Curiosity scoops, detects bright object on Mars

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LOS ANGELES -- NASA officials say the Curiosity rover has made its first scoop of the surface of planet Mars and has detected a bright object on the ground.

Officials said in a news release Monday that they suspect the object might be a part of the six-wheeled rover, but they won't sample or scoop anymore until they figure out what it is.

The Curiosity has already beamed back pictures of bedrock that suggest a fast-moving stream once flowed on the planet.

Today's Mars is a frozen desert, but previous geological studies suggest it was once warmer and wetter.

Drug cartel leader killed: Top Zetas drug cartel leader Heriberto Lazcano has apparently been killed in a firefight with marines in the northern border state of Coahuila, the Mexican navy said late Monday. If confirmed, Lazcano's death would mark a huge victory for Mexican law enforcement, and mark the end of a founder of one of the world's bloodiest cartels. The navy said there were "strong indications" the body of one of two men killed in the shootout Sunday was Lazcano, known as "El Lazca."

Super-glued daughter's hands: A Dallas woman who super-glued her 2-year-old daughter's hands to a wall also beat the girl so badly that she suffered bleeding on her brain, a doctor testified Monday during the mother's sentencing hearing. Elizabeth Escalona faces up to life in prison after pleading guilty in July to attacking her daughter, Jocelyn Cedillo, last September. Police say the 23-year-old mother attacked the toddler due to potty training problems. Jocelyn was hospitalized for about one week with injuries that included bleeding on her brain, a fractured rib, severe bruises and others likely caused by direct blows, according to Dr. Amy Barton, a former child abuse specialist at Children's Medical Center of Dallas.

Huge pumpkin: A grower from Oregon is the winner of this year's Half Moon Bay giant pumpkin contest with a gourd weighing in at 1,775 pounds. Forty-five-year-old Thad Starr from Pleasant Hill, Ore., set a contest record with his pumpkin Monday, beating last year's winner by 71 pounds.

Starr, who has won the contest twice before, said he plans to use the $10,650 in prize money to take his family to Disneyland.

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