President Barack Obama met with Pope Francis for the first time at the Vatican on Thursday, holding a nearly hourlong audience with the pontiff. The president and pope both appeared tense at the start of the meeting, but they were all smiles by the end.
Investigators continued on Thursday to probe the cause of a nine-alarm fire in a four-story apartment building in Boston's historic Back Bay neighborhood that killed two firefighters a day earlier. The Suffolk County District Attorney's office said it had assigned an investigator to work with Boston Fire Department officials to determine what had triggered the afternoon fire, as tributes poured in for the slain officers, Lieutenant Edward Walsh, 43, and Firefighter Michael Kennedy, 33. "These brave men gave their lives in the line of duty, putting the public safety ahead of their own interests," said Boston's Roman Catholic Cardinal, Sean O'Malley, in a statement.
A Montana bride who shoved her husband of eight days off a cliff at Glacier National Park is due to be sentenced on Thursday, and a judge was expected to rule on a defense motion to withdraw her guilty plea to a second-degree murder charge. Attorneys for 22-year-old Jordan Graham on Tuesday asked a federal judge to rescind her guilty plea from December, alleging prosecutors are overreaching by seeking a life sentence and reneging on an agreement that they expected to involve less prison time. Federal prosecutors wrote in documents submitted on Wednesday that Graham's request to withdraw her plea was without merit and should be denied. In exchange for Graham pleading guilty to second-degree murder in the July 7 death of her husband of eight days, 25-year-old Cody Johnson, prosecutors dropped a first-degree murder charge, which alleges premeditation and carries a mandatory life sentence.
By Sharon Begley NEW YORK (Reuters) - An analysis of government data on hospital safety, including how likely patients are to die of avoidable surgical complications, shows that hospitals vary markedly on these measures and that patients are at higher risk in some nationally-known facilities than at tiny hospitals little known outside their rural communities. The safety ratings of 2,591 hospitals, released by Consumer Reports magazine on Thursday, come at a time when estimates of the number of Americans killed by hospital errors is soaring. According to the 1999 report by the Institute of Medicine that first put a spotlight on the issue, the death toll from medical mistakes in hospitals was at least 98,000 then. In 2010, however, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) inspector general said that poor hospital care contributed to 180,000 deaths every year - and that was only among Medicare patients, those 65 or older.
MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — A Montana woman who admitted to pushing her husband off a cliff eight days after they were married is due to be sentenced Thursday, even as she attempts to retract her guilty plea to avoid a potential life prison sentence.
NEW YORK (AP) — A jury's conviction of the al-Qaida spokesman who warned Americans that the "storm of airplanes" would not stop after the Sept. 11 attacks prompted Attorney General Eric Holder to claim victory for the civil court system, signaling terror suspects arrested in the future in the U.S. or abroad will routinely face justice in civil courts rather than military tribunals.