Top news: In a speech today at the National Defense University, President Barack Obama is expected to discuss the legal and policy rational for drone strikes, and to renew his push to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. In advance of the speech, the administration acknowledged for the first time that four Americans had been killed in drone strikes since 2009 (though as FP's J. Dana Stuster points out, at least one other American was killed in a 2002 drone strike in Yemen.)
Earlier in the week, White House officials revealed that the president is considering relocating drone operations from the CIA to the military in the interest of transparency. New policy guidelines, moreover, will restrict lethal drone strikes in areas that are not active war zones -- like Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia -- to instances when a target poses "a continuing, imminent threat to Americans" and cannot feasibly be captured, the New York Times reports.
In his speech, Obama will also announce plans to lift the ban on sending Guantanamo detainees back to Yemen. He plans to appoint a new high-level State Department official to oversee the eventual closure of the facility.
Boston Bombing: A Florida inmate on Wednesday implicated Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the dead Boston Marathon bombing suspect, in a 2011 triple homicide. The man then attempted to attack his interrogators and was fatally shot in the process.
- Iran is making progress on the construction of a research reactor that could one day produce weapons-grade plutonium, according to a U.N. report released Wednesday.
- Israel is prepared to launch "very large scale" operations to secure chemical and other weapons inside Syria in the event that President Bashar al-Assad falls, the country's air force chief said on Wednesday.
- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday that the United States would ramp up its aid to the Syrian rebels in the event that President Bashar al-Assad is unwilling to participate in negotiations.
- Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday signed a new constitution into law, paving the way for elections between June and September.
- At least 18 troops and four suspected militants died in clashes at a military outpost in the northern Niger town of Agadez.
- Fighting in Sudan's Darfur region has displaced some 300,000 people this year, U.N. humanitarian aid chief Valerie Amos said on Wednesday.
- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang rejected a draft proposal of a $6.5 trillion urbanization plan designed to boost the economy, according to sources.
- A government report on last month's tragic factory collapse in Savar, Bangladesh found that the building was in violation of building codes and made from substandard materials.
- North Korea dispatched an envoy to China on Wednesday amid heightened tensions between the two countries.
- FARC rebels in Colombia on Wednesday denied having kidnapped two Spanish tourists who went missing in the country last week.
- Thousands of Mexican troops have moved into the country's Michoacan state to subdue drug-related violence, which has spiraled out of control in recent weeks.
- Authorities in Costa Rica initiated small-scale evacuations after the Turrialba volcano, one of the country's largest, began spewing ash and gas.
- Both Germany and Britain expressed support for designating Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.
- Two assailants on Wednesday hacked a man to death with knives near a south London military barracks in what authorities are calling a terrorist attack.
- IMF chief Christine Lagarde appeared in a French court Thursday to explain a controversial 400 million euro payout she made in 2007 as France's finance minister.