February 15th, 2013
10:08 PM ET

Publisher draws fire for hiring anti-gay writer on new 'Superman' series

A writer commissioned to help launch a new "Adventures of Superman" digital comics series is drawing controversy for the comics' publisher not for his perception of the Man of Steel, but for his perception of marriage - specifically, his opposition to same-sex marriage.

Science fiction writer Orson Scott Card has been commissioned by longtime "Superman" publisher DC Comics to write a two-part story launching its new "Adventures of Superman" digital series. Card is perhaps best known for the classic 1985 sci-fi novel "Ender's Game," but he also has sparked controversy with his outspoken criticism of homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

In a 2004 essay titled "Homosexual 'Marriage' and Civilization," Card wrote, "... either civilized people will succeed in establishing a government that protects the family...or the politically correct barbarians will have complete victory over the family - and, lacking the strong family structure on which civilization depends, our civilization will collapse or fade away."

News that Card would be among writers on the new "Adventures of Superman" digital comics prompted marriage-equality group AllOut.org to launch a petition drive aimed at DC Comics.

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Filed under: Gay and lesbian • Media • Same-sex marriage
February 15th, 2013
10:00 PM ET

Autopsy: Renegade ex-cop Dorner died from single gunshot to head

Autopsy results on Christopher Dorner, the renegade former Los Angeles cop who authorities said killed four people and wounded three others, show he died from a single gunshot wound to the head.

Capt. Kevin Lacy, the San Bernardino County, California, coroner, said that authorities have not yet ruled on Dorner's manner of death.

However, information collected so far seems to suggest he took his own life.

"While we're still compiling the information and putting our reports together, the information that we have right now seems to indicate that the wound that took Christopher Dorner's life was self-inflicted," Lacy told reporters.

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Filed under: Crime
Facebook says it was hacked
February 15th, 2013
06:24 PM ET

Facebook says it was hacked

The largest social network in the world is the latest high-profile site to say it's been hacked this year but it says no ndta about its more than a billion users was compromised.

Facebook described the "sophisticated attack" in a blog post on Friday, saying it took place in January when a small number of employees visited a compromised website that installed malware on their machines.

Twitter announced a similar intrusion earlier this month, and major news organizations including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post have also admitted to being hacked.

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Filed under: Facebook • Technology
Heinz deal sparks SEC insider trading probe
February 15th, 2013
06:06 PM ET

Heinz deal sparks SEC insider trading probe

Someone profited handsomely by buying Heinz options the day before a group announced plans to buy the company, and the Securities and Exchange Commission is suspicious.

The SEC said Friday that it had obtained a court order to freeze assets in a Swiss trading account, questioning profits made ahead of the announcement of H.J. Heinz Co.'s $28 billion acquisition by a group including Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway.

The SEC said "unknown" traders using the account had purchased options the day before the announcement and reaped $1.7 million when the Heinz deal was revealed on Thursday.

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Filed under: Business • Economy
February 15th, 2013
05:57 PM ET

Tank storing radioactive waste leaking in Washington

A tank storing radioactive waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington is leaking liquids to the tune of 150-300 gallons per year, the governor said Friday.

"This is an extremely toxic substance and we have to have a zero tolerance policy for leaks of radioactive material into the ground, and potentially groundwater of the state of Washington," Gov. Jay Inslee told reporters.

He stressed the leak poses no immediate public heath risk, but said that fact should not be an excuse for complacence.

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Filed under: Energy • Environment • Nuclear • Washington state
Ex-San Diego mayor: I took $2M from charity to fund $1B gambling habit
Ex-San Diego Mayor Maureen O'Connor acknowledged in court that she gambled away money from her late husband's charity.
February 15th, 2013
05:16 PM ET

Ex-San Diego mayor: I took $2M from charity to fund $1B gambling habit

Former San Diego Mayor Maureen O'Connor allegedly told the IRS that she won $1 billion by gambling but lost even more over nine years. And when the losses piled up, she took a couple million dollars from her late husband's charity, prosecutors say.

