18 dead in car bomb attack
A powerful car bomb tore through a bustling south Beirut neighborhood that is a stronghold of Hezbollah on Thursday, killing at least 18 and trapping dozens of others in an inferno of burning cars and buildings in the bloodiest attack yet on Lebanese civilians linked to Syria’s civil war.
The blast is the second in just over a month to hit one of the Shiite militant group’s bastions of support, and the deadliest in decades. It raises the specter of a sharply divided Lebanon being pulled further into the conflict next door, which is being fought on increasingly sectarian lines pitting Sunnis against Shiites.
Thursday’s explosion ripped through a crowded, overwhelmingly Shiite area tightly controlled by Hezbollah, turning streets lined with vegetable markets, bakeries and shops into scenes of destruction.
Cop who leaked pics to return
The Massachusetts state trooper who leaked arrest photos of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is going back on patrol.
Sgt. Sean Murphy, who had been stationed at department headquarters in Framingham, is now assigned to the midnight shift at the Athol barracks in north-central Massachusetts, state police spokesman David Procopio said Thursday.
Procopio said the assignment effective last week is not punishment for the unauthorized release of 14 photos, some of which showed a battered and bloodied Tsarnaev with the red dot of a sniper’s rifle scope in the middle of his forehead. “That investigation is still underway,” he said.
Murphy leaked the photos to Boston magazine last month in response to what some people perceived as an inappropriately glamorous shot of Tsarnaev on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.
Court considers gay marriage
Lawyers for gay couples and New Jersey’s government laid out their cases to a judge Thursday on whether she should order the state to legalize same-sex marriage in light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the matter.
Judge Mary Jacobson gave both sides time to provide more information in writing and said that she would not rule on the issue before September.
Kevin Jesperson, a state assistant attorney general, told the judge that the federal government should recognize New Jersey civil unions as the equivalent to marriage and give registered couples access to Social Security survivor benefits, joint tax filing and other federal benefits. If federal agencies don’t do that, he said, the plaintiffs should sue them, not the state.
Salvation Army part of lawsuit
The Salvation Army will become the latest defendant in litigation over a deadly Philadelphia building collapse, and a contractor has asked to delay the lawsuits amid a criminal grand jury probe.
Six people died inside a Salvation Army thrift store when an adjacent building being demolished collapsed on them in June.
Lawyer Robert Mongeluzzi on Thursday accused the Salvation Army of playing “a game of chicken” with its neighbor over the demolition, despite the known safety risks.
Emails between the building owner, the city and the charity detail the owner’s requests to put a tarp over the small thrift store or place a bucket truck above it to remove an adjacent four-story brick wall by hand. The negotiations were unresolved when the wall collapsed June 5, trapping about 20 people in rubble. Four shoppers and two workers died.
Mongeluzzi, who represents six survivors and the family of one woman who died, has sued the building owner, STB Investments, along with demolition contractor Griffin Campbell, subcontractor Sean Benschop and others.