Review Category : Top Stories

Jobless Claims Jump to 320K

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Jobless claims were slightly higher last week, increasing by 7,000, according to the latest figures released Thursday by the Labor Department.

For the week ending Feb. 28, the number of people filing for benefits climbed to 320,000. The previous week, claims stood at 313,000.

The Labor Department said there were no “special factors” impacting that week’s figures.

The four-week moving average also climbed higher by 10,250, to 304,750.

The monthly unemployment data is due to be released Friday.

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Boston Marathon Bombing: Inside Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s ‘It Was Him’ Defense Strategy

FBI(BOSTON) — The trial of alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev enters its second day Thursday, but the defense has already made a curiously blunt admission: “It was him.”

One of the first things Tsarnaev’s attorney Judy Clarke told the court Wednesday was that he was responsible for the “senseless, horrific, misguided acts.” The defense would only contest the “why” of it all, she said, indicating it was Tsarnaev’s late older brother, Tamerlan, who pushed her client down the dark path.

All day, the defense did not cross examine witness after witness from the prosecution while they recounted the horror of that April 15, 2013 day when three were killed — including an eight-year-old boy — and 260 injured after dual explosions ripped through the crowds near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

The defense’s move surprised many federal officials, who said day they are asking why a court should spend potentially months proving what the defense has already admitted.

Legal experts told ABC News that while the defense’s strategy may appear odd from the outside, that’s only because they’re not focusing on winning this phase of the trial, but avoiding the death penalty later.

“Given the amount of evidence the government has, I would suggest it’s the only strategy,” said Robert Bloom, a Boston College law professor. “I think their objective is to develop a rapport with the jury. They certainly don’t want to go and cross examine victims very hard. By developing a rapport with the jury, when their turn comes to talk about the death penalty phase of it, they will have a rapport with the same jurors that are hearing all this evidence.”

Charles Ogletree, Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, agreed.

“Their point is there’s no question that what he did was wrong, being involved in the marathon bombing, but they’re also saying that life imprisonment is enough punishment that would appropriate,” he said.

So why not just plead guilty to the 30 charges related to the bombing in the first place?

First, Olgetree said the defense likely lobbied for a deal in which Tsarnaev pleaded guilty to avoid the death penalty, but the government didn’t go for it — potentially under pressure from the Obama administration, after Attorney General Eric Holder authorized the government to seek the death penalty last January.

“So they don’t think life imprisonment is justified, is not enough,” Ogletree said.

“They’re not taking the death penalty off the table for [Tsarnaev],” ABC News legal analyst Dan Abrams said on Good Morning America, noting that in most cases, prosecutors would have gone for such a deal.

So there was little incentive for the defense to plead guilty now.

Second, Bloom said that by pleading not guilty, the defense is preserving its right to an appeal, should it choose to do so later on.

Ogletree said he thinks the defense’s strategy is a good one, and that they will accomplish what they set out to.

“I think it’s a strategy that’s going to work,” he said. “Now that you’re going to trial, having to make sure that [you’re] looking around and you’re saying that my client is guilty of what he’s done. He’s guilty of his crimes. And he needs to be punished. The punishment has to fit the crime… Life imprisonment is a very serious punishment.”

Graphic, Emotional Testimony

As Tsarnaev sat impassively in court Wednesday, the court was shown for the first time new videos from the day of the blast.

One, shot by a bystander, showed the horror and chaos in the immediate aftermath of the blasts, as emergency responders attempted to prioritize those who needed help the most, and family members frantically searched for their loved ones. Another video from inside a nearby sports store showed people ripping clothes of the racks to use as makeshift tourniquets for the injured.

“It’s hard reliving the situation, and the circumstances that happened that day, when we mentioned the ones that we lost that day, the ones that really should be remembered,” said Marc Fucarile who was at the race.

Similar testimony is expected Thursday, potentially with other new videos that captured the horrific event.

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Hillary Clinton Responds to Email Controversy

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Hillary Clinton addressed concerns Wednesday about her use of a personal email account during her term as secretary of state, expressing a desire to release her emails.

“I want the public to see my email. I asked State to release them. They said they will review them for release as soon as possible,” Clinton wrote on Twitter.

I want the public to see my email. I asked State to release them. They said they will review them for release as soon as possible.

— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) March 5, 2015

State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf, in a statement that followed Clinton’s tweet, said the department is focused on reviewing Clinton’s emails.

