Huge Blast at Texas Fertilizer Plant Over 100 Injured

A huge explosion tore through a fertilizer plant near West, a town in central Texas on Wednesday night, causing over 100 injuries and an unknown number of deaths, laying waste to swathes of buildings and potentially sending toxic fumes into the air, authorities said.

The explosion, in the quiet town of fewer than 3,000, ripped through the night at around 8 p.m. local time, said Representative Bill Flores, a Republican who represents the district.

It began with a smaller fire at the plant, West Fertilizer, just off Interstate 35, about 20 miles north of Waco, Mr. Flores said, which was attended by local volunteer firefighters. “The fire spread and hit some of these tanks that contain chemicals to treat the fertilizer,” Mr. Flores said, “and there was an explosion which caused wide damage.”

Videos posted online showed a large fire, visible from hundreds of yards away, followed by a fireball that blasted high into the sky and, according to television footage, set fires burning into the night.

“Right now we have a tremendous amount of injuries, probably over 100 injuries at this time,” D.L. Wilson told reporters at a press conference early Thursday morning. “We do have confirmed fatalities,” he said, but declined to say how many because a search of the area was being conducted. He described the explosion as “massive, just like Iraq,” and compared the damage to the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995 – an act of terrorism using explosives made from fertilizer.

As many as 75 houses were damaged and buildings were reduced to skeletons, he said. A nursing home, with 133 residents was among those hit. The fate of those within it was, like so much on the scene, not immediately clear.

“We’re a little bit in the fog of war right now,” Mr. Flores said.

Mr. Wilson, and other local officials, told reporters that half of the town had been evacuated because of fears of toxic fumes being spread by heavy winds. First responders continued to search “house-by-house,” he said.

An enormous triage area had been set up, and television footage showed dozens, perhaps more than 100, emergency vehicles attending to huddled casualties under blankets and on stretchers.

At the edge of a large-scale triage area near a baseball field shortly before midnight, dozens of emergency and law enforcement personnel – state troopers, firefighters, constables, sheriff’s deputies – awaited for the injured to be brought in. Here in the dark of night miles from the plant, no one was certain what had happened, or how many were injured.

A nurse at the McLennan County jail stood by his car, dressed in scrubs, stethoscope around his neck. “Right now they’re in the process of doing search and rescue,” said the correctional nurse, Glen Stephens. “I saw something on the news, and got a couple of phone calls. The director of nursing at our facility sent out a text to all the nurses, and there’s quite a few of us here.”

A few steps away, a man in a pick-up truck pulled up to a state trooper directing traffic. “Volunteers?” he asked the state trooper, and he was directed down the road.

The Red Cross in the Dallas and Fort Worth region said in a statement posted online that it had crews on the way to help. Red Cross workers were looking for a safe place to shelter residents who had been displaced from their homes.

“We are monitoring developments and gathering information as details continue to emerge about this incident,” Gov. Rick Perry said in a statement late Wednesday. “We have also mobilized state resources to help local authorities. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of West and the first responders on the scene.”

The West Independent School District said on Twitter that residents were being told to evacuate the area.

Deadly explosion, fire rips through Texas fertilizer plant

A deadly explosion ripped through a Texas fertilizer plant near Waco late on Wednesday, injuring more than 100 people, leveling dozens of homes and damaging other buildings including a school and nursing home, authorities said.

They said an undetermined number of people had been killed, and that the death toll was expected to rise as search teams combed through the rubble of the demolished plant and surrounding homes.

"We do have confirmed fatalities," Texas Public Safety Department spokesman D.L. Wilson told a news conference about four hours after the explosion. "The number is not current yet. It could go up by the minute. We're in there searching the area right now and making sure that it's safe."

The blast, apparently preceded by a fire at the plant, was reported at about 8 p.m. CDT (0100 GMT on Thursday) in West, a town of some 2,700 people about 80 miles south of Dallas and 20 miles north of Waco.

West Mayor Tommy Muska told Reuters that five or six volunteer firefighters who were among the first on the scene in the blast zone were unaccounted for.

CNN reported that at least three people had been killed, but that figure could not be independently confirmed.

"It's a lot of devastation. I've never seen anything like this," McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara said. "It looks like a war zone with all the debris."

Wilson said 50 to 75 homes were damaged by the explosion and a fire that followed, and that a nearby 50-unit apartment complex had been reduced to "a skeleton standing up". Muska put the number of destroyed homes at between 60 and 80.

Wilson said 133 people had been evacuated from the badly damaged nursing home, but it was not immediately clear how many of them were hurt.

He estimated that overall more than 100 people had been injured in the disaster.

McNamara said much of the center of town had been evacuated, and that residences nearest the explosion had been flattened.

There was no immediate official word on what sparked the explosion as emergency personnel assisted victims and doused the flames. U.S. Representative Bill Flores, whose district includes West, said he doubted any foul play was involved.

"I would not expect sabotage by any stretch of the imagination," he told CNN.

A Texas public safety dispatcher in Waco told Reuters an initial explosion was followed by two smaller blasts, all of which erupted after a fire at the plant.

He said there was concern a "second silo" at the plant could explode and that authorities were scrambling to evacuate the area around the facility.


The air in town remained thick with smoke more than two hours after the explosion, and the area around the blast site was littered with shards of wood, bricks and glass.

A Reuters reporter observed that a nearby middle school and several homes were severely burned. Dallas television station WFAA reported from helicopters that roughly a three-block area of West appeared to have been destroyed.

Jason Shelton, 33, a father-of-two who lives less than a mile from the plant, said he heard fire trucks heading toward the facility five minutes before the explosion.

He said he felt the concussion from the blast as he stood on his front porch.

"My windows started rattling and my kids screaming," Shelton told Reuters. The screen door hit me in the forehead ... and all the screens blew off my windows."

Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center in Waco reported treating 66 patients, including children, for injuries including lacerations, burns and broken bones.

"We are seeing a lot of lacerations and orthopedic-type injuries ... things you would expect in an explosion," said David Argueta, vice president of hospital operations.

"We are being told that we have seen most of the patients, and it's now turned into a search-and-rescue operation on scene," he added.

He said nine people suffering burns had been transferred to the Parkland Hospital in Dallas. A third hospital, Providence Health Center, reported receiving more than 30 patients from the disaster.

Governor Rick Perry issued a statement saying his office had "mobilized state resources to help local authorities" deal with the incident.

A White House official said the Obama administration was aware of the situation and monitoring local and state response through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The explosion came two days before the 20th anniversary of a fire in Waco that engulfed a compound inhabited by David Koresh and his followers in the Branch Davidian sect, ending a siege by federal agents.

Some 82 members of the sect and four federal agents died at Waco.

Family awarded $90M

Family awarded $90m after 13-year-old killed while crossing the street to get on school bus
Family awarded $90M, a family from Maryland was awarded $90 million after their 13-year-old was killed while walking across the street to catch her school bus in 2009. According to the Daily Mail, Ashley Davis was hit by a luxury car. The same Lincoln Continental also hit a 17-year-old as well as another vehicle.

A Washington, D.C.-area jury located in wealthy Prince George's County, Maryland, made this determination after hearing the facts of this sad case in which lawyer John Costello asserted that the school was negligent. Costello is the family lawyer to Nycole Davis, the mother of Ashley. She explained what happened when her daughter died.

"[Ashley] was... doing the right thing. She was going to school. She was a good girl. She didn't deserve this," said Nycole.

Costello talked about the school policy regarding what he considered "safe transportation." He said that "the policy was... to pick up Ashley on her own side of the street. They never did. They forced her to cross the street. She got killed crossing the street."

Nycole Davis also spoke on this topic, saying that if Ashley was not forced to go across the street to get on the bus she would "be graduating...She'd be going to prom this year."

And so, after deliberating about this serious situation that had one unsuspecting student die in the process, a six-member jury awarded the family a verdict of a whopping $90 million. This amount is to cover "damages...medical expenses and funeral costs."

According to reports, the school involved is expected to appeal this jury decision that puts the payout among the largest in the nation. The family awarded the $90 million will likely not get that amount when all is said and done according to the attorney who represented the case for the Davis family.

Katherine Webb quits

Katherine Webb quits, katherine webb is consoled by "Splash" co-star Louie Anderson (right) (Getty Images)

Sad news from the world of college football: Katherine Webb had to withdraw from the ABC reality diving show "Splash."

We'll give you a moment to compose yourselves.

Webb, the beauty pageant queen and Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron's girlfriend, had been on the show with various celebrities, but she said during Tuesday's episode that a practice dive had left her with a back injury and she had to quit the show.

And she was doing so well.

"I've had the worst time training this week because even the most simplest dives shot pain all the way from the middle of my back down my leg," she said on the show. "I went to the doctor and unfortunately he told me I'm out for the competition"

Webb was replaced by Louie Anderson, which might be the worst trade ever. No, it's definitely the worst trade ever. It makes Ernie Broglio for Lou Brock look fair.

In the previous episode, Webb was shown getting frustrated and crying as she struggled with her practice dives. She said she landed hard during one practice dive and that's what had caused the back injury.

Now Webb is free to move forward with whatever project she has lined up next. She usually has something in mind.

Webb took time to thank her almost 267,000 Twitter followers for supporting her in her diving against folks like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and the actress who was on "Charles in Charge" back in the day.

"Thank you guys for all the support! Means so much. Love you guys," she said.

Tuesday nights won't be the same without her.

Adam Scott girlfriend

Adam Scott girlfriend, an adam scott girlfriend announcement has broken the hearts of women all over the world. According to E Online on April 17, Scott finally admitted to the world that he has a girlfriend.

