Content Section
  1. Boom! Russian Meteor Injures 1,200 AP Video

    1. Russian Meteor Injures 1,200

    Fans of outer space had a field day on Friday when a 10-ton meteor exploded over Siberia on the same day an asteroid passed perilously close to Earth. The meteor blew out windows throughout the area, and although 1,200 were reported injured—including 200 children—there were apparently no deaths. Although meteors exploding 20 or 30 miles above Earth is not unusual, the fact that this one still sent debris (about 5 percent of its mass) hurtling downward is surprising. Scientists chalk that occurrence up to the meteor possibly having been made of iron. But it was the sonic boom on the meteor's entry that shattered windows and dishes for miles. That's some powerful noise.

    February 16, 2013 11:26 AM

  2. FALLEN HERO Pistorius Breaks Down in Court Antoine de Ras/Independent Newspapers Ltd South Africa, via AP

    2. Pistorius, Victim Were Planning Future

    If it's true, it sure is sad. "We are in a state of total shock," Anthony Pistorius' uncle said in a statement Saturday, adding the couple "had plans together and Oscar was happier in his private life than he had been for a long time." Oscar Pistorius appeared in court Friday with his head in his hands as prosecutors announced they’d be pursuing a “premeditated murder” charge against him for the death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Pistrorius is denying the charges “in the strongest terms.” Police were called early Thursday morning to Pistorius’s house, where they found Steenkamp dead, with four gunshot wounds to her head and upper body, as well as a 9mm pistol.

    Watch the history of Oscar Pistorius, from double-amputee baby to Olympic sprinter to murder suspect.

    February 16, 2013 10:00 AM

  3. Not Dead Yet! Venezuela Releases Chávez Photos Miraflores Presidential Press Office/AP

    3. Venezuela Releases Chávez Photos

    You still there, Hugo? The Venezuelan government released new photos of President Hugo Chávez on Friday after national debate about his health grew ever more heated. Photos have not been released since his cancer surgery in Cuba a whopping nine months ago. The pics show him in bed flanked by his two daughters—small comfort to the opposition. Although the president has difficulty breathing and speaking, officials say he is "working tirelessly" from his hospital bed in Havana, Cuba, and making government decisions by writing notes to his aides.

    February 16, 2013 11:03 AM

  4. Sci-Fi Week

    4. Fireball Spotted Over California

    If recent news reports are to be believed, we are now living in a science-fiction movie. After a meteor exploded over Russia and an asteroid skimmed past Earth, a fireball was seen in the sky over western California on Friday night. A flash of light was reported at 7:45 p.m. in Santa Rosa, appearing green at first before slowly turning yellow as it descended. Scientists say it was probably a “sporadic meteor,” an unremarkable event that happens several times a day all around the world. There is reportedly no connection between the fireball, the meteor, and the asteroid, but who are we to stop the conspiracy theorists?

    February 16, 2013 11:57 AM

  5. Rabbit Hole Judge Orders Release of Church Documents Father Marciel and Pope John Paul II in Nov. 2004. (Pliino Lepri/AP)

    5. Judge: Release Church Documents

    On the heels of Pope Benedict XVI’s abdication, a Rhode Island judge ordered the release of documents relating to the internal affairs of priest group Legion of Christ on Friday. The pope had ordered investigations of the group in the past. Legion of Christ's founding member sexually abused seminarians and has fathered children by at least two women. The group has also been accused of defrauding a widow of tens of millions of dollars and using questionable fundraising tactics. The documents are expected to give new insight into the scandal, many years after the first allegations were filed in 1998.

    February 16, 2013 10:38 AM

  6. Lights Out Power Outage Hits Syria Fighting in Aleppo on Saturday. (Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty)

    6. Massive Power Outage Hits Syria

    This has got to make matters worse. A problem with a high-tension line plunged Damascus and the southern provinces of Daraa and Sweida into darkness on Saturday. Meanwhile, in northwestern Syria, an activist group reported that pro-government gunmen have kidnapped more than 300 people. The action is reportedly in retaliation for the snatching of 42 Shia Muslims on Thursday. The eye-for-an-eye kidnappings, which happened in a predominantly Sunni area, could trigger more sectarian violence. The kidnapped Shia, mostly women and children, were taken from a bus while traveling between villages.

