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Welcome to the Overnight News Digest with a crew consisting of founder Magnifico, current leader Neon Vincent, regular editors jlms qkw, maggiejean, wader, Oke, rfall, and JML9999. Alumni editors include (but not limited to) palantir, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, ek hornbeck, ScottyUrb, Interceptor7 and BentLiberal. The guest editor is annetteboardman.

Please feel free to share your articles and stories in the comments.

Patriotic Page Divider
 

BBC
 

US basketball player Jason Collins has come out as gay, the first active male athlete in a major American professional team sport to do so.

He declared his sexuality in an article for Sports Illustrated, announcing: "I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay."

Collins said he had struggled with his sexuality for years.

Former NBA player John Amaechi came out as gay in 2007, but he had already retired.

Former US President Bill Clinton was among those who sent messages of support to Collins on Monday.

NBA Commissioner David Stern said in a statement: "Jason has been a widely respected player and teammate throughout his career and we are proud he has assumed the leadership mantle on this very important issue."

Sports label Nike, which has endorsed Collins, also supported his decision.

Think Progress
 

Today, basketball player Jason Collins made history by coming out as the first openly gay player in any of the country’s four major professional sports organizations. Since the news broke earlier, Twitter has lit up with support from fellow athletes, coaches, celebrities, elected officials, and others. Here’s a sampling of some of the responses:

Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld:
We are extremely proud of Jason and support his decision to live his life proudly and openly. He has been a leader on and off the court and an outstanding teammate throughout his NBA career. Those qualities will continue to serve him both as a player and as a positive role model for others of all sexual orientation.

Mother Jones
 

In the latest issue of Sports Illustrated, the NBA's Jason Collins became the first active player in any of the big four sports (baseball, football, basketball, and hockey) to announce he was gay. His opening paragraph: "I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay."

Toward the end of his must-read story, Collins, a 7-foot, 255-pounder who has played for six teams in his 12-year pro career, ponders the fallout from his announcement:

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US NEWS

The Guardian
 

The father of the two Boston bombing suspects has canceled plans to visit the US, as a senior Republican lawmaker raised the prospect of their mother being questioned should she set foot on American soil.

Anzor Tsarnaev cited poor health as the reason why he had to abandon plans to fly from Russia to the US to bury his son Tamerlan – who died in a shootout with police – and support his surviving son Dzhohkar, currently under guard in a secure facility after being charged over the terrorist attack.

Meanwhile, the chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, Michael McCaul, said Sunday that he believed the suspects' mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, played a "very strong role" in their apparent radicalisation.

He also added a belief that the suspects may have had outside help in preparing for the deadly attack on the Boston Marathon.

McCaul told Fox News Sunday that the type of explosive device used in that terrorist incident – a pressure-cooker bomb packed with shrapnel – gave rise to suspicions that they may have received assistance. "That leads me to believe there was a trainer," the representative from Texas said.

Character: Oscar. &nbsp;Description: Oscar swinging from a branch.
Spiegel Online
 
A Disney film about altruistic chimpanzees has been a huge hit in the United States. The movie is about to be released in Germany, where it is being marketed as a true story. Now a German researcher who was the flick's main scientific adviser has admitted large parts of the touching story were made up.

British nature filmmakers Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield have supposedly witnessed a story in the African rainforest even better than something that Walt Disney could have dreamed up.

While filming in the Taï National Park in southwestern Ivory Coast, the two claim to have stumbled upon a small chimpanzee who was taking his first steps in life. They say that the boy's mother had suddenly disappeared after an attack by a rival group of chimps, and that the young chimp was doomed to die -- at least until a small male chimpanzee showed up out of the blue, adopted him and changed his new son's life forever.

Bloomberg
 

As both worker and boss, Neeraj Gupta has profited from the H-1B U.S. immigration program.
The visa, intended for skilled workers, allowed him to stay in the U.S. after earning a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Alabama in 1991. Later, the H-1B provided a steady supply of foreign-born employees for a technology-services company where he worked as an executive.