Adam Scott is on a high right now, enjoying his time as the first Australian to win the Masters. He is so popular right now that the producers of "The Bachelor" said they definitely intended to pursue him for a future season of their dating show. However, those plans will definitely never come to fruition now.
View slideshow: Adam Scott

The Adam Scott girlfriend announcement came on "CBS This Morning" where he laughed about the attention to his looks and said he is in a very happy relationship right now with a woman named Marie.

Scott, 32, won the 77th Masters at the Augusta National Golf Club by winning a playoff with Angel Cabrera. Scott sunk a 12-foot putt while Cabrera missed his, and Scott took home the green jacket. It was also a bittersweet moment for his caddy, Steve Williams. Of course, Williams used to work for Tiger Woods until the two had an unpleasant breakup. Now, he is back with a champion once again.

However, for those hoping to see him on "The Bachelor," the Adam Scott girlfriend announcement ends those dreams.

unknown number dead, over 100 injured in Texas fertilizer plant blast

A massive explosion at a fertilizer plant near Waco on Wednesday night injured dozens of people and killed an unknown number of others. The blast sent flames shooting into the night sky, leaving the factory a smoldering ruin and leveling buildings for blocks in every direction.

The explosion at West Fertilizer in West, a community about 20 miles north of Waco, happened shortly before 8 p.m. and could be heard as far away as Waxahachie, 45 miles to the north.

A person looks on as emergency workers fight a house fire after a near by fertilizer plant exploded Wednesday, April 17, 2013, in West, Texas. / AP Photo/ Waco Tribune Herald, Rod Aydelotte

Although authorities said it will be some time before they know the full extent of the loss of life, Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman D.L. Wilson said just after midnight that an unknown number of people had died.

Earlier, Dr. George Smith, the head of West, Texas EMS had confirmed that there were at least 60 dead and over 100 injured.

West Mayor Tommy Muska told reporters that his city of about 2,800 residents needs "your prayers."
CBS Dallas Live Stream

"We've got a lot of people who are hurt, and there's a lot of people, I'm sure, who aren't gonna be here tomorrow," Muska said. "We're gonna search for everybody. We're gonna make sure everybody's accounted for. That's the most important thing right now."

A member of the city council, Al Vanek, said there is a four-block area around the explosion "that is totally decimated." Wilson said the damage was comparable to the destruction caused by the 1995 bomb blast that destroyed the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.

Muska, who is also a volunteer firefighter, said the town's department went to the plant to fight a fire about 6:30 p.m., and the blast that followed knocked off his fire helmet and blew out the doors and windows of his home nearby.

He said main fire was under control as of 11 p.m., but residents were urged to remain indoors because of the threat of new explosions or leaks of ammonia from the plant's ruins.

Earlier, Department of Public Safety troopers were using their squad cars to transport those injured by the blast and fire at the plant in West, a community north of Waco, Gayle Scarbrough, a spokeswoman for the department's Waco office, told CBS affiliate KWTX Waco. She said six helicopters were also en route to help out.

Among the damaged buildings was what appeared to be a housing complex with a collapsed roof, a nearby middle school and the West Rest Haven Nursing Home, from which first-responders evacuated 133 patients, some in wheelchairs.

"We did get there and got that taken care of," Muska said.

An elderly person is assisted at a staging area at a local school stadium following an explosion at a fertilizer plant Wednesday, April 17, 2013, in West, Texas. An explosion at a fertilizer plant near Waco caused numerous injuries and sent flames shooting high into the night sky on Wednesday. / AP Photo/ Waco Tribune Herald, Rod Aydelotte

Erick Perez, 21, of West, was playing basketball at a nearby school when the fire started. He and his friends thought nothing of it at first, but about a half hour later, the smoke changed color. The blast threw him, his nephew and others to the ground, and showered the area with hot embers, shrapnel and debris.

"The explosion was like nothing I've ever seen before," Perez said. "This town is hurt really bad."

Information was hard to come by in the hours after the blast, and entry into the town of about 2,800 people was slow-going as the roads were jammed with emergency vehicles rushing in to help. Texas Gov. Rick Perry said state officials were waiting for details about the extent of the damage.

"We are monitoring developments and gathering information as details continue to emerge about this incident," Perry said in a statement. "We have also mobilized state resources to help local authorities. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of West, and the first responders on the scene."

Dozens of emergency vehicles amassed at the scene and hours after the blast, fires were still smoldering in the ruins of the plant and in several surrounding buildings. Aerial footage showed injured people being treated on the flood-lit football field that had been turned into a staging area for emergency responders.

Al Vanek, a West City Council member, said first-responders were treating victims at about half a dozen sites, and he saw several injured residents from the nursing home being treated at the community center.

"Tomorrow is going to be a very sad day," Vanek said.

Glenn A. Robinson, the chief executive of Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center in Waco, said in an interview on CNN that his hospital had received 66 injured people for treatment, including 38 who were seriously hurt. He said the injuries included blast injuries, orthopedic injuries, large wounds and a lot of lacerations and cuts. The hospital has set up a hotline for families of the victims to get information, he said.

Robinson did not immediately return messages from The Associated Press.

Messages to Scott Clark, spokesman for Scott and White Hospital in Temple and Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center in Waco, were not returned Wednesday. A spokesman at Providence Health Center was not available for comment, a hospital operator said.

Debby Marak told the AP that when she finished teaching her religion class Wednesday night, she noticed a lot of smoke in the area across town near the plant. She said she drove over to see what was happening, and that when she got there, two boys came running toward her screaming that the authorities ordered everyone out because the plant was going to explode.

She said she had driven only about a block when the blast happened.

"It was like being in a tornado," Marak, 58, said by phone. "Stuff was flying everywhere. It blew out my windshield."

"It was like the whole earth shook."

She called her husband and asked him to come get her. When they got to their home about 2 miles south of town, her husband told her what he'd seen: a huge fireball that rose like "a mushroom cloud."

Lucy Nashed, a spokesman for Perry's office, said personnel from several agencies were en route to West or already there, including the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality, the state's emergency management department and an incident management team. Also responding is the state's top urban search and rescue team, the state health department and mobile medical units.

American Red Cross crews from across Texas were also heading to the scene. Red Cross spokeswoman Anita Foster said the group was working with emergency management officials in West to find a safe shelter for residents displaced from their homes. She said teams from Austin to Dallas and elsewhere are being sent to the community north of Waco.

The explosion knocked out power to many area customers and could be heard and felt for miles around. Lydia Zimmerman told KWTX-TV that she, her husband and daughter were in their garden in Bynum, 13 miles from West, when they heard multiple blasts.

"It sounded like three bombs going off very close to us," she said.

Tonya Harris of Groesbeck said she heard the explosion. "My husband and l were cleaning up the kitchen after supper," she said in an email, "and heard what we thought was someone running into our house. It shook our windows and doors. We immediately ran outside looking for the worst."

In 2001, an explosion at a chemical plant killed 31 people and injured more than 2,000 in Toulouse, France. The blast occurred in a hangar containing 300 tons of ammonium nitrate, which can be used for both fertilizer and explosives. The explosion came 10 days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the U.S., and raised fears at the time it was linked. A 2006 report blamed the blast on negligence.

Fertilizer-Plant Blast Injures Dozens in Texas

An explosion at a fertilizer plant near Waco, Texas, late Wednesday injured dozens of people, leaving the factory a smoldering ruin and causing major damage to nearby buildings, including a nursing home, authorities said.

There was no immediate word from officials about fatalities or the severity of the explosion at the West Fertilizer plant, as Texas Gov. Rick Perry said state officials were also waiting for details about the extent of the damage.

Glenn A. Robinson, chief executive of Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center in Waco, told CNN that his hospital had received 66 injured people, including 38 who were seriously hurt. He said the injuries included blast injuries, orthopedic injuries, large wounds and a lot of lacerations and cuts. The hospital has set up a hotline for families of the victims to get information, he said.

The blast was reported at about 8 p.m. local time (9 p.m. Eastern) in West, a town of about 2,700 people about 80 miles south of Dallas and 20 miles north of Waco.

A spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, D.L. Wilson, said the blast had resulted in "probably hundreds of casualties," adding he didn't know if any of those were fatalities. He said that a nearby nursing home collapsed from the explosion and that people were believed to be trapped inside.

American Red Cross crews from across Texas were being sent to the site, the group said.

Aerial footage showed fires still smoldering in the ruins of the plant and in several surrounding buildings, and people being treated for injuries on the flood-lit local football field, which had been turned into a staging area for emergency responders. 

A column of smoke rises after an explosion at a fertilizer plant north of Waco, Texas.

The explosion knocked out power to many local customers and could be heard and felt for miles around.

Lydia Zimmerman told television station KWTX that she, her husband and daughter were in their garden in Bynum, 13 miles from West, when they heard multiple blasts. "It sounded like three bombs going off very close to us," she said.

Brad Smith, who lives 45 miles north of West in Waxahachie, told KWTX that he and his wife heard what sounded like a thunderclap.

Gayle Scarbrough, a spokeswoman for the Department of Public Safety in Waco, told television station KWTX that DPS troopers have been transporting the injured to hospitals in their patrol cars. She said six helicopters were also en route.

KWTX reported the explosion at the West Fertilizer plant was reported at around 7:50 p.m. in a call from the scene.

Hawking Big Bang

Hawking Big Bang, physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking says the Big Bang that set the world in motion did not need any help from God. And the famed British scientist is happy he doesn’t have to explain his theories to a church-run board of inquiry, reports Yahoo News on Wednesday, April 17. “I was glad not to be thrown into an inquisition,” Hawking, 71, joked.

