Syria conflict — Twin blasts inside a university campus in Aleppo, Syria, set cars ablaze, blew the walls off dormitory rooms and left more than 80 people dead, anti-regime activists said. What caused the blasts remained unclear. Anti-regime activists trying to topple President Bashar Assad’s regime said his forces carried out two airstrikes. Syrian state media, for its part, blamed rebels fighting the Syrian government, saying they fired rockets that struck the campus.
Support for Hagel — Chuck Hagel secured the backing of two of the staunchest pro-Israel Senate Democrats in a clear boost to the Republican’s prospects of becoming President Barack Obama’s next defense secretary. Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York and Barbara Boxer of California said Tuesday that they had spoken extensively with Hagel and he had addressed their earlier reservations about whether he was “anti-Israel," too soft on Iran and opposed to gay rights.
Iran weapons — Iran sought Tuesday to spell out in its clearest terms yet that it is not seeking nuclear weapons, highlighting a religious decree issued by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that bans nuclear weapons. The latest reference to Khamenei’s declaration is seen as a bid to close the door on debates that Iran may have carried out atomic bomb trigger tests as inspectors from the U.N. atomic watchdog were on their way to Tehran for a new round of discussions.
Rhode Island gay marriage — Rhode Island lawmakers could vote by the end of the month on legislation that would allow gays and lesbians to marry in the state. Hundreds of gay marriage supporters and opponents crammed the Statehouse Tuesday as a House committee heard several hours of testimony. One rally in the center of the Statehouse drowned out some of those testifying in a third-floor room.
Jamaica’s rare earth — Jamaica may be able to benefit from newly found deposits of rare-earth elements that are key ingredients for smartphones, computers and numerous other high-tech goods, the Caribbean island’s top mining official said Tuesday. Science, Technology, Energy & Mining Minister Philip Paulwell said Japanese researchers believe they have found “high concentrations of rare-earth elements" in the country’s red mud, or bauxite residue.
Sea turtle rescue — Slogging through muck and venturing out on kayaks, volunteers along North Carolina’s seashore are rescuing sea turtles that become stunned when the water turns cold and get stuck in coastal sounds, unable to save themselves. The sea turtles tend to be juveniles who get so busy gorging themselves on the near-shore goodies that they don’t get around to moving out to the warmer Gulf stream before a cold spell hits.
School shooting — A part-time student strode into the office of a longtime administrator at a downtown St. Louis business school Tuesday and shot the man in the chest, creating panic in the school before turning the gun on himself, police said. Both men were in surgery Tuesday afternoon at Saint Louis University Hospital. Police Chief Sam Dotson said he was optimistic both would survive, but a hospital spokesman declined to discuss their conditions.
Dreamliner trouble — Boeing Co.’s 787 planes were grounded for safety checks early today by two major Japanese airlines after one was forced to make an emergency landing in the latest blow for the new jet. All Nippon Airways said a cockpit message showed battery problems and a burning smell was detected in the cockpit and the cabin, forcing the 787 on a domestic flight to land at Takamatsu airport in western Japan. The 787, known as the Dreamliner, is Boeing’s newest and most technologically advanced jet, and the company is counting heavily on its success.
— From wire reports