    February 16, 2013 3:00 PM

  7. 'Floating Petri Dish' Carnival Corp. Hit With First Lawsuit Paul McConnell/U.S. Coast Guard, via Getty

    7. Carnival Hit With First Lawsuit

    Let the deluge of lawsuits begin. Less than 24 hours after the cursed Carnival Triumph docked, a passenger has sued Carnival Corp. for “horrifying” conditions, which included wading through human feces after a fire knocked out the ship’s power and sewage system. Cassie Terry of Texas alleges that Carnival “failed to provide a seaworthy vessel and sanitary conditions” to its passengers and is seeking compensation for physical and emotional harm, anxiety, nervousness, and the “loss of enjoyment of life,” according to court documents. Surely Terry will not be the only one unsatisfied with the company’s $500 and free cruise as compensation for enduring five days of truly wretched conditions.

    February 15, 2013 3:23 PM

  8. Recognition First LGBT Count Yields New Statistics Same-sex couple at marriage license protests on Thursday. (Justin Sullivan/Getty)

    8. First LGBT Count Yields New Statistics

    That took long enough. Gallup, in cooperation with UCLA, has released statistics from its first-ever state-by-state demographic count of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans—the biggest population survey group to do so. The results? North Dakota has the lowest LGBT population at just 1.7 percent of the state's population, while Washington, D.C., has the highest at 10 percent. On average, the LGBT population hovers around 4 percent. Interestingly, every state that has an LGBT population of 4 percent or higher also has anti-discrimination laws for those groups. The biggest thing researchers learned? Visibility does appear to matter.

    February 16, 2013 10:33 AM

  9. GOTCHA Walmart Stocks Crash Frederic J. Brown

    9. Walmart Stocks Crash

    “Where are all the customers? And where is all their money?” That was the plaintive tone struck by a Walmart executive concerned about the giant retailer’s early February results, which he called “a total disaster” in a memo leaked by Bloomberg News. Investor panic caused the stock of America’s largest retailer to drop 3.8 percent at its low point Friday, and led other retailers’ stocks to fall in sympathy. The obvious answer: the people at the lower rungs of the income ladder who constitute Walmart’s customer base have been hit disproportionately by the increase in the payroll tax that took effect on January 1.

    February 15, 2013 4:51 PM

  10. OH, YES HE IS Kyle Chandler Starring in ‘The Vatican’ Noel Vasquez

    10. Kyle Chandler Stars in ‘The Vatican’

    First the pope resigns, then Kyle Chandler gets cast in Showtime’s upcoming The Vatican—could this TV drama be more stacked for success?! Chandler, who has been one of the most sought-after actors this pilot season, will play Cardinal Thomas Duffy, “the charismatic yet enigmatic Archbishop of New York.” Showtime has described The Vatican as a “provocative contemporary genre thriller about spirituality, power and politics,” that explores the “relationship and rivalries as well as the mysteries” within the modern-day Catholic Church. With Ridley Scott as director, Paul Attanasio (House) as scribe and a mega-talented cast, we’ve officially found a replacement for House of Cards. Stay tuned for a premiere date.

    February 15, 2013 6:46 PM

  11. MAJOR PROPS Obama Hugs Man Who Released 47 Percent Video Pres. Obama in Georgia on Thursday. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty)

    11. Obama Hugs Man Who Released 47 Percent Video

    Some might argue that President Obama owes his second term to this man—and the president’s excitement upon meeting him suggests Obama might be in that camp himself. Opposition researcher James Carter—the man responsible for the now infamous fundraising video of Mitt Romney abhorring the so-called 47 percent of Americans who are dependent upon government—was greeted with a huge thanks from President Obama backstage at an education event Thursday in Decatur, Georgia. Carter’s cousin is Georgia state Sen. Jason Carter. Fun fact: the two are both grandsons of former president Jimmy Carter.

    February 15, 2013 7:53 AM

  12. FILIBUSTER Senate Delays Chuck Hagel Confirmation Chip Somodevilla

    12. Senate Delays Hagel Confirmation

    Chuck Hagel will spend the next week in political limbo, after Senate Republicans delayed the Defense secretary nominee’s confirmation for another week. Senate Dems ultimately didn’t come up with the 60 votes needed to end the Republicans’ filibuster (the final count was 58 to 40). Thursday’s vote marks the first time a Defense secretary nomination has been filibustered, and in a Google hangout Thursday night, President Obama called the filibuster "unprecedented." It looks likely that the nomination will proceed after a 10-day recess, when a simple 51-vote majority will suffice.