The occasion was the British physicist’s annual month sabbatical at California Institute of Technology, and an open-to-the-public lecture titled: “The Origin of the Universe.” People lined up for the free tickets 12 hours in advance, and at least one patron turned down $1,000 for his space. To see and hear Stephen Hawking speak on the Big Bang – or any other topic – is something special.

Time is a singularity, Hawking says. The Big Bang happened only once, and physical forces drove it forward. Since that time, more than 13 billion years ago, the universe has moved forward under its own steam, and all the puzzle pieces fit. “What was God doing before the divine creation? Was he preparing hell for people who asked such questions?” Good question.

Stephen Hawking has suffered from Lou Gehrig’s disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, for 50 years, which is most of his life. He has been in a special wheelchair, almost all of that time, unable to control any of his limbs. His amazing brain, however, is in full working order.

He closed by referring to his own “M-theory,” which is constructed at least partially from ideas suggested years ago by Caltech’s own Richard Feynman – a physicist whose stature was as great as Hawking’s.

M-theory says multiple universes are created out of nothing, with many possible histories and many possible states of existence, Hawking explained. In only a few of these states would life be possible, and in fewer still could something like humanity exist.

It’s a kind of thinking that makes most people very uncomfortable. But the crowd who came to hear him speak were with him all the way.

The blast took place at the West Fertilizer Plant, about 18 miles north of Waco

A massive explosion at a fertilizer plant in the small Texas town of West left at least two people dead, leveled several homes and prompted a widescale evacuation in the community of 2,600 people.

"It was a like a nuclear bomb went off," Mayor Tommy Muska said. "Big old mushroom cloud. There are a lot of people that got hurt. There are a lot of people that will not be here tomorrow."

Fire officials fear that the number of casualties could rise as high as 60 to 70 dead, said Dr. George Smith, the emergency management system director of the city.

"That's a really rough number, I'm getting that figure from firefighters, we don't know yet," he said.

"We have two EMS personnel that are dead for sure, and there may be three firefighters that are dead."

Fireball in the sky

The blast took place at the West Fertilizer Plant, about 18 miles north of Waco, about 8:50 p.m. ET.

It sent a massive fireball into the sky. Flames leaped over the roof of a structure and a plume of smoke rose high into the air.

"There are lots of houses that are leveled within a two-block radius," Smith said. "A lot of other homes are damaged as well outside that radius."

He estimated that between 10 to 15 buildings were demolished and about 50 damaged.

And the danger may not be over.

Risk remains

Residents are being evacuated because officials are worried that another tank at the facility might explode.

"What we are hearing is that there is one fertilizer tank that is still intact at the plant, and there are evacuations in place to make sure everyone gets away from the area safely in case of another explosion," said Ben Stratmann, a spokesman for Texas State Sen. Brian Birdwell.

Firefighters at the scene said they were concerned about anhydrous ammonia, a pungent gas with suffocating fumes that is used as a fertilizer.

When exposed to humans, it can cause severe burns if it combines with water in the body.

And exposure to high concentrations can lead to death.

State troopers in gas masks set up roadblocks, waving away cars coming off the highway.

The Federal Aviation Administration instituted a flight restriction over the town. Schools will be closed for the rest of the week, and officials urged everyone to stay away from school property.

Shortly after the explosion, more than 60 patients streamed into Hillcrest Hospital in Waco, suffering from "blast injuries, orthopedic injuries (and) a lot of lacerations," said hospital CEO Glenn Robinson.

While some of the injuries are minor, others are "quite serious," he said.

The West Fertilizer Plant is just north of Waco. A nursing home with 133 residents was near the plant.

Smith, the EMS director, said he didn't know whether there were casualties reported in the nursing home.

'It was intense'

Tommy Alford, who works in a convenience store about three miles from the plant, told CNN that several volunteer firefighters were at the store when they spotted smoke.

Alford said the firefighters headed toward the scene and then between five and 10 minutes later, he heard a massive explosion.

"It was massive; it was intense," Alford said.

Cheryl Marak, who sits on West's city council, said the impact of the blast knocked her to the ground.

"It demolished both the houses there, mine and my mom's and it killed my dog," she said.

Other residents had similar stories.

"It was like a bomb went off," said Barry Murry, who lives about a mile away from the plant. "There were emergency vehicles everywhere. It has been overwhelming."

Like many, they sought comfort in Mayor Muska's words.

"This is not the end of the world," he said. "This is a big ol' cut that we got across our hearts right now."

"But," he added, "we are strong. We will rebuild."

Sharon Osbourne 911 tape

Sharon Osbourne 911 tape, sharon osbourne called 911 a while back about a candle that had started a fire at her home. On April 17, TMZ reported that this tape could just be a clue that Ozzy and she were having problems.

If you listen to this tape, you can hear Ozzy at the very start of it. He is hard to understand, but doesn't sound happy. Sharon then talks to 911 sounding very upset saying that they had a fire in her room and it was from a candle. She goes on to say that her husband put it out but she still wants firemen to come to her home.

Sharon just wants to be sure that things are fine. She tells them her name and address so that the fire department can come out to help them. She said the table it was sitting on is what caught fire. Sharon did say she was responsible, but when you listen to the tape knowing what is going on now it really doesn't sound that way.

Ozzy has admitted that he was doing drugs and drinking again, but says he is now sober. He has hopes that he can work things out with Sharon.

Boston suspect ID'd? Arrest not made in Marathon explosions

Footage of bombings at Boston Marathon 2013
Boston suspect ID'd? Questions are cropping up such as: Has a Boston suspect been ID'd? While no arrests have been made in the Boston Marathon bombings and explosions, media sources report progress has been made. Reportedly, a surveillance camera at the Boston bombings shows a person putting down a black bag near the finish line, citing a live CNBC broadcast on April 17.

Reports begin circulating around 2 p.m. EDT that suggested a suspect responsible for the two blasts at the Boston Marathon would be taken into custody in short order.

Moments later, other major news outlets began reporting a person was in custody and would be arraigned in a courthouse.

However, the Boston Police Department and FBI report inaccuracies in reports, stating that no Boston Marathon suspect in the explosions was under arrest or near being taken into custody.

Nonetheless, a critical piece of evidence could possibly break the case and identify a person or group responsible for the terror attacks.

Sources confirmed a Lord & Taylor camera has footage that shows a man placing a dark backpack or bag down near the site of the explosions. However, it's important to note that many people were in place along the route and this could be a benign act with no link to the carnage.

However, investigators are chasing down all leads that can help them track down a perpetrator.

Again, regarding the question: Has a Boston suspect been ID'd? At this time, the response is no, but could change soon as more news continues to break.

Aniston cupping marks: Actress shows off back marks on red carpet

Aniston cupping marks, actress Jennifer Aniston is 44-years-old and looking great, and she isn't afraid to show off her good looks whenever out in public, but she recently had something new to show. EOnline revealed some images of Aniston on Wednesday, April 17, 2013, that show cupping marks covering almost all of her back.

Aniston was on the red carpet for the premiere of "Call Me Crazy" on Lifetime, and smiling away as the cameras flashed at her. The pictures that were taken though, showed lots of marks on her back and reveal that she is now into cupping.

Cupping is an ancient Chinese form of alternative medicine that uses glass bulbs filled with heat and placed on the skin of a person. The act of cupping is said to remove toxins from a person's skin and also ease the soreness and tension of muscles.

Obviously, cupping also leaves big-time marks. Jennifer Aniston's cupping marks prove just that.

A number of celebrities have gone into cupping before, and now Jennifer Aniston is all for it as well. Many thought that the marks on her back were quite ghastly and a little frightening at first, but she didn't seem to mind.

Others couldn't help but notice the huge rock on her finger too.

Boston suspect ID'd: Police say suspect arrested, press conference set

Boston suspect ID'd? After almost two full days since the Boston Marathon bombings, an arrest has been made on a suspect that investigators identified as a suspect earlier on Wednesday, April 17, 2013. CNN made the revelation on Wednesday afternoon that a suspect had been identified but then an announcement of the arrest came shortly after and a press conference is set for 5:00 p.m. EST.

UPDATE #3 at 2:45 p.m.: "Significant progress has been made, but anyone saying an arrest has been made is ahead of themselves." - Word from the U.S. Attorney General is that a suspect "has" been identified, but no arrest has been made.

UPDATE #2: A press conference is still scheduled for 5:00 p.m. EST, but media reports and the FBI says that there is no suspect identified and no arrest.

UPDATE: Conflicting reports about an arrest are coming out now as of 2:30 p.m. EST - CNN and NBC say that there has been no arrest and they don't even have an identification of a suspect. The Associated Press says that there is an ID and an arrest.

Word is that a breakthrough in the investigation came from the video of a Lord & Taylor department store near the site of the second explosion. The arrest finally came based on two different videos showing images of the suspect.

“The camera from Lord & Taylor is the best source of video so far,” said Dot Joyce, a spokeswoman for Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino told the Boston Globe. “All I know is that they are making progress.”

The videos are said to have showed a young man carrying and then dropping a black bag at the scene of the second bomb explosion at Monday's Boston Marathon. The young man is also said to be a "brown-skinned individual" by multiple reports.

More information has come out about the devices / pressure cooker bombs that were used in the tragic bombings. A circuit board suspected of being used to detonate one of the bombs has been recovered along with the top of a pressure cooker.

Boston suspect ID'd

Boston suspect ID'd, After almost two full days since the Boston Marathon bombings, an arrest has been made on a suspect that investigators identified as a suspect earlier on Wednesday, April 17, 2013. CNN made the revelation on Wednesday afternoon that a suspect had been identified but then an announcement of the arrest came shortly after and a press conference is set for 5:00 p.m. EST.

