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Michael Jackson Wrongful Death Trial Begins Monday

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The Michael Jackson wrongful death trial, which promises dramatic revelations and legal wrangling, begins in a small Los Angeles courtroom Monday, news sources report.

The opening statements Monday will kick off three months before jurors, who are being paid $15 a day, will decide whether one of the world's largest entertainment companies should pay Jackson's mother and three children billions for its alleged liability in the pop icon's death, CNN reports.

The lawsuit brought by Jacksons elderly mother Katherine on behalf of the singer's children comes four years after his shocking death, The Chicago Tribune reports.

Jackson died of an overdose of powerful surgical anesthetic propofol and a cocktail of other sedatives meant to help him sleep in June 2009, The Chicago Tribune reports. Jackson's physician at the time was convicted in 2011 for involuntary manslaughter.

The Jacksons argue that AEG executives knew about the star's weakened health and past use of dangerous drugs while on tour, and that they are liable in his death because they pressured Jackson and his doctor to meet their ambitious schedule for the pop singer's final "This Is It" tour in London, CNN reports.

Fertilizer Explosion devastates Texas Town

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A massive blast at a fertilizer plant killed an estimated five to 15 people and wounded more than 160 in a Texas town, Wednesday night, news sources report.

The blast at the West Fertilizer Co. at about 7:50 p.m. damaged 50 to 60 homes in a 5-block area, blasting the walls off an apartment complex, CNN reports.

Patients were rushed to several hospitals and about half the community of 2,800 was evacuated, CNN reports.

Firefighters were battling a blaze at the plant at the time of the blast, which caused a tremor equivalent to a magnitude-2.1 earthquake, NBC reports. The scene is being treated as a crime scene as a precaution, though their was no indication of criminal activity.

For the town, the risk may not be over. A storm system is heading into the area and there are worries that another tank at the facility might explode, CNN reports. There are further concerns that anhydrous ammonia, a pungent gas used in fertilizer, could be exposed people, and cause severe burns.

An 18 -year-old student shot and wounded two women on a community college campus in western Virginia before being subdued by an off-duty security guard and two police guards, news sources report.

Police report that the suspect got out of a vehicle and walked into New River Community College in Christiansburg, Virginia around 1:55 p.m., Cnn reports. He then shoot two women, before being taken into custody within five minutes after the shooting began.

The suspect had participated in a 12-week police citizen's course in which participants ride along with officers, tour training grounds, and practice with firearms at a firing range, ABC news reports.

An item posted on the online forum 4chan three minutes before the shooting began, saying it was from the suspect, urged people to check out an online stream of the New River Valley Public Safety scanner and promised and asked for posters to wish him luck, CNN reports.

NASA plans to intercept asteroid

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NASA hopes to launch a robotic spaceship that will tow an asteroid to the moon, news sources report.

President Obama is putting aside $100 million to launch a mission to a small asteroid, tow it closer to the moon, and possibly send astronauts to explore it, Al Jazeera reports.

The mission would accomplish the president's challenge to send humans to an asteroid by 2025 in a more cost-effective and quicker time frame than other scenarios, NBC reports.

The mission would target an asteroid 7-10 meters wide in as soon as 2017, NBC reports. Once the object has been towed closer to Earth, it would take only a matter of days for astronauts to reach compared to a time span of months.

Scientists hope that the research will help develop strategies to intercept and divert asteroids on collision course with the Earth, according to Al Jazeera. A small asteroid blew up over rural Russia February, causing extensive damage.

Along with testing techniques for deflecting hostile asteroids, the mission would examine whether mining the space bodies could be done in the future, according to NBC.

Retired Gen. David Petraeus apologizes for affair

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Former CIA director David Petraeus apologized for an extramarital affair that ended his career lat November, news sources report.

Petraeuse acknowledged the toll the affair took on his family, career and reputation at an event honoring University of Southern California veterans and Reserve Officers' Training Corps students Tuesday, Al Jazeera reports.

It was his first public speech since his affair with writer Paula Broadwell was revealed, tainting the career of the former four-star general who commanded U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, ABC reports.

Petraeus had addressed the affair only one other time in a statement he made the day he resigned as CIA director. He had confessed showing "extremely poor judgement" in his actions, according to ABC.

Before the discovery of the sex scandal, Petraeus had been widely seen as the top American military leaders of his generation and was credited with bringing Iraq from the brink of civil war before President Obama turned to him to lead U.S. forces in Afghanistan before putting him in charge of the CIA in 2011, according to Al Jazeera.

Petraeus said Tuesday that he could never fully heal the pain he had caused with the scandal, but thanked his family for words of encouragement during the difficult time for them, ABC reports.

Petraeus received standing ovations before and after his speech, which mostly focused on the difficulties veterans and their families face transitioning from military to civilian life, Al Jazeera reports.

Alleged Ohio Rape Victim Testifies

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A teenage girl at the center of a high school rape case, testified before a judge Saturday that she had no memory of the time frame in which the assault supposedly took place, news sources report.

