Today's Headline News from Associated Press
ASTEROID BUZZES, MISSES EARTH — UNLIKE METEOR
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) -- The world is safe - at least from one asteroid. A 150-foot cosmic rock hurtled safely past Earth on Friday.
It was the closest known flyby for a rock of its size, passing within 17,000 miles. That's closer than some satellites. The flyby occurred just hours after a much smaller meteor exploded above Russia's Ural Mountains. Astronomers say the two events were coincidental, and the objects were traveling in opposite directions. At least one scientist called it an exciting day and "like a shooting gallery here."
The asteroid was invisible to astronomers in the United States at the time of its closest approach on the opposite of the world. But in Australia, astronomers used binoculars and telescopes to watch the point of light speed across the clear night sky.
PASSENGERS SLOG HOME AFTER 'HORRIBLE' GULF CRUISE
MOBILE, Ala. (AP) -- Passengers finally escaped the disabled Carnival cruise ship Triumph and were on the move Friday: some checked into hotels while others hopped on buses or jumped on charter flights home after five numbing days at sea on a cruise liner paralyzed by an engine-room fire.
The vacation ship carrying some 4,200 people docked late Thursday in Mobile to raucous cheers from passengers weary of overflowing toilets, food shortages and foul odors.
"Sweet Home Alabama!" read one of the homemade signs passengers affixed alongside the 14-story ship as many celebrated along deck rails lining several levels of the stricken ship. The ship's horn blasted several times as four tugboats helped it to shore at about 9:15 p.m. CST. Some gave a thumbs-up sign and flashes from cameras and cellphones lit the night.
DORNER'S REMAINS ID'D, CAUSE OF DEATH UNCLEAR
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Investigators determined fairly quickly that the burned human remains found after a shootout in Southern California mountains are those of Christopher Dorner, the ex-police officer suspected in a rampage that left four people dead. But the answer to a second question will likely prove more elusive - how did he die?
Evidence such as descriptions from witnesses and the discovery of personal items, including a driver's license, already led authorities to figure that it was Dorner who exchanged heavy gunfire with San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies at a cabin Tuesday, killing one officer. Dorner never left as the cabin as it went up in flames.
But on Thursday the issue was officially put to rest when sheriff-coroner's spokeswoman Jodi Miller announced that dental examination had definitively shown the remains were Dorner's. Virtually no other information was released. An autopsy report on the charred body was still being completed, and toxicology tests typically take several weeks to return results.
WEEPING PISTORIUS FACES LIFE IN PRISON IN SHOOTING
PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) -- Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius wept in court Friday as prosecutors said they'll pursue a charge of premeditated murder against him in the killing of his model girlfriend, meaning the man who once inspired the world could spend the rest of his life in prison.
Pistorius' family and London-based management issued a statement disputing the murder charge he now faces for the slaying of Reeva Steenkamp. The athlete himself initially appeared solemn and collected in his first court appearance, but later sobbed loud enough for his cries to be heard over the more than 100 spectators gathered for the hearing.
His tears even drew the attention of Chief Magistrate Desmond Nasir, who at one point simply said: "Take it easy."
The double-amputee athlete's arrest stunned South Africa, which awoke the morning of Valentine's Day to hear that Steenkamp had been shot to death at Pistorius' home in a gated community in an eastern suburb of South Africa's capital, Pretoria. Police said investigators recovered a 9 mm pistol from the home.