Feature

The week at a glance...United States

United States

Los Angeles Mayor elected: City Councilman Eric Garcetti won the race to become the 42nd mayor of Los Angeles this week, becoming the first Jewish mayor in the city’s history. Garcetti, 42, defeated city Controller Wendy Greuel with 54 percent of the vote, ending the most expensive mayoral election in the city’s history, with campaign contributions topping $33 million. Both candidates are moderate Democrats with City Hall experience, but surveys showed that Garcetti received far more support from Republicans than his rival, who was seeking to become the city’s first female mayor. Garcetti, who takes over from outgoing Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on July 1, said in a victory speech that he would tackle the city’s large budget gaps and pension problems. “Los Angeles is ready to put the recession in the rearview mirror and become the city of opportunity that I grew up in,” he said.

Boston Confession note: As he lay bleeding in a boat while hiding from police, Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev wrote a note claiming responsibility for the marathon attacks, according to a law enforcement official. The note, scrawled inside the bullet-riddled hull where the unarmed Tsarnaev was found, said that the attacks were a response to U.S. intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq, and that the Boston victims were “collateral damage,” just as Muslims were in American-led wars. The note also reportedly said that Dzhokhar expected to soon join older brother Tamerlan—who had died in an earlier police shoot-out—as a martyr in paradise. Prosecutors say the note could prove invaluable as it echoes a confession Dzhokhar made during his first 16 hours in custody, which may be inadmissible because it was made before he was read his Miranda rights.

Bridgeport, Conn. Train derailment: At least three people were critically injured last week when a rush-hour train travelling from New York City’s Grand Central Terminal to New Haven, Conn., derailed and collided head-on with another commuter train travelling in the opposite direction. About 700 people were on board the trains when they crashed. Over 60 passengers were injured, with many recounting terrifying scenes of chaos. “All I know was I was in the air, hitting seats, bouncing around, flying down the aisle,” said passenger Lola Oliver, “and finally I came to a stop on one seat.” Surveying the devastating scene, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said it was “frankly amazing” that people weren’t killed. Officials have ruled out foul play, and have found a fractured section of rail that may have caused the accident.

New York City Hate crime protest: Thousands of people marched through New York City’s Greenwich Village this week to protest a recent spate of anti-gay hate attacks in the neighborhood, including the fatal shooting of a 32-year-old man. The crowd, which gathered at the murder scene, carried signs and chanted, “We’re here! We’re queer!” and “Homophobia’s got to go!” Mark Carson was killed by a single gunshot to the head last week as he walked with a companion through the Village, considered one of the city’s most gay-friendly neighborhoods. Shortly after, police arrested Elliot Morales, 33, who, according to reports, had approached the pair and asked if they were together. When Carson said yes, Morales allegedly replied, “Do you want to die here?” before shooting him in the face. Police say there has been a rise in bias-related crimes this year, and in recent weeks several anti-gay attacks have been reported.

Richmond, Va. Rogue candidate: The Virginia GOP has angered national Republicans seeking to broaden their party’s appeal by nominating a controversial black minister with a history of making inflammatory remarks as their choice for lieutenant governor. Lawyer turned preacher E.W. Jackson will be second on the Republican ticket, after the gubernatorial nominee, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II. Jackson has in the past compared Planned Parenthood to the Ku Klux Klan, said that Obama has “Muslim sensibilities,” and called gays “perverted” and “very sick psychologically, mentally, and emotionally”—comments that some Republicans fear could threaten Cuccinelli’s chances in a state that has twice given the edge to Democratic President Obama. Cuccinelli has distanced himself from Jackson, who was chosen by a small party convention. “I am just not going to defend my running mates’ statements at every turn,” he said in a campaign release. “They’ve got to explain those themselves.”

Orlando Tsarnaev associate killed: A Chechen man linked to the Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev was fatally shot by an FBI agent this week after allegedly attacking the agent during questioning. Ibragim Todashev, 27, was being investigated in connection with an unsolved triple homicide in Waltham, Mass., in 2011, in which Tsarnaev had earlier been considered a suspect. Tsarnaev and Todashev, formerly of Boston, knew each other through a shared interest in martial arts. According to investigators, Todashev was about to sign a written confession about the murders—in which he further implicated Tsarnaev—when he suddenly brandished a knife and moved to attack the FBI agent, who then shot him. Investigators said Todashev had some connections to radical Chechen rebels, but it is unclear whether he played any role in radicalizing Tsarnaev.

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