Editors: Retransmitting digest to fix the slug.
The world at 2:05 p.m. Times EST.
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PRETORIA, South Africa — Paralympic superstar Oscar Pistorius is charged with the Valentine's Day murder of his girlfriend at his home near South Africa's capital, shocking fans around the world following the double-amputee's historic performance at the London Olympics. Companies quickly remove billboards and advertising featuring the national hero known as the Blade Runner, and Pistorius hides his face from photographers as officers escort him from a police station. By Jon Gambrell and Gerald Imray.
AP photos, video.
— PISTORIUS-OLYMPIC DREAM — After losing his legs as a baby, Pistorius lived out his greatest dream at the 2012 Olympics, a shining example of what a person can achieve in the face of adversity. AP photos.
— SOUTH AFRICA-PISTORIUS-GIRLFRIEND — Reeva Steenkamp, the model who urged people to wear black to protest attacks on women, becomes a victim herself — fatally shot at the home of her boyfriend. AP photos.
DISABLED CRUISE SHIP
MOBILE, Ala. — The dismal and decrepit scene aboard a disabled Carnival cruise ship comes into sharper focus as the vessel inches toward the Alabama shore and more passengers are able to communicate what they're going through. After a week at sea, the vacation voyage in the Gulf of Mexico has turned into a nightmare odyssey of scarce food, overflowing toilets, dark corridors and uncertainty about when they will finally reach a safe harbor. By Jay Reeves and Ramit Plushnick-Masti.
AP photos, video and audio.
WASHINGTON — A new plan by Senate Democrats to head off severe spending cuts gets a frosty reception from Republicans, leaving Washington still at a loss as the crisis looms. Obama administration officials troop to Capitol Hill to lay out the biting consequences if no solution is found before March 1: less food aid for pregnant women and their kids, the temporary layoff of thousands of air traffic controllers and a sharp pullback in food inspections and border patrols, among them. By Andrew Taylor.
—BUDGET FIGHT-GLANCE— A subject-by-subject look at potential impact if automatic spending cuts take effect.
—OBAMA-EDUCATION — President continues his post-State of the Union sales pitch, visiting a Georgia school to promote an early childhood education plan.
—BUDGET FIGHT-JUSTICE— Impending across-the-board spending cuts would force the Justice Department to delay opening four new prisons and slash the cases that U.S. Attorney offices can handle by 2,600 this year.
NEW YORK — Billionaire Warren Buffett is dipping into the ketchup business as part of $23.3 billion deal to buy the Heinz ketchup company, uniting a legend of American investing with a mainstay of grocery store shelves. The acquisition straight out of Buffett's usual playbook — a predictably profitable company with an easy-to-understand business. But the deal could also give Heinz a leg up on its plans to become a power in fast-growing overseas markets. By Candice Choi.
— BUFFETT'S BIG DEALS — At 82, Warren Buffett remains happiest hunting for deals at the conglomerate he built. Even after battling prostate cancer last year, Buffett has no plans to retire from Berkshire Hathaway. AP photos.
— KERRY-HEINZ DEAL — Secretary of State John Kerry's financial portfolio could grow handily as a result of today's $23.3 billion mega-deal.
VATICAN CITY — For an institution devoted to eternal light, the Vatican has shown itself to be a master of smokescreens since Pope Benedict XVI's resignation announcement, including the most recent revelation that the pope hit is head and bled profusely during last summer's visit to Mexico. Vatican secrecy is legendary and can have tragic consequences — as the world learned through the church sex abuse scandal in which bishops quietly moved abusive priests. By Victor L. Simpson.
BOSTON — What happens to fish that swim in waters tainted by traces of drugs that people take? When it's an anti-anxiety drug, they become hyper, anti-social and aggressive, a study shows. They even get the munchies. It may sound funny, but it adds to mounting evidence that medicines finding their way into waterways can alter the biology and behavior of fish and other marine animals. By Jeff Donn.
BIG BEAR LAKE, Calif. — The couple says they came face to face with Christopher Dorner. During a 15-minute ordeal at their cabin-style condo just a stone's throw from a command post set up in the manhunt for the former Los Angeles police officer, they say he bound them, put pillowcases on their heads and, at one point, explained how he only wanted to clear his name. Police have not commented on the couple's story, but it renews questions about the thoroughness of their search for a man they had declared extremely armed and dangerous. By Tami Abdollah and Haven Daley.
AP photos, video.
— LAPD-REVENGE KILLINGS-POPULAR CULTURE — Even with Christopher Dorner's presumed death, his name lives on in a video game, a Mexican folk ballad and other Internet memes.
MALI-AL-QAIDA'S SAHARA PLAYBOOK
TIMBUKTU, Mali — In their hurry to flee this city, al-Qaida fighters left behind a crucial document: A letter spelling out the terror network's strategy for conquering northern Mali. The letter shows a sharp discord within al-Qaida's Africa chapter over how to implement strict Islamic punishment, with its senior commander expressing dismay over the whipping of women and the destruction of shrines in Timbuktu. It also shows that al-Qaida predicted the military intervention that would dislodge the Islamic militants. By Rukmini Callimachi.
KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghanistan's army is training female special forces to take part in night raids against insurgents in a bid to fill the vacuum as foreign troops withdraw. In this ultraconservative country where women traditionally are expected to stay home, their participation is breaking new ground. By Rahim Faiez.
AP photos, video.
