10 things you need to know today: April 16, 2015
Former NFL star Aaron Hernandez is convicted of murder, a Florida man lands a gyrocopter at the Capitol, and more
Ex-NFL star Aaron Hernandez convicted of first-degree murder
Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole on Wednesday. Twelve jurors deliberated for a week and found Hernandez, 25, guilty of fatally shooting his friend Odin Lloyd, a former semi-pro football player whose body was found in an industrial park less than a mile from Hernandez's home. Hernandez's lawyers say he merely witnessed the shooting. Hernandez said, "They got it wrong," as he was being led away.
Florida mailman detained after landing tiny helicopter at the Capitol
A Florida postal worker landed a one-person gyrocopter on the West Lawn of the Capitol and was promptly arrested on Wednesday. A Florida newspaper — The Tampa Bay Times — identified the pilot as Doug Hughes, 61, and said he pulled the stunt to call attention to the need to reform campaign finance laws. He planned to deliver 535 letters to the members of Congress. The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating how Hughes managed to penetrate the protected airspace around the Capitol building.
Clinton Foundation limits donations from foreign governments
The Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation's board on Wednesday voted to tighten its rules on accepting foreign donations. The policy was designed to address concerns that foreign donations would create a conflict of interest if Hillary Clinton is elected president. Under the new guidelines, scheduled to be released Thursday, only six countries — Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and the United Kingdom — will be able to donate. The foundation also will start disclosing its contributors quarterly, instead of once a year.
U.N. envoy to Yemen quits
Moroccan diplomat Jamal Benomar has resigned as United Nations envoy to Yemen after trying for four years to broker a peaceful resolution to the country's political crisis. With Houthi rebels and their allies making gains, and a Saudi-led coalition targeting them with airstrikes, Benomar reportedly gave up because of opposition from Gulf nations, which have accused him of being too accommodating toward the Shiite Houthis. The U.N. said it would name a replacement and "spare no efforts to re-launch the peace process."
Hillary Clinton wraps up her Iowa campaign rollout
Hillary Clinton completed the first step of her 2016 presidential campaign — a two-day roadtrip to Iowa — with a promise to "level the playing field" for small businesses, saying they are saddled with tax burdens huge corporations escape. "I want my campaign to figure out how we're going to jump-start small business," Clinton said. Clinton formally launched her second campaign for the White House on Sunday, making her the first Democrat in the race.
Netflix shares jump as it picks up video-stream subscribers
Netflix announced Wednesday that it gained 4.88 million subscribers to its video-streaming service in the last quarter, more than the 4.05 million it expected. The newcomers pushed its total number of U.S. subscribers above 40 million for the first time. Netflix now has 62 million subscribers worldwide. The news pushed up the company's stock price by 11 percent to a record high in after-hours trading, after already climbing by 47 percent in the last three months.
Brazilian ruling party treasurer ensnared in Petrobras scandal
Joao Vaccari, treasurer of Brazil's ruling Workers' Party, was arrested Wednesday in connection with a corruption scandal involving the state-controlled Petrobras oil company. The charges against Vaccari stem from accusations that the party took money from inflated deals between oil executives and construction firms. Vaccari and the party deny the accusations. Vaccari is the closest ally of President Dilma Rousseff to have been ensnared in the scandal. Rousseff was head of Petrobras during much of the alleged corruption, but she has not been implicated.
Search expanding for missing Malaysia Airlines plane
The governments of Australia, China, and Malaysia on Thursday said they would double the search area for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 to 120,000 square kilometers if it is not found in the current search zone in the southern Indian Ocean. The expanded search for the plane, which went missing in March 2014 with 239 passengers and crew on board, would cost an estimated $38.74 million, and would take up to a year, starting in May. The new search zone "would cover 95 percent of the flight path," Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said.
NBC's Engel revises account of his 2012 kidnapping in Syria
NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel has updated his account of his 2012 kidnapping in Syria, after reviewing the event and concluding that he and five crew members were captured by a Sunni criminal gang tied to the Free Syrian Army rebels who rescued them. Engel originally believed the kidnappers' claim that they were Shiite militiamen loyal to the Assad government. He followed up on what happened after The New York Times uncovered information suggesting the rescuers had a relationship with the kidnappers.
Texas aquarium accidentally kills fish with medication
The Texas State Aquarium accidentally killed most of the fish in its biggest indoor tanks when it put in a new medication to control a parasite. As many as 100 fish died in four affected tanks, the largest of which holds 125,000 gallons and held a variety of big sea creatures, including nurse sharks, green moray eels, tarpon, grouper, and a sand tiger shark. Aquarium spokesman Richard E. Glover Jr. said the medication had been tested safely in a smaller tank. "It appears to be a truly sad fluke," he said.