Boston bombing suspect Tsarnaev ‘wanted to punish America’

A prosecutor has told the jury that Dzhokar Tsarnaev “wanted to punish America” when he and his brother planted bombs at the Boston Marathon.
His lawyers admit he carried out the attacks but say he was under the influence of his radicalised brother.
If found guilty, the 21-year-old, who is charged with 30 counts, will face life imprisonment or execution.
The jury is to begin their deliberations on Tuesday, after both sides finished their closing arguments.
Three people, including an eight-year-old boy, died after two pressure cooker bombs packed with nails, ball bearings and other shrapnel detonated in April 2013. More than 260 people were injured, with many losing limbs. A police officer was shot dead during the massive manhunt.
Assistant US Attorney Aloke Chakravarty said that Mr Tsarnaev targeted the marathon in 2013, because it was a day when the world’s attention would be focused on Boston.
“He wanted to terrorise this country,” the prosecutor said as closing arguments began at the trial in Boston.
“The defendant thought that his values were more important than the people around him. He wanted to awake the mujahedeen, the holy warriors,” he said.
“He wanted to terrorise this country. He wanted to punish America for what it was doing to his people.”
Mr Tsarnaev shook his head slightly when Mr Chakravarty referred to him as a terrorist.
As expected, defence attorneys underscored their argument that Mr Tsarnaev was acting under the influence of his elder brother, Tamerlan, who orchestrated the plot.
“Tamerlan built the bombs, Tamerlan murdered officer Collier, Tamerlan led and Dzhokhar followed,” lead defence lawyer Judy Clarke said.
“We don’t deny that Dzhokhar fully participated in the events, but if not for Tamerlan, it would not have happened,” Ms Clarke also said.
She repeatedly referred to him as a “teenager” and as a “kid”.
The court was filled with people who have been affected by the bombings and the subsequent manhunt – prosthetics, wheelchairs, and hearing aids have all been seen in the courtroom.
Defence lawyers have maintained that his 26-year-old brother, Tamerlan, who died during a massive manhunt, had orchestrated the attacks and by doing so they hope to spare their client the death penalty.
If convicted, a second phase will determine the punishment, and the jury will have to decide whether he will be put to death.
The attacks were the deadliest terror attack on US soil since 9/11.


Russia: Toy shop releases KGB-themed adverts

A Russian toy shop has launched an advertising campaign which seems to be based on a KGB interrogation.
The Central Children’s Shop is located on Lubyanka Square, the same place as the former Soviet secret police headquarters and prison – commonly referred to simply as Lubyanka. Playing on that association, the shop’s tongue-in-cheek adverts show a brother and sister questioning their parents in a darkened room. In one video the little boy paces around with a wooden hammer before telling his parents: “You have left us no choice. We’ll have to up the pressure.” A quick wink to his sister sets off a full-blown tantrum from the girl, prompting the father to demand a lawyer, while the mother falls to her knees saying: “I can’t bear this!”
The three adverts were temporarily removed from the company’s YouTube channel, but two have since been reposted, the Meduza website reports. The video which alluded to torture has not returned. There’s been a mixed response on social media, with some people clearly unsettled. “Well, how creative. The last film should be the parents being shot after being taken to Lubyanka. Why mess about?” asks one person on Facebook. But not everyone has taken it so seriously. “Listen, it’s just an advert. It’s meant to provoke, to stick in people’s minds,” says another user. And someone else wonders if the Soviet references will even hit home. “The idea is good, it’s just badly done,” he says. “It is aimed at parents of about 26 to 30. Will they understand it? I’m not sure.”


