A large asteroid soared narrowly — by cosmic standards — past the Earth on Wednesday, the closest approach by such an object in more than a decade, according to NASA.
The asteroid, discovered three years ago and known by astronomers as 2014 JO25, is approximately 2,000 feet end-to-end, although its unusual shape made it its size difficult to assess before it passed. It was about 1.1 million miles away from Earth — about 4.6 times the distance between Earth and the moon — when it passed by at about 8:30 a.m. E.S.T.
Texas redistricting ruling
DALLAS — Texas statehouse districts drawn by the Republican-led legislature in 2011 intentionally diluted the votes of minorities, violating the U.S. Constitution and parts of the Voting Rights Act, a federal court ruled Thursday.
In a 2-1 ruling, a three-judge panel in San Antonio found that the maps gave Republicans an advantage in elections and weakened the voting strength of minority voters. House Districts in Dallas and Tarrant counties were among those in which the judges ruled minority voters had seen their clout weakened.
Last month, the same court found that the state’s congressional maps were drawn with intent to discriminate against minority voters and invalidated three congressional districts. And last week, a federal judge ruled that the state’s voter ID law was written with intent to discriminate.
White House restriction
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Secret Service said it plans to further restrict public access to areas around the White House, a decision officials announced a month after a man carrying mace scaled the White House fence and was able to roam the grounds.
Members of the public will not be allowed to access the sidewalks, roadways and other area between the southern fence line and E Street NW between West Executive Avenue and East Executive Avenue.
‘Alt-right’ leader sued
The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the publisher of a popular “alt-right” website, claiming he orchestrated a “terror campaign” against a Jewish woman in Montana.
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the woman, Tanya Gersh, accuses the publisher of The Daily Stormer, Andrew Anglin, of unleashing a “troll storm” by publishing an article in December that listed Ms. Gersh’s contact information and exhorted readers to “take action” against her.
Shooting in St. Louis
ST. LOUIS — A gunman opened fire on a Laclede Gas crew working in St. Louis’ Hamilton Heights neighborhood, killing two men in the bizarre attack before shooting and killing himself Thursday morning , police and a witness said. There’s no known motive in the attack, police say, and for the time being they say it may have been random.
Also in the nation ...
A New York City firefighter, William Tolley, died Thursday after falling from the roof of an apartment building while battling a fire in the Queens borough of New York, officials said. ... The University of California, Berkeley, said it would permit conservative author Ann Coulter to speak on campus, just one day after it canceled her appearance. ... The Federal Communications Commission voted to ease limits on broadcast TV ownership and prices that large telecom companies can charge businesses and governments for bulk broadband services.