The rioting in Baltimore is a punch in the gut for a major American city struggling to overcome a history of drugs, crime, police brutality, poverty, population decline and economic hard times. Bustling bars and trendy shops fill the shiny redeveloped Inner Harbor district, and the hipster-friendly Hampden neighborhood reflects Baltimore's keen embrace of quirkiness. Benches at bus stops declare Baltimore to be "The Greatest City in America." Others like to call it "Charm City," a nickname dreamed up by advertising executives in the 1970s in the midst -- rather incongruously -- of a garbage strike. Opportunity can be as hard to find as a well-stocked grocery store, and everyone has a personal tale of police harassment.
By Richard Valdmanis BOSTON (Reuters) - The older brother of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev changed from a roisterous boxer known for flashy outfits into someone with a bushy beard and drab clothes and obsessed by Islam, following a trip to Russia in 2012, witnesses said on Tuesday. The testimony before a federal jury in Boston comes as lawyers for Tsarnaev build their argument that the 21-year-old ethnic Chechen was a pawn in his now-dead brother's scheme to bomb the race on April 15, 2013, and should be sentenced to life in prison, not death. Tsarnaev was convicted this month of killing three people and injuring 264 in the bombing, and shooting dead a police officer three days later alongside the older brother, Tamerlan, a 2009 New England boxing champion. Rogerio Franca, who lived near the Tsarnaevs in Cambridge, Massachusetts, told jurors Tamerlan was a partier before his trip to Russia, but transformed into someone more closely resembling a devout Muslim when he returned.
The US Supreme Court appeared divided Tuesday on whether gay couples have a constitutional right to wed -- as it weighs a decision that could see same-sex marriage recognized nationwide. Supported by the Obama administration, the 16 plaintiffs want their marriages to be recognised as constitutionally protected in all US states.