UPDATE #3 at 2:45 p.m.: "Significant progress has been made, but anyone saying an arrest has been made is ahead of themselves." - Word from the U.S. Attorney General is that a suspect "has" been identified, but no arrest has been made.

UPDATE #2: A press conference is still scheduled for 5:00 p.m. EST, but media reports and the FBI says that there is no suspect identified and no arrest.

UPDATE: Conflicting reports about an arrest are coming out now as of 2:30 p.m. EST - CNN and NBC say that there has been no arrest and they don't even have an identification of a suspect. The Associated Press says that there is an ID and an arrest.

Word is that a breakthrough in the investigation came from the video of a Lord & Taylor department store near the site of the second explosion. The arrest finally came based on two different videos showing images of the suspect.

“The camera from Lord & Taylor is the best source of video so far,” said Dot Joyce, a spokeswoman for Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino told the Boston Globe. “All I know is that they are making progress.”

The videos are said to have showed a young man carrying and then dropping a black bag at the scene of the second bomb explosion at Monday's Boston Marathon. The young man is also said to be a "brown-skinned individual" by multiple reports.

More information has come out about the devices / pressure cooker bombs that were used in the tragic bombings. A circuit board suspected of being used to detonate one of the bombs has been recovered along with the top of a pressure cooker.

Aniston cupping marks

Jennifer Aniston Reveals Cupping Marks, Says No Wedding Dress Picked Yet
Aniston cupping marks, well that's a rare kind of red carpet beauty blunder! Jennifer Aniston hit her first Hollywood event in a while for Wednesday's Hollywood premiere of Call Me Crazy, the Lifetime "Five Film" series which she helped produce. The 44-year-old star looked sexy as ever in a short, black, strapless pantsuit that emphasized her world-famous stems and a hint of cleavage. With her hair swept back in a glam, low ponytail, Justin Theroux's fiancee beamed as she chatted up the short films starring Brittany Snow, Jennifer Hudson, Bryce Dallas Howard and others.

One glitch with the Wanderlust star's look? Her yoga-toned back sported numerous round cupping marks which foundation failed to conceal. The blonde beauty is among the many A-listers who've tried "cupping" -- a healthful Asian method of stimulating circulation by attaching glass cups to the skin via heat or suction, leaving temporary marks like the one seen on Aniston's back.

Aniston might want to lay off cupping around the time of her wedding -- which, apparently, is still a ways off. Engaged to Theroux since last summer, the starlet told E! News she hasn't even picked out her wedding dress to say "I do" to Theroux, 41. "No, no, no," she told the site.

She spoke with reporters about taking on the role behind the camera to producer Call Me Crazy. "I'm a good boss! I'm hard working! I get it done," she said, adding that the film's serious subject matter -- mental illness -- made the project a bit more meaningful than other projects. "These are the things that fulfill you, these are the things that you wake up and are excited about - not that you don't feel that way about other things, but this feels like I'm making a contribution in a greater way," she mused. "Tt's a different feeling and I feel lucky that I can do this."

This article originally appeared on Jennifer Aniston Reveals Cupping Marks, Says No Wedding Dress Picked Yet

Boston suspect ID'd?

Boston suspect ID'd? Investigators have identified a possible suspect in connection with the Boston Marathon bombings, CBS News Senior Correspondent John Miller reports.

Authorities have been collecting photos and videos from surveillance cameras and other digital media since the twin bombings Monday that killed three people and wounded more than 170 others

"There is one individual in particular that they are most interested in and what they believe is it is possible that have collected an image of the bomber around the time the device was placed," Miller said.

Boston Mayor Tom Menino reportedly told CBS Boston that investigators are "very close" to identifying a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings.

The Boston Globe reports that authorities have an image of a suspect carrying and possibly dropping a black bag at the second blast site on Boylston Street.

"We live in a world where when we're out in public there is no reasonable expectation of privacy," CBS News Correspondent John Miller said. "I think somebody who does something like this understands that that comes with the territory"

According to the paper, a surveillance video at Lord & Taylor, located across the street from the site of the explosion, has provided authorities with clear video of the area. It is unclear if the suspect's image was captured on that camera.

"The camera from Lord & Taylor is the best source of video so far," said Dot Joyce, a spokeswoman for Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, according to the paper. "All I know is that they are making progress."

The blasts killed 8-year-old Martin Richard, of Boston, and 29-year-old Krystle Campbell, of Medford. The Shenyang Evening News, a state-run Chinese newspaper, identified the third victim as Lu Lingzi. She was a graduate student at Boston University.

No one has claimed responsibility for the Boston attack.

Authorities planned to brief the media on the progress of the investigation at 5 p.m. today.

Rachael Ray show sued: by Overweight Teen for "humiliation"

Rachael Ray show sued, the racael ray show is being sued by an overweight teen for "humiliation" on her show. Credit: Mike Coppola/Getty Images

One high schooler's hopes for a fairytale prom has a supposedly nightmarish ending instead. Christina Pagliarolo, who was a guest on the Rachael Ray Show back in April 2011, has filed papers to sue the show, the network, and the personal trainer assigned to her to help shed major pounds in time for her senior prom.

Pagliarolo, who was 18 years old and weighed 260 lbs. at the time of the filming, initially approached the show with the goal of losing 70 pounds by her senior prom. She spoke on the show about how she had endured bullying because of her weight, and hoped that Ray could help turn her life around.

Two years later, however, the teen is alleging in a lawsuit filed Tuesday, April 16, that Ray and her colleagues were "grossly negligent, careless, reckless, wanton, and outrageous" in their conduct.

Among other accusations, she claims that the trainer yelled and screamed at her during their sessions "in a manner that caused Plaintiff to feel anxious, demeaned and threatened."

Pagliarolo highlights one incident in particular, in which her trainer, Eric Viskovicz, reportedly made her work out on a Stairmaster and "continually increased the speed" even though she begged him to stop. When she eventually fell off the machine, she was again "yelled and screamed" at.

The suit also details one instance in which Pagliarolo was "coerced" into taking a hike, and her "extraordinarily weak and painful" legs gave way, causing her to "fall in a manner causing serious injury to her legs."

Pagliarolo is seeking an unspecified amount in "punitive damages in an amount appropriate to punish and make an example of Defendants and each of them." She is including The Rachael Ray Show, CBS, and Viskovicz in her lawsuit.

"We haven't received this purported lawsuit but if it does materialize we will defend ourselves against it vigorously and fully expect to prevail," a rep for the show told the Huffington Post.

Secret Service: Ricin-Laced Letter to Obama Has Been Found

A letter addressed to President Obama that field-tested positive for the poison ricin was received at the remote White House mail screening facility Tuesday, according to law enforcement officials.

The facility routinely identifies letters or parcels that require secondary screening or scientific testing before delivery.

The separate Senate mail-handling facility also Tuesday received a suspicious letter potentially laced with ricin addressed to Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi, postmarked from Memphis.

Testing on the first letter, addressed to Republican Wicker, is incomplete but expected to be finished this afternoon.

The Secret Service's White House mail-screening facility is a remote facility, not located near the White House complex, through which all White House mail goes.

The Secret Service is working closely with the U.S. Capitol Police and the FBI in this investigation.

"The investigation into these letters remains ongoing, and more letters may still be received," the FBI said in a statement this morning. "There is no indication of a connection to the attack in Boston."

The Bureau added: "It is important to note that operations at the White House have not been affected as a result of the investigation.

"Additionally, filters at a second government mail screening facility preliminarily tested positive for ricin this morning. Mail from that facility is being tested."

FBI sources say anytime suspicious powder is located in a mail facility, field tests are conducted. The field and other preliminary tests in this instance produced inconsistent results. The material has been sent to an accredited laboratory for further analysis.

Only a full analysis performed at an accredited laboratory can determine the presence of a biological agent such as ricin. Those tests are in the process of being conducted and generally take from 24 to 48 hours.

Field tests are often unreliable, and a false positive for ricin occurs at least once each year, a homeland security official told ABC News.

The Centers for Disease Control defines ricin as a poison that comes from castor beans and can be found in a powder, a mist, a pellet or dissolved in water.

"In the 1940s, the U.S. military experimented with using ricin as a possible warfare agent," the CDC writes. "In some reports ricin has possibly been used as a warfare agent in the 1980s in Iraq and more recently by terrorist organizations."

Meanwhile, Senate offices were on partial lockdown today after the discovery of suspicious packages. The police investigation centered on the offices of Sens. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., in the Russell Senate Building, and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va, in the Hart Senate Office Building.

The lockdown was unrelated to the Wicker letter.

Also, the Saginaw, Mich., office of Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., received a suspicious-looking letter this morning. The office did not know whether it was a threat.

"The letter was not opened, and the staffer followed the proper protocols for the situation, including alerting the authorities, who are now investigating. We do not know yet if the mail presented a threat," Levin said in a paper statement.

"I'm grateful for my staff's quick response and for government personnel at all levels who are responding."

Several senators have reported suspicious packages delivered to their district offices, with no reports of any credible threats.

But underscoring the jitters among Senate D.C. and district offices, Sen. Deb Fischer's, R-Neb., Lincoln office contacted police when staff found a suspicious package outside this morning.

It turned out to be a used-car part left in a bag on top of a lawn chair.

Shakira $250M lawsuit

Shakira $250M Lawsuit, her hips don’t lie, but her ex-boyfriend is a different story. Shakira is calling out the former flame who’s suing her for $250 million — lambasting his claim that he’s responsible for her success and asking a judge to throw his case out.

Antonio de la Rua has been waging an international war against his ex, saying he shaped the “Shakira brand,” was responsible for two of her biggest hits — “Hips Don’t Lie” and “Waka Waka” — and that she still owes him big time...reported..nydailynews

In papers filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, the sexy judge from “The Voice” says she’s a self-made woman, and that he should get over himself — and her.