The girl testified that she left a party around midnight on Aug. 11 with Trent Mays, 17, and Ma'lik Richmond, 16. She woke up the next morning naked in the basement of a house, with no recollection of where she was or how she got there, the New York Times reports. She said she later pieced together what had happened when friend showed her a YouTube video and a picture that had circulated of her lying naked in the basement.

She was the final witness in the speedy trial. A judge is expected to hand down his decision Sunday, according to CNN. If convicted of the juvenile charges, Mays and Richmond could be jailed until they are 21.

Three teens, all friends of the co-defendants, testified Friday that they saw Mays and Richmond interact sexually with the girl, CNN reports. In earlier testimony, teens who attended the party gave mixed testified on how drunk and coherent the girl had been the night of the alleged assault.

Prosecutors say the 16-year-old girl was raped by two high school football stars last August, the New York Times reports. The case has shaken the town of Steubenville, deeply dividing its citizens between residents who have complained about how local culture protects the Steubenville High School football team and those how claim the episode with the girl has been blown out of proportion.

The son-in-law of Osama bin Laden pleaded not guilty in federal court Friday morning in Manhattan to charges of conspiring to kill Americans, news sources report.

Sulaiman Abu Ghaith was taken into custody by federal authorities on Feb. 28 after being arrested in Jordan, the New York Times reports. He is charged with conspiring to kill Americans and creating Al Qaeda propaganda videos, according to CBS.

Abu Ghaith is believed to have been a strategic player in bin Laden's inner circle, according to CBS. Intelligence officials believe he may be able to shed new light on the terrorist organization's inner workings, though will probably not know about ongoing terror threats.

In his propaganda videos, Abu Ghaith urged others to swear allegiance to bin Laden, and warned of further attacks after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the New York Times reports.

Abu Ghaith will be the highest-ranking al Qaeda figure to stand trial in the U.S. since 9/11, according to CBS. Republicans are criticizing the Obama administration for bringing Abu Ghaith to New York instead of detaining him at the military detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba where he would have fewer legal rights.

Born in Kuwait, Abu Ghaith was an imam at a Kuwaiti mosque before he headed for Afghanistan. There he married bin Laden's eldest daughter, Fatima, according to CBS.

Private space company, SpaceX has succeeded in docking one of its Dragon cargo capsule at the International Space Station Sunday.

The successful docking came after a temporary technical glitch nearly ended the mission Friday, shortly after the spaceship blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, according to Reuters.

The space station's robotic claw captured the unmanned transport at 5:31 a.m. ET, CNN reported NASA as reporting.

The Dragon capsule is carrying more than 2,300 pounds of supplies for the station's crew and their experiments, NBC reports. It is the second of 12 resupply flights to be conducted under NASA's $1.6 million deal with SpaceX , after the company was contracted to fill the gap left by the space shuttle fleet's retirement in 2011.

SpaceX is the first private company to fly to the station, according to Reuters. Its Dragon capsule is the only current station freighter that makes return trips.

Coast Guard determines cause of fire on cruise ship

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The U.S Coast Guard has determined the cause of the fire that set a Carnival cruise ship to drift for days in the Gulf of Mexico, news sources said.

The fire on board the Carnival Triumph was caused by a leaking diesel engine line ignited by repeated contact with a hot surface, Reuters reports.

With the engines disabled, the 4,200 people onboard were left without power or working toilets for five days, before it was towed into Mobile, Ala Thursday, the Star Tribune reports. Passengers described harsh conditions on board: long lines for food, overflowing sewage, and sleeping in freezing tents on deck.

Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander Teresa Hartfield said in a conference call with reporters that the full investigation into the incident would take six months, Reuters reports.

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board and Coast Guard will look further into the cause of the fire, why the ship was disabled for so long, and whether the crew responded properly to the emergency, according to the Star Tribune.

Passengers interviewed after the cruise reported about confusion on board in the aftermath of the fire and poor communication with crew, the Star Tribune reports.

LA Manhunt ends in fiery climax

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An ex-cop gunman accused of committing a series of revenge-fueled murders traded gunfire with authorities from a mountain cabin northeast of Los Angeles Tuesday, ending in the cabin catching fire, news sources report.

Uncertainty surrounded the fate of the alleged fugitive, Christopher Dorner, 33, who led authorities on a six-day manhunt, Reuters reports. Police haven't recovered a body from the smoldering wreckage, despite prior media reports to the contrary.

Investigators have not been able to shift through the ruins of the mountain cabin yet, but believe Dorner was still inside as the structure burned to the ground, ABC News reports.

"The fire is still too hot," USA Today reports LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith as saying.

Dorner eluded police for days until it was discovered that he had broken into a home in the Big Bear Lake ski resort, tied up a couple and stole their vehicle, Reuters reports. He latter crashed the stolen car after being chased by State game wardens.

Dorner fled to the cabin during a shootout with sheriff's deputies that killed one officer and wounded another, ABC News reports.

Police fired tear gas into the building and exchanged gunfire with Dorner as they began tearing down its walls to flush him out, ABC News reports. Authorities heard a single gunshot go off just as smoke and fire began emitting from the cabin.

The death of the deputy today brought the number of Dorner's victims to four killed, according to USA Today.

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