JERUSALEM — Foreign news reports about the mysterious suicide of an Australian-Israeli Mossad agent in an Israeli prison two years ago have sparked a rare backlash against the country's well-respected security agencies. Critics have accused the government of trying to cover up the affair, fueling a debate about the balance between national security and freedom of information in a country that prides itself on being a vibrant democracy. By Aron Heller.
TUNIS, Tunisia — Long before Tunisia ousted its dictator and inspired the North African pro-democracy movement, the small, relatively prosperous country had the more dubious distinction of exporting Islamic militants. Now, as the country wrestles with the creation of a new government after the killing of a liberal opposition leader, experts say the flow of fighters is getting worse. By Bouazza Ben Bouzza and Paul Schemm.
WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's bags are packed, his wife is waiting and his eyes are rolling as he urges the Senate to stop dithering and vote to send his nominated successor, Chuck Hagel, to the Pentagon. Senate Democrats accuse Republicans of blocking Hagel as the GOP seeks more information about the terror attacks in Benghazi. By Richard Lardner and Robert Burns.
PUBLIC ENEMY NO. 1
CHICAGO — For the first time since Prohibition, Chicago has a new Public Enemy No. 1 — a drug kingpin in Mexico deemed so menacing that he's been assigned the famous label created for Al Capone. Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was singled out for his role as leader of the powerful Sinaloa cartel, which supplies the bulk of narcotics sold in the city. Said an executive with the Chicago Crime Commission: "What Al Capone was to beer and whiskey, Guzman is to narcotics." By Michael Tarm.
VALENTINE'S DAY GUN
LAS VEGAS — One shooting range is selling a "take a shot at love" package that includes targets, 50 sub-machine gun rounds and a three-course meal. Another is offering discounted "shotgun weddings," which feature AK-47s for the wedding party and an ordained minister to lead the lovebirds through their vows to the rat-tat-tat of gunfire. Never known for its understatement or good taste, Las Vegas is bucking the trend of avoiding flippant gun promotions after the mass shooting in Newton, Conn., unleashing everything from a flurry of cupid-themed promotions this Valentine's Day to airport billboards inviting tourists to "come try an uzi." By Hannah Dreier.
AP photos, video.
YORBA LINDA, Calif. — In the final months of his life, Richard Nixon quietly advised President Bill Clinton on navigating the post-Cold War world, even offering to serve as a conduit for messages to Russian President Boris Yeltsin and other government officials. Clinton has talked often of his gratitude to Nixon for his advice on foreign affairs, but newly declassified records fill in the backstory, including a handwritten note from Nixon to Clinton after his 1992 election. By Michael R. Blood.
DALLAS — US Airways CEO Doug Parker finally lands the big merger he's sought for years. Now the soon-to-be CEO of the new American Airlines has to make it work. Planes need painting. Frequent flier programs have to be combined. And the new airline will still be weak in Asia and need to win back business travelers who have been drifting away to other airlines. By Joshua Freed and David Koenig.
— AMERICAN-US AIRWAYS-AIRPORTS — A merged American Airlines and US Airways will carry more passengers around the world than any other, but even the biggest airline flying doesn't need eight hub airports on the ground. Expect sales pitches to start soon about why their city should remain a hub. AP photos.
— AMERICAN-US AIRWAYS-TRAVELER IMPACT — It will be several months — if not years — before passengers see any significant impact from the combination of US Airways and American Airlines.
NY FASHION WEEK-DAY 8
NEW YORK — Fashion tastemakers finish up New York Fashion Week their appetites for next fall whet by some tough, some tailored and many black looks. But there were flashes of bright colors, too, and for every bouncy miniskirt there was a ladylike pencil, and broad-shouldered military coats were offset by slouchy round ones. What shoppers can take away from New York is the idea that the runway is a tool to present fanciful options, not to be used to dictate a specific look. Heavy hitters Marc Jacobs, Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren wrap up eight days of previews before the fashion crowd moves to London, then Milan and on to Paris. By Samantha Critchell.
— FASHION IN MOTION — A look at NY Fashion Week in photos.
SOC-THE DIRTY GAME-THE TURNCOAT
PARIS — What happens when a match-fixer realizes that a rival Asian crime gang has handed him over to police on a platter? It's payback time — and he is spilling the beans about soccer match-fixing operations across the world. A look at a convicted match-fixer who FIFA says may have been active in more than 50 countries. By John Leicester.
ALSO GETTING ATTENTION
— GOVERNMENT AMMO — Yes, it's true, the government is buying ammo big time. It's nothing sinister, the Homeland Security Department needs the more than 1.6 billion rounds for training. AP photo.
— SYRIA-LEBANON-REFUGEE FEARS — For many Lebanese, the massive, chaotic influx of refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war is evoking painful memories and real fear. AP photos.
— GULF OIL SPILL-TRANSOCEAN — Decision expected Thursday in Transocean Ltd.'s agreement with the Justice Department, which provides for $400 million in criminal penalties for its role in the massive 2010 Gulf oil spill.
— SCHOOL SHOOTING-CAPITOL RALLY — About 5,500 people turn out at Connecticut's Capitol to call for tougher gun laws in light of Newtown school shooting. AP photos.
— MISS AMERICA — Atlantic City's casino and tourism industries provided financial incentives that helped lure the Miss America pageant back. AP photos.
—SMALL TOWN SWINDLE — The former comptroller of a small northern Illinois town is sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison for embezzling more than $53 million from the community. AP photo.