Shakira, 36, says in an affidavit when she first met de la Rua at a concert in Argentina in 2000, “I was already a well-known and recognized artist, and my international career was established and solid.”
And the Colombian singer shrugged off claims that he was her business partner and strategist, saying she just hired him out of pity.

The dashing de la Rua was just “one of my numerous advisers,” she said in the court filing.Even “though he lacked experience or knowledge of the music industry,” Shakira said, “in 2005, at his request, I decided to involve (de la Rua) in some matters relating to the business” because he “was unemployed.”

The pair had been dating for a year when de la Rua first fell on hard times and moved in with her.
When de la Rua’s father “was forced to resign as president of Argentina at the end of 2001, plaintiff, for his own safety, became self-exiled from Argentina and he became unemployed,” Shakira said.

De la Rua maintains he was the one doing her a favor. He says he had been advising her throughout their relationship and offered to use his background in law, “marketing, brand-building and political campaign management” in a more active way after her successful 2004 tour somehow lost money.

He said he talked her into recording “Hips Don’t Lie,” which she initially “hated,” and orchestrated her $300 million deal with Live Nation in 2008.

He also says he “inspired” her to write the song “Waka Waka” with a recording he had made of African-inspired Colombian music, and was the one who successfully campaigned for it to be the anthem of the 2010 World Cup.

He says he continued to manage her business even after they broke up in 2010, until she gave him the heave-ho a year later. He suspects she only did so because their partnership was creating problems with her new man, Barcelona soccer star Gerard Piqué.

The spurned ex has since filed actions against her in New York, California, Switzerland and the Cayman Islands, charging that she still owes him his share of her profits.

Shakira — who had a baby with Piqué earlier this year — filed suit against de la Rua in the Bahamas last year, charging that he had “misappropriated” $3 million of her money.

Her lawyers contend that de la Rua doesn’t have a case because they don’t have any business or partnership agreements in writing. Their filings also say the case shouldn’t be fought in New York — it should be heard in the Bahamas, where they lived together, or in Colombia, where Shakira is from and where de la Rua has been spending time with his soon-to-be baby mama, former Miss Mundo Colombia, Daniela Ramos.

“We just want to have our day in court and it’s apparent that they don’t,” said de la Rua’s lawyer, Bill Reid.

Source: Nydailynews

Report: Suspect identified in Boston bombing

Authorities believe they have identified a suspect from video footage in the Boston Marathon bombings, Reuters reported Wednesday. An arrest is imminent, according to the AP.

The FBI is holding a press conference at 5 p.m. and is expected to announce the news then. CNN reported that the breakthrough in the investigation came from analyzing department store surveillance video and video from a news station.

The Boston Globe reported that officials have found an image of "a suspect carrying, and perhaps dropping, a black bag at the second bombing scene."

Boston news station WCVB-TV is reporting via Twitter that an arrest is, "imminent or has already taken place."

An FBI spokesman in Boston and a spokeswoman for Boston Mayor Tom Menino declined to comment on the reports to Yahoo News.

This image from a Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Homeland Security joint bulletin issued to law enforcement and obtained by The Associated Press, shows the remains of a pressure cooker that the FBI says was part of one of the bombs that exploded during the Boston Marathon. The FBI says it has evidence that indicates one of the bombs was contained in a pressure cooker with nails and ball bearings, and it was hidden in a backpack. (AP Photo/FBI)

Shakira $250M lawsuit
Shakira $250M lawsuit - Shakira of "The Voice" is trying hard to get the $250M lawsuit against her dropped. On April 17, ABC News reported that she thinks her ex-boyfriend is lying and just wants the entire suit dropped now.

She did date De la Rua for over 10 years, but that doesn't mean that he helped her get where she is today in her career. Shakira says that yes he did advise her, but that was it. He was not what made her who she is today and doesn't deserve any money at all. She is trying to get the lawsuit to just be dropped completely.

News came out a while back that he was planning to sue her for $100 million, but now it is a lot higher and sounds like he has decided he is worth more than he originally thought. Shakira thinks his help is not worth one penny at all.

It is still unknown if the $250M lawsuit against Shakira will be dropped. She doesn't even want it to go to court.

Deadly ricin: poisonous but clumsy weapon

Ricin is a deadly poison and fairly easy to make, but it’s a crude and clumsy weapon, according to bioterror experts.

A letter sent to President Barack Obama tested positive for ricin, officials said Wednesday, and it was sent by the same person who mailed a letter that tested positive for the poison to Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker.

Ricin is made from castor beans -- it’s a natural byproduct of making castor oil. When purified using sophisticated methods, it can be lethal and hard to trace. It’s best known as the poison used to kill Bulgarian journalist Georgi Markov in London in 1978 by an agent who poked him with an umbrella tipped with an injector.

The U.S military also considered developing ricin as a biowarfare agent in the 1940s.

Dr. Eric Toner of the Center for Biosecurity at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, says he doubts anything this sophisticated is involved in the letters sent to Wicker and the White House.

“That is totally different from what we think is going on now, which is home-brewed ricin, not very potent,” Toner told NBC News. And Markov was killed by an injected pellet -- a much more certain method than putting powder into a letter.

“It is not actually clear you can get anybody sick from ricin-containing letters,” Toner added. "It is probably a crackpot. It certainly is unsophisticated.”

Recipes for making ricin abound online. But fiction aside -- in an episode of AMC's "Breaking Bad," Walter White whips some up -- it's not a big threat.

“It’s been used many times mostly by domestic terrorists and lone wolves,” Toner said. “It is easy to make some ricin. You get some castor beans, make it in your kitchen, you can produce a batch of stuff that has some ricin in it. It is not very pure. It is not very potent. As near as we can tell it has never actually made anyone sick.”

This week’s letters recall the anthrax attacks that killed five people and made 13 sick in October, 2001, after the Sept. 11 attacks. The anthrax attacks were very different, Toner says. They used highly purified anthrax spores -- living organisms that can get into the air and cover surfaces and that killed victims who breathed them in.

When inhaled, anthrax spores can sprout in the lungs and pump out a poison. By the time victims start to become ill, it’s almost always too late to save them. Two of those who died were postal workers In Washington D.C. who got infected after the spores got caught up in mail processing equipment.

The attacks changed the way mail is processed in Washington and by some big companies -- media companies, including NBC, were also targeted by the attacks. Officials also installed "sniffers" around Washington, including in the Metro rail system and on the National Mall.

“The federal government now screens all mail that comes to certain high-value locations,” Toner said.

“It is my understanding that the screening tests, like all screening tests, are designed to be very sensitive but not necessarily specific.” That means that a false positive is possible, he said -- meaning the letters may not be tainted with ricin after all.

Toner suspects more letters will turn up with the contamination. But unlike the anthrax spores, ricin powder isn’t likely to spread in the mail and sicken people, he says. In theory, ricin could be used to attack people in this way, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It can be injected, used to poison food, or spread in the air as a fine powder.

“Within a few hours of inhaling significant amounts of ricin, the likely symptoms would be respiratory distress (difficulty breathing), fever, cough, nausea, and tightness in the chest. Heavy sweating may follow as well as fluid building up in the lungs (pulmonary edema). This would make breathing even more difficult, and the skin might turn blue,” the CDC says.

“If authorities suspect that people have inhaled ricin, a potential clue would be that a large number of people who had been close to each other rapidly developed fever, cough, and excess fluid in their lungs. These symptoms would likely be followed by severe breathing problems and possibly death.”

There’s no antidote for ricin. The CDC advises anyone who thinks he or she may have been exposed to ricin to wash off as quickly as possible, breathe fresh air and seek medical care. Doctors may give intravenous fluids and perhaps charcoal to help people vomit any ricin they may have eaten.

Rachael Ray Show Sued: Fat Teen Featured in Weight Loss Segment

Rachael Ray Show Sued: Sending fat teens to boot camp, or sending troubled teens to “scared straight” prison sessions has been a staple of daytime television for decades. Now, it seems that one of these teens was not happy about her daytime TV experience, and is suing the Rachael Ray show.

E! News is reporting that Christina Pagliarolo is suing the show for negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress during her appearance on the show. Pagliarolo, who weighed over 270 pounds at the time, appeared on the show in a series of segments in which she attempted to lose 70 pounds before going to her high school prom. She was put on a diet and a personal trainer was brought in to help her exercise.

According to the report, Pagliarolo is claiming that a trainer, who was not the one depicted on the show, verbally abused her and pushed her too hard. She also claims that the trainer increased the speed of a Stairmaster until she fell off.

As seen in the Rachael Ray show clips below, Pagliarolo’s weight loss began when a trainer woke her before dawn and made her run, toss a medicine ball, and do jumping jacks. The trainer, Jennifer Giamo, is depicted checking to make sure Pagliarolo’s heart rate doesn’t rise too high and providing water breaks. Giamo is not the trainer named in the lawsuit.

Images show what FBI says are parts of Boston Marathon bombs

FBI agents zeroed in Wednesday on how the Boston Marathon bombing was carried out - with kitchen pressure cookers packed with explosives, nails and other lethal shrapnel - but said they still didn't know who did it and why.

An intelligence bulletin issued to law enforcement and obtained by The Associated Press and the Reuters news agency late Tuesday included pictures of a mangled pressure cooker, a torn black bag, a circuit board and a battery connected to wires, all of which the bulletin said were from the two bombs used in the attack.

