The US economy continued to grow at a fairly moderate rate in recent weeks, despite bad winter weather in some regions, according to a Federal Reserve report released Wednesday. Unseasonably harsh weather had weighed on consumer spending and the housing market in some areas, particularly the Northeast. Fed contacts in the Boston area, hit with record snowfalls, "were fairly upbeat this period, notwithstanding the severe weather," the report said.
Lawyers for the student on trial for the Boston marathon bombings bluntly admitted Wednesday that he was responsible for the attacks, but insisted he had been led astray by his brother. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev could face the death penalty and -- while survivors recounted the carnage in graphic detail -- the defense sought to put the bulk of the blame on his slain older sibling. Prosecutors said Tsarnaev carried out the attacks to avenge the deaths of fellow Muslims overseas after learning how to build pressure-cooker bombs through an Al-Qaeda publication. The Kyrgyzstan-born US citizen faces the death penalty if convicted of the bombings which killed three people and wounded 264, on April 15, 2013.
A sharply divided US Supreme Court weighed the future of "Obamacare" for a second time in three years Wednesday after a new challenge to the contentious healthcare reform. The law, President Barack Obama's crowning domestic achievement, seeks to make health insurance available to a broad cross-section of Americans, for whom health care is often too expensive or otherwise inaccessible. In June 2012, the first time the Supreme Court considered a challenge to Obamacare, its conservative Chief Justice John Roberts helped save the measure by voting alongside the four more progressive justices.