37 killed in psychiatric hospital fire
A predawn fire swept through a Russian psychiatric hospital Friday, killing 37 people, Russia's top investigative agency said. Authorities had long warned that the mostly wooden building dating to the 19th century was unsafe. It was the second such deadly blaze in less than five months, underlining the widespread neglect of fire safety standards in Russia. The fire in the one-story hospital in the village of Luka, about 280 miles northwest of Moscow, erupted about 3 a.m. Friday and quickly engulfed the structure, the Emergency Situations Ministry said.
Series of attacks claims 33 lives
A bomb hidden inside an air conditioner exploded Friday at a Sunni mosque packed with worshipers northeast of Baghdad, the deadliest in a series of attacks in Iraq that killed 33 people, officials said. The blast in the village of Umm al-Adham on the outskirts of Baqubah, a former insurgent stronghold, left the green and white walls of the mosque spattered with blood. Debris was strewn across the tiled floor. Police said at least 30 people were killed and 45 wounded.
Tsarnaev's friends plead not guilty
Three friends of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev pleaded not guilty Friday to charges they hindered the investigation into the deadly attack. Authorities allege that the friends went to Tsarnaev's dorm room at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth three days after the bombings. The friends — Robel Phillipos, Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov — are accused in an indictment of removing several items from the room, including Tsarnaev's laptop computer and a backpack containing fireworks.
All-white sororities drawing scrutiny
Several prominent leaders in Alabama weighed in Friday on allegations that all-white sororities passed over two prospective black members because of pressure from alumnae, and in one case, an adviser. Paul Bryant Jr., the president pro tem of the board of trustees and the son of legendary football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant, said the school does not support the segregation of any organization. Gov. Robert Bentley, an alumnus, reiterated that fraternal organizations should choose members based on their qualifications, not race.
NEW YORK: Michael Bloomberg, dissatisfied with his potential successors and unsure his political blessing would help anyone, ruled out making an endorsement for New York City mayor.
PHILIPPINES: Muslim rebels who have laid siege to the port city of Zamboanga for six days agreed to a cease-fire Friday to allow negotiations with the government but continued to hold more than 100 hostages, local media reported early today.