BIG BEAR LAKE, Calif., Feb. 13 (UPI) -- An examination is under way to determine whether remains in a burned cabin are those of an ex-Los Angeles police officer, holed up after a shootout with police.
If the remains are identified to be Christopher Dorner, 33, then a weeklong manhunt for the man accused of seeking deadly revenge following his 2008 firing from the force would be over, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.
The newspaper said its law enforcement sources with knowledge of the case said investigators found personal items belonging to Dorner in the cabin's charred rubble.
Two sources told the Times the items support investigators' belief the remains are those of Dorner, but authorities cautioned forensic verification was still pending.
Dorner allegedly killed four people -- a couple in Irvine last weekend, a Riverside County police officer last week and a San Bernardino County sheriff's deputy during Tuesday's shootout in the snowy San Bernardino Mountains near Big Bear Lake.
The last burst of gunfire Tuesday came after Dorner, trying to get away from law enforcement officials, shot to death the sheriff's deputy and seriously injured another deputy. He then barricaded himself in a cabin outside Big Bear, not far from ski areas in the mountains east of Los Angeles, a police source told the Times.
McCain hints at Hagel filibuster
McCain told Politico he will not decide whether to vote to end debate on the nomination -- allowing it to come to a vote in the full Senate -- until the White House responds to requests for more information on how President Barack Obama responded on Sept. 11, 2012, when four Americans were killed in an attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.
McCain told The Washington Post he wants specific details from the White House on whether Obama personally asked Libyan government officials to provide assistance for U.S. personnel in Libya -- including Ambassador Chris Stevens, who was killed in the assault.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has threatened to put a hold on the nomination, citing similar concerns.
Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said Wednesday Republicans may have enough votes to delay a full Senate vote on the nomination.
Xinhua: N. Korea shows 'insecurity'
BEIJING, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- A Chinese analysis says North Korea's defiant nuclear test was the result of "insecurity" following lengthy tension with the outside world.
Shan Jung, writing for the official Chinese news agency Xinhua, said North Korea's "defiance was deeply rooted in its strong sense of insecurity after years of confrontation with South Korea, Japan and a militarily more superior United States."
North Korea said it went ahead Tuesday with its third nuclear test to defend its national security and sovereignty in the face of a hostile United States, and to protest a U.N.Security Council resolution proposed by the United States to punish North Korea for its December satellite launch.
"At a superficial level, it was Pyongyang that has repeatedly breached U.N. resolutions and used its nuclear program as a weapon to challenge the world community, which was considered to be unwise and regrettable," the analysis said.
He said the latest test "is apparently another manifestation of the attempt of a desperate [North Korea] to keep threat at bay."
The analysis called for calm from "all relevant parties."
Lackland trainer guilty on two charges
LACKLAND AFB, Texas, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- Staff Sgt. Craig LeBlanc, an instructor at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, pleaded guilty to sex with a recruit and having an affair with another woman.
The pleas Wednesday could bring LeBlanc 15 years imprisonment and a dishonorable discharge. He is fighting other allegations in court that could double his jail time, the San Antonio Express-News reported.
LeBlanc is accused of nine charges and 12 specifications of misconduct, including the sexual assault of a woman after she graduated from basic training, and is one of 32 basic training instructors charged in an ongoing scandal at the base, the newspaper said.
The U.S. Air Force reported Wednesday the number of victims in the scandal had risen from 59 to 62 recruits and technical training students, all but three of whom are women.
The guilty pleas Wednesday concerned an incident of sex with a basic training recruit, and an affair LeBlanc called "open and notorious" with a technical school student. the newspaper said.
"I completely disrespected my wife and my marriage," LeBlanc said during the proceedings.
Pope Benedict holds last public mass
VATICAN CITY, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Ash Wednesday mass, his last public mass and first public appearance since he announced his resignation.
Earlier he received a sustained ovation when he entered the Paul VI hall in the Vatican for his penultimate general audience, Vatican Radio reported.
"Continue to pray for me, for the church, for the future pope. The Lord will guide us," Benedict said.
The service Wednesday was moved from a smaller basilica, Sant' Anselmo Church, to St. Peter's Basilica to let more worshipers say goodbye, the Vatican said.
It also spared the pope, 85, the effort of a long procession scheduled at the smaller church, the British Broadcasting Corp. noted.
Looking tired at the service attended by cardinals, monks and pilgrims, the pontiff anointed the foreheads of the faithful with ashes in the Ash Wednesday ceremony which marked the start of the Lent, the solemn 40-day period ending with Easter Sunday, the BBC said.
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