The blasts killed 8-year-old Martin Richard, of Boston, and 29-year-old Krystle Campbell, of Medford, Mass. On Wednesday, CBS News confirmed that the third fatality has been identified as Lu Lingzi, a 23-year-old graduate student at Boston University from Shenyang, China.
Third Boston fatality: Graduate student Lu Lingzi

Both explosive devices appear to have been placed in metal pressure cookers packed with nails and ball bearings designed to amplify the damage from the explosions, CBS News correspondent Bob Orr reports.

Investigators believe the bombs were hidden in black nylon backpacks and housed inside the sealable metal pots called pressure cookers. Pressure-cooker bombs can help boost the power of relatively small devices by briefly constraining the blast. And when the cookers do explode they can add large chunks of metal to the shrapnel spray.

The IEDs have been popular with terrorists. Al Qaeda published a how-to recipe in an online Jihadi magazine. Several of the bombs were used in the 2006 attack on trains in Mumbai, India. Pressure cooker explosives have been recommended for lone-wolf operatives by al Qaeda's branch in Yemen.

The FBI and other law enforcement agencies repeatedly pleaded for members of the public to come forward with photos, videos or anything suspicious they might have seen or heard.

"The range of suspects and motives remains wide open," Richard DesLauriers, FBI agent in charge in Boston, said at a news conference Tuesday. He vowed to "go to the ends of the Earth to identify the subject or subjects who are responsible for this despicable crime."

Law enforcement sources told CBS News a Saudi Arabian man who was being questioned by investigators is not considered a suspect at this time, and it appears he was a spectator who was injured in the attack.

President Obama branded the attack an act of terrorism but said officials don't know "whether it was planned and executed by a terrorist organization, foreign or domestic, or was the act of a malevolent individual."

Mr. Obama plans to attend an interfaith service Thursday in the victims' honor in Boston. He has traveled four times to cities reeling from mass violence, most recently in December after the schoolhouse shooting in Newtown, Conn.

Heightening jitters in Washington, where security already had been tightened after the bombing, the Secret Service quarantined a suspicious letter addressed to Mr. Obama that is being tested for the toxin ricin, CBS News learned Wednesday.

On Tuesday, a letter addressed to a senator and initially tested positive for ricin was intercepted at a mail facility outside the capital, lawmakers said.

There was no immediate indication either episode was related to the Boston attack. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday's letter was addressed to Republican Sen. Roger Wicker, of Mississippi.

In Boston, scores of victims remained in hospitals, many with grievous injuries, after the twin explosions near the marathon's finish line killed three people, wounded more than 170 and reawakened fears of terrorism. A 9-year-old girl and 10-year-old boy were among 17 victims listed in critical condition.

DesLauriers confirmed that investigators had found pieces of black nylon from a bag or backpack and fragments of BBs and nails, possibly contained in a pressure cooker. He said the items were sent to the FBI laboratory at Quantico, Va., for analysis.

The FBI said it is looking at what a Boston television station said are photos sent by a viewer that show the scene right before and after the bombs went off. One photo shows something next to a mailbox that appears to be a bag, but it's unclear what the significance is.

"We're taking a look at hundreds of photos, and that's one of them," FBI spokesman Jason Pack said.

Investigators said they haven't determined what was used to set off the explosives.

DesLauriers said there had been no claim of responsibility for the attack.

He urged people to come forward with anything suspicious, such as hearing someone express an interest in explosives or a desire to attack the marathon, seeing someone carrying a dark heavy bag at the race or hearing mysterious explosions recently.

"Someone knows who did this," the FBI agent said.

The bombs exploded 10 or more seconds apart, tearing off victims' limbs and spattering streets with blood, instantly turning the festive race into a hellish scene of confusion, horror and heroics.

Doctors who treated the wounded corroborated reports that the bombs were packed with shrapnel intended to cause mayhem.

"We've removed BBs, and we've removed nails from kids. One of the sickest things for me was just to see nails sticking out of a little girl's body," said Dr. David Mooney, director of the trauma center at Boston Children's Hospital.

Dr. Peter Burke, chief trauma surgeon at Boston Medical Center, said Wednesday that the hospital performed seven amputations on bombing patients. He said a large volume of fragments pulled from the victims were sent to the pathologist and available for police to review.

Burke said two of the hospital's patients, including a 5-year-old child, remain in critical condition. He said he expects both to survive but "until they are home, I won't be satisfied."

At Massachusetts General Hospital, all four amputations performed there were above the knee, with no hope of saving more of the legs, said Dr. George Velmahos, chief of trauma surgery.

"It wasn't a hard decision to make," he said. "We just completed the ugly job that the bomb did."

In the wake of the attack, security was stepped up around the White House and across the country. Police massed at federal buildings and transit centers in the nation's capital, critical response teams deployed in New York City and security officers with bomb-sniffing dogs spread through Chicago's Union Station.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said that the stepped-up security was a precaution and that there was no evidence the bombings were part of a wider plot.

Pressure cooker explosives have been used in Afghanistan, India, Nepal and Pakistan, according to a July 2010 intelligence report by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. One of the three devices used in the May 2010 Times Square attempted bombing was a pressure cooker, the report said.

"Placed carefully, such devices provide little or no indication of an impending attack," the report said.

The Pakistani Taliban, which claimed responsibility for the 2010 attempt in Times Square, has denied any part in the Boston Marathon attack.

Al Qaeda's branch in Yemen gave a detailed description of how to make a bomb using a pressure cooker in a 2010 issue of Inspire, its English-language online publication aimed at would-be terrorists acting alone.

In a chapter titled "Make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom," it says "the pressurized cooker is the most effective method" for making a simple bomb, and it provides directions.

The tightly sealed pot makes easier-to-obtain but weaker explosives faster and stronger, amplifying the blast and the carnage.

Naser Jason Abdo, a former U.S. soldier, was sentenced to life in prison last year after being convicted of planning to use a pair of bombs made from pressure cookers in an attack on a Texas restaurant frequented by soldiers from Fort Hood. He was found with the Inspire article.

Investigators in the Boston bombing also are combing surveillance tapes from businesses around the finish line and asking travelers at Logan Airport to share any photos or video that might help.

"This is probably one of the most photographed areas in the country yesterday," said Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis. He said two security sweeps of the marathon route had been conducted before the bombing.

Boston police and firefighter unions announced a $50,000 reward for information leading to arrests.

Rachael Ray Show Sued: by teen says She Was Humiliated

Rachael Ray Show Sued - The "Rachael Ray" show has allegedly been slapped with a lawsuit from an overweight teen who says her participation in a weight loss episode supposedly left her humiliated and hurt.

TMZ reported Tuesday that Christina Pagliarolo has sued the "Rachael Ray" show for negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress stemming back to an appearance she made on the CBS series when she was 18 years old.

Pagliarolo's goal was to lose 70 pounds by prom. On the episode, which aired two years ago, she discussed the difficulties she was having in high school because of constant bullying. At 260 pounds, the teen decided to enlist the help of Ray, who turned to a fitness trainer.

In her lawsuit against "Rachael Ray," Pagliarolo claims the trainer made her run and hike mountains, and yelled and screamed at her, according to TMZ. One time when she was on the StairMaster, the trainer kept upping the speed and then yelled at her when she fell. She claims these training sessions left her with leg injuries.


Despite the report, those at "Rachael Ray" claim they have not yet received any lawsuit.

"We haven't received this purported lawsuit but if it does materialize we will defend ourselves against it vigorously and fully expect to prevail," a spokesperson for the show told The Huffington Post.

However, this is not the first time the health and cooking show has faced legal woes.

In 2008, a former accountant for the "Rachael Ray" show sued for $1 million claiming he was forced out of his job because he had an eating disorder, the Associated Press previously reported. He claimed that after complaining about being mistreated by his supervisor he was fired.

New Clues Found in Boston Marathon Bombing

Authorities investigating the Boston Marathon blasts that killed three and injured more than 175 believe the two bombs were assembled from household pressure cookers, a crude but effective explosive that has been thwarted in prior U.S. terror plots.

Authorities found a pressure-cooker lid believed to have been part of a bomb that apparently was catapulted onto the roof of a nearby building, a person briefed on the investigation said Wednesday. A small piece of a circuit board they suspect was part of one of the explosive devices also was found at the scene, the person said.

Investigators are exploring whether the bombs were assembled not far from the scene of Monday's horrific explosions since transporting such improvised devices over any significant distance could trigger a premature detonation, according to a law-enforcement official with knowledge of the matter.

Working with local police, federal agents are canvassing Boston hotels and short-term rentals for clues on where the bombs could have been constructed, the official said.

More than 24 hours after the attacks, no one had claimed responsibility and no suspect had been identified.

Federal Bureau of Investigation agents, with the assistance of U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel, have been scrutinizing passenger lists from flights that had recently arrived at Boston's Logan Airport for clues, the official said.

Among the injured, more than 20 were in critical condition, hospitals said. Thirteen people had to have limbs amputated.

The blasts killed 8-year-old Martin Richard of Boston's Dorchester section, whose mother and sister were seriously injured; 29-year-old Krystle Campbell, a restaurant manager from Medford, Mass.; and Boston University graduate student Lu Lingzi, a Chinese citizen.

Celeste Corcoran, who was at the race to cheer on her sister, Carmen Acabbo, was one of many victims whose limbs were amputated. The 47-year-old hairdresser from Lowell, Mass., lost both legs, and her 18-year-old daughter, Sydney, was grievously injured.

But when Ms. Corcoran came out of surgery Monday night, her first thought, Ms. Acabbo said, "was that she was so mad she didn't get to see me finish."

Ms. Acabbo responded: "I finished my marathon and now I'm going to run yours with you, every step of the way."

