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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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