment rate held steady at 5.5 percent. That was well out of line with Wall Street economists' expectations — a Reuters survey predicted an increase of 245,000 nonfarm payrolls — and it is significantly down from February's 295,000 added jobs. March wages did rise for private-sector workers by 0.3 percent, up from a 0.1 percent rise in February.


Blue Bell Ice Cream shuts down plant following illness

Blue Bell Ice Cream voluntarily suspended operations at a company plant in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, on Friday, following the deaths of three people that officials linked back to a foodborne illness in some of the plant's products. Health officials found that of five patients who became sick with listeriosis between December 2013 and January 2015 at a hospital in Wichita, Kansas, at least four had drunk milkshakes made with Blue Bell ice cream. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that consumers throw away any Blue Bell products that have been made at the company's Broken Arrow plant.


Al Shabaab militants warn of 'long, gruesome war,' against Kenya

Days after four al Shabaab gunmen attacked a Kenyan university, killing nearly 150 people, the al Qaeda-linked group vowed more violence against the Kenyan public, in a message released on Saturday. "No amount of precaution or safety measures will ... prevent another bloodbath from occurring in your cities," the group wrote in an email obtained by Reuters. In the message, al Shabaab claimed that the university attack was retribution for Kenya's military presence in Somalia, and the country's mistreatment of Muslims.


France passes bill banning too-skinny models

France passed a bill on Friday that bans modeling agents and fashion houses from using models who are excessively thin, or face possible fines and even jail time. The move is part of President Francois Hollande's campaign against anorexia; the legislation also made condoning anorexia illegal, and requires any re-touching of photographs to include a message stating that fact. Health experts estimate that some 30,000 to 40,000 people in France suffer from anorexia, many of them teenagers.


Philadelphia woman arrested for attempting to aid ISIS

A Philadelphia woman was arrested and charged on Friday with planning to go overseas to join the Islamic State. Keonna Thomas, 30, allegedly bought a plane ticket in late March, after researching travel routes to Turkey and communicating with an ISIS militant based in Syria. A criminal complaint filed on Friday says Thomas "knowingly attempted to travel overseas in order to join, fight with, and martyr herself on behalf of … a designated foreign terrorist organization."


Hillary Clinton's team leases office space in Brooklyn

Hillary Clinton's team has leased office space in Brooklyn, presumably for her upcoming presidential campaign. The move leaves Clinton with two weeks to announce her bid before she violates the Federal Election Commission's campaign finance laws. Clinton's leased space encompasses 30,000 more square feet than President Obama's reelection headquarters, which were in the Prudential Building in Chicago. The Brooklyn building touts its offerings as "Modern Offices. Brooklyn Cool."


NFL reportedly hires Sarah Thomas as first female game official

The NFL has reportedly hired its first female official in Sarah Thomas, according to reports on Friday. An official announcement is expected as soon as next week. Thomas has been in the league's "pipeline for a while," Dean Blandino, the NFL's VP of officiating, said in 2013. She was the first female to officiate an NCAA football game, back in 2007, and has since worked NFL preseason games and training camps, in an effort to adjust to the league's speed. While Thomas would be the NFL's first official female hire, she would not technically be the first woman to work a sideline; that distinction is held by Shannon Eastin, who worked a game as a replacement ref during the 2012 season.


Gun control activist Sarah Brady dies at age 73

Sarah Brady, the widow of former White House press secretary James Brady, died of pneumonia on Friday at age 73. Brady became one of the country's most influential gun control activists after her husband was shot in the head during the 1981 assassination attempt of President Ronald Reagan. James Brady survived, but used a wheelchair until his death in August 2014. Legislation Sarah Brady pushed following her husband's shooting has prevented the sale of more than 2.4 million firearms, "to criminals and other dangerous people," according to her organization, The Brady Campaign.


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Uganda's 'shameful' new anti-gay law
Protesters against Uganda's anti-homosexuality bill
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A nuclear-powered U.S. Navy submarine

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Xi Jinping tells national security team to prepare for 'worst-case scenario'
Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Chinese Troubles

Xi Jinping tells national security team to prepare for 'worst-case scenario'

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Chinese President Xi Jinping.
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Fossils uncovered in Australia are 107 million-year-old pterosaurs bones, scientists say
Reconstruction of Australian pterosaur.

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