• In its first foray into the social media site Vine, the White House chose Monday to include an interesting image: President Barack Obama endlessly pedaling a bicycle going nowhere.

    As part of its ongoing quest to control messaging, the White House on Monday began using Vine—a site that creates GIF-like videos—to promote the White House Science Fair, which celebrates student science projects. Its maiden Vine was of Bill Nye the Science Guy, and actor and longtime PBS host LeVar Burton promoting the event.

    In a second social media kickoff Monday, the White House announced a Twitter account for second lady Jill Biden (@DrBiden), which will be run by White House staff and will feature some tweets from the second lady, who will sign personal messages with "-Jill."

    She already wrote the following:

    Congrats @jeffcharbonneau, the National Teacher of the Year. Look forward to hosting all the state teachers this afternoon! -Jill #NTOY13— Dr. Jill Biden (@DrBiden) April 22, 2013

    Monday's moves are the latest actions taken by the White House to control access by communicating directly with the public via Twitter, Flickr and other social media tools.

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  • President Barack Obama (Jason Reed/Reuters)The White House announced Monday that the surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, will be tried in federal court for his alleged crimes. Press secretary Jay Carney flatly rebuffed demands from many Republicans that Tsarnaev be designated an "enemy combatant" in order to interrogate him without constitutional safeguards like access to a lawyer.

    "He will not be treated as an enemy combatant. We will prosecute this terrorist through our civilian system of justice," Carney told reporters at his daily briefing.

    Carney pointed to the convictions and life sentences handed down in other high-profile terror cases like the so-called Times Square Bomber, Faisal Shahzad, and the so-called Underwear Bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. "The system has repeatedly proved that it can successfully handle the threat that we continue to face," Carney said.

    Carney said the decision fell to the Department of Justice and especially Attorney General Eric Holder, but stressed that “the whole national security team supports this decision.”

    Tsarnaev is a a U.S. citizen of Chechen heritage.

    Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has led calls for the government to hold the suspect as an enemy combatant in order to question him unhindered. Graham and other lawmakers argue that failing to do so could hamper investigators' ability to detect and disrupt potential threats that Tsarnaev might know about.

    But Carney said doing so would be illegal.

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  • A memorial in a car window in West, Texas (Charlie Riedel/AP)WACO, Texas—President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will attend a memorial service Thursday for victims of last Wednesday’s deadly fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas.

    The service is scheduled to take place at 2 p.m. CT at Baylor University in Waco. A city official in West said the president is also expected to visit the site of the blast.

    The Obamas were already scheduled to be in Dallas for the opening of former President George W. Bush’s presidential library Thursday morning. White House press secretary Jay Carney said Monday the first couple will fly to West after the library opening to meet with victims of last week’s explosion, which killed 14 people and injured more than 200.

    The announcement came as investigators continued to probe the cause of the fire and subsequent explosion at the West Fertilizer Co. Kelly Kistner, an assistant state fire marshal, said at a briefing on Sunday that more than 70 state and federal officials were combing through the site

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