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Feb. 13, 2013 at 12:06 PM
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LAPD: Charred body being identified

BIG BEAR LAKE, Calif., Feb. 13 (UPI) -- Examiners began determining if charred remains found in a burned cabin are those of an ex-Los Angeles police officer, holed up after a shootout with officers.

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.

Investigators said they had little doubt the remains belong to Dorner.

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.

Law enforcement officials broke the cabin's windows, lobbed in tear gas and called for the suspect to surrender, the Times said. After receiving no response, officials used a special vehicle to tear down the cabin's walls individually. When they reached the last wall, they heard what they believed was a gunshot.

Then the cabin burst into flames.

Obama to tout middle-class economy at plant

ASHEVILLE, N.C., Feb. 13 (UPI) -- President Obama, fresh from his State of the Union address, will push his plans for government investment in innovation hubs at a North Carolina auto parts plant.

Obama traveled to Asheville Wednesday to begin to press for the economic agenda he outlined Tuesday night.

"Our economy is adding jobs, but too many people still can't find full-time employment. Corporate profits have rocketed to all-time highs, but for more than a decade, wages and incomes have barely budged,'" Obama said in his address to a joint session of Congress.

"It is our generation's task, then, to reignite the true engine of America's economic growth -- a rising, thriving middle class,'' Obama said.

En route to Asheville, White House spokesmen Jay Carney told reporters Obama is confident the "right proposal" can make its way through Congress, considering the level of support from the business community.

Pakistan will continue to block YouTube

ISLAMABAD, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- The government of Pakistan said Wednesday it has decided not to lift a ban on the video-sharing website YouTube.

The decision follows the release of a report by an inter-ministerial panel that determined it is impossible to block sacrilegious content on YouTube, Pakistan's Geo News reported.

The report to the National Assembly's standing committee on Information Technology also said YouTube was not willing to cooperate with the government of Pakistan.

Pakistan pulled the plug on YouTube following violent protests against an anti-Islam video that was posted on the website.

The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority has blocked as many as 682,000 websites that carry what it considers to be blasphemous content.

The authority said YouTube officials are expected to visit Pakistan later this month to discuss the matter.

Ovation, applause greet Pope Benedict XVI

VATICAN CITY, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- Pope Benedict XVI was greeted by a long round of applause Wednesday in his first public appearance since announcing he was resigning at the end of February.

The pope received an ovation and applause 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.

He will celebrate what is likely will be his last public mass as pope later Wednesday with an Ash Wednesday service in St. Peter's Basilica. The service was moved from a smaller basilica to let more worshipers say goodbye, the Vatican said.

Benedict, 85, announced he was resigning Monday, saying he thought he was no longer capable of being pontiff.

Snake-handling pastor loses his props

MIDDLESBORO, Ky., Feb. 13 (UPI) -- A Kentucky pastor who uses snakes in his worship services said police in Tennessee are holding $800 worth of reptiles that belong to him.

Gregory Coots purchased five snakes in Alabama late last month and was on his way back to Kentucky when he was stopped by police in Knoxville, Tenn., WYMT-TV reported.

Coots was pulled over for having dark-tinted windows when the officer spotted containers with three rattlesnakes and two copperheads in his vehicle.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency was summoned to the traffic stop and Coots' snakes were confiscated because he lacked proper documentation.

Coots said the snakes have been placed in a zoo and he is fighting to get them back.

A court hearing on the matter is scheduled in Knoxville on February 25th.

Coots handles snakes as part of his worship services at Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name Church in Middlesboro, Ky.

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