    February 14, 2013 5:54 PM

  13. INVISIBLE Obama Falls Flat on Mortgage Fraud Kevork Djansezian

    13. Obama Falls Flat on Mortgage Fraud

    The Obama administration has talked a good game about prosecuting mortgage fraud, but has done little to demand actual change on Wall Street. David Dayen from Salon reports that a “task force” set up to examine problems in the packaging of residential-mortgage-backed securities during the bubble years isn’t the independent organization it claims to be. “There are no offices, no phones, and no staff dedicated to the non–task force,” Dayen writes. Instead, the “Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force” is essentially a “press release” factory that secretly piggybacks on existing litigation efforts. The president failed to so much as mention the task force in his State of the Union. A telling fact: he has many things on his plate—this doesn’t seem to be one of them.

    February 15, 2013 12:15 PM

  14. Second Chances Kirstie Alley Gets New Sitcom

    14. Kirstie Alley Gets New Sitcom

    Everyone's favorite ’90s mom, weight-loss champ, and dancing-reality-show star is headed back to a screen near you. TV Land just picked up Kirstie's New Show, featuring Alley as a Broadway star who is forced to reconnect with a son she gave up for adoption at birth. The sitcom also stars Cheers actress Rhea Perlman and Seinfield alum Michael Richards, and is slated to air this fall.

    February 15, 2013 3:44 PM

  15. HERE WE LILO ‘The Canyons’ Picked Up by IFC Mike Coppola/Getty

    15. ‘The Canyons’ Picked Up by IFC

    Perhaps Paul Schrader can take a deep breath now that his controversial drama, The Canyons, has been acquired by IFC. Schrader had a bit of a tantrum after the movie, starring Lindsay Lohan and porn star James Deen, was shunned by the indie-festival circuit—lashing out at Austin’s South by Southwest festival in particular—apparently unaware that the film’s representation already had offers on the table. IFC’s official announcement includes a quote from Kent Jones, director of programming for the New York Film Festival, who called Lohan’s performance “stunning” and the film “an inspiration and an example to us all.”

    February 15, 2013 11:58 AM

  16. 4:20 Mitch McConnell Wants to Legalize Hemp Patricia Curi/Corbis

    16. Mitch McConnell Wants to Legalize Hemp

    Shocked by the knowledge that marijuana is currently included in the same illegal drug category as LSD, heroin, and ecstasy? Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is too. The Republican from Kentucky has formed an unlikely alliance with Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley—two Dems from Oregon—in the crusade to let American farmers grow hemp legally. “During these tough economic times, this legislation has the potential to create jobs and provide a boost to Kentucky’s economy and to our farmers and their families,” said McConnell in a statement explaining the push, which is also supported by Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.

    February 15, 2013 10:15 AM

  17. KILLER COP Coroner: Dorner Killed Himself Christopher Jordan Dorner. (LAPD, via Getty)

    17. Coroner: Dorner Likely Killed Himself

    The myriad mysteries surrounding the violent, dramatic death of ex-LAPD officer Christopher Dorner may finally be winding to an end. Police have revealed that Dorner, whose charred remains were found inside the Big Bear cabin, died of a single gunshot wound to the head after the building caught fire. “The information that we have right now seems to indicate that the wound that took Christopher Dorner’s life was self-inflicted,” Sheriff’s Capt. Kevin Lacy said at a press conference Friday. Police also revealed that the rogue ex-cop was hiding in a cabin just 100 yards from a manhunt command post.

    February 15, 2013 10:30 PM

  18. CLOSE ONE Asteroid Skims Past Earth JPL-Caltech/NASA, via AP

    18. Asteroid Skims Past Earth

    If asteroids were apartments, this one would be New York City–style: teensy. On Friday, a 150-foot asteroid, described as roughly the size of an apartment building, flew dangerously near Earth. DA14’s journey was the closest on record to Earth for a space rock its size—missing our planet by only 17,150 miles. While the little guy is too small to see with the naked eye, it would release the equivalent energy of 2.4 million tons of TNT and destroy about 750 square miles if it were to touch ground. NASA estimates an event like this occurs once every 40 years, but the likelihood that an asteroid would strike is once every 1,200 years.

