4 news stories you may have missed last week

While the city of Boston was reeling from the bombings on Marathon Monday, the rest of the world was riveted by the unfolding events as well, with the media dedicating 24/7 coverage to the bombings on April 15, and to the dramatic manhunt and capture of the surviving suspect on April 18.

Even without the tragic events in Boston, last week would have had a lot of big news.

Here is what you may have missed:

1) Explosion at a fertilizer plant kills 15 in West, Texas

While Boston was trying to process a terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon, the small town of West, Texas, was dealing with its own tragedy: an explosion in the middle of the night on April 17 at a fertilizer plant in the small town of 2,800 residents, about 80 miles from Dallas. The initial death toll was unclear, but the most recent estimate came in at 15, with hundreds injured. Many of the injured were first responders who were putting out the fire that lead to the blast. Homes were leveled, and the blast left a crater 93 feet wide and 10 feet deep. It registered as a 2.1 magnitude earthquake.

 

2) Letters with ricin sent to President Obama and senator

A letter addressed to President Obama, which was intercepted at a remote mail screening facility, was found to have a suspicious substance in it. Tests revealed that it was ricin, a poisonous powder made from castor beans. The substance was the same that was found in a letter to Senator Roger Wicker of Missisippi. The FBI confirmed that the cases were related, and a man was arrested on April 17. However, the charges were dropped, with the accused man saying he was framed.

 

3) Gun control legislation fails in the Senate

As a culmination of the push for stricter gun control after the Newtown, CT shooting, a bill made its way to the Senate floor, and included an amendment for tightened background checks. The bill was defeated, and is seen as a failure for Obama's fight for gun control. In a speech after the failed vote, Obama showed anger and disappointment, while surrounded by families from the Newtown, CT tragedy. Obama called it a "shameful" day for Washington, and said that the NRA and its allies "willfully lied" about the bill.

 

4) Authorities foil an al-Qaeda-backed plot to derail train

As the United States recovers from one terror attack, authorities in Canada announced on April 22 that they had successfully intercepted a plot to derail a passenger train after it crossed the border, allegedly a Via Rail Canada train going from Toronto to New York. Authorities said that the culprit received support from "al-Qaeda elements in Iran," but the Iranian government has denied any involvement. It was not clear when the attack was planned for, and the public was never in danger, according to law enforcement. The plot was discovered in part with help from the local Muslim community, when the suspect's imam allegedly tipped off police about his strange behavior.

The Gavel also covered the devastating earthquake in China that killed over 150 people. 

Feature photo courtesy of The Bay Area's News Station/Flickr

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