VIDEO: Today's Headline News from Associated Press
PATRIOTS PLAYER HERNANDEZ CHARGED WITH MURDER
ATTLEBORO, Mass. (AP) -- Police have charged Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez with murder and weapons counts in connection with the slaying of a semi-pro football player whose body was found in an industrial park about a mile from Hernandez's home.
The charges were revealed Wednesday in Attleboro District Court after Hernandez was arrested at his sprawling North Attleborough home. Less than two hours after his arrest, the Patriots cut Hernandez from the team.
The investigation started more than a week ago after semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd was found slain in an industrial park.
Lloyd's family says he and Hernandez were friends and that Lloyd's girlfriend and Hernandez's fiancee are sisters.
Authorities say Lloyd was shot multiple times in the back and chest. They say Hernandez was upset with Lloyd after the two had a dispute at a nightclub a few days before.
SNOWDEN MYSTERY DEEPENS: ALL EYES ON AIRPORT
MOSCOW (AP) -- Moscow's main airport swarmed with journalists from around the globe Wednesday, but the man they were looking for - National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden - was nowhere to be seen. The mystery of his whereabouts only deepened a day after President Vladimir Putin said that Snowden was in the transit area of Sheremetyevo Airport.
An Associated Press reporter entered the area Wednesday by flying from Kiev, Ukraine, and found ordinary scenes of duty free shopping, snoozing travelers and tourists sipping coffee, but no trace of America's most famous fugitive. If Putin's statement is true, it means that Snowden has effectively lived a life of airport limbo since his weekend flight from Hong Kong, especially with his American passport now revoked by U.S. authorities.
In a further twist, Ecuador's foreign minister said Wednesday it could take months to decide whether to grant asylum to Snowden and the Latin American nation would take into consideration its relations with the U.S. when doing so. Speaking during a visit to Malaysia's main city, Kuala Lumpur, Ricardo Patino compared Snowden's case to that of Julian Assange, the founder of anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, who has been given asylum in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.
"It took us two months to make a decision in the case of Assange, so do not expect us to make a decision sooner this time," Patino told reporters.
Snowden, who is charged with violating American espionage laws, fled Hong Kong over the weekend and flew to Russia. He booked a seat on a Havana-bound flight Monday en route to Venezuela, but didn't board the plane. His ultimate destination was believed to be Ecuador.
The airport zone where Snowden is purportedly staying serves both connecting passengers traveling via Moscow to onward destinations and passengers departing from Moscow who have passed border and security checks.
NIH TO RETIRE MOST CHIMPS FROM MEDICAL RESEARCH
WASHINGTON (AP) -- It's official: The National Institutes of Health plans to end most use of chimpanzees in government medical research, saying humans' closest relatives "deserve special respect."
The NIH announced Wednesday that it will retire about 310 government-owned chimpanzees from research over the next few years, and keep only 50 others essentially on retainer - available if needed for crucial medical studies that could be performed no other way.
"These amazing animals have taught us a great deal already," said NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins. He said the decision helps usher in "a compassionate era."
The NIH's decision was long expected, after the prestigious Institute of Medicine declared in 2011 that nearly all use of chimps for invasive medical research no longer can be justified. Much of the rest of the world already had ended such research with this species that is so like us.
Any future biomedical research funded by the NIH with chimps, government-owned or not, would be allowed only under strict conditions after review by a special advisory board. In five years, the NIH will reassess if even that group of 50 government-owned apes still is needed for science.
What's unclear is exactly where the retiring chimps, which have spent their lives in research facilities around the country, now will spend their final years. NIH said they could eventually join more than 150 other chimps already in the national sanctuary system operated by Chimp Haven in Louisiana. In that habitat, the chimps can socialize at will, climb trees and explore different play areas.
But NIH officials said currently there's not enough space to handle all of the 310 destined for retirement. They're exploring additional locations, and noted that some research facilities that currently house government-owned chimps have habitats similar to the sanctuary system.