The materials believed to have been used in the bombs closely match those that Naser Jason Abdo, a young Texas soldier, had amassed before he was charged by the FBI in Texas in 2011 with plotting to attack fellow soldiers.

An FBI expert testified at his trial that it would have taken about 30 minutes to build a bomb using materials Mr. Abdo had gathered—including a pressure cooker, gunpowder, clocks and electrical tape—by following instructions in an al Qaeda magazine found in his backpack.

Mr. Abdo was convicted and is serving life in prison.

In the foiled Times Square bombing of 2010, authorities said one of the three devices would-be bomber Faisal Shahzad had assembled was a pressure cooker containing more than 100 firecrackers.

The Boston investigation, led by the FBI, intensified Tuesday, with authorities interviewing witnesses and examining what one official called the "most complex crime scene" the city had ever dealt with.

Hundreds of federal and local investigators began to slog through a vast trove of videos, photos, local hotel manifests and other potential evidence to determine how bombs could have been placed in an area that had been swept for explosives by bomb-sniffing dogs, said people familiar with the investigation.

Boston FBI chief Richard DesLauriers said investigators would go to the "ends of the earth" to find those involved in the attack and that "the range of suspects remains wide open." More than 2,000 people called in tips to the FBI, he said.

"This will be a world-wide investigation," he said.

The bombs appeared to have been built by packing the pressure cookers with a black powder explosive as well as nails and pellets to maximize casualties, a lawmaker briefed by investigators said.

The bombs were placed in black bags or backpacks, the FBI said; fragments of BBs, nails and shreds of black nylon from the bags were found at the site of the bombings.

U.S. counterterrorism officials have warned for a decade about the use of pressure cookers to manufacture bombs. The warnings came after finding such bomb-making was being taught at terrorist camps in Afghanistan.

Terror in the U.S.

Officials Tuesday cautioned that this type of bomb could have been made by any number of groups or individuals.

"We have been very good, very lucky since 9/11," said Pete Ahearn, a former FBI official who investigated a 2002 al Qaeda plot in Buffalo, N.Y.

He said that since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, al Qaeda has moved more to inspire plots because its ability to direct attacks has been curbed by U.S. counterterrorism efforts.

Officials familiar with the probe said all possible scenarios were being pursued by investigators.

They said they had not detected chatter about the attacks by foreign terror groups such as al Qaeda or other common indicators of foreign involvement. The Pakistani Taliban went so far as to put out a public statement saying the group had no role in the Boston attack.

Such a lack of chatter could indicate either a sophisticated small operation or a homegrown radicalized attacker, said Rep. Michael McCaul (R., Texas), chairman of the House homeland security committee, who was briefed by investigators. Mr. McCaul added that it was too early to draw conclusions.

President Barack Obama in a brief statement Tuesday called the bombings an act of terrorism, describing the incident as a "heinous and cowardly act."

As deadly as the back-to-back blasts were, one reason more lives weren't lost was the rapid and well-coordinated response by police and emergency responders drilled in mass-casualty events.

Volunteers also helped quickly triage the wounded, wrap tourniquets around bloodied and severed limbs and wheel them to a big medical tent near the finish line that had been set up to treat injured and dehydrated runners and was staffed by emergency-room doctors from around the city.

"There was a lot of lifesaving work done at the scene," said Boston Health Commissioner Barbara Ferrer.

More than 30 ambulances descended on the scene and transported the injured to 11 area hospitals—including some of the world's top medical centers.

The first victims began arriving at emergency rooms across the city within 10 minutes of the blasts.

Al Qaeda terrorists have used the Internet to promote homemade devices.

In 2010, the Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's Internet magazine carried an article with a step-by-step guide that included the use of a pressure cooker.

The article, headlined "Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom," listed common items including filaments from Christmas light bulbs, gunpowder and a clock.

The idea was to avoid buying chemicals and explosive precursors that are tracked by authorities "so as not to arouse suspicion," the article said.

In a 2004 law enforcement alert, the Department of Homeland Security said: "Pressure-cooker bombs are made with readily available materials and can be as simple or as complex as the builder decides. These types of devices can be initiated using simple electronic components including, but not limited to, digital watches, garage door openers, cellphones or pagers. As a common cooking utensil, the pressure cooker is often overlooked when searching vehicles, residences or merchandise crossing the U.S. borders."

Dan Defenbaugh, a former FBI bomb technician who led the investigation of the Oklahoma City bombing, cautioned that while al Qaeda has promoted the use of pressure cookers to build bombs, one shouldn't assume the bomber is necessarily an al Qaeda follower.

The pressure cooker's history as a bomb canister reaches back decades, he said.

Pressure cookers, he said, help build up pressure when using "low explosives"—those less powerful than a more sophisticated explosive like C-4.

Justices back corporations in overseas abuses case

The Supreme Court made it harder Wednesday for foreign victims of torture and other crimes against humanity to press their legal claims against corporations and others in U.S. federal courts.

The outcome could have significant global impact from a moral, political and financial perspective.

At issue is the scope of a federal law that is increasingly being used in an effort to hold those accountable for human rights atrocities committed overseas.

A dozen Nigerian political activists now living under asylum in the United States say foreign oil companies were complicit in violence at the hands of their former country's military. Their decade-old civil damages lawsuits have been blocked from going to trial in American courts.

Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the unanimous court, said acts committed on foreign soil by foreign entities against foreign citizens typically cannot be resolved in American courts.

"On these facts, all the relevant conduct took place outside the United States," he said. "Corporations are often present in many countries, and it would reach too far to say that mere corporate presence suffices" to press these kinds of legal claims.

The Obama administration is siding partly with the foreign businesses.

The justices first heard the case in February 2012, trying to sort out whether individuals alone -- or political groups and corporations also -- are covered by broad civil immunity for alleged international law abuses.

Then the court then took on another more fundamental question: whether the 1789 federal law can be applied to any conduct committed entirely outside the United States.

Roberts, in his opinion, noted a ruling for the foreign plaintiffs could affect Americans living, working or traveling overseas.

"Accepting petitioners' view would imply that other nations, also applying the law of nations, could hale our citizens into their courts for alleged violations of the law of nations occurring in the United States, or anywhere else in the world," Roberts said. "The presumption against extraterritoriality guards against our courts triggering such serious foreign policy consequences, and instead defers such decisions, quite appropriately, to the political branches."

The human rights appeal was filed on behalf of residents of the oil-abundant Ogoni area of the Niger River Delta. Two decades ago, they protested the longstanding environmental harm that Shell and other energy companies caused by extracting petroleum.

They and their families say the Nigerian government brutally suppressed them, "aided and abetted" by private corporations doing business there. The Ogoni 9, as the key leaders became known, were allegedly detained, tortured and tried by a special Nigerian military tribunal, in violation of international human rights treaties.

The Nigerian government's 1993-1995 crackdown sparked global outrage after author Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other activists were convicted, then hanged.

Among those bringing suit is his nephew, Charles Wiwa, who escaped the oppression and now lives in Chicago as a political refugee. He described being a student activist beaten by soldiers for hours in front of a crowd of onlookers, then detained and tortured for days.

He says that Shell, based in the Netherlands and Britain, conspired with the government to keep its business operations going in the face of protests and should be held accountable for ignoring or encouraging a pattern of killings, rapes, beatings and property destruction. He said the United States is only place to obtain justice.

"Nigeria's dictatorship has grown rich from its oil," Wawa told CNN. "It is important those (oil) companies be held responsible, because we cannot bring any legal action in courts in Nigeria."

The U.S. law in question is the Alien Tort Statute, which gives federal courts jurisdiction over civil claims from foreigners that they were harmed by international law violations. It was largely ignored for decades but has become an important legal vehicle for those bringing human rights claims.

Similar lawsuits involve Chevron and Exxon energy operations in Indonesia; Chiquita Brand fruit farms in Colombia; and businesses that operated years ago in the now-outlawed apartheid system in South Africa.

The high court in 2004 endorsed the use of the statute in question, but only in limited circumstances. Wednesday's decision reinforced that approach.

But the four more liberal justices, while agreeing with the court's conclusion, differed on the reasoning behind it.

Justice Stephen Breyer suggested that the Alien Tort Statute should continue to have some strong enforcement application.

"International norms have long included a duty not to permit a nation to become a safe harbor for pirates (or their equivalent)," he said, citing past Supreme Court cases. "This approach would avoid placing the statute's jurisdictional scope at odds with its substantive objectives, holding out 'the word of promise' of compensation for victims of the torturer."

The civil lawsuits in the international law context have been compared to a separate, high-profile domestic political dispute. The high court in 2010 concluded that corporations -- businesses, unions and issue advocacy groups -- enjoy the same free speech rights as individuals when it comes to independent election spending. Now the issue in part was whether corporations and political entities should be treated the same as individual offenders when it comes to enforcing international human rights.

Initial tests show ricin in letter to Obama

The U.S. Secret Service is investigating a letter containing a "suspicious substance" that was addressed to President Obama, the agency confirmed on Wednesday, and at least three U.S. senators also reported receiving suspicious mail.

FBI spokesman Paul Beeson said the letter to Obama tested for the substance ricin.

The letter was sent to Obama on Tuesday,and was intercepted at the White House mail screening facility, according to Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary.

The White House mail screening facility is a remote facility, not located near the White House complex, Leary said.

The White House declined to comment, deferring to the FBI and Secret Service which is leading the investigation.

The revelation of the suspicious letter to Obama comes less than 24 hours after U.S. Capitol Police confirmed it was investigating a letter addressed to Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., that tested positive for the poison ricin in a preliminary examination.

