A U.S. woman is freed from Mexican jail; a Texas man becomes person of interest in ricin-letter investigation; Arvind Mahankali wins the 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee; Defense Secretary Hagal talks cyber-security; video shows Boston bombings suspects at a gym three days before attacks; more storms hit the midwest; a woolly mammoth carcass is found in Russia; a Michigan woman is reported dead in Syria; and Obama pushed Congress to do something about student loan interest rates by July 1. Meanwhile, a park employee pleads not guilty to a dry ice blast at Disneyland, and Philip Seymour Hoffman enters rehab for narcotic abuse.
Maura + Alexis
U.S. woman held in Mexico on drug smuggling charge freed, http://cbsn.ws/Zi9V4y
An Arizona woman was freed from a Mexico jail after spending a week there on a suspected drug smuggling charge. Thanks to security footage from the bus, she was proven not guilty and was let go. Yanira Maldonado was arrested by the Mexican military last week after they found 12 pounds of pot under her bus seat at a security checkpoint. Maldonado was released from prison late Thursday night.
Ricin-letter investigation identifies Texas man as person of interest, http://cbsn.ws/13oXaEW
A Texas man was identified as a suspect Thursday in the case of ricin-laced threat letters sent to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and to President Obama. Police have not yet arrested him. The man is merely being questioned by the FBI at this point.
Arvind Mahankali Wins The 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee, http://huff.to/ZhV1v6
Arvind Mahankali, a 13-year-oldl from Queens, N.Y., wins the 86th Scripps National Spelling Bee. He won the spelling bee with the word “knaidel,” a German derived Yiddish word that means a small mass of dough, like a dumpling. Mahankali had tied for ninth in 2010, tied for third in 2011, finished third in 2012 and finally won in 2013.
Cyber threats pose ‘stealthy, insidious’ danger: defense chief, http://reut.rs/18CPAtm
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke today about cyber threats and their ability to pose a “quiet, stealthy, insidious” danger to the US and other nations. Hagel said that he would address the topic in his speech on Saturday to the Shangri-La Security Dialogue in Singapore. He also expressed that the issue would likely become a talking point in a brief meeting with Chinese delegates on the margins of the conference. He finished with a call to action that included creating “rules of the road” between the US and every other nation with regard to cyber conflict.
Video shows Boston bombing suspects at gym days before attack, http://bit.ly/116PDrc
A video shows that just three days before the Boston Marathon bombings, suspects Tamerlan and Dzokhar Tsarnaev were working out at local gym. The footage shows the brothers arriving at the Wai Kru mixed marital arts center just before 2:45 p.m. April 12. The manager of the gym noticed a distinct change in Tamerlan’s appearance – no more bushy beard. Looking back, the manager wonders if the shaving of his beard may have been part of an Islamic purification ritual that takes place before death.
More Heavy Storms on Tap for the Midwest; 3 Dead, http://abcn.ws/13q7z39
Up to a dozen tornados hit Arkansas on Thursday as well as one in Illinois and three in Oklahoma. Nine people were injured, and at least three were killed as a result of the storms in the region. Forecasters warn that large hail and more tornados are possible today.
Russians Find Mammoth Carcass With Liquid Blood, http://bit.ly/10D2QN5
Russian scientists uncovered a perfectly preserved woolly mammoth carcass with liquid blood on Thursday. The animal carcass was found on a remote Arctic island. Scientists are excited at the prospects of cloning the Ice Age animal. The blood found was very dark but still in its liquid form. The blood of woolly mammoths apparently did not freeze in even extremely cold temperatures in order to keep the animals warm. The animal’s muscle tissue was also found in perfect condition.
US State Department Probes Report of Michigan Woman Killed in Syria, http://abcn.ws/15oPEuZ
The US State Department is currently investigating reports that a US woman has been killed in Syria. Syrian state television has reported that an American woman from Michigan had been killed by government forces while fighting alongside the opposition in Idlib province. The State Department told ABC News that it is aware of what is going on and it is seeking more information through Czech protecting power. Monday, Sen. John McCain crossed the Syrian border to meet with rebel forces.
Obama pushes Congress on student loans, http://wapo.st/11sMVMA
President Obama urged Congress on Friday to pass a student-loan bill by July 1. Obama said “If Congress doesn’t act by July 1, federal student loan rates are set to double.” He equated this increase in loan rates to an average of $1,000 per student of additional debt. Obama was also quoted saying, “The House bill isn’t smart, and it’s not fair, so I’m asking young people [...] to make their voices heard once again.” The rates will rise automatically to 6.8% if Congress does not pass a bill by the end of the month to extend lower rates.
Disneyland Explosion: Park Employee Pleads Not Guilty to Dry Ice Blast, http://eonli.ne/19t6axo
Billy Joel Gives Surprise Master Class for NYC High School Students, http://eonli.ne/19tfcKE
Philip Seymour Hoffman Entered Detox for Narcotic Abuse, http://tmz.me/1169Mh7
Boston Strong: Donnie Wahlberg, Jason Aldean, Jimmy Buffett and More Stars Come Together for Concert, http://eonli.ne/15otEjQ
Lincoln Bell Shepard: See Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard’s 2-Month-Old Baby Girl!, http://eonli.ne/15mkx3j