Campaign photo diary
October 12, 2012

Mitt Romney's wife Ann plants a kiss on rider Rebecca Hart's horse Lord Ludger during Ann's Oct. 10 appearance as guest host of Good Morning America. Ann, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 14 years ago, has often spoken about how her love of horses has helped her cope with the debilitating illness.

space stuff
3:04 p.m. ET JPL

Astronomers have discovered what is only the second known exoplanet living in a family of four stars. Exoplanets are planets that orbit stars other than the sun, and scientists still have much to learn about how they form.

Previously, scientists believed the exoplanet was part of a three-star system, but astronomers have discovered a fourth star, a red dwarf, that is part of the system.

"Star systems come in myriad forms. There can be single stars, binary stars, triple stars, even quintuple star systems," Lewis Roberts from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory told Discovery News. "It's amazing the way nature puts these things together."

Scientists now believe that four percent of solar-type stars are part of four-star systems. While still rare, the find means four-star systems with planets are much more common than previously believed. Discovery News notes that the exoplanet's discovery could have significant implications about how planets form in multi-star systems. The findings about the new four-star system, 30 Ari, will be published in the Astronomical Journal.

Let the boys play!
2:31 p.m. ET
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Because of liability concerns, lots of cities across the U.S. have banned sled-riding in public places. And residents of our nation's capital are taking it lying down — literally.

The Hill reports that protesters upset over the sledding ban on the west lawn of the Capitol — prime sledding real estate — planned to stage a ''sled-in'' today. An online petition to get the Capitol Board Police to lift the ban had more than 800 signatures by noon on Thursday.

A police official told The Hill, ''For security reasons, the Capitol grounds are not your typical neighborhood hill or playground.''

Defiant sledders are reportedly being told to leave the premises ''brusquely'' by police.

Dropping names
2:27 p.m. ET
Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

As a former local news anchor and current executive vice president of Marriott International, Kathleen Matthews has a lot going for her besides a famous husband. And it looks like she'll try to add to that impressive resume. 

Politico reports that the wife of Chris Matthews, the firebrand host of MSNBC's Hardball, has begun "talking to Democratic activists and interviewing potential consultants'' about running for Rep. Chris Van Hollen's (D-Md.) seat, as he leaves to seek retiring Sen. Barbara Mikulski's seat.

According to Politico, Kathleen Matthews has worked to improve Marriott's sustainability and to make the company friendlier toward the LGBT community. She also earned kudos from former President Bill Clinton, who recently attended the opening of a Marriott in earthquake-damaged Haiti, an effort Matthews spearheaded.

Scary scene
2:11 p.m. ET
Handout/The Asia Economy Daily/Getty

Mark Lippert, the American ambassador to South Korea, said Thursday he was upbeat and on his way to recovery after an attacker slashed his face with a knife.

"Doing well & in great spirits," he wrote on Twitter.

On Wednesday, a knife-wielding attacker stabbed Lippert during a breakfast lecture in Seoul. South Korean authorities said the assailant, Kim Ki-jong, was a fringe nationalist who acted alone, and President Park Geun-hye condemned the incident as an "intolerable attack on the South Korean-United States alliance."

All in a day's work
1:59 p.m. ET

Moles might just be the unsung heroes of archaeology.

A team of moles previously unearthed Roman artifacts from an ancient fort in England, and the creatures' talents are helping archaeologists once again.

The Viborg Museum in northern Denmark is using moles to help look for a fort from the Middle Ages. Researchers from the museum analyze mole hills after the moles bring pottery fragments and other artifacts to the surface.

"The closer we get to a building, the higher the content of items per liter we find," Jesper Hjermind of the Viborg Museum told The Copenhagen Post. "It's simple, but it works."

Hjermind even gave the moles' work an adorable name, "moleology." 

1:00 p.m. ET
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Lawyers for Michael Brown's parents announced Thursday that they will file a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Ferguson, Missouri, and former police officer Darren Wilson.

Wilson, who is white, fatally shot Brown, an unarmed, black 18-year-old, in Ferguson last year.

The announcement comes after the Justice Department said it would not bring charges against Wilson. The department also released a report Wednesday that charged Ferguson's police department with routine racial discrimination.

Daryl Parks, Brown's family's attorney, said the report documented "rampant, wholesale, systemic" problems in Ferguson's police department that must "change soon for the safety of the citizens."

This just in
12:16 p.m. ET

An Arizona judge on Thursday declared a mistrial in the sentencing phase of the Jodi Arias murder case, after a jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict. The mistrial came after another jury, which convicted Arias of murder two years ago, also failed to agree on whether she should be sentenced to death or face life in prison.

Arias was found guilty in May 2013 of brutally killing her boyfriend five years earlier. A judge will now decide her fate at a sentencing hearing set for April 13, though the death penalty is off the table because of the two mistrials.

This just in
12:03 p.m. ET

A Delta plane skidded off a snowy runway at LaGuardia Airport on Thursday morning, crashing through a fence.

No injuries have been reported. The passengers were evacuated from the plane, which is apparently leaking fuel. The plane was Flight MD-88, arriving from Atlanta.

All LaGuardia traffic has been shut down until 7:00 p.m. EST.

10:51 a.m. ET

After an Oregon family's elderly pony escaped from its stall to wander the neighborhood, a local police officer shot and killed the miniature horse for reasons its owner finds suspect.

When Crista Fitzgerald noticed Gir, her 30-year-old pony, had gone missing one morning, she immediately started looking for him. Spotting Gir laying down in a neighbor's yard, she assumed he'd gone to sleep, but, "We walked up closer and I bent down to pet him, and that's when I saw the pool of blood behind his cheek bones."

When Fitzgerald contacted the officer who had shot the pony, he claimed Gir had been hit by a car and broken his back legs — but two separate vets said there was nothing wrong with Gir when he was killed. The sheriff's office also said the officer contacted the local humane society before shooting the pony, which the humane society denies.

At the Fitzgeralds' request, the sheriff's department will investigate the incident. Gir "was part of our family," Fitzgerald says. "There's no way to replace him."

Boston Marathon Bombing
10:49 a.m. ET

Rebekah Gregory, who lost part of her left leg in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, on Wednesday condemned accused attacker Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in a letter posted to her Facebook page.

"You are a coward," she wrote. "A little boy who wouldn't even look me in the eyes to see that. Because you can't handle the fact that what you tried to destroy, you only made stronger."

The trial of Tsarnaev, who faces 30 charges and a potential death sentence, began Wednesday with the defense admitting Tsarnaev carried out the attack. Gregory was one of several survivors of the attack who testified on the trial's opening day.

You can read Gregory's full letter here.

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