    February 15, 2013 3:00 PM

  19. Sticky Insider Trading Suspected in Heinz Deal Gene J. Puskar / AP Photo

    19. Insider Trading Suspected in Heinz Deal

    That didn't take very long. One day after the announcement of the $28 billion acquisition of Heinz, the Security and Exchange Commission believes it has identified traders who may have tried to profit from inside information. The SEC obtained an order freezing a Zurich-based account in which regulators detected unusual trading in Heinz options just before the surprising deal was announced. The account showed $1.7 milion in gains. In recent years, regulators like the SEC have used information technology to track and discipline rogue traders.

    February 15, 2013 5:25 PM

  20. THE SKY IS FALLING Meteor Explodes Over Russia via Youtube

    20. Meteor Explodes Over Russia

    Outer-space junkies, today's your lucky day. As news of an approaching asteroid broke Friday morning, authorities announced that a meteor had exploded over Russia, showering debris and broken glass and injuring over 500 people. What exactly caused the meteorite shower is up for debate. A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Emergency Situations said it was the result of an explosion, while a different government expert said it could have been a bolide—a fiery sort of meteor that, based on composition or how it makes its way into Earth’s atmosphere, would explode on entry. And yet, according to the governor of Siberia’s Chelyabinsk region, a search team has already found an impact crater 50 miles west of the area, suggesting that the meteor did not explode at all before reaching ground. Officials say the meteor shower is not connected to the asteroid set to "nearly miss" Earth Friday.

    Watch this spectacular footage of the meteorite.

    February 15, 2013 6:48 AM

  21. Sign up For the daily beast's cheat sheet email
  22. POTUS’S PLAYDATE Obama Heads to Florida Pres. Obama enroute to Ga. on Thursday. (Ann Heisenfelt/AP)

    21. Obama Heads to Florida

    Next stop, the Sunshine State. After finishing up a post–State of the Union tour with a speech at Hyde Park Academy in Chicago, today POTUS is allegedly heading (sans Michelle) to Palm City, Florida, where he plans to simply “relax with friends.” According to the Treasure Coast Palm, he’s keeping quiet about the details of his hiatus—which is apparently planned to take place at the über-exclusive Treasure Coast golf getaway, the Floridian. For those worried about the state of the economy and, well ... everything else ... fear not, says White House press secretary Josh Earnest. He “will fulfill his responsibilities as president even while he's getting some well-deserved downtime,” Earnest said. The respite comes on the heels of Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night in which he announced his plans—among other things—to raise the federal minimum wage and improve the quality of America’s preschools. Here’s hoping the trip is worth the back-to-reality blues that will inevitably ensue (we’ve all been there).

    February 15, 2013 10:41 AM

  23. JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL Carnival Passenger Bus Breaks Down Triumph passengers board buses early Friday morning. (John David Mercer/AP)

    22. Carnival Passenger Bus Breaks Down

    The nagging question “Are we there yet?” has never been so justified. After finally getting off a sewage-filled cruise ship in Mobile, Alabama, one group of unlucky travelers boarded a bus to New Orleans only to have that ride break down as well. Carnival confirmed that the passengers were picked up by another bus that would carry them on the next leg of their journey home. One passenger told NBC’s New Orleans affiliate, “We survived it. We are here, we’re on land. Thank God.” The passengers of the toxic Carnival cruise liner Triumph thought that their vacation couldn’t get any worse—they were wrong.

    February 15, 2013 11:30 AM

  24. HOME SWEET HOME Sewage-Cruise Passengers Celebrate Arrival Lyle Ratliff/Reuters, via Landov

    23. Sewage-Cruise Passengers Celebrate Arrival

    It took four hours after docking in Mobile, Alabama, late Friday night, but the last disheveled Carnival Triumph passenger has finally disembarked the doomed cruise ship. The approximately 4,200 people who were stranded on the Gulf of Mexico after an engine-room fire left their vacation liner dead in the water, celebrated their return to dry land by either checking into nearby hotels to bathe and eat immediately or boarding homeward-bound buses. Many of those who arrived in Mobile just before dawn were exhausted, some of them emotional about the conditions they’d suffered. “It was horrible, just horrible,” 28-year-old Maria Hernandez said, with tears in her eyes, of the “girls trip” turned disaster, complete with food shortages, overflowing toilets, and sickening odors. “I just can’t wait to be home,” she said.

