The world at 2 p.m. Times EDT.
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— CHICAGO BOMB ARREST — Sentencing begins at 2:30 p.m.
— SPELLING BEE — Semifinals set to begin at 2 p.m. Finals set to begin at 8 p.m.
— HARVARD-WINFREY — Speech scheduled for 3:30 p.m.
— ARIZONA SHERIFF-RECALL EFFORT — 8 p.m. deadline for turning in signatures.
— BOSTON MARATHON-CONCERT — Concert begins at 7 p.m.
BEIRUT — Syrian President Bashar Assad says his regime has received the first shipment of sophisticated Russian anti-aircraft missiles — game-changing weapons in Syria's civil war that could ratchet up regional tensions. In another blow to international efforts to end the bloodshed, the main Western-backed Syrian opposition group announces it will not participate in U.S.-Russian sponsored peace talks. By Zeina Karam and Bassem Mroue.
WASHINGTON— Fears of terrorism have made it harder than ever for citizens to identify dangerous chemical facilities in their neighborhoods, an Associated Press investigation has found. Secrecy and shoddy record-keeping has kept the public and emergency workers in the dark about stockpiles of explosive material. A monthlong reporting effort by the AP, drawing upon public records in 28 states, found more than 120 facilities within a potentially devastating blast zone of schoolchildren, the elderly and the sick. By Jack Gillum, Dina Cappiello and Ramit Plushnick-Masti.
BAGHDAD — Officials in Iraq are growing increasingly concerned over an unabated spike in violence that claimed at least another 33 lives on Thursday and is reviving fears of a return to widespread sectarian fighting. Authorities announced plans to impose a sweeping ban on many cars across the Iraqi capital starting early Friday in an apparent effort to thwart car bombings, as the United Nations envoy to Iraq warned that "systemic violence is ready to explode." By Adam Schreck.
AP POLL-CHANGING FAMILIES
As Christy Everson was nearing age 40, she made a decision: She wanted to have a child, even though she was single and it meant doing it all alone. Her daughter, conceived via a sperm donor, is now 2 1/2 years old, and Everson hopes to have a second child. "Was it worthwhile? Well, I'm thinking of doing it again, aren't I?" she says. Everson and women like her are part of a shift in American society. An Associated Press-WE tv poll of people under 50 found that more than 2 in 5 unmarried women without children — or 42 percent — would consider having a child on their own without a partner, including more than a third, or 37 percent, who would consider adopting solo. Meanwhile, public attitudes toward single mothers are decidedly mixed. By Jocelyn Noveck and Jennifer Agiesta.
— AP POLL-CHANGING FAMILIES-GLANCE
— AP POLL-CHANGING FAMILIES-METHOD
LOS ANGELES —There are about 600 versions of Adele's Oscar-winning song "Skyfall" on the Spotify subscription streaming service. But there's no Adele. Adele's label, XL Recordings, is keeping her music off of streaming services until download sales peter out. In the meantime, copycat artists fill the void, racking up royalty revenue, often before customers realize they've been listening to someone else. Thousands of cover songs crowd digital music services such as Spotify and Rhapsody and listeners are getting annoyed. By Ryan Nakashima.
BRUSSELS — Half a century ago, a cook would chop a cod in half because it couldn't fit in the oven. Today, most fit easily in the frying pan. That decimation on the dinnerplate is the result of decades of overfishing as the industry has scooped up everything under the sea. EU nations on Thursday passed landmark legislation that could well prevent the commercial extinction of some of our favorite fish. By Raf Casert and Barry Hatton.
OHIO STATE PRESIDENT
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The president of Ohio State University said Notre Dame was never invited to join the Big Ten because the university's priests are not good partners, joking that "those damn Catholics" can't be trusted, according to a recording of a meeting late last year. Gordon Gee also took shots at schools in the Southeastern Conference and the University of Louisville, according to the recording obtained by the AP. The university calls the remarks inappropriate, and Gee says his comments "were just plain wrong." By Andrew Welsh-Huggins.
