Woman is first on FBI terrorist wanted list

The FBI announced it has made Joanne Chesimard, a fugitive member of a black militant group convicted of murdering a New Jersey state trooper in 1973, the first woman on its list of most-wanted terrorists.

Also, the reward for the capture and return of Chesimard, now living in Cuba as Assata Shakur, was doubled to $2 million Thursday, the 40th anniversary of the bloody gun battle.

The Justice Department has offered a $1 million reward for information leading to her capture. The additional money is being put up by New Jersey, state Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa said.

Chesimard, a member of the violent Black Liberation Army, was convicted of the 1973 murder of state trooper Werner Foerster during a traffic stop. The BLA was responsible for killing more than a dozen police officers in the 1970s and ’80s, an FBI official said.

— Associated Press

Governor signs gay-marriage bill

Rhode Island has become the 10th state to allow same-sex couples to marry. Gov. Lincoln Chafee (I) signed gay-marriage legislation Thursday, shortly after the House gave final approval to the bill. The first marriages could take place Aug. 1, when the legislation would take effect.

The other five New England states already have gay marriage, but bills that would have changed marriage laws in heavily Catholic Rhode Island sputtered for nearly 20 years until this year. More gay marriage supporters were elected to the legislature in the fall, and advocates mounted an aggressive lobbying campaign to pressure undecided lawmakers.

— Associated Press

Man dies after firing weapon at airport

A man who had fired a gun inside a ticketing area at Houston’s largest airport was killed after being confronted by a law enforcement official during an incident that sent people in the terminal scrambling and screaming, police said Thursday.

It’s unclear whether the unidentified man, believed to be about 30, fatally shot himself or was killed by a Department of Homeland Security agent who had confronted him, said police spokesman Kese Smith.

Police said the man walked into the ticketing area in Terminal B at Bush Intercontinental Airport around 1:35 p.m. and fired at least one shot into the air. The agent asked him to drop his weapon. The man refused.

At the same time the agent was firing, it appeared the gunman was shooting himself, Smith said. The man died at the scene.

— Associated Press

Suicide rate up for those in middle age

The suicide rate among middle-aged Americans climbed a startling 28 percent in a decade, a period that included the recession and the mortgage crisis, the government reported Thursday.

The trend was most pronounced among white men and women in that age group. Their suicide rate jumped 40 percent between 1999 and 2010.

But the rates in younger and older people held steady. And there was little change among middle-aged blacks, Hispanics and most other racial and ethnic groups, the report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found.

— Associated Press

Report looks at ailments affecting bees: A new federal report issued Thursday by the Agriculture Department and the Environmental Protection Agency blames a combination of problems for a mysterious and dramatic disappearance of U.S. honeybees since 2006. The intertwined factors cited include a parasitic mite, multiple viruses, bacteria, poor nutrition, genetics, habitat loss and pesticides. Bees are needed to pollinate crops.

— From news services