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By Scott Malone BOSTON (Reuters) - Defense lawyers will begin to present their case Monday that a jury should sentence convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzokhar Tsarnaev to life in prison rather than death, as the trial enters a new and critical stage. Tsarnaev, a 21-year-old ethnic Chechen, was found guilty early this month of killing three people and injuring 264 in one of the highest-profile attacks on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001, as well as fatally shooting a police officer. Defense lawyers have countered that Tsarnaev, 19 at the time of the attack, was adrift and following the lead of his 26-year-old brother, Tamerlan, who died after a gunfight with police four days after the bombing. A Boston Globe survey released Monday found that just 19 percent of Massachusetts residents support the idea of putting Tsarnaev to death, fewer than the 30 percent who support the death penalty for "heinous" crimes.
By Richard Cowan WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A string of deadly confrontations between mostly white police and black men will be among challenges immediately facing Loretta Lynch when she is sworn in on Monday as U.S. attorney general. Lynch, 55, takes over as the country's top law enforcement official after a weekend that saw thousands of people in Baltimore, Maryland, take to the streets in mostly peaceful protests over the latest such case. Building on her career as an accomplished federal prosecutor, Lynch takes over from retiring Attorney General Eric Holder, who served more than six turbulent years at the head of the Justice Department. Besides the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, other questionable encounters between police and black males in recent months have led to unrest in South Carolina, Missouri, Ohio and New York.
By Keith Coffman CENTENNIAL, Colo. (Reuters) - Colorado's long-awaited cinema massacre trial will start on Monday with jurors asked to decide whether gunman James Holmes was insane when he killed a dozen moviegoers in 2012, or a calculating mass murderer who deserves execution. Arapahoe County District Court Judge Carlos Samour has said he expects the trial to take four months.
LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) ? A high school English teacher in Texas who works with students facing poverty and traumas related to their immigration to the United States on Monday was named the 2015 National Teacher of the Year.
By Steve Gorman LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Truckers who haul freight from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will go on strike against four ground-shipment companies on Monday, a Teamsters union official said, in a move that could revive labor tension at the nation's busiest cargo hub. Delegations of drivers planned to notify the companies of their intent to strike at 6 a.m. Pacific time, with picket lines going up immediately at the companies' truck yards, Teamsters spokeswoman Barb Maynard told Reuters. Roughly 500 truckers in all work for the four companies - Pacific 9 Transportation, Intermodal Bridge Transport, Pacer Cartage, and a Pacer subsidiary, Harbor Rail Transport - with many of those drivers expected to take part in the strike, Maynard said. The outcome of the dispute has implications for hundreds of companies and thousands of truckers in Southern California serving the twin ports, which handle 43 percent of containerized goods entering the United States.
By P.J. Huffstutter and Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - Hundreds of farm workers exposed to a highly pathogenic strain of bird flu have been offered antiviral medication as a preventative measure in recent days, U.S. public health officials said. To date, the virulent H5N2 influenza, which has infected turkeys and chickens on Midwestern poultry farms, has not affected humans. Dr. Alicia Fry, a medical officer in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention?s influenza division, said that while health officials are cautiously optimistic that humans will not be affected, her agency has isolated a pure strain of the H5N2 virus for potential use in a human vaccine, should one be needed. Concerns about human health risk have prompted investigators to ramp up biosecurity measures on infected farms, with some government staff overseeing the culling of birds wearing full protective body suits and ventilators.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) ? Two former small town police officers in South Carolina should spend at least a year in prison for shocking a mentally disabled woman at least eight times with a Taser without giving her time to follow their orders, federal prosecutors say.