Printed on: October 31, 2013

National news briefly

6 people shot dead in S.C. custody fight

GREENWOOD, S.C. (AP) -- A South Carolina man in a custody dispute with a onetime girlfriend broke into her parents' home and fatally shot the woman, her parents and two children, the sheriff said. The man then killed himself.

Investigators found the bodies of six people ranging in age from 9 to 51 when they responded Tuesday to a call from a man who said he was thinking about hurting himself.

Greenwood County Sheriff Tony Davis identified the man who fired the shots as 27-year-old Bryan Sweatt. Davis said Sweatt felt that the woman he had dated wasn't allowing him to see their infant child often enough. The infant was not among the dead.

Investigators believe Sweatt broke into the home and waited for the victims to return, Davis said, adding that the shootings looked like executions.

Earth-size planet has a rocky core

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) -- Scientists have found a planet way out in the cosmos that's close in size and content to Earth -- an astronomical first.

But hold off on the travel plans. This rocky world is so close to its sun that it's at least 2,000 degrees hotter than here, almost certainly too hot for life.

Astrophysicists reported Wednesday in the journal Nature that the exoplanet Kepler-78b appears to be made of rock and iron just like Earth. They measured the planet's mass to determine its density and content. It's actually a little bigger than Earth and nearly double its mass, or weight.

Kepler-78b is located in the Cygnus constellation hundreds of light-years away. Incredibly, it orbits its sun every 8 hours, a mystery to astronomers who doubt it could have formed or moved that close to a star. They agree the planet will be sucked up by the sun in a few billion years, so its time remaining, astronomically speaking, is short.

Dark-matter search is unfruitful so far

LEAD, S.D. (AP) -- Nearly a mile underground in an abandoned gold mine, one of the most important quests in physics has so far come up empty in the search for the elusive substance known as dark matter, scientists announced Wednesday.

But physicists on the project were upbeat, saying they had developed a new, more sensitive method of searching for the mysterious material that has mass but cannot be seen. They planned to keep looking.

"This is just the opening salvo," said Richard Gaitskell of Brown University, a scientist working on the Large Underground Xenon experiment, or LUX, the most advanced Earth-based search for dark matter. A detector attached to the International Space Station has so far failed to find any dark matter either.

The researchers released their initial findings Wednesday after the experiment's first few months at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in South Dakota's Black Hills.

NYC votes to raise tobacco-buying age

NEW YORK (AP) -- Smokers younger than 21 in the nation's biggest city will soon be barred from buying cigarettes after the New York City Council voted overwhelming Wednesday to raise the tobacco-purchasing age to higher than all but a few other places in the United States.

City lawmakers approved the bill -- which raises from 18 to 21 the purchasing age for cigarettes, certain tobacco products and even electronic-vapor smokes -- and another that sets a minimum $10.50-a-pack price for tobacco cigarettes and steps up law enforcement on illegal tobacco sales.

Wheelchair piece is used in man's killing

NEW YORK (AP) -- A nursing home resident bludgeoned his 71-year-old roommate with a metal piece from a wheelchair Wednesday after an ongoing argument over a curtain that separated their beds, police said.

Thomas Yarnavick, 66, was being held on murder and weapons charges in the killing that shocked the Beacon Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in the Rockaways, which last year was badly damaged during Superstorm Sandy.

Sick dad dies after emotional wedding

CLEVELAND (AP) -- An Ohio cancer patient has died less than three weeks after attend-

ing his daughter's wedding on a gurney to fulfill his promise to walk her down the aisle.

A spokesman for University Hospitals in Cleveland said Scott Nagy, 56, died at the hospital Monday after being diagnosed with urethral cancer last year.

The terminally ill Brunswick man wore a tuxedo and arrived by ambulance for his daughter Sarah's Oct. 12 church wedding in Strongsville. Guests cried and clapped as the pair made their way down the aisle with help from a volunteer team of medical professionals.