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US News: 2032 Asteroid; Health Care Applications; More Pakistan Aid; Tragic Deaths; 'Sea Serpents'

By: ap
By: ap

WASHINGTON (AP) -- NASA says a big asteroid that whizzed by Earth last month unnoticed is probably nothing to worry about when it returns much closer in 19 years.
NASA Near-Earth Object program manager Donald Yeomans said there is a 1 in 48,000 chance that the 1,300-foot asteroid will hit Earth when it comes back on Aug. 26, 2032.
The asteroid called 2013 TV135 was discovered Oct. 8, nearly a month after it came within 4.2 million miles of Earth. Yeomans said as astronomers observe and track it better, they will likely calculate that it has no chance of hitting Earth.
Although big, the asteroid is considerably smaller than the type that caused the dinosaur extinction.
NASA posted a "reality check" about the asteroid in response to some media reports.

OBAMA-HEALTH CARE
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Obama administration officials say about 476,000 insurance applications have been filed through new health-care exchanges.
That's the most detailed measure yet of the problem-plagued rollout of President Barack Obama's signature legislation.
However, the officials continue to refuse to say how many people have actually enrolled in the insurance markets.
Without enrollment figures, it's unclear whether the program is on track to reach the 7 million people projected by the Congressional Budget Office to gain coverage during the six-month sign-up period.
The officials did not want to be cited by name and would not discuss the health insurance rollout unless they were granted anonymity.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. has quietly decided to release more than $1.6 billion in military and economic aid to Pakistan.
The assistance was suspended when relations between the two countries disintegrated in the wake of the covert raid that killed Osama bin Laden and deadly U.S. airstrikes against Pakistani soldiers.
Officials and congressional aides say ties have improved enough to allow the money to flow again.
American and NATO supply routes to Afghanistan are open. Controversial U.S. drone strikes are down.
The U.S. and Pakistan are restarting their "strategic dialogue." Pakistan's new prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, is traveling to Washington for White House talks this coming week.
But the U.S. hasn't promoted its revamped aid relationship with Pakistan. Neither has Pakistan.
The silence reflects the lingering mutual suspicions between the two.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. and Romania have reached an agreement to allow American troops and cargo to use the Black Sea air base of Mihail Kogalniceanu as a transport hub as they move in and out of Afghanistan.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel finalized the agreement in a meeting with Romania's Defense Minister Mircea Dusa on Friday. The Romania base is critical because beginning next June the U.S. will no longer be able to use the Manas Transit Center in Kyrgyzstan. Lawmakers there voted to end the agreement. That complicated matters for the U.S. as it brings thousands of troops out of Afghanistan over the next year.
Romania has also agreed to host an Aegis radar as part of the broader European missile defense system meant to protect against possible Iranian missile attacks.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration is considering helping Iran recoup billions of dollars in frozen overseas assets if Tehran scales back its nuclear program.
But Congress is determined to set a high bar for any relief for Iran.
Officials say the proposal is under consideration to spur nuclear negotiations.
A skeptical Congress is weighing in, too.
Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk has a plan to give the U.S. more sticks and carrots.
He wants to freeze all remaining Iranian assets overseas. He'd do that by threatening to block from the U.S. market any bank that does business with Iran.
Kirk would let Iran get at some of the $50 billion to $75 billion that's already blocked.
But Iran would only get the money after ending all uranium enrichment activity.
Iran rejects such demands.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Republicans' clear defeat in the budget-debt brawl has widened the rift between the Grand Old Party and the tea party.
Tea party lawmakers are incensed that House Speaker John Boehner (BAY'-nur) and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell agreed to the plan to reopen government without extracting any limits on President Barack Obama's health care law.
Groups affiliated with the tea party are endorsing primary opponents running against Republican lawmakers who supported the deal.
Others in the GOP are seething over the tea partyers' demand to repeal or limit so-called Obamacare, which led to the 16-day government closure. McConnell has vowed to prevent another shutdown. But tea party Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas refused to rule out the same shutdown tactics when talks reopen in January.

BIKERS-SUV ASSAULT
Biker pleads not guilty to assault in NYC melee
NEW YORK (AP) -- A biker has pleaded not guilty to assault charges in connection with a mob attack on an SUV driver during a motorcycle rally in New York City.
Kaliq Douglas was arraigned Saturday and released on $25,000 bail.
Police say Douglas was among a group of bikers who chased an SUV on a Manhattan highway, forcing it to halt and surrounding it on foot Sept. 29. The driver says he feared for his life and plowed through the crowd, running over and gravely injuring one motorcyclist.
Bikers gave chase, then pulled the driver from the vehicle and beat him.
A lawyer for Douglas, a 28-year-old Brooklyn man, tells the New York Post that amateur video of the encounter doesn't tell the whole story.
Several riders have been arrested, including an off-duty police officer.