Germanwings plane 4U 9525 crashes in French Alps – no survivors

A Germanwings plane 4U 9525 crashes in French Alps has crashed in the French Alps on its way from Barcelona to Duesseldorf.
The Airbus A320 – flight 4U 9525 – went down between Digne and Barcelonnette. There are no survivors, officials say.
The “black box” flight recorder has been found, France’s interior minister says. The cause of the crash is not known and the plane sent no distress signal during an eight-minute descent.
Among the passengers were 16 German pupils returning from an exchange trip.
Germanwings, a low-cost airline owned by Germany’s main carrier Lufthansa, has an excellent safety record. French, Spanish and German leaders have expressed shock.
A recovery team reached the site, in a remote mountain ravine, earlier on Tuesday. Their work was called off in the evening and will resume at first light on Wednesday, the French interior ministry said.
Bruce Robin, a prosecutor from Marseille, told the Reuters news agency that he had seen the wreckage of the aircraft from a helicopter.
“The body of the plane is in a state of destruction, there is not one intact piece of wing or fuselage,” he said.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier was also flown over the crash site and described it as “a picture of horror”, the Associated Press news agency says.
Officials believe 67 of those aboard the plane were German citizens. Forty-five of the passengers had Spanish names, Spain’s deputy prime minister said.
The passengers included a German school class on its way back from an exchange trip as well as two opera singers, Maria Radner and Oleg Bryjak.
Ms Radner was travelling with her husband and baby.
The flight was also carrying citizens of Australia, Turkey, Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium. UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said it was “sadly likely” that some British nationals were on board.
Sandrine Boisse, a tourism official from the ski resort of Pra Loup, told the BBC that she believed she had heard a strange noise in the mountains at around 11:00 (10:00 GMT).
“At first we thought it was on the ski slopes, an avalanche, but it wasn’t the same noise,” she said.
Analysis: Richard Westcott, BBC Transport correspondent
We know the aircraft went from a normal cruising height of 38,000 feet to crashing in the mountains in just eight minutes. One pilot told me that is twice the normal descent rate, but he also said that the aircraft is capable of coming down even more quickly and still being okay.
In an emergency, the pilots’ first priority is to fly the plane, but as soon as they have some control they are trained to make an emergency call. That didn’t appear to happen in this case, which suggests the pilots were coping with something so catastrophic they never had time to radio in a mayday, or turn to find the nearest runway.
It’s still too early to know anything for certain, but that might point to both engines failing, a fuel problem or something critical breaking off the aircraft.
The plane began descending one minute after it reached its cruising height and continued to lose altitude for eight minutes, Germanwings managing director Thomas Winkelmann told reporters.
He said the aircraft lost contact with French air traffic controllers at 10:53 at an altitude of about 6,000 feet.
The plane did not send out a distress signal, officials said. Earlier reports of a distress call, quoting the French interior ministry, referred to a message from controllers on the ground.
The White House has said there is no evidence so far of a terror attack. A Lufthansa official said they were assuming for the time being that the crash had been caused by an accident.
The Airbus A320 is a single-aisle passenger jet popular for short- and medium-haul flights.


Utah to resume use of firing squad for executions

Utah will resume the use of firing squads to carry out the death penalty when lethal injections drugs are not available.
Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed the measure into law on Monday.
The move makes Utah the only US state to use firing squads as a method of execution.
Some US states are considering alternative execution methods as they struggle to obtain lethal injection drugs amid a nationwide shortage.
Drug inventories dwindled after European manufacturers opposed to capital punishment refused to sell the lethal concoctions.
Civil rights groups have said use of firing squads makes Utah “look backward and backwoods”.
Governor Herbert finds the firing squad “a little bit gruesome,” but said the state needs a back-up execution method.
“We prefer to use our primary method of lethal injection when such a sentence is issued,” the governor’s spokesman Marty Carpenter told the Associated Press.
“However, when a jury makes the decision and a judge signs a death warrant, enforcing that lawful decision is the obligation of the executive branch.”
It will probably be years before Utah’s next execution. The head of Utah’s prison system has said the state does not have any reserves of lethal injection drugs.
The new Utah law reinstates the use of firing squads more than a decade after the state abandoned the practice.
Because of the intense media attention, Utah lawmakers stopped offering inmates the choice of a death by firing squad several years ago.
But a handful of inmates sentenced to death before 2004 still have the option of going before a firing squad.
Ronnie Lee Gardner, a convicted murderer who shot and killed a lawyer in attempt to escape from prison, was the last inmate executed by a firing squad in 2010.