“The State Department will review for public release the emails provided by Secretary Clinton to the Department, using a normal process that guides such releases. We will undertake this review as quickly as possible; given the sheer volume of the document set, this review will take some time to complete,” the statement reads.

Clinton’s team submitted 55,000 pages of emails to the State Department — but an unknown number of emails that do not pertain to work will not be turned over, a Clinton aide told ABC News.

The storage of Clinton’s emails has come under scrutiny after a New York Times report revealed that she used a personal, non-governmental email address to conduct official business as secretary of state.

Clinton used only one email address during her tenure, her attorney David Kendall wrote in an email to the House Select Committee, which is tasked with investigating the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi. The committee sent subpoenas to the State Department Wednesday requesting all of Clinton’s communications related to Libya.

“The Select Committee on Benghazi today issued subpoenas for all communications of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton related to Libya and to the State Department for other individuals who have information pertinent to the investigation,” Jamal Ware, communications director for the committee, wrote in a statement. “The Committee also has issued preservation letters to internet firms informing them of their legal obligation to protect all relevant documents.”

The email account that Clinton used while working at the State Department was hdr22@clintonemail.com and was traced to a server based out of Chappaqua, where she and former President Bill Clinton have a home, ABC News confirmed.

ABC News also learned that another email domain, wjcoffice.com, which used the former president’s initials as their descriptor, was also based out of Chappaqua. That domain was registered by an individual called Eric Hoteham, the same name used to register the clintonemail.com domain.

Clinton has yet to explain why she used her own server and personal email, instead of a State Department email address to comply with federal record-keeping requirements.

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North Korea Hails Attack on Mark Lippert as ‘Righteous Punishment’ Against US

Handout/The Asia Economy Daily via Getty Images(SEOUL, South Korea) — North Korea hailed a South Korean man’s attack on the U.S. ambassador to Seoul in a statement through its Korean Central News Agency, stating that the attack “reflects public opinion” in South Korea and is a “righteous punishment” against the United States.

According to the statement, the alleged assailant, Kim Ki-jong, 55, gave “a knife-attack shower of justice” to Mark Lippert, who police said was slashed on the face and wrist with a 10-inch fruit knife.

Lippert was seen with blood on his hand and holding his bleeding face, and medical officials said 80 stitches were needed to close the facial wound. Lippert was in stable condition after undergoing surgery, the U.S. Embassy said.

The assailant shouted “No to war training!” before attacking Lippert, the Yonhap news agency reported. The man was later tackled and arrested.

The U.S. State Department condemned the attack, which happened at a performing arts center in downtown Seoul as the ambassador was preparing for a lecture about prospects for peace on the divided Korean Peninsula.

President Obama called Lippert to tell him that “he and his wife Robyn are in his thoughts and prayers, and to wish him the very best for a speedy recovery,” according to National Security Council spokesperson Bernadette Meehan.

Lippert previously held positions at the Department of Defense from May 2012 until September 2014, according to the embassy website.

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Teen Who Woke Up Paralyzed Now Walking and Running Again

Ivanko_Brnjakovic/iStock/Thinkstock(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — A Nashville, Tennessee, teen is celebrating that she’s regained the ability to walk after suffering sudden paralysis.

Just six weeks ago, Jessica Shainberg, 15, woke up with no feeling below her waist.

“She was very calm,” her father, Jeff Shainberg, told ABC News. “I didn’t believe her at first, [I said] ‘You gotta wake your legs up and we got to go to school.'”

Days earlier, Jessica had felt tingling in her legs, but after a trip to the emergency room, doctors found no signs of anything serious and sent her home, Jeff Shainberg said. But now the family was headed back to the hospital.

Doctors at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital diagnosed Jessica with transverse myelitis, or inflammation of the spinal cord. Doctors then told the teen and her family there was only a one-third chance she would be able to walk normally again, according to Jeff Shainberg.

“They don’t know where or when it occurs,” Jeff Shainberg said of the inflammation’s cause. “They didn’t have any way to trace it….They didn’t find any infections in the spinal fluid.”

The teen’s father said doctors told the family that if Jessica wasn’t able to walk within about six weeks then she was unlikely ever to be able to walk again.

For a week, Jeff Shainberg said that his daughter showed no improvement. Then, he said, she was suddenly able to feel a tingling sensation in her toes again. While just a small improvement, the teen was sure that she could recover.

“I was like, ‘There we go, there we go,'” Jessica Shainberg told ABC News affiliate WKRN-TV in Nashville. “That’s the building block to everything else I’ll be doing.”

