Underworld boss shot outside Bulgarian courthouse
A convicted underworld boss was shot and seriously wounded in broad daylight outside a courthouse in Bulgaria's capital on Tuesday, sending panicked people on a busy downtown street scrambling for cover.
The shooter or shooters opened fire at around 9:30 a.m., probably from an apartment building across the street from the Sofia Courthouse, police said. Minutes after the shooting, a fire broke out at the top floor of the building, suggesting that the assailant or assailants may have set a fire to hide their tracks.
Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands to abdicate for son
Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands has announced she is abdicating in favour of her son, Prince Willem-Alexander.
In a pre-recorded address broadcast on TV, she said she would formally stand down on 30 April.
The queen, who is approaching her 75th birthday, said she had been thinking about this moment for several years and that now was "the moment to lay down my crown".
French and Malian troops retake Timbuktu
Malian soldiers entered the city of Timbuktu on Monday after al Qaeda-linked militants fled into the desert having set ablaze a library that held thousands of ancient manuscripts ablaze.
French Col. Thierry Burkhard, the chief military spokesman in Paris, said that there had been no combat with the Islamists who have ruled Timbuktu for nearly 10 months. Reuters reports the Malian troops supported by the French military were able to retake control of the town without a shot being fired.
Burkhard said French paratroopers landed north of the city as ground forces headed up from the south.
I'm not a New Jersey resident, but this is a fascinating read.
Exit everyman: How the Jersey Democratic bosses destroyed Dick Codey and unleashed Chris Christie
They won’t say it publicly, but there is fear, genuine fear, among New Jersey Democrats that this year’s gubernatorial election will produce a Republican landslide not seen since the Tom Kean era, threatening Democratic control of the legislature and key county offices.
With the election just over nine months away, Governor Chris Christie’s approval rating sits at 74 percent, his post-Sandy bounce so far impervious to political gravity. His willingness to break loudly and publicly with a national Republican Party that remains poisonously unpopular in blue-state Jersey helps explain this, and Christie’s reelection position has also been fortified by the decisions of the state’s two most popular Democrats to sit out the 2013 race.
Ohio judge exonerates former police captain of ex-wife's 1997 murder, orders him released
A former Ohio police captain who has spent nearly 15 years in prison in his ex-wife's killing was exonerated Tuesday by a judge who said that new DNA test results proved his innocence and that no reasonable jury would have found him guilty if that evidence had been available at trial.
Doug Prade should be set free because the new DNA results are "clear and convincing," said Summit County Court of Common Pleas Judge Judy Hunter in Akron.
Hunter could have ordered a new trial for the 66-year-old Prade, or found that the DNA results weren't strong enough and allowed his conviction and sentence of life in prison to stand.
Defining a secure border will be crucial for immigration plan
The fate of 11 million people could hinge on the interpretation of border security.
An immigration-reform blueprint by a bipartisan group of senators includes a path to U.S. citizenship for those who are in the country illegally. But the blueprint, released Monday, specifies that the federal government must first certify that the U.S.-Mexico border is secure.
Immigrant rights groups fear that millions of people will be in limbo until the security threshold appeases those dissatisfied with the border's status.
Skies Full of Life: Microbes May Thrive in the High Atmosphere
Each year, hundreds of millions of metric tons of dust, water, and humanmade pollutants make their way into the atmosphere, often traveling between continents on jet streams. Now a new study confirms that some microbes make the trip with them, seeding the skies with billions of bacteria and other organisms—and potentially affecting the weather. What’s more, some of these high-flying organisms may actually be able to feed while traveling through the clouds, forming an active ecosystem high above the surface of the Earth.
The discovery came about when a team of scientists based at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta hitched a ride on nine NASA airplane flights aimed at studying hurricanes. Previous studies carried out at the tops of mountains hinted that researchers were likely to find microorganisms at high altitudes, but no one had ever attempted to catalog the microscopic life floating above the oceans—let alone during raging tropical storms. After all, it isn’t easy to take air samples while your plane is flying through a hurricane.
Late Lunch May Mean Less Weight Loss
People who like to eat lunch late in the afternoon may have more trouble shedding pounds than those who dine earlier, a new study suggests.
Researchers found that of 420 people in a weight-loss program, the late-lunch crowd lost about 25 percent less weight than those who usually lunched before 3 p.m.
The findings, reported Jan. 29 in the International Journal of Obesity, come with caveats. The researchers cannot be sure that a late lunch itself thwarts people's diets. And the study participants were from Spain, where lunch is the biggest meal of the day.