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7 Stories Worth Skimming

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Here are seven stories from the "Nightly News" team that caught our attention as we get ready for tonight's broadcast.

1. Coming soon: An asteroid fly-by

An asteroid flying past Earth today will be closer to us than the moon -- and you can watch it live online. The 98-foot space rock will travel at a speed of 32,000 mph and thankfully poses no threat to our planet.

2. Was Oscar-nominee Barkhad Abdi underpaid?

Barkhad Abdi, known for his riveting, Oscar-nominated performance in "Captain Phillips," is struggling to get by despite the film’s massive financial success. According to The New Yorker, Abdi earned $65,000 for his performance in the film starring opposite Tom Hanks, but that check came two years ago and to make ends meet, Abdi found work selling mobile phones in his brother’s shop.

3. Los Angeles aims to ban e-cigarettes

Soon you may see a lot less “vaping” in Los Angeles. In a unanimous vote, the Los Angeles City Council moved to ban the use of e-cigarettes in areas where cigarette smoking is prohibited. Some critics suggest the ban might encourage people to return to tobacco cigarettes, and the long-term health effects of smoking e-cigarettes -- if any -- are still unknown. If Mayor Eric Garcetti signs the measure into law, it will go into effect 30 days later.

4. I’m no superman: Pope Francis insists he’s a ‘normal person’

In an interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Pope Francis attempted to distance himself from his worldwide popularity, saying it’s offensive to liken the Pope to “some sort of Superman.”

“I like being among people, with those who suffer, to go to parishes," he said. “When, for instance, some say I go out at night to feed the homeless in Via Ottaviano. It never crossed my mind."

5. Did U.S. intelligence fail to predict Russia’s actions?

Congress is demanding to know why U.S. intelligence didn’t issue a warning that Russia would send troops into Crimea.

“We have to better deploy our resources,” Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein told POLITICO. “We have large resources and it should not be possible for Russia to walk in and take over the Crimea and it’s a done deal by the time we know about it.”

Today, Sen. John McCain grilled U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel as to whether or not the U.S. intelligence sources knew in advance about the Russian invasion.

Watch the video here:

6. Ashes to go

No more excuses for busy New Yorkers on Ash Wednesday -- a few Manhattan-based churches have started a program called “Ashes To Go,” which caters to the on-the-go lifestyle many Manhattanites lead. Now, New Yorkers can get their ashes in drive-by fashion outside a subway station or next to a coffee cart in the financial district.

7. Dancing Mardi Gras cop video

Two New Orleans cops who were caught dancing with some Mardi Gras revelers are becoming local sensations. The officer with the awesome dance moves is veteran detective Winston Harbin, who danced to “Wobble Baby” and later “Cupid Shuffle” with his partner DeCynda Barnes.

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