O'Connor, the first woman mayor of San Diego, has acknowledged in court that she misappropriated more than $2 million from the foundation to fund her casino gambling habit. Her attorney said a brain tumor affected O'Connor's judgment at the time.

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Filed under: California • Courts • Crime • Justice
Feds lay out funds misuse case against Jesse Jackson Jr.
February 15th, 2013
04:05 PM ET

Feds lay out funds misuse case against Jesse Jackson Jr.

[Updated 8:20 p.m: To clarify the nature of the filed court document]

Federal prosecutors Friday filed felony charges against former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., alleging the illegal misuse of about $750,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses and gifts.

PDF: See federal charges

The formal charges of conspiracy, making false statements, and mail and wire fraud, were made public in federal court only days after Jackson had signed a plea deal with prosecutors who were investigating potential financial improprieties.

After the charges were filed Friday, Jackson issued a statement accepting responsibility for making mistakes and bad decisions. He did not dispute prosecutors' allegations.

[Original post, 4:05 p.m.]

Former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. and a co-conspirator have admitted to concealing about $750,000 in campaign funds for their personal use, according to a plea deal filed in federal court Friday.

PDF: See plea deal

Jackson, D-Illinois, admitted to conspiracy and other charges related to the misappropriated campaign funds, according to the court documents.

CNN reported last week that Jackson had signed a plea deal with prosecutors investigating potential financial improprieties, but the details of the alleged improprieties weren't then available.

Jackson, who represented Illinois' 2nd Congressional District beginning in 1995, resigned in late November after winning election to a tenth term in the House. He had not been seen in Washington or his district since last spring, and his office slowly revealed that he was receiving treatment for a mood disorder, depression and gastrointestinal issues at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

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Filed under: Courts • Crime • Politics
February 15th, 2013
03:13 PM ET

Passenger sues Carnival over 'floating hell' cruise

Not even 24 hours after reaching land, a passenger on this week's infamously crippled Carnival cruise in the Gulf of Mexico has filed a lawsuit.

Passenger Terry Cassie of Texas has filed a lawsuit against Carnival in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Florida. The suit describes Carnival's Triumph cruise ship as a "floating hell."

The Triumph was towed into port in Alabama late Thursday night, five days after it lost power in a engine-room fire. More than 3,000 passengers and 1,000 crew members lived in squalid conditions after the outage, with overflowing commodes splashing floors with waste as the ship listed, passengers reported.

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Asteroid passes Earth by a mere 17,100 miles
February 15th, 2013
02:56 PM ET

Asteroid passes Earth by a mere 17,100 miles

[Updated at 2:56 p.m. ET] And, there it went.

The asteroid 2012 DA14 has made its closest approach to Earth at 2:24 p.m. ET, at a distance of about 17,200 miles above the planet's surface, NASA says.

[Posted at 1:16 p.m. ET] Scientists say you don't have to worry about asteroid 2012 DA14 hitting Earth. But if you'd like to keep an eye on it as it makes an exceptionally close pass this afternoon, NASA has a camera for you.

The asteroid, thought to be 45 meters long about half a football field will come to is closest point to Earth at 2:24 p.m.come no closer than 17,100 miles from our planet's surface.

NASA has a camera trained on it. Watch it live here, and check out our live blog of the event. 

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Filed under: Space
Chavez temporarily having trouble speaking, Venezuelan official says
Chavez acknowledges supporters on the streets of Caracas in February of last year.
February 15th, 2013
10:53 AM ET

Chavez temporarily having trouble speaking, Venezuelan official says

[Updated at 11:24 a.m. ET] Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is temporarily having difficulty speaking following a procedure in which doctors inserted a tracheal tube, Venezuela's communications minister said Friday.

Chavez is going through a difficult recovery period following his recent cancer surgery, Communications Minister Ernesto Villegas said at a news conference. Villegas displayed a picture of Chavez in his hospital bed surrounded by his children.