OXON HILL, Md. — After taking the first written vocabulary test in bee history and making the cut in onstage rounds, 42 young spellers compete for the crown at the National Spelling Bee. Among the favorites is Arvind Mahankal, who finished third each of the past two years. The winner gets $30,000 in cash and prizes and a huge trophy. By Joseph White and Ben Nuckols.
ARIZONA SHERIFF-RECALL EFFORT
PHOENIX — A group trying to oust the polarizing sheriff of metropolitan Phoenix faces a deadline for handing in voter signatures in an uphill battle to force a recall election. They face long odds in turning in more than 335,000 valid voter signatures, after struggling to raise money. Arpaio critics are hoping a court ruling last week that Arpaio's office has racially profiled Latinos would draw out more supporters for their cause. By Jacques Billeaud.
INDIAN COUNTRY PROSECUTIONS
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — The U.S. Department of Justice releases statistics for cases stemming out of Indian Country, including the number of cases that have been declined. The report is mandated by the 2010 federal Tribal Law & Order Act. Felicia Fonseca.
— BLOOMBERG-RICIN — Letter addressed to Obama is similar to two ricin-contaminated mailings sent to New York's mayor.
— CHICAGO-BOMB ARREST — A 25-year-old Lebanese immigrant will be sentenced after he pleaded guilty to picking a crowded street near Chicago's Wrigley Field as the place to plant a backpack he believed held a real bomb.
— AMBASSADOR PLOT — NY judge gives Texas man 25 years in prison for plotting to kill Saudi ambassador.
— TRACTOR-TRAILER CRASH — Four young children are among seven people killed in upstate New York when breakaway trailer hits minivan. AP graphic.
— LEGALIZING MARIJUANA-FOX — Former Mexican President Vincente Fox is expected to speak at a news conference where a former Microsoft employee will tout plans to create a large-scale marijuana retail business. Fox has been a critic of marijuana prohibition. AP Photos, video.
WASHINGTON AND POLITICS
WASHINGTON — Republicans see no major obstacles to Senate confirmation of James Comey, the former Bush administration official expected to be nominated by President Barack Obama as the next FBI director. Although questions about Comey's hedge fund background are likely, the immediate response is muted, a striking difference from the opposition that immediately revved up for the president's last GOP choice — Chuck Hagel, who still managed to win Senate confirmation as defense secretary. By Donna Cassata.
WASHINGTON — The drone attack that killed a top Pakistan Taliban leader this week is evidence that despite President Barack Obama's sweeping promise of new transparency, the CIA will still launch attacks on militants and not have to explain it to the public. Obama's speech last week promised more openness on drones but left intact the secret program in Pakistan, which has killed more than 3,000 people. By Intelligence Writer Kimberly Dozier
— OBAMA-STUDENT LOANS — Obama drawing attention to new student loan debate, but not with vigor of 2012.
MOSCOW — The father of a Chechen immigrant killed while being interrogated by the FBI about his ties to a Boston Marathon bombings suspect says agents shot his son "execution style." Abdul-Baki Todashev shows journalists 16 photographs he says were of his son, Ibragim, in a Florida morgue. He said his son had six gunshot wounds to his torso and one to the back of his head. The FBI says he was killed during a violent confrontation while being questioned. By Max Seddon.
AP photos, video.
ASSIUT, Egypt — Two cases of women converting in Egypt — one from Christianity to Islam, the other from Islam to Christianity — show distinct differences in how changes of religion are handled in the country. Christians say hard-line Islamists increasingly encourage Christians to embrace Islam, while their community is attacked if any Muslim turns to Christianity — and that authorities turn a blind eye. By Hamza Hendawi.
