By Scott Malone and Elizabeth Barber BOSTON (Reuters) - Accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told a high school friend his older brother was "very strict" and might not like him because he was not Muslim, the friend testified on Tuesday. Stephen Silva, who federal prosecutors contend loaned Tsarnaev the gun used in the shooting, said he had long been friends with the defendant but had never met his 26-year-old brother, Tamerlan, who died following a gunfight with police four days after the bombing. Defense lawyers opened the trial at U.S. District Court in Boston with the blunt admission that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had carried out the crimes he is charged with, focusing their hopes on the jury sentencing him to life in prison rather than the death penalty he could face if found guilty.
By Brendan Pierson NEW YORK (Reuters) - A woman who pleaded guilty to raising illegal campaign money for former U.S. Representative Michael Grimm of New York was sentenced on Tuesday to three months in custody. The sentence for Diana Durand, 48, was unexpected because prosecutors had not recommended anything more than probation. U.S. District Judge Sterling Johnson at a hearing in Brooklyn also ordered Durand to pay a $10,000 fine. Durand pleaded guilty in September to violating the Federal Election Campaign Act by directing more than $10,000 in campaign contributions to two candidates for the House of Representatives in 2010 through straw donors whom she reimbursed, avoiding federal caps on donations.
By Ian Simpson WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Britain's Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, arrive in Washington on Tuesday for a four-day U.S. goodwill visit that includes a meeting with President Barack Obama, the British Embassy said. The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall are seeking to boost Britain's partnership with the United States in such areas as climate change and encouraging corporate social responsibility, the embassy said. Charles, the 66-year-old heir to the British throne, and his wife arrive on Tuesday evening. On Wednesday and Thursday, they will tour monuments and historic sites including the Lincoln Memorial and Mount Vernon, home of the first U.S. president, George Washington.
By Sebastien Malo NEW YORK (Reuters) - Shamrocks and rainbow banners waved on Tuesday over the first openly gay group to march in New York City’s main St. Patrick’s Day parade, but gay rights advocates and elected officials called for greater inclusion in the event. Organizers of the city's 254th parade to celebrate Irish heritage shifted their policy this year for the first time to allow Out@NBCUniversal, an organization of gay employees of NBCUniversal, the parade broadcaster, to march in the procession up Fifth Avenue. "I will not be marching, but I look forward to progress in the future," said de Blasio, noting the parade, said by organizers to be the oldest and largest such event in the United States, was still not "open to folks who would like to participate who don't happen to work for NBC." Two dozen protesters, some waving signs reading "Who said St. Patrick was straight?", rallied on the sidelines of the parade led by Roman Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan, this year's grand marshal.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Bolstered by a spate of upbeat economic news, President Barack Obama is claiming the upper hand in the budget fight unfolding in Congress, aiming to exploit recent Republican stumbles to give Democrats an advantage despite their status as a weakened minority. But while Obama retains full use of the bully pulpit, his leverage over matters of government spending may prove limited.
With his political future in question, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday made a list-ditch appeal to hard-liners as the country went to the polls in a tight parliamentary election, saying that high Arab voter turnout was endangering his right wing party's dominance.
A fraternity at Penn State University has been suspended as police investigate allegations that members used a secret Facebook page to post photos of nude women, some of whom appeared to be sleeping or passed out.
ANDERSONVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — If you're looking for pizza along the Andersonville Highway between the Museum of Appalachia and a mountain lake created by the Tennessee Valley Authority, your best bet may be the same place where you buy your bait and fill up your car.