To help the teen rehabilitate her legs in the short time frame, the family traveled to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite Hospital. During the weeks of rehabilitation, the teen surpassed all of her doctor’s expectations, according to her father.

“Every day she’s getting better and stronger. It’s a miracle,” said Jeff Shainberg. “She just always had a great attitude and was willing to do the work with the therapist. They loved her attitude and they wanted to work with her continuously.”

Now the teen, an honor roll student and tennis player, is not only walking, she’s been able to do some light running.

In Atlanta, doctors also realized that Jessica had signs of a rare inflammation of the brain, called Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM), in addition to her inflamed spinal column, according to Jeff Shainberg. The second diagnosis could explain why she was able to recover relatively quickly, because patients with ADEM tend to have better recovery rates.

“The doctors didn’t expect her to recover like that,” said Shainberg. “They were so impressed with her rehab. They hadn’t seen a patient like this in a while.”

For now, the high school freshman remains out of school while she gets her strength back. Her father said she has a walker and wheelchair — but never uses either unless she’s standing for a long period of time and needs to sit.

“I’m so blessed and lucky to be able to be walking again,” Jessica Shainberg told WKRN-TV.

While the teen is likely to start school in a few weeks, her father said doctors are keeping a close eye on her as she recovers. If the rare symptoms reappear again, there’s a chance it could be a sign of multiple sclerosis.

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Colorado Woman’s Global Scavenger Hunt Ends in Marriage Proposal

Amy Linville(NEW YORK) — After Amy Linville completed her master’s degree, she learned that her boyfriend, Brett Arnold, had a huge surprise for her.

That surprise would take her on an overseas journey more than 5,000 miles away.

“Brett and I have been together for eight years,” she said. “As a graduation gift he told me I had to go on a scavenger hunt. We’ve traveled the world together, so it makes sense that he would do this.”

Arnold, 30, accompanied Linville to the top of Green Mountain in their Lakewood, Colorado, neighborhood where she found a note telling her to pack her things.

“I wasn’t really excited because Brett’s always joking and messing with me,” she told ABC News. “He handed me a one-way ticket to Tokyo and a map. I was leaving in 13 hours.”

The following day, Arnold drove Linville, 28, to the airport, where hours later she landed in Tokyo to search for her next clue.

“Everything was in Japanese and all I had was a map to a friend’s apartment that lives there,” Linville said. “The clue at the apartment said that another friend would fly in to deliver my next clue.”

In the meantime, Linville said, Arnold gave her a list of things to see and do while in the country.

“I was in Japan for seven days,” she said. “I went to see the snow monkeys, I went to the ‘Robot Restaurant,’ I ate tons of sushi, and I did a pub crawl. I’m definitely a free spirit.”

Following the close of her Tokyo trip, Linville was greeted by an old friend, who presented her with her next clue.

“I flew to Barcelona and Brett put me into a hotel that overlooked a cliff that’s on the coast in San Sebastian,” she said. “I was kind of depressed that day because it was Christmas and I knew Brett was with family.”

While she figured he’d eventually join her, Linville went ahead and followed her next instruction to hike to a peninsula overlooking the ocean.

“The clue was a picture of Brett standing on this point of the island,” she said. “It’s raining, its cold, and I couldn’t find my next clue after that.

“So, I started hiking down and Brett was hiking up at the same time. I was so shocked to see him and I still didn’t get what was going on. I said, ‘Where’s my next clue?'”

At that moment, Linville said, Arnold pulled out a ring and asked her to marry him.

“He said, ‘You’ve come this far and I hope you’re willing to go on another adventure with me,'”she recalled.

“I’m still in shock. It’s hard to tell the story to people. The girl-reaction is, ‘Shut up, no way!’ and the guy-reaction is, ‘Be quiet before my girlfriend hears you!'”

The couple plans to wed in October on a boat in Florida.

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Mark Zuckerberg Reveals the One Question He Asks Before Hiring a New Facebook Employee

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — When Mark Zuckerberg is involved in bringing a new employee into Facebook, the CEO said the answer to one simple question helps him determine whether the person would be a good fit:

Would I be happy working for this person?

“I will only hire someone to work directly for me if I would work for that person,” Zuckerberg told a group in Barcelona who participated in the Facebook co-founder’s monthly town hall meeting. “It’s a pretty good test.”

One of those people who passed the test was clearly Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg.

When asked by a woman in the audience what it is like to work with Sandberg, Zuckerberg said he considered her a mentor and someone who has been instrumental in building Facebook into a business and “healthy organization.”