Chavez hasn't appeared in public or on national television since he went to Cuba for cancer surgery in December.

February 15th, 2013
09:55 AM ET

Report: 1,000 injured in Russian meteor blast

[Updated at 9:55 a.m. ET] The injury count in Friday's meteor blast over Russia is rising as the day goes on.

About 1,000 people including 200 children have been reported hurt by shockwaves or fragments from a meteor that exploded over central Russia, according to Russia's state-run RIA Novosti news agency. Most were hurt by broken glass, and about two-thirds of the injuries were very minor, RIA Novosti reported, citing the Chelyabinsk region's governor.

More than 250 buildings have sustained damage mostly broken glass as a result of the shock waves caused by the blast, said Vladimir Stepanov, of the National Center for Emergency Situations at the Russian Interior Ministry.

[Posted at 3:49 a.m. ET] A meteor shower sparked an explosion that left 250 people injured Friday in southern Russia, state media reported.

Of the hundreds, at least three were critically injured by broken glass, state-run RIA Novosti reported.

A bright white flash appeared in the sky for a few seconds, followed by a heavy "bang" that sounded like a blast, according to Russian News Agency Itar-Tass.

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Filed under: Weather • World
February 15th, 2013
08:31 AM ET

'Blade runner' Pistorius weeps as he's charged in girlfriend's death

[Updated at 8:31 a.m. ET] South African sports icon Oscar Pistorius broke into tears Friday when a judge officially charged him with his girlfriend's killing on Valentine's Day.

A grim-faced Pistorius, dressed in a dark suit, shook uncontrollably with his head buried in his hands during the hearing at a packed courtroom in Pretoria.

[Posted at 2:03 a.m. ET] He is a South African sports icon whose Olympic debut with artificial legs inspired the world and earned him the nickname "Blade Runner."

But on Friday, Oscar Pistorius arrived in court for a bail hearing in his model girlfriend's killing.

During the hearing, he will be officially named a suspect in the fatal shooting on Valentine's Day, which has shocked fans worldwide.

Police found Reeva Steenkamp in a pool of blood early Thursday in the runner's home at an exclusive gated community in the capital of Pretoria.

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Filed under: Sports • World
February 15th, 2013
07:42 AM ET

Friday's live events

President Obama and Congress look to avert $85 billion in automatic across-the-board spending cuts scheduled for March 1.  Watch CNN.com Live for continuing coverage of the sequestration crisis.

Today's programming highlights...

10:00 am ET - U.S. drone aircraft hearing - A House science subcommittee holds a hearing on the use of unmanned aircraft over U.S. airspace.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Congress • On CNN.com today • Politics
Moments from aboard the ship
February 15th, 2013
04:04 AM ET

Crippled cruise ship returns

Finally, after days of listing on a disabled Carnival cruise ship without electricity and working toilets, thousands of passengers finished disembarking early Friday morning at the Port of Mobile.

The frustration that many felt was typified by Janie Esparza, one of the first passengers to get back on land.

"It was horrible. Horrible," Esparza told a scrum of reporters. "The bathroom facilities were horrible and we could not flush toilets. No electricity and our rooms were in total darkness. Honestly, think that this ship should have ever sailed out."

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Filed under: U.S.
February 15th, 2013
12:46 AM ET

Veterans Affairs allows burial for same-sex couple in Oregon

In what's believed to be the first case of its kind, the same-sex spouse of a member of the military will be buried in a national cemetery.

"I am deeply grateful to my country for honoring and respecting my years of service and my relationship with Nancy, the love of my life," said retired Lt. Col. Linda Campbell, a veteran.

"Willamette National Cemetery is a beautiful, peaceful place. Knowing that Nancy and I can join my parents on that hallowed ground is a source of great comfort and healing," she said.

Nancy Lynchild, Campbell's partner, died in December of metastatic cancer.

The cemetery is located southeast of Portland, Oregon.

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Filed under: U.S.