Today, Gupta is an outspoken critic of the program that helped start his career and that technology moguls, including Microsoft Corp. (MSFT)’s Bill Gates and Facebook Inc. (FB)’s Mark Zuckerberg, want Congress to expand.

“Somewhere along the way, the program’s been hijacked,” says Gupta, 45, chief executive officer of Systems in Motion, a closely held company based in Newark, California.

NPR
 

A Washington, D.C., museum wants you to spend some time looking up — to see soaring, vaulted tile ceilings built by a father-son team who left their mark on some of America's most important public spaces.

These ceilings grace landmarks that include state capitols, Grand Central Terminal and Carnegie Hall — as well as some more ordinary buildings. One of them is Engine No. 3, a small brick firehouse not far from the U.S. Capitol — where, yes, they still slide down one of those shiny brass poles. It's one of the oldest fire stations in the District of Columbia.

NPR
 

Last year, something surprising happened: A piece of legislation about abortion made it through both chambers of Congress and was signed into law by President Obama.

It was a law providing insurance coverage for abortion for military women in the case of rape or incest. The bipartisan support enjoyed by the military trumped politics as usual, which generally holds that Republicans and Democrats have to fight over anything involving abortion.

But will the women who volunteer for the Peace Corps inspire a similar truce on the same issue?

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) is banking on it. Lautenberg introduced a bill Thursday called the Peace Corps Equity Act of 2013, which echoes the law that extended the coverage for military women, the Shaheen Amendment. The new bill, also co-sponsored by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), would overturn a 1979 appropriations bill that banned the Peace Corps from offering this benefit in its federal health plan.

Peace Corps volunteers "face inherent risks to their safety and security," according to a statement by Lautenberg. More than 1,000 Peace Corps volunteers reported experiencing sexual assault between 2000 and 2009, including more than 221 rapes or attempted rapes. Women make up about 60 percent of Peace Corps volunteers serving abroad.

The bill does not yet have a House sponsor.

NPR
 

Vin Diesel speaks lousy Spanish. No surprise, that. So why then was he invited to hand out a music award at the Premios Billboard and why did he say Sí to the invitation when it is seems that's about all he can say in Spanish?

Vin's Spanish-language shout-outs — "mi gente" and "mi pueblo" — feel forced. Throw in long stretches of English and a string of profanities that were editedout and the performance becomes a bit cringe-worthy. But he's not alone in bringing English and poorly-spoken Spanish to Spanish-language television. (The award ceremony was aired on Telemundo.)

Watch enough of the programming produced in the U.S. by Telemundo or Univision and you will hear snippets of English spoken by guests who lack the vocabulary or knowledge of grammar to provide a complete answer in Spanish. Here is Univision network news anchor Jorge Ramos talking to the Washington Post about his interview with Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor:

""She asked me, 'If I have a problem with my Spanish, please help me with my translation,' " Ramos recalls one recent afternoon in his spare corner office at the Univision studios in the Miami suburb of Doral.

NY Review of Books

As the investigation of the Boston Marathon bombings continues, one of the more clouded aspects is the tale of “Misha,” a mysterious US-based Islamist who has been accused by members of the Tsarnaev family of radicalizing Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the elder of the two alleged bombers. “It started in 2009. And it started right there, in Cambridge,” Tamerlan’s uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, told CNN after the attacks. “This person just took his brain. He just brainwashed him completely.” These accusations set off a frenzied search for what some reports have called an Islamic Svengali, and over the past few days, the FBI has said it has located and has been talking to “Misha,” though his identity has remained unknown.

Today I was able to meet “Misha,” whose real name is Mikhail Allakhverdov. Having been referred by a family in Boston that was close to the Tsarnaevs, I found Allakhverdov at his home in Rhode Island, in a lower middle class neighborhood, where he lives in modest, tidy apartment with his elderly parents. He confirmed he was a convert to Islam and that he had known Tamerlan Tsarnaev, but he flatly denied any part in the bombings. “I wasn’t his teacher. If I had been his teacher, I would have made sure he never did anything like this,” Allakhverdov said.

