EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

April 28, 2013

Around the Region

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Russia had wiretap on bomb suspect

WASHINGTON — U.S. officials say Russian authorities secretly recorded a conversation in 2011 in which one of the Boston bombing suspects vaguely discussed jihad with his mother.

Officials say a second call was recorded between the suspects’ mother and a man under FBI investigation living in southern Russia.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the ongoing case.

They say the Russians shared this intelligence with the U.S. in the past few days.

The conversations are significant because, had they been revealed earlier, there might have been enough evidence for the FBI to initiate a more thorough investigation of the Boston bombing suspects’ family.

Spring thaw warnings on Mt. Washington

PINKHAM NOTCH, N.H. — Forest officials are strongly advising visitors to Mount Washington’s Tuckerman Ravine to plan ahead and be prepared for the spring thaw.

The officials say conditions can change rapidly and having up-to-date information is vital to a safe and enjoyable outing. It’s recommended that visitors check avalanche advisories first.

Ice fall is an annual hazard that has injured and killed many visitors. Each fall and winter, large ice cliffs form in Tuckerman ravine. They come down in the spring, often in pieces larger than a car.

U.S. Forest Service snow rangers are on the job daily to determine avalanche hazards, promote safety, and assist visitors.

FBI finishes landfill search near college

BOSTON — The FBI has concluded its search of a landfill near a Massachusetts college where the 19-year-old suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings was a student.

FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller says the two-day search ended Friday. Eimiller wouldn’t say what investigators were looking for or whether they recovered anything from the landfill.

Bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was a sophomore at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth. Students say he returned to the campus after the bombings.

Two of his college friends were detained April 20 and were being held at a Boston jail for violating their student visas by not regularly attending classes. A lawyer for one says the two students have been interviewed by FBI agents, cooperated fully and aren’t suspects in the attack.

Outside spending in US Sen. race tops $2.2M

BOSTON — Spending by outside groups in Massachusetts’ special U.S. Senate election has topped $2.2 million in the final weekend before the primary.

By far the largest amount spent so far — nearly 84 percent — is supporting Democrat Edward Markey.

The rest is split between fellow Democratic congressman Stephen Lynch and two of the three Republican candidates — Cohasset businessman Gabriel Gomez and former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan.

An Associated Press review of campaign finance records found that the League of Conservation Voters which has spent nearly $831,000 to back Markey, the most of any group.

NextGen Committee, which opposes the Keystone XL pipeline, also hopes to defeat Lynch and has spent more than $547,000.

The top group supporting Lynch is the International Association of Firefighters, which spent nearly $106,000.

The primary is Tuesday.

Chemical cremation up for vote in NH

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The New Hampshire Senate will vote on a bill next week allowing the chemical cremation of bodies using a process that dissolves bodies into a soapy liquid using lye, 300-degree heat and 60 pounds of pressure per square inch to dissolve bodies in big stainless-steel cylinders.

Supporters hail it as an environmentally friendly advance in mortuary science gaining traction in the U.S., and legal in more than 10 states including neighboring Maine. The liquid byproduct can be treated at existing waste water treatment facilities and avoids the air quality problems of fire cremation.

A Senate committee, which held a hearing on the bill recently, voted 3 to 2 recommending the Senate reject the proposal. Farmington Republican Sen. Sam Cataldo voiced concerns at that hearing about whether the byproduct could find its way into drinking water.

Homemade bombs leave campus on edge

KEENE, N.H. — A pair of homemade explosives that were found at Keene State College left the campus on edge, but police say they had nothing to do with the Boston Marathon attacks.

WMUR-TV says the remnants of bottle explosives were found on different days on campus this week, prompting two campus-wide alerts. Police say similar homemade chemical bombs were also found in March, but no arrests have been made.

Student Brett Lyskawa says the bomb remnants were found in a parking lot.

— Associated Press