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Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: April 30, 2015

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Harold Maass
Protesters gather in New York.
(AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
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1.

Freddie Gray protests spread to New York and other big cities

Protests over Freddie Gray's death in police custody spread from Baltimore across the nation on Wednesday. Hundreds of people marched in New York City to show solidarity and peacefully protest the treatment of African Americans by police in the two cities. More than 100 people were arrested in the Manhattan protest. Similar crowds demonstrated in Boston, Seattle, San Diego, and Denver, where 11 people were arrested. [The New York Times, NBC News]

2.

Bernie Sanders says he is running for the Democratic presidential nomination

Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent, confirmed Wednesday that he is running for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. "I believe (voters) want a fundamental change so that government works for ordinary Americans and not just billionaires," Sanders told USA Today. Sanders plans to formally announce his campaign on Thursday. He will join former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as the only declared candidates for the party's nomination. [USA Today, Reuters]

3.

Fed view of labor market dims, delaying interest rate hike

The Federal Reserve downgraded its assessment of the jobs market on Wednesday as economic data indicated the U.S. economy had slowed down. Hours before the Fed released its statement, the federal government reported first quarter gross domestic product that was lower than expected. The central bank's statement suggested it would wait until September or later to start raise interest rates for the first time since June 2006, a move some had expected in the summer. [Reuters]

4.

Hillary Clinton calls for police reforms

Hillary Clinton on Wednesday called for an end to "the era of mass incarceration" and the "unmistakable and undeniable" pattern of excessive force by police against African Americans. In the first major policy speech of her presidential campaign, Clinton said at Columbia University that the unrest over deaths of black men after confrontations with police in several cities recently signaled the need for justice system reforms, such as making more police wear body cameras and devising alternative punishments for petty drug crimes. [The New York Times]

5.

Leaked police report suggests Freddie Gray injured himself

A prisoner who was in the same police van as Freddie Gray said he heard "banging against the walls" and thought Gray "was intentionally trying to injure himself," according to a sealed police report obtained by The Washington Post. The prisoner was separated by a partition and could not see Gray, who died of injuries suffered in police custody a week later, triggering a series of peaceful protests, as well as riots. Gray family lawyer Jason Downs questioned the account, written by police. "We disagree with any implication that Freddie Gray severed his own spinal cord," he said. [The Washington Post]

6.

Teen rescued in Nepal after five days buried in earthquake rubble

Rescuers on Thursday pulled a boy, 15-year-old Pema Lama, from the rubble of the collapsed Hilton Hotel in Katmandu, where he had been trapped for the five days since Nepal was struck by a 7.9-magnitude earthquake. The death toll has risen above 5,500 in Nepal, with at least another 100 deaths in India and China. Bad weather has grounded  helicopters, slowing the delivery of relief supplies to some of Nepal's remote mountain villages, where many people remain stranded. [BBC News]

7.

Baltimore police release 103 people arrested during riots

Baltimore authorities late Wednesday released 103 people who had been arrested during rioting that followed the funeral of Freddie Gray. They were allowed to go free without being charged because the swamped police department could not process their paperwork on time. Before the second night of a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew, thousands of demonstrators participated in a peaceful rally at City Hall. [NBC News, The Baltimore Sun]

8.

Pope Francis calls inequality of pay for women "a scandal"

Pope Francis on Wednesday called for equality in the workplace, saying it is "a scandal" that women are paid less than men for the same work. "Why is it taken for granted that women must earn less than men? No! They have the same rights," the pope told a crowd in St. Peter's Square. Women in Europe made 16.4 percent less than men in 2013. Pope Francis said Christians have a duty to "decisively support the right to equal pay for equal work." [Reuters]

9.

Shark kills woman in Hawaii

A shark killed a 65-year-old woman in Hawaii on Wednesday. Her body was found floating by snorkelers about 200 yards from shore at a popular surfing spot. The Department of Land and Natural Resources closed the waters, and crews on jet skis cleared swimmers, divers, and surfers from the area. It will remained closed until at least noon Thursday as authorities investigate. There were no witnesses to the attack — the first in the state this year. [ABC News]

10.

Weight Watchers founder Jean Nidetch dies at 91

Jean Nidetch, the founder of Weight Watchers, died Wednesday at her home in Parkland, Florida. She was 91. Nidetch said she was "an overweight housewife obsessed with cookies" until the early 1960s, when she started holding meetings with friends in her Queens apartment. The group's support helped Nidetch, who weighed 214 pounds, lose 72 pounds. In 1963 she launched Weight Watchers International. The organization quickly attracted millions of members and spawned thousands of franchises. [The New York Times, People]