 

WORLD NEWS

Reuters
 

At least 23 people were killed in Iraq on Monday in a series of car bombs in Shi'ite Muslim areas and militant attacks, medics and police sources said, taking the week's death toll to nearly 200 as sectarian violence intensifies.

Clashes have increased as the civil war in Syria puts strain on fragile relations between Sunnis and Shi'ites. The tensions are at their highest in Iraq since U.S. troops pulled out more than a year ago.

The latest bout of blood-letting began when security forces raided a Sunni protest camp near Kirkuk last week triggering clashes that quickly spread to other Sunni areas including the western province of Anbar, which borders Syria and Jordan.

Iraq decided on Monday to close a border crossing with Jordan for two days starting on Tuesday due to "organizational issues", the interior minister said without giving any details.

Reuters
 

Italy's new Prime Minister Enrico Letta promised to press for a change to the European Union's focus on austerity and pursue economic growth and jobs as his government sought backing from parliament on Monday, ending months of political gridlock.

Speaking ahead of a confidence vote in the lower house, Letta said Italy could not afford to focus simply on trying to cut its huge public debt and needed a new emphasis on lifting the economy out of recession.

He will be backed by his own center-left Democratic Party (PD), Silvio Berlusconi's center-right People of Freedom (PDL) party as well as centrists led by former prime minister Mario Monti, with a second vote in the Senate on Tuesday.

"We will die of fiscal consolidation alone, growth policies cannot wait any longer," he said, describing the country's economic situation as still "serious" after more than a decade of stagnation.

The Guardian
 

Syria's prime minister has survived an apparent assassination attempt after a car bomb attack killed his bodyguard and injured his driver in an upmarket district of Damascus.

Wael al-Halki was unhurt in the blast, according to state television, which broadcast pictures of him chairing a meeting after the attack, and quoted a statement issued in his name condemning the "bankruptcy" of the "terrorists" responsible.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on a network of activists in Syria, said six people were killed in the bombing. Halki's bodyguard was one of the victims and his driver was critically injured, it said.

The state news agency showed the charred and mangled remains of several vehicles damaged in the explosion, including a bus. An unnamed Syrian official told Associated Press the explosion was caused by a bomb placed under a parked car.

The Guardian
 

The CIA and MI6 have regularly given large cash payments to Hamid Karzai's office with the aim of maintaining access to the Afghan leader and his top allies and officials, but the attempt to buy influence has largely failed and may have backfired, former diplomats and policy analysts say.

The Guardian understands that the payments by British intelligence were on a smaller scale than the CIA's handouts, reported in the New York Times to have been in the tens of millions, and much of the British money has gone towards attempts to finance peace initiatives, which have so far proved abortive.

That failure has raised questions among some British officials over whether eagerness to promote a political settlement may have been exploited by Afghan officials and self-styled intermediaries for the Taliban.

Responding to the allegations while on a visit to Helsinki on Monday, Karzai said his national security council (NSC) had received support from the US government for the past 10 years, and the amounts involved were "not big" and were used for a variety of purposes including helping those wounded in the conflict. "It's multi-purpose assistance," he said, without commenting on the allegations that the money was fuelling corruption.

A victim's body lies amid rubble at the site of a building that collapsed Wednesday in Savar, near Dhaka, Bangladesh,Thursday, April 25, 2013. By Thursday, the death toll reached at least 194 people as rescuers continued to search for injured and missing,
Spiegel Online
 
More than 3,000 people worked producing cheap t-shirts for European clothing chains in the highrise sweatshop that collapsed in Bangladesh last week. Hundreds died because the facility was lacking even the most basic safety standards.