    February 15, 2013 7:51 AM

  25. HOLD UP, GUYS Rep. Cohen: Mystery Woman Is Long-Lost Daughter Tenn. Rep. Steve Cohen.

    24. Rep. Cohen: Mystery Woman Is Long-Lost Daughter

    Something about this story smells fishy. Rep. Steve Cohen was first busted by The Hill on Wednesday for tweeting a Valentine’s Day message to a young woman during the State of the Union address and then deleting the tweet 15 minutes later—sparking talk of a romantic relationship between the 63-year-old Democrat from Tennessee and 24-year-old Victoria Brink. Cohen swapped that salacious story for another one Thursday, telling NBC News that Brink is actually his long-lost daughter whose existence he learned of only three years ago. He wouldn’t elaborate on how or why he learned he was a father, only that Brink’s mother was an old flame.

    February 15, 2013 7:25 AM

  26. SEWAGE STEAMER Cruise Ship Docks Dave Martin/AP

    25. Cruise Ship Docks

    Miserable passengers arrived in Mobile, Alabama, Thursday night, and have begun to disembark. It’s the end of a five-day nightmare, after a fire in the engine room turned the Carnival Triumph ship into a “floating Petri dish” with sewage oozing down the walls and floating along the decks. Much of the ship’s electric system went down in the fire, causing the sanitary systems to malfunction—and exposing passengers to raw sewage. Additionally, passengers have reported not getting enough to eat, with waits as long as four hours for food. Carnival said it will issue refunds for the trip and give each passenger $500 in compensation, and the cruise line has canceled all voyages on the troubled ship going forward.

    February 14, 2013 10:15 PM

  27. FIRST TIME Same-Sex Military Spouse Buried in Nat’l Cemetery Willamette National Cemetery in Portland, Ore. (Don Ryan/AP)

    26. Same-Sex Military Spouse Buried in Nat’l Cemetery

    Retired Lt. Col. Linda Campbell was relieved to find out that the Department of Veterans Affairs had approved her request to have her partner, Nancy Lynchild, who died in December, buried in Willamette National Cemetery, southeast of Portland. Unlike Campbell, Lynchild herself was not a veteran, and she is believed to be the first same-sex spouse of a military member buried in a national cemetery. Though “don’t ask, don’t tell” has been abolished, same-sex marriage is still not formally recognized by the military. The secretary of Veterans Affairs said it was actually the first time he’d been asked to consider such a case and clarified that his decision applies solely to Campbell and Lynchild and is not an indication of new policy.

    February 15, 2013 8:10 AM

  28. PSST Rumor: Ford to Reprise Han Solo Role AP Photo

    27. Rumor: Ford to Reprise Han Solo Role

    Hollywood was atwitter Friday after Latino Review reporter Umberto “El Mayimbe” Gonzalez appeared on Fox News Latino to break the news—still unconfirmed—that Harrison Ford would be reprising his iconic role as Han Solo. Rumors that Ford would come back for Star Wars VII have been swirling since November, but Gonzalez is the first to claim he has confirmation. “I found out yesterday. I did my due diligence, like I do with everything. Triple checked. Legitimate sources ... His deal is done,” Gonzalez said. Ford and Lucasfilm have declined to confirm the allegation. The Latino Review has a strong reputation for breaking film news, but its track record isn't perfect. Grab Chewie and rev up the Millennium Falcon, it looks like Han Solo is back—or at least we hope.

     

    February 15, 2013 1:39 PM

  29. Busted Jackson Jr. Charged With Campaign Fraud Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

    28. Jackson Jr. Charged With Campaign Fraud

    It's been a rough year for former U.S. representative Jesse Jackson Jr., who was charged Friday with misusing $750,00 of campaign funds for personal use. The congressman stepped down last year, due to ongoing treatment for bipolar disorder and the federal investigation. He faces felony charges including conspiracy. Among the reported items Jackson purchased with campaign funds: Martin Luther King Jr., Bruce Lee, and Michael Jackson memorabilia. A campaign to fill his seat in Chicago is ongoing.

    February 15, 2013 4:13 PM