VILCUN, Chile — The arson deaths of an elderly couple in their ranch home on land claimed by Mapuche Indians have cast a cold light on the indigenous group's struggle in southern Chile. The government has spent decades trying to appease Mapuche demands, but violence has only increased. Many blame Mapuche extremists and police overreaction for the current impasse. By Luis Andres Henao.
— AP PHOTO ABD304 - A Mapuche Indian performs during a "Guillatun," a spiritual ceremony to ask for the well-being of the clan and strengthen ties, in the Temucuicui Autonomous community in Ercilla, Chile.
— CHINA-INFANT IN SEWER — The mother of a Chinese baby boy who was rescued from a sewer pipe beneath a restroom shortly after birth is unlikely to face criminal charges because authorities concluded he fell into the toilet accidentally. AP photos.
— BRITAIN-ATTACK — One of the two suspects in the killing of an off-duty British soldier appears in court. AP photos, video.
— PAKISTAN — Pakistani Taliban withdraws peace talks offer after drone killing of deputy leader.
— MEXICO-DANGEROUS BARS — Anguished relatives say 11 young people were kidnapped in broad daylight from a Mexico City bar, just 20 days after the grandson of civil rights leader Malcolm X was beaten to death at a nightclub in the capital.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. economy grew at a modest 2.4 percent annual rate from January through March, slightly slower than initially estimated. Consumer spending was stronger than first thought, but businesses restocked more slowly and state and local government spending cuts were deeper. By Economics Writer Martin Crutsinger.
Microsoft is trying to fix what it got wrong with its radical makeover of Windows. It's making the operating system easier to navigate and enabling users to set up the software so it starts in a more familiar format designed for personal computers.
ELECTRIC VEHICLES-PRICE CUTS
Automakers are reducing prices on electric vehicles to entice consumers who find the cars expensive and fear they'll run out of juice on longer trips. Once touted as the solution to Americans gas-guzzling habits, electric vehicles still account for just a fraction of U.S. car sales. Honda this week is dropping the monthly payment on its tiny Fit EV by $130 to $259. It's even throwing in a free charging station. By Tom Krisher.
LOS ANGELES — Sales of bank-owned homes and those in some stage of the foreclosure process posted a steep annual drop in the first three months of the year and accounted for a smaller share of overall U.S. home sales, new data show. The trend comes as fewer homes are ending up foreclosed amid a housing market rebound and rising home prices. By Alex Veiga.
LOS ANGELES — Astronauts traveling to and from Mars would be bombarded with as much cosmic radiation as they'd get from a full-body CT scan about once a week for a year, researchers report. That's enough to raise their cancer risk by about 3 percent. It's an important consideration because the U.S. wants to send astronauts to orbit Mars within 25 years. By Science Writer Alicia Chang.
ALSO GETTING ATTENTION
— 10 THINGS TO SEE — 10 Things to See: A gallery of lasting moments our editors think you should see.
— SUPERMAN'S 75TH ANNIVERSARY — DC Entertainment marking Superman's 75th anniversary with new logo, new projects.
—MOTORCYLE HELMETS-SAFETY— The average medical claim from a motorcycle crash rose by more than one-fifth last year in Michigan after the state stopped requiring all riders to wear helmets, according to an insurance industry study. Across the nation, motorcyclists opposed to mandatory helmet use have been chipping away at state helmet laws for years while crash deaths have been on the rise.
— BOSTON MARATHON-CONCERT — James Taylor, Aerosmith, New Kids set to join other artists for Boston Marathon benefit show.
— PENN STATE-PATERNO — Paterno family, ex-players and others connected to Penn State sue NCAA over sanctions.
— LAS VEGAS MARATHON — Las Vegas marathon organizers highlight shift in race date to Nov. 17, course reconfigurations.
— OBIT-GREELEY — Publicist: Outspoken Chicago priest, best-selling novelist Rev. Andrew Greeley dies at age 85.
— HARVARD-WINFREY — You get a diploma! And you get a diploma! Oprah Winfrey gives commencement speech at Harvard. AP photos.