Jamil can't stop thinking about the voices that came from the building: a mixture of pleading, praying, screaming and whimpering that rose from the mountain of ruins. "We heard people calling for help. We heard them begging for water and reciting prayers," the fireman recalls. "But we couldn't do anything for them. So many of were simply beyond our reach." They helped those they could, bringing food and water to people trapped in accessible cavities within the giant mound of rubble that days before was still a functioning factory building.

The disaster, in which several thousand people were buried alive in the collapsed Rana Plaza building in Savar, a suburb of the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka, created sights and sounds that many will find hard to forget. Rezaul, for example, vividly remembers a woman with disheveled hair and a blood-encrusted face whose right leg was pinned down by a concrete pillar. "She begged me to saw off her leg and free her," he says. "I just happened to be there."

BBC
 

Switzerland's Ueli Steck and Simone Moro from Italy were at 7,470m (24,500ft) when the brawl occurred.

The pair allegedly ignored orders to hold their climb and triggered an icefall which hit the Sherpas laying fixed ropes. The climbers deny this.

Both sides have since reached a peace deal, reports say.

Mr Steck told the BBC that their three-man team - which included Briton Jonathan Griffith - was nearing Camp Three on Saturday, when the "conflict" broke out.

He said they had been keeping a respectful distance so as not to disturb the work of the Sherpas laying ropes.

The climbers continued to Camp Three but later descended to Camp Two to "finish the discussion" and were met by more than 100 angry Sherpas, who began to beat them and throw rocks, Mr Steck said.

He said the Sherpas threatened to kill the climbers if they did not leave the camp.

One of the Sherpas threw a pocket knife at Mr Moro but "luckily [it] just hit the belt of his backpack", Mr Steck said, adding that they escaped with no serious injuries.

NPR
 

Forget about the American dream. Nowadays, the next big thing is the Chinese dream. In Beijing, it's the latest official slogan, mentioned on the front page of the official People's Daily 24 times in a single week recently.

With this level of publicity from the official propaganda machine, the Chinese dream even looks set to be enshrined as the new official ideology.

But what exactly is it?

According to Chinese President Xi Jinping, the Chinese dream is "realizing a prosperous and strong country, the rejuvenation of the nation and the well-being of the people." He first invoked the concept within two weeks of being elevated to party chief in November.

Since then, the Chinese dream has been on everyone's lips, even visiting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

"I heard today a very specific discussion from the president of China about the China dream," he said after his weekend visit to Beijing earlier this month. "I think that it's fair to say that the United States wants to do its part, if we build the capacity for the people of China to share in that."

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Reuters

LONDON, April 29 - Apple took initial steps Monday for what would be its first debt sale ever, as the U.S. computer giant lays the groundwork for what would be one of the most anticipated bond sales of the year.

The company was to begin investor calls today led by Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs, a source familiar with the situation told IFR, and filed SEC paperwork for a debt offering.

The only major tech company without a penny of debt on its books, Apple stunned the markets last week by announcing it could sell debt for the first time to help fund a $100 billion capital return program for shareholders.

Any bond offer from the makers of the iconic iPhone and iPad would be highly sought after by investors, and it is believed the company could raise funds at a cheaper rate than even Triple A rated Microsoft.

Bloomberg
 

Google Inc. (GOOG)’s $12.4 billion purchase last year of mobile-phone pioneer Motorola Mobility Holdings partly for its trove of more than 17,000 patents is showing signs it wasn’t much of a bargain.

A federal judge last week said Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) owes only pennies in royalties per sale of each Xbox video-gaming system and Windows operating system instead of the potential billions of dollars Google sought in a patent-infringement case. Four days earlier, the Google unit lost another patent case against Apple Inc. (AAPL)
Google, owner of the most-used search engine and the Android operating system for wireless devices, estimated in regulatory filings that $5.5 billion of the purchase price for Motorola was for patents and developed technology. Chief Executive Officer Larry Page in August 2011 said Motorola’s patent portfolio would “help protect Android from anticompetitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies.”

CNET
 

If you've never been to a wedding that ended in a punch-up, you really haven't lived.

There's always something so bracing in seeing people devolve to their true, animal state, drunk and flailing their fists.

