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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.

In case you missed it

All in a day’s work for Albert, the University of Florida’s mascot.

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  • Looking for ways to deal with hundreds of thousands of younger illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States by their parents, a group of Republican Senators introduced a plan on Monday which would let those “Dreamers” remain in the U.S. legally, but wait up to fifteen years in line with others who are seeking American citizenship. “This is not an amnesty bill where we take those individuals and just say, we’re going to give you a quick route to citizenship, and ignore the realities of what happened coming in,” said Sen. James Lankford (R-OK). “They were children, many of them were two or three years old when they came,” Lankford told a news conference at the Capitol. “They’ve grown up in this country, they know no other place.” Sen. Tillis and Sen. Lankford introducing “succeed act”- bill offers merit-based pathway for dreamers to stay in the US pic.twitter.com/NSkU0aGGEu — Dorey Scheimer (@DoreyScheimer) September 25, 2017 The plan from Lankford, Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), would not allow “Dreamers” to bring in relatives during that 15 year wait for possible citizenship – as critics worry it will mean ‘chain migration’ once those younger illegal immigrants are allowed to stay in the U.S. legally. Lankford made clear this bill to deal with the “DACA” children should not be considered on its own, but only as part of a broader Congressional deal on immigration matters. “This individual piece is not designed to be a stand-alone,” Lankford said, rattling off issues like border security, programs to stop companies from hiring illegal immigrants, and cracking down on people who enter the country legally, but then stay longer than their visa allows them to be in the U.S.
  • U.S. researchers are getting ready to recruit more than 1 million people for an unprecedented study to learn how our genes, environments and lifestyles interact. Today, health care is based on averages, what worked best in short studies of a few hundred or thousand patients. The massive “All of Us” project instead will push what’s called precision medicine, using traits that make us unique to forecast health and treat disease. The goal is to end cookie-cutter health care. A pilot is under way now. If all goes well, the National Institutes of Health plans to open enrollment early next year. Participants will get DNA tests, and report on their diet, sleep, exercise and numerous other health-affecting factors. It’s a commitment: The study aims to run for at least 10 years.
  • A kayaker found a grain bag containing six puppies floating in a river Sunday in Uxbridge. >> Read more trending newsThe bag was tied up and the puppies were dumped in the river and left for dead, police said. Uxbridge animal control was called to the scene and took the puppies. All of them are expected to be OK and are being taken care of. The puppies are receiving the necessary care, and will be available for adoption after they have been medically cleared. Uxbridge Police do not have any suspects yet.
  • Some Target workers will be getting more money in their paychecks starting next month. The company announced that starting in October, it will be paying at least $11 an hour, up a dollar from its current $10 an hour minimum wage, CNBC reported. But the retail chain isn’t stopping there. Company officials are promising that the pay will be increased to $15 by 2020. Target is answering Walmart’s pay increase last year to $10 an hour, Reuters reported. Target has promised that the minimum pay rate will apply to 100,000 temporary workers it will hire for the holiday shopping season, CNBC reported. Currently, Target employs 323,000 people at more than 1,800 stores. Earlier this year, Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced a bill that would raise federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. The current federal minimum wage is set at $7.25 an hour.
  • It appeared no drivers, crew or other team members participated in a protest during the national anthem to start the NASCAR Cup series race Sunday. >> Read more trending newsSeveral team owners and executives said they wouldn’t tolerate anyone in their organizations protesting. They could be fired if they had. “It’ll get you a ride on a Greyhound bus,” Richard Childress, who was Dale Earnhardt’s long time team owner, said of protesting. “Anybody that works for me should respect the country we live in. So many people gave their lives for it. This is America.” As the NFL, NBA and MLB have seen players, owners and teams protest and remark on social media in the wake of President Donald Trump's comments Friday and throughout the weekend about athletes who peacefully protest during the national anthem, several NASCAR owners weighed in. Richard Petty was asked if drivers protesting during the anthem would be fired, and he said, “You’re right.” “Anybody that don’t stand up for the anthem oughta be out of the country. Period. What got ’em where they’re at? The United States,” Petty said. The Associated Press contributed to this report.