Obama was briefed on the suspicious letters on Tuesday night and again on Wednesday morning, said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

Another suspicious package was received Wednesday morning at the Washington offices of Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., according to Shelby's spokesman Jonathan Graffeo. He said the package is being investigated by Capitol Police and it was not known if it was similar to the ones addressed to Obama and Wicker.

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., issued a statement saying that a suspicious letter also was received Wednesday morning at his Saginaw, Mich., field office. He said the staffer who received the letter did not open it and turned it over to authorities, who are investigating.

"We do not know yet if the mail presented a threat," Levin said.

The letter to Wicker, which was intercepted at an off-site Capitol mail facility, was found to contain a "white granular substance'' and was quarantined before a preliminary test indicated the substance was ricin, the statement said.

"The material is is being forwarded to an accredited laboratory for further analysis," according to the statement authorized by U.S. Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine.

The Capitol Police have closed access to the Hart Senate Office Building due to a suspicious package. People on other floors of the building are being told to go into their offices.

Julianne Hough mystery man

Julianne Hough mystery man, julianne hough is not having any trouble moving on from Ryan Seacrest. On April 16, Wet Paint reported that she was seen with a mystery man at Coachella. She looked very happy with a new man.

Julianne was seen walking around holding hands with a sexy Australian. His name is Tommy, but that is all that anyone knows about him. He is not a celebrity or if he is then he has not made it big yet.

This is the first time that she has been seen with anyone since her very public split with "American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest. They could just be friends, but it looks like Julianne Hough is moving on and is going to be just fine since her split. Ryan has not been seen with anyone so far, but he is very secretive about things and spends a lot of time working.

A lot of fans thought that she would end up back with Ryan, but she is moving on without him. Does this news shock you?

Rachael Ray Show sued: by 260 lb Teen Girl

Rachael Ray Show sued, teen girl who weighed around 260 lb. TMZ reported on April 16 the Rachel Ray Show is being sued by an overweight teen who voluntarily took part in a segment on overweight teens. The teen, Christina Pagliarolo, who weighed in at 260 pounds, says she was left humiliated and anxious.

Pagliarolo says the segment she participated in was far worse than any P90X training and more intense than any “The Biggest Loser” show. In her lawsuit, the teen states that her trainer made her run like “Forrest Gump,” yelling and screaming at her frequently. She was also made to take a hike in the mountains.

She says the worst of it occurred when she was put on a StairMaster. The trainer kept increasing the speed of the machine until Pagliarolo finally fell off the workout equipment. The trainer reportedly then yelled at her falling off.

Following her appearance on the segment Christina says she suffered serious injuries including injuries to her legs.

In her lawsuit, she is suing the Rachel Ray Show for negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

TMZ contacted the Rachel ray Show regarding the suit. They claim to be unaware of it and stated that if they are sued, they intend to “defend ourselves against it vigorously and fully expect to prevail."

Shakira $250M lawsuit

Shakira $250M lawsuit, pop star Shakira says her hips don't lie but her ex-boyfriend does. Columbian singer is asking a judge to throw out a lawsuit filed by her ex-boyfriend.

The singer and judge on "The Voice" is asking a New York judge to throw out a $250 million lawsuit filed by her ex, Antonio de La Rua (ROO'-ah).

De la Rua is the son of former Argentine President Fernando de la Rua. He dated Shakira for more than a decade before they split in 2011.

De la Rua has been waging an international war against his ex, saying he shaped the "Shakira brand."

The Daily News reports ( ) that Shakira said in court papers filed in Manhattan that she does not owe her success to de la Rua.

She says he was just one of her numerous advisers.

Source: ABC News

Obama insists federal government 'will get to the bottom of' Boston Marathon bombings

At the end of a long Monday afternoon that began with a jubilant photo-op with the BCS champion Alabama Crimson Tide football team, a somber President Barack Obama addressed reporters about the bombings that claimed at least two lives -- including that of an eight-year-old boy -- and injured more than 110 near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

But it was what he didn't say that may provoke the most discussion: Unlike media outlets including CNN, Fox News and others, Obama didn't utter the 'T' word.

He ignored a reporter's question, shouted after he concluded his prepared remarks, about whether the attacks were 'an act of terrorism.'

'We still do not know who did this or why, and people shouldn't jump to conclusions before we have all the facts,' he said during his speech.

The New York Post has reported that a Saudi man is in custody in a Boston hospital in connection with the bombings.


Is it terror or something else? Obama said the investigation is ongoing, but wouldn't answer that question

Obama on Boston bombings

Obama's reticence to refer to attacks on American soil as 'terrorist' activities was brought into sharp focus during his 2012 re-election campaign, when Republican challenger Mitt Romney chastised him during a debate for refusing to call the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya an act of terror.

Obama, and backed by debate moderator and CNN chief political correspondent Candy Crowley, insisted that he had in fact called the attack a terrorist act in a speech during the day following the Benghazi assault.

CBS News correspondent Steve Kroft, however, had interviewed the president on the day he gave that speech and asked him why he 'went out of your way to avoid the use of the word terrorism in connection with the Libya attack.'

Obama responded that it was 'too early to know exactly how this came about [or] what group was involved.'

CBS kept the interview out of public view until the night before Election Day, long after the debate confrontation had cemented in many Americans' minds the idea that Obama never expressed reluctance to declare that 'terrorists' attacked Americans in Benghazi.

A victim of the first explosion is helped on the sidewalk of Boylston Street, after two devices were detonated near the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon

Victims were treated at the scene of the first explosion. Hospitals later put the death toll at two -- including an 8-year-old boy -- and the injuries at more than 110. Many of those had amputated limbs

Volunteers, public safety workers and family members comforted victims until paramedics responded. The two blasts near the marathon's finish line were just 12 seconds apart

A source inside the Department of Justice told MailOnline that investigators were considering the possibility that the bombings could be tied to the 1993 government siege on messianic cult leader David Koresh’s compound in Waco, Texas, and the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.

Like Monday’s Boston Marathon, both events coincided with Patriots’ Day, an annual observance marking the anniversary of the Revolutionary War’s first battles.

Obama noted the coincidence, calling it 'a day that draws the world to Boston's streets in the spirit of friendly competition.'

But the same DOJ source later said investigators were focused more on examining potential links with unspecified 'foreign nationals.'

Flames engulfed the Branch Davidians' Waco, Texas compound on April 19 - Patriot's Day - in 1993. Eighty-one cultists including leader David Koresh (L) died as federal agents tried to drive them out of the compound

'The American people will say a prayer for Boston tonight. And Michelle and I send our deepest thoughts and prayers to the families of the victims in the wake of this senseless loss,' Obama said, while assuring the media and millions of watching Americans that 'the full weight' of the U.S. justice system would be brought to bear.

'Make no mistake: We will get to the bottom of this,' Obama said. 'And we will find out who did this. We'll find out why they did this.'

'Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups, will feel the full weight of justice.'

Obama (L) received a telephone briefing from FBI Director Robert Mueller in the Oval Office on Monday. He's shown with the Lisa Monaco (C), Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, and Chief of Staff Denis McDonough (R)

The president described conversation he had with members of Congress of both major political parties, saying he and lawmakers had 'reaffirmed that on days like this there are nor Republicans and Democrats. We are Americans.'

White House pool reports said FBI Director Robert Mueller and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano briefed the president on 'the active investigation and response' to what some media outlets are calling a terror attack.

Those briefings included information about how federal authorities are coordinating with state and local officials.

A White House photo showed Obama receiving those briefings via telephone, accompanied by Lisa Monaco, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, and Chief of Staff Denis McDonough.

Obama said from the briefing room podium that he directed Mueller and Napolitano to 'increase security around the United States as necessary.'

Good afternoon, everybody. Earlier today, I was briefed by my homeland security team on the events in Boston. We're continuing to monitor and respond to the situation as it unfolds. And I've directed the full resources of the federal government to help state and local authorities protect our people, increase security around the United States as necessary, and investigate what happened.

The American people will say a prayer for Boston tonight. And Michelle and I send our deepest thoughts and prayers to the families of the victims in the wake of this senseless loss.

We don't yet have all the answers. But we do know that multiple people have been wounded, some gravely, in explosions at the Boston Marathon.

I've spoken to FBI Director Mueller and Secretary of Homeland Security Napolitano, and they're mobilizing the appropriate resources to investigate and to respond.

I've updated leaders of Congress in both parties, and we reaffirmed that on days like this there are no Republicans or Democrats -- we are Americans, united in concern for our fellow citizens.

I've also spoken with Governor Patrick and Mayor Menino, and made it clear that they have every single federal resource necessary to care for the victims and counsel the families. And above all, I made clear to them that all Americans stand with the people of Boston.

Boston police, firefighters, and first responders as well as the National Guard responded heroically, and continue to do so as we speak. It's a reminder that so many Americans serve and sacrifice on our behalf every single day, without regard to their own safety, in dangerous and difficult circumstances. And we salute all those who assisted in responding so quickly and professionally to this tragedy.

We still do not know who did this or why. And people shouldn't jump to conclusions before we have all the facts. But make no mistake -- we will get to the bottom of this. And we will find out who did this; we'll find out why they did this. Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice.

Today is a holiday in Massachusetts -- Patriots' Day. It's a day that celebrates the free and fiercely independent spirit that this great American city of Boston has reflected from the earliest days of our nation.

And it's a day that draws the world to Boston's streets in a spirit of friendly competition. Boston is a tough and resilient town. So are its people. I'm supremely confident that Bostonians will pull together, take care of each other, and move forward as one proud city. And as they do, the American people will be with them every single step of the way.

You should anticipate that as we get more information, our teams will provide you briefings. We're still in the investigation stage at this point. But I just want to reiterate we will find out who did this and we will hold them accountable.Thank you very much.