JPMORGAN-MORTGAGE BONDS PROBE
AP source: Tentative $13B deal with JPMorgan
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A person familiar with negotiations between the federal government and JPMorgan Chase & Co. says the bank has tentatively agreed to pay $13 billion to settle allegations surrounding the quality of mortgage-backed securities it sold in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis.
The person tells The Associated Press that the tentative settlement was negotiated Friday night. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal has not been made final.
The person says the tentative agreement does not extend to a criminal investigation of the bank's conduct that is being handled by federal prosecutors in Sacramento, Calif.
The person says those negotiating the deal are Attorney General Eric Holder, Associate Attorney General Tony West, J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon and the bank's general counsel, Stephen Cutler.

AP CEO--PRESS FREEDOM V NATIONAL SECURITY
AP CEO: Press freedom v. security a `false choice'
DENVER (AP) -- The president and CEO of The Associated Press says that governments that try to force citizens to decide between a free press and national security are creating a "false choice" that weakens democracy.
Gary Pruitt said Saturday that the U.S. Justice Department's secret seizure of records of telephone calls to and from AP reporters in 2012 was one of the most blatant violations of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that the news cooperative has ever encountered.
The Justice Department was trying to identify who leaked information for an AP story that revealed the foiling of a plot in Yemen to bomb a U.S.-bound airliner. It didn't tell AP about its records seizure until a year after the story was published.
Pruitt said that action had consequences far beyond the U.S. -- including Latin America, where journalists long have fought to exercise press freedoms under authoritarian regimes.
Pruitt spoke Saturday to the Inter American Press Association in Denver. The association promotes press freedom throughout the Americas.

Worker saw prone woman in SF hospital stairwell a week before body of missing woman was found
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Investigators looking into the death of a woman found in a stairwell at San Francisco General Hospital now have a new twist to examine: a worker reported stepping over an unconscious woman a week before her body was found.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that it's still unclear why the Sheriff's Department did not locate the woman after hospital authorities reported the worker's finding.
Fifty-seven-year-old Lynne Spalding disappeared from her room Sept. 21, two days after she was admitted for an infection. Her body was found Oct. 8 in the locked stairwell.
Her cause of death has not been determined. Investigators believe she had been dead for several days when her body was discovered.
An orderly reported seeing a woman passed out in the stairwell on Oct. 1.

Teen found with fetus in bag appears in NYC court
NEW YORK (AP) -- A New York City teen who authorities say was caught with a fetus in her bag at a lingerie store has pleaded not guilty to shoplifting charges.
The New York Post reports that the 17-year-old entered the plea Saturday to petit larceny and possession of stolen property charges in Manhattan Criminal Court. She's not been charged in the discovery of the fetus.
The medical examiner's office says an autopsy of the remains is inconclusive and more tests are needed to determine the cause of death. Police say investigators are awaiting the medical examiner's findings.
The remains were discovered Thursday when a security guard stopped the girl and her friend at a Victoria's Secret store in midtown Manhattan. Both are 17.
A judge denied $1,000 bail for the girl.

Woman studying to be nun charged in baby's death
WASHINGTON (AP) -- D.C. police have charged a 26-year-old woman studying to becoming a Catholic nun in the death of her newborn son.
Police say Sosefina Amoa gave birth to the boy Oct. 10 in her room at the Little Sisters of the Poor elderly care facility. Afraid the nuns would hear the newborn's cries and discover she lied about sexual activity, police say Amoa told investigators she smothered him. A day later she and a nun took his body to a hospital.
Amoa was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder after the death was ruled a homicide by asphyxiation.
Amoa arrived from Samoa on Oct. 5 and was considered a postulant, someone who wants to be admitted to the order. The order says in a statement that they're praying for everyone involved.

Wal-Mart returns job to worker who stopped attack
HARTLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) -- Wal-Mart say it's offering back a job for a Michigan worker who says he was fired when he tried to help a woman being assaulted in a store parking lot.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan says messages were left Friday for Kristopher Oswald to "welcome him back" to the Hartland Township store, northwest of Detroit.
The 30-year-old Oswald has said he was attacked by one man and later jumped by two others early Sunday morning after he asked a woman if she needed help when the first man grabbed her.
Livingston County sheriff's deputies arrived and halted the fight.
Oswald later was fired by Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart for violating company policy.
He earlier told WXYZ-TV that he wasn't sure if he would take back his job if offered.

New 14-foot 'sea serpent' found in Southern Calif.
OCEANSIDE, Calif. (AP) -- Another `sea serpent' has attracted gawkers on a Southern California beach.
This time the rare, snakelike oarfish washed up Friday afternoon in Oceanside.
U-T San Diego reports (http://bit.ly/19Zy2JS ) that it measured nearly 14 feet long.
While it's unusual to find the deep-water fish near shore, this is the second time in the past week that one has surfaced.
On Sunday, a snorkeler off Catalina Island found an 18-foot-long oarfish and dragged it ashore with the help of a dozen other people.
According to the Catalina Island Marine Institute, oarfish can grow to more than 50 feet, making them the longest bony fish in the world.
They are likely responsible for sea serpent legends throughout history.


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