Zuckerberg was in Barcelona for the Mobile World Congress, where he spoke about the strides his Internet.org initiative has made in the developing world since he first announced its launch.

More than 7 million people in developing countries have benefited so far from having Internet access from their phones, according to Zuckerberg. With 50 million people living in the countries that are covered by the app, that number is likely to increase.

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US Ambassador Mark Lippert Attacked in South Korea

oztasbc/iStock/Thinkstock(SEOUL, South Korea) — The U.S Ambassador to South Korea was attacked in the country’s capital on Wednesday while giving a speech, officials say.

Photos from South Korea’s official news agency show Ambassador Mark Lippert with blood on his hand and holding his face. He was attacked by what the Yonhap news agency described was “an armed man” who shouted, “No to war training!” before attacking him.

Lippert was attacked with a 10-inch fruit knife, police told ABC News.

He was assaulted Thursday morning local time and is being treated at a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, according to the State Department.

His assailant was arrested, according to Robert Ogburn, an official at the U.S. embassy in Seoul, who said the U.S. strongly condemned the “senseless act of violence.”

President Obama called him to tell him that “he and his wife Robyn are in his thoughts and prayers, and to wish him the very best for a speedy recovery,” according to National Security Council spokesperson Bernadette Meehan.

Lippert previously held positions at the Department of Defense from May 2012 until September 2014, according to the embassy website.

Thoughts are w/@mwlippert & his family after today’s senseless attack. Grateful to people of #Korea for their care for him & well wishes.

— John Kerry (@JohnKerry) March 5, 2015

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“Avengers: Age of Ultron”: 7 Spoilers and Hidden Eggs From New Trailer

Marvel Entertainment(NEW YORK) — The Marvel gods blessed the world on Wednesday with a new Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer and they did not disappoint.

The new footage is epic and there are a TON of hidden gems if you watch over and over and over — like we did.

Here are the top 7:

1 – Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are Bad!

We had a hunch but it’s confirmed that both heroes are bad in this movie — at least at the beginning. In the clip, you see Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen on Ultron’s side and even fighting Captain America and Black Widow. In one scene, the Witch even compels and possibly controls Scarlett Johansson’s character. You also see Quicksilver punch Cap.

But don’t worry, in an overhead shot at the end of the trailer, you see the Avengers fighting Ultron’s forces. And guess what — you can see Scarlet Witch and her red blasts of energy, so it seems like she has a change of heart. But where’s Quicksilver? Maybe he needs more convincing.

2 – Black Widow and the Hulk Get Close

Later in the clip, we see Mark Ruffalo and Johansson cuddle up and are about to kiss. Nice!

3 – Ultron Wants to Kill All Humans and Iron Man Created Him

“There’s only one path to peace, their extinction,” Ultron says in the trailer. We also see Tony Stark take responsibility for creating Ultron.

“I tried to create a suit of armor around the world,” he says. “But I created something terrible.” Stark created Artificial Intelligence, Bruce Banner notes.

4 – Mystery Guys With Claws

Around the 1:06 part of the clip, we see a shadowy figure with claws. Is that Wolverine? Probably not, the claws are too strange looking, but it’s intriguing nonetheless.

It may be Ulysses Klaw or Black Panther, who are slated to appear in the film.

5 – Iron Man Has Loki’s Scepter

We see him grab it in what looks to be out of desperation. Why? Is he going to use that evil weapon against Ultron? Against the Hulk, who we knows go a bit rogue in this film. What? Tell us!!!

6 – Does Someone Die?

“No way we all get through this,” Iron Man says.

“I got no plans tomorrow night,” Captain America replies.

Wait, what!?

7 – The Vision!

We finally see an image of Jarvis aka the Vision aka Paul Bettany at the very end. He opens his eyes, presumably after being created.

Avengers: Age of Ultron is out May 1.

ABC News is owned by The Walt Disney Co., which also owns Marvel.

Watch the full trailer below:

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Senate Fails to Override Keystone Veto

Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. Senate could not muster up enough votes Wednesday to put the Keystone XL pipeline back in play.

The bill on reconsideration failed to pass with a vote of 62 to 57, with eight Senate Democrats voting in favor of overriding the presidential veto.

The vote required support of two-thirds of the Senate to pass.

The legislation would have authorized construction of an $8 billion pipeline to transport oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast.

President Obama said the State Department is still conducting its review of whether the pipeline is in the national interest.

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