VIDEO: Today's Headline News from Associated Press


WATERTOWN, Mass. (AP) -- Police say the 19-year-old suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings exchanged gunfire with law enforcement for an hour while holed up in a boat before being captured.

Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis says the suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (JOH'-kahr tsahr-NY'-ev), was hospitalized late Friday in serious condition.

His brother, 26-year-old Tamerlan, was killed earlier Friday in a furious attempt to escape police.

The brothers are suspects in Monday's marathon bombings, which killed three people and wounded more than 180 others. The men are also suspected of killing a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer in his vehicle late Thursday.




NEW YORK (AP) -- Under pressure over its long-standing ban on gays, the Boy Scouts of America is proposing to lift the ban for youth members but continue to exclude gays as adult leaders.


The Scouts announced Friday that the proposal would be submitted to the roughly 1,400 voting members of its National Council at a meeting in Texas the week of May 20.


Gay-rights groups have demanded a complete lifting of the ban, while some churches and conservative groups want it maintained in its entirety, raising the likelihood that the new proposal will draw continued criticism from both sides.


Indeed, the BSA, in making its announcement, estimated that easing the ban on gay adults could cause widespread defections that cost the organization 100,000 to 350,000 members.


In January, the BSA said it was considering a plan to give local Scout units the option of admitting gays as both youth members and adult leaders or continuing to exclude them.


On Friday, the BSA said it changed course in part because of surveys sent out starting in February to about 1 million members of the Scouting community.




WASHINGTON (AP) -- Veterans waiting more than a year for a decision on their disability claims are moving to the front of the line, under a new program announced Friday.


The Department of Veterans Affairs is responding to criticism about the soaring number of claims that have been pending for longer than 125 days. The VA said that of the nearly 900,000 claims pending in the system, some 250,000 are from veterans who have been waiting at least a year for a decision.


Veterans receive disability compensation for injuries and illness incurred or aggravated during their active military service. The amount of the compensation is based on a rating assigned by the VA.


Allison Hickey, the VA undersecretary who oversees the Veterans Benefits Administration, says provisional decisions will be made in the coming months based on the evidence currently in the veteran's file. In some cases, medical exams will be required, and those will be expedited.


Veterans whose claims are granted would get compensation immediately. Veterans whose claims are denied will have a year to submit more information before the VA makes a final decision. If the VA reverses the first decision, then benefits will be paid retroactively back to when the veteran first submitted the claim.


The VA projected that it will take up to six months to complete the 250,000 claims being targeted.

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