Asteroid zips ... whoa! That was close
An asteroid about the size of one that blasted Siberia in 1908 just buzzed the Earth. The asteroid, named 2009 DD45, was about 48,800 miles from Earth when it zipped past early Monday, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory reported. That is just twice as high as the orbits of some telecommunications satellites and about a fifth of the distance to the Moon. "This was pretty darn close," astronomer Timothy Spahr of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics said. The space rock measured between 69 feet and 154 feet in diameter, about the same size as the asteroid that exploded over Siberia in 1908, leveling more than 800 square miles of forest. Scientists at the Siding Spring Observatory in Australia spotted 2009 DD45 and began tracking it in late February when it was about 1 million miles away. Of the known space rocks, the next time an object will get closer to Earth will be in 2029 when an 885-foot asteroid called 99942 Apophis comes within 20,000 miles, said Donald Yeomans of NASA's Near-Earth Object Program at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. Associated Press
DETROIT: The 1,400 text messages between former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and ex-chief of staff Christine Beatty are public records and are not subject to attorney-client and other privileges as claimed by attorneys, Wayne County Circuit Judge Timothy Kenny ruled. The messages were under seal as part of the criminal case against Beatty, who is in jail for obstruction of justice. But the Detroit Free Press asked that the messages be released, saying they may reveal wrongdoing.
WASHINGTON: Former Mayor Marion Barry has returned to Howard University Hospital after a recent kidney transplant. A spokeswoman said that doctors found "a level of abnormality" in tests on Monday and readmitted him on Wednesday. The condition is not considered serious.
LOS ANGELES: Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa easily won re-election after a bumpy first term in the nation's second-largest city, fueling speculation that he will be among contenders next year to succeed Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Church has new ideas for stuff to give up
Roman Catholic bishops in Italy are going high tech in what they are asking their followes to give up for Lent. In Modena and Bari, believers are being asked to abstain from texting on Fridays until Easter. In Turin, the request is to turn off the television during the observance. A diocese in Trento has developed a calendar with several suggestions, including leaving cars at home and avoiding the Internet and iPods. Reaction is mixed, with some saying Lenten abstinence should be a personal matter. "I have to decide how to experience the Lent period. I should give up something if I really feel it, not because the church says so," said 26-year-old Angelo Dente.