Someone at Microsoft clearly has recent experience with such a thing, as the company Monday released a new ad that describes the constant spat between fanpersons of Apple and Samsung as a battle between two tribes of the insane.

We are at a wedding. Everything seems fine, until someone with a very large Galaxy phone gets in the way of someone with an iPhone trying to take a picture of the happy couple.

CNET
 

Google's predictive search and voice recognition tool sauntered over to Apple's iOS as an app on Monday.

Having debuted at last year's Google I/O conference, the Now-enabled Google Search 3.0 for iOS brings the same robust search features and visual style, called cards, to iPhones and iPads. Tamar Yehoshua, Google Now's product manager, said that Google Now will compete well against Apple's personal assistant Siri because of its accuracy.

"We think we've built a great experience," she said during a conversation at Google's headquarters in Mountain View last week. "We're giving you an answer before you've even asked," she explained. Google is "able to predict knowledge that you want before you know you want it."

CNET
 

If Apple and Samsung want to see their stock prices rise higher, their smartphone prices will have to fall lower.

Both companies have established a dominant position in the wireless industry thanks to their buzzworthy, feature-packed, and polished flagship smartphones. The iPhone 5 and the Galaxy S3 (soon to be displaced by the Galaxy S4) reign atop the sales charts, allowing the two to control more than half the smartphone market and virtually all of the profits.

But a look at both of their most recent financial results show that dominating the high-end smartphone market is no longer enough to satiate the ever-increasing demand for more growth. If Apple and Samsung are going to keep their stellar runs going, they will have to get more aggressive about the market for affordable smartphones -- particularly in emerging markets where consumers are just buying their first mobile phone.

Science Blog
 

Scientific collaborators from Yale School of Medicine and University College London (UCL) have uncovered the molecular pathway by which new arteries may form after heart attacks, strokes and other acute illnesses — bypassing arteries that are blocked. Their study appears in the April 29 issue of Developmental Cell.

Arteries form in utero and during development, but can also form in adults when organs become deprived of oxygen — for example, after a heart attack. The organs release a molecular signal called VEGF. Working with mice, the Yale-UCL team discovered that in order for VEGF-driven artery formation to occur, VEGF must bind with two molecules known as VEGFR2 and NRP1, and all three must work as a team.

CLOSE TO HOME

 

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat
 

The three abalone divers who died off the North Coast during a 24-hour period this weekend were the first deaths of the year and the most in a brief period of time since three abalone divers died over two days in 2007.

All three divers were from the Bay Area men.

Two divers died in 2012, near Jenner and the town of Mendocino, and in 2011 four abalone divers died off of the North Coast including two in April within two days, according to Press Democrat records.

The diver who died Sunday morning while looking for abalone in rough water off of a Fort Bragg beach was 50-year-old Henry Choy of San Bruno, said Mendocino County Deputy Coroner Scott Polma Monday.

The other Sunday victim was Kenneth Liu, 36, of San Francisco, said the Sonoma County Coroner’s Office Monday. Liu became caught in a rip current while diving off of Fisk Mill Cove in northern Sonoma County.

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat
 
Don't tell Rat, Pig or Zebra — as sweetly as their creator, Stephan Pastis, savors drawing and concocting predicaments for them in his massively popular “Pearls Before Swine” comic strip, he has found creative bliss with the kid detective who stars in his new book.

The Santa Rosan is traveling the country on an ambitious, VIP tour to promote, “Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made.” The bountifully illustrated and ridiculously hilarious kids' book is unrelated to Pastis' syndicated strip, but the fame he has achieved as a cartoonist is what makes most people eager to meet him and check out his book.

SF Gate
 

An off-duty San Francisco sheriff's deputy was found dead in San Pablo Bay on Monday, several hours after his boat was seen drifting off Vallejo, authorities said.
The body of Michael Roberts, 56, of Hercules was discovered about 3 p.m. by a boater near the Vallejo Municipal Marina, authorities said.
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