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7 things to know now: Hernandez suicide; Paris attack; Galaxy S8; diet soda and strokes

Here's a roundup of news trending across the nation and world today.

What to know now:

1. Hernandez suicide: Officials at the jail where Aaron Hernandez was found dead Wednesday said the former NFL star scrawled “John 3:16” across his forehead and wrote three notes to family members, placing them next to a Bible, before he hanged himself with a bed sheet. Hernandez’s death was officially ruled a suicide by a medical examiner Thursday.

2. Arkansas execution: Ledell Lee was put to death in Arkansas late Thursday after a series of court rulings led to the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to block the execution. Lawyers for Lee argued that lethal injection, the method of execution in Arkansas, constituted cruel and unusual punishment because the drug used to render the person unconscious does not effectively prevent a painful death. The state says it hopes to execute seven more inmates before the end of April. Lee’s was the first execution in the state since 2005.

3. Galaxy S8 is out: The Samsung Galaxy S8 smartphone goes on sale in stores Friday. The phone features a 5.8-inch display screen and will set customers back $720. The S8+, with a 6.2-inch screen, also goes on sale Friday. The phones are the first released by Samsung since the debut of the Galaxy Note 7, which was banned from planes and eventually recalled because of a fire risk.

4. Paris attack: A French police officer was killed and three others wounded by a gunman who opened fire on the Champs-Elysees boulevard in Paris Thursday night. Police shot and killed the man who authorities said lived in a suburb of Paris. The Islamic State quickly took credit for the attack. The shooting came just days before France holds its presidential election.

5. Teacher arrested: A Tennessee school teacher was arrested in California Thursday after being on the run for more than a month with a 15-year-old student. Tad Cummins, 50, surrendered without incident in Cecilville, California, where he and the teen had been staying in a cabin. According to law enforcement authorities, a tip about the car Cummins was believed to be driving led to the arrest. 

And one more

A new study released Thursday links diet sodas and other artificially sweetened drinks to an increased chance of stroke and dementia. The study, published in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke, suggest an association between the drinks and an increase in strokes but did not go as far as to say there is a direct cause-and-effect relationship. The study found no connection between stroke or dementia and sugar-sweetened drinks or fruit juice. "More research is needed to study the health effects of diet drinks so that consumers can make informed choices concerning their health," said the lead author of the study, Matthew Pase, a senior research fellow at Boston University School of Medicine.

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The Latest News Headlines

  • An explosion has been reported near the Port Authority in New York, police said Monday morning. >> Read more trending news  >> Click here or scroll down for more
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  • A Texas neighborhood is shaken by the deaths of two young children, which authorities believe came at the hand of their father. According to the Star-Telegram, police responded to a North Richland Hills home over the weekend after a mother called 911. The mother was uninjured, but two children and an adult man, later found to be their father, were found dead at the residence. >> Read more trending news “Upon arrival, officers found a 5-year-old female, 9-year-old male and adult male all deceased from apparent gunshot wounds. Initial investigation revealed the father shot the children and then shot himself,” North Richland Hills police said in a statement. The department went on to explain a search into the home’s records “revealed no prior history between [the] department and the family or address.” The names of those involved have not yet been released. “There’s no history here,” said police spokesperson Carissa Katekaru. “We’re still trying to figure out why. I grew up in North Richland Hills, and I would call this a pretty quiet neighborhood.” Neighbor Denise Albino, 57, has lived in the area for about 20 years. “Oh my God, those poor babies,” she said. “I just can’t understand why people do this kind of thing.” Albino said her son told her about the news. “I didn’t know them,” she added. “I would see the kids playing basketball all the time, but I never really got a chance to speak with them.” Another neighbor, Rosa Nichols, told KTVT: “You can drive by, and they can have a perfect house, but you don’t know what’s going on inside the house. It’s so sad.” “We lived there for several years and had some happy memories and sure hate to have sad memories made there for these families. For this family, we don’t know you, but we sure feel for you,” said Mike Bentley, who once lived in the home.
  •  21-year-old Korey Richardson is in police custody after a four-hour long standoff at Southside apartment complex.  Witnesses told police they heard what sounded like a man beating a woman inside of the units. They also said they saw the woman run away from the apartment, but the man chased after her, grabbed her and dragged her back into the apartment.  A small child was also with the man and woman.  Responding officers tried to contact the two inside but they were unable to. A SWAT callout was initiated after there was a concern it was a hostage situation, and Richardson was not letting the woman leave.  The woman was eventually released along with the child. Police reported she had minor injuries but the child was okay.  Shortly after the woman and child were released, Richardson surrendered and was taken into custody.  He’s facing a Battery and False Imprisonment charge.
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