- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 5, 2009


Asteroid’s passing a cosmic near-miss

PASADENA | An asteroid about the size of one that leveled more than 800 square miles of forest in Siberia a century ago just buzzed the Earth.

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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 Wednesday.

But not as close as the tiny meteoroid 2004 FU162, which came within 4,000 miles in 2004.


Chimp attack injuries detailed

NEW HAVEN | A Connecticut woman mauled by a chimpanzee two weeks ago lost her hands, nose, lips and eyelids and may be blind and suffering brain damage, and hospital officials say it’s still not clear whether her condition can improve at all.

The Cleveland Clinic, revealing the specific injuries Wednesday for the first time, told the Associated Press in a statement that Charla Nash, 55, also lost the bone structure in her face when she was attacked on Feb. 16 in Stamford, Conn.

Her wounds have been stabilized, but “critical issues still remain related to a significant traumatic brain injury and injuries to her eyes that threaten her vision,” the hospital said.


Eagle survives crash through windshield

RENO | The eagle has landed - with a thud - after crashing through the windshield of a tractor-trailer on a Nevada highway.

State wildlife officials said Wednesday that a 15-pound golden eagle with a 7-foot wing span has a swollen head but otherwise appears unhurt after crashing into a Florida truck driver’s big rig Monday.

Matthew Roberto Gonzalez of Opa Locka, Fla., was driving on U.S. Interstate 80 in northeast Nevada near Wells, about 60 miles west of the Utah line, when the eagle came crashing into the cab of his truck.

“It looks like she hit it head first. One side of the head is swollen, but there does not appear to be any permanent damage,” said Joe Doucette, a spokesman for the Nevada Department of Wildlife.

“The guys in the truck immediately bailed out because it was one ticked off bird. She was pretty feisty,” Mr. Doucette told the Associated Press. “Even the officer who responded didn’t want to go in there so we had one of our wildlife biologists do it.”


Insurance workers win ‘the big one’

WHITEHOUSE STATION | It may go down as the best memo Bob Space ever wrote: “We won the big one!”

He sent it Wednesday morning to nine fellow employees at an insurance company in central New Jersey who may soon share a $216 million Mega Millions jackpot.

The 10, who work in Chubb Corp.’s technology department, showed off their winning ticket Wednesday outside the office in Whitehouse Station.

Each person threw in $5 toward a 50-ticket purchase, which Mr. Space made Monday night at a Singin Oil gas station in Toms River, near his home in Manchester and the Garden State Parkway entrance he uses to go to work each day.


Merrill executives subpoenaed

NEW YORK | The New York Attorney General’s Office on Wednesday subpoenaed seven former Merrill Lynch & Co. executives as part of its ongoing investigation into the timing of year-end payments made to executives at the investment bank.

New York Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo subpoenaed Andrea Orcel, David Sobotka, Peter Kraus, Thomas Montag, David Gu, David Goodman and Fares Noujaim.

The seven were identified in a Wall Street Journal report Wednesday as executives who received some of the largest bonuses at Merrill just days before it was taken over by Bank of America Corp. and weeks ahead of announcing the company lost more than $15 billion in the fourth quarter.

Merrill paid out $3.6 billion in bonuses to top executives in December, with 14 employees receiving bonuses of $10 million or more. Mr. Cuomo’s office has been investigating the timing of those bonuses to determine whether proper disclosure of the size and timing of the bonuses was made to Merrill and Bank of America shareholders.


Former first lady has heart surgery

HOUSTON | A family spokesman said former first lady Barbara Bush had successful open heart surgery.

Jim McGrath said Wednesday’s surgery was scheduled last week after Mrs. Bush, 83, experienced shortness of breath.

He said doctors had noticed recently that Mrs. Bush’s aortic valve had started to harden.

He said Mrs. Bush was resting comfortably after the procedure.

Mrs. Bush is the mother of former President George W. Bush and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

In December, she underwent surgery for a perforated ulcer.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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