Deadly Tornadoes Rip Through South; Tax Deadline Today

Apr 18, 2011

A series of powerful tornadoes that swept across six states has left a path of death and destruction unparalleled since the mid-1980s, killing at least 45 people. The violent weather, described by witnesses as like something out of 'The Wizard of Oz' began Thursday but continued through the weekend, spawning 240 tornadoes in the south — including Oklahoma, Virginia, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi. Worst-hit North Carolina experienced a whopping 62 twisters, according to the National Weather Service. North Carolina Public Radio's Leoneda Inge, reporting from Raleigh, described the devastation: "... large trees are broken, powerlines are spread out in the street like spaghetti."

More dire warnings of atrocities against civilians are emerging from Libya. The latest reports from the rebel-held western city of Misrata are that 1,000 people have been killed in six weeks of fighting — mostly from sniper fire and shrapnel wounds. NPR's Peter Kenyon reports from the eastern city of Benghazi, the rebels' de facto capital, that U.N. emergency relief coordinator Valerie Amos says she hopes the Moammar Gadhafi's forces will halt attacks on Misrata to allow humanitarian aid to reach the embattled city. Amos says she has question Gadhafi's regime on its alleged use of cluster munitions and "they flatly denied" using them.

The New York Times reports that the FAA was slow to react to concerns about structural integrity in Boeing 737s years before the incident earlier this month involving a Southwest jet. The roof of the medium-haul jet was peeled back, leaving a five-foot gash and depressurizing the cabin. After a strikingly similar incident with an Aloha Airlines 737 in 1988, the FAA called the incident "a purely random occurrence" and took years to finally draft rules for how long the aircraft could fly.

We'll spare you the cliche about death and taxes (wait, does that count?), but today is the filing deadline, a few days later than normal. The Chicago Tribune reports that 96 million people have filed tax returns, a 2.8 percent increase from the same time last year. The average taxpayer received a refund of $2,895.

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