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VIDEO: Today's Headline News from Associated Press

Residents sit on the shore and watch as the cruise ship Carnival Triumph is visible near Dauphin Island, Ala., Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. The ship with over 1,000 passengers aboard has been idled for nearly a week in the Gulf of Mexico following an engine room fire. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

COAST GUARD: CRUISE SHIP STOPPED; TOWLINE BROKEN

The crippled Carnival cruise slowly making its way back to dry land suffered another setback Thursday when a tow line snapped, setting the ship adrift once again as crews worked to repair it.

On board, passengers described overflowing toilets, sewage backed up in showers, scarce food and people getting sick, bringing the scene into sharper focus after a week at sea. What began as a four-day voyage in the Gulf of Mexico has turned into a vacation nightmare, not at all the luxury cruise touted in brochures.

Passengers were expected to make it to shore Thursday night - only to then face an hours-long bus ride or other travel hassles to finally get back home. Frustrations with the cruise line were simmering on and off the ship, as passengers and their relatives questioned why it has taken so long to get back to dry land after an engine-room fire disabled the ship Sunday.

 

OLYMPIAN OSCAR PISTORIUS CHARGED WITH MURDER

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) -- Paralympic superstar Oscar Pistorius was charged Thursday with the murder of his girlfriend who was shot inside his home in South Africa, a stunning development in the life of a national hero known as the Blade Runner for his high-tech artificial legs.

Reeva Steenkamp, a model who spoke out on Twitter against rape and abuse of women, was shot four times in the predawn hours in the house, in a gated community in the capital, Pretoria, police said.

Hours later after undergoing police questioning, Pistorius left a police station accompanied by officers. He looked down as photographers snapped pictures, the hood on his gray workout jacket pulled up, covering most of his face. His court hearing was originally scheduled for Thursday afternoon but has been postponed until Friday to give forensic investigators time to carry out their work, said Medupe Simasiku, a spokesman for the prosecution.

COUPLE SAYS FUGITIVE TIED THEM UP, STOLE CAR

BIG BEAR LAKE, Calif. (AP) -- Fugitive ex-policeman Christopher Dorner was hiding at least five days in a mountain condominium before surprising the owners, tying them up and stealing their car just hours before his presumed death in a fiery confrontation with police, the couple said.

Karen and Jim Reynolds said Dorner was upstairs in their rental condo in the San Bernardino Mountains around noon Tuesday when they arrived to clean it to rent to vacationers.

The building is across the street from a command post established by authorities as they scoured the mountain for Dorner.

The fired Los Angeles policeman, who was sought at the time for three killings, confronted the Reynolds with a drawn gun, "jumped out and hollered `stay calm,'" Jim Reynolds, 66, said during a Wednesday night news conference.

LITANY OF SECRETS AFTER PAPAL RETIREMENT BOMBSHELL

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- For an institution devoted to eternal light, the Vatican has shown itself to be a master of smokescreens since Pope Benedict XVI's shock resignation announcement.

On Thursday, the Vatican spokesman acknowledged that Benedict hit his head and bled profusely while visiting Mexico in July. Two days earlier the same man acknowledged that Benedict has had a pacemaker for years, and underwent a secret operation to replace its battery three months ago.

And as the Catholic world reeled from shock over the abdication, it soon became clear that Benedict's post-papacy lodgings have been under construction since at least the fall. That in turn put holes in the Holy See's early claims that Benedict kept his decision to himself until he revealed it.

Vatican secrecy is legendary and can have tragic consequences - as the world learned through the church sex abuse scandal in which bishops quietly moved abusive priests without reporting their crimes.

 



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