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Blue and yellow are the colors for tributes to victims of the Boston Marathon. Street lights on the route of this year's race are among the places they're showing up. (Getty Images)

Boston Bombing Defendant Can See Victims' Autopsy Photos, Judge Says

Apr 16, 2014

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A federal judge said Wednesday that Boston Marathon bombings suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev may see autopsy photos of the three people who died after the explosions near the finish line of last year's race.

District Court Judge George O'Toole "rejected a claim by the government that Tsarnaev should not see the photos because it would disturb the families of the victims," NBC News writes. The news network adds that:

"Under court rules, lawyers for Tsarnaev are allowed to see the photos as they prepare a defense. The government sought a special restriction — that Tsarnaev himself not be allowed to see them unless the government offered them as evidence at trial.

"The government argued in court papers that allowing Tsarnaev to see all the photos would subject marathon victims to 'needless harm and suffering.'

"The defense lawyers said they had never heard of such a restriction, and that decisions about what Tsarnaev can and can't see are best left to his lawyers."

O'Toole denied the defense lawyers' request, however, that some of the charges against Tsarnaev be dismissed. New England's NECN.com writes that the attorneys had argued that "many of the charges in the 30-count indictment Tsarnaev is facing are redundant."

It was one year ago Monday that the two bombs went off. During the four-day hunt for the bombers, an MIT campus police officer was killed.

Tsarnaev's older brother, Tamerlan, died after a gun battle with police in the Boston suburb of Watertown, Mass.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, now 20, was captured in Watertown last April 19. His trial is expected to begin in November.

This year's Boston Marathon will be run next Monday. In recent days, the related NPR reports have included:

After Losing A Leg, Woman Walks On Her Own — In 4-Inch Heels

Boston Stronger: City Marks One Year Since Marathon Bombings

Runner Returns To Boston With A New Outlook On Life

Also of note: Running Toward Boston, an NPR Tumblr blog from eight people who are training for the race.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Colorado High School Offers Treatment To Drug Users

Apr 16, 2014 (Here & Now / WBUR-FM)

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Ever since recreational marijuana became legal in Colorado in January, some school officials say they’re seeing more students using it. They also say heavy weed smokers generally miss more class and get lower grades.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Jenny Brundin of Colorado Public Radio looks at a pilot program at a high school in outside of Denver that is now offering drug treatment alongside of biology and Spanish.

Reporter

Copyright 2014 WBUR-FM. To see more, visit http://www.wbur.org.

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Study Links Casual Pot Use With Brain Abnormalities

Apr 16, 2014 (Here & Now / WBUR-FM)

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Young adults who smoke marijuana at least once a week showed changes in the size and shape of two key brain regions, according to a new study of 20 pot smokers and 20 non-pot smokers between 18 and 25.

This is the first time recreational marijuana use has been connected related to significant brain changes.

The findings, a collaboration between Northwestern University and Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School, were published in The Journal of Neuroscience.

The senior author of the study, Hans Breiter, joins Here & Now’s Robin Young to discuss the research.

Interview Highlights: Hans Breiter

On the findings of the study

“Basically we looked in at two critical structures for reward processing and judgement decision making and also the processing of emotion. And we found that these two structures were abnormal in these casual users compared to well-matched healthy controls.”

On the reward processing part of the brain

“A fundamental aspect of addiction research has been this concept of reward and that substances of abuse basically kind of hijack this system and substitute for things that are naturally rewarding such as food or playing with your kids or taking a moment to read a piece of Proust or something. Since early work in the ’90s, we found that the nucleus accumbens is basically one of many many regions of the brain that process what is positive and negative for a person and facilitates making judgments and decisions based on these assessments of what’s positive and negative.”

On the small sample size and self-reporting by participants

“This is an excellent question and it’s a question that gets raised in any type of study where you take a sample of society and then try to extrapolate out from it. We used statistics that allow for random effects analysis. We looked at the data in multiple ways. I myself am known as a bit of a conservative neuro-imager and don’t publish things unless I believe it’s going to be replicated. But it gets to this issue, how can you extrapolate from 40 people to the rest of society — you can’t. This is a pilot study, absolutely needs to be verified with larger cohorts and in cohorts around the country. There’s no way with just 40 people that you can sample the diversity of a country with as much diversity as we have.”

Guest

  • Hans Breiter, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and senior author of the study.
Copyright 2014 WBUR-FM. To see more, visit http://www.wbur.org.

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Clockwise from upper left: Bruce Springsteen, Joe Strummer during his time with The Pogues, Lydia Loveless, Devo (Courtesy of the artist)

Record Store Day Premieres From Springsteen, Devo, Joe Strummer And The Pogues, More

Apr 16, 2014 (WBUR-FM)

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Music nerds: gather round! This week, our show is dedicated to celebrating one of the most joyous days of the year. No, not Flag Day. Record Store Day! This Saturday, Apr. 19, is the day when masses of music lovers wait in long lines at local independent records stores, hoping to score exclusive releases on vinyl.

To mark the occasion, hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton share six Record Store Day exclusives, starting with a cut by Bruce Springsteen, from an EP he's releasing called American Beauty. The 12" EP features four unreleased, never-heard songs from The Boss. Three were recorded during sessions for his High Hopes LP. The fourth, and one we've got, is an earlier, electrified cut called "Hurry Up Sundown."

Bob follows with a live recording of Devo made during a 1977 concert at Max's Kansas City. The song, "Uncontrollable Urge," shows the punchier side to the band's sound.

One of those very music fans who waits in line on Record Store Day, Ben Kessler, shares his meticulously planned list of "needs" and "wants," and explains his unbridled spending habits this time of year. On his list: A live recording from 1991 of The Pogues with Joe Strummer of The Clash (who had temporarily replaced singer Shane MacGowan in the band) on vocals, including "If I Could Fall From Grace With God." Ben then shifts gears and unearths his love for Ke$ha and Lydia Loveless. Loveless is releasing a 7" single with a new original song backed by a surprising cover of Ke$ha's "Blind."

We close the show out with a strangely textured Dana Falconberry song produced by Spoon drummer Jim Eno, and "Always N Forever" by Chicago's brash, young rock group The Orwells. Merry Record Store Day, everyone!

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Clockwise from upper left: Bruce Springsteen, Joe Strummer during his time with The Pogues, Lydia Loveless, Devo (Courtesy of the artist)

Teen Twitter Threats: A New Forum For Stupid?

Apr 16, 2014 (Tell Me More / WBUR-FM) — The writers and commentators of the Beauty Shop weigh in news of the week, including a teenager's tweeted threats to an airline, and the line between hate crimes and terror.

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