It was too expensive. It lacked editorial focus. And for a digital publication, it was strangely cut off from the Internet. That's the obituary being written in real time through posts, tweets and online chats about

The Daily,

the first-of-its-kind iPad newspaper, which is being shut down this month.

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. said Monday that The Daily will publish its final issue on Dec. 15, less than two years after its January 2011 launch. The app has already been removed from Apple's iTunes, where it once received lukewarm ratings.

The Daily had roughly 100,000 subscribers who paid either 99 cents a week or $40 a year for its daily download of journalism tailored for touch screens. But that wasn't enough to sustain about 100 employees and millions of dollars in losses since its launch. News Corp. executives once put the annual cost of running the publication at $30 million.

Murdoch said in a statement that News Corp. "could not find a large enough audience quickly enough to convince us the business model was sustainable in the long-term." Some employees are being hired in other parts of the company.

Voyager: It's now in really deep space

LOS ANGELES - NASA's long-running Voyager 1 spacecraft has entered a new region at the edge of the solar system and is close to exiting it forever. Scientists have dubbed this region the "magnetic highway" and it's the last stop before interstellar space, or the space between stars.

Voyager 1 and its twin, Voyager 2, were launched 35 years ago on a tour of the outer planets. Afterward, both spacecraft continued to hurtle toward the fringes of the solar system.

Mission chief scientist Ed Stone says that it's unknown when Voyager 1 will finally break through to interstellar space. Once that happens, it'll be the first manmade object to leave the solar system.

Teacher, test thyself

WASHINGTON - One of the nation's largest teachers unions is proposing a stringent exam that teachers would have to pass before entering the profession, much like the bar exam for lawyers. The American Federation of Teachers says in a new report that such an exam would raise the benchmark for teachers. It's calling on the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards to take the lead in creating the exam.

AFT President Randi Weingarten says that too many teachers are thrown into the classroom before they're ready. She says that's unfair to students and teachers.

To pass the written exam, teachers would also need a minimum grade-point average and at least one year of successful student- teaching.

Great you-know-what of fire

RALEIGH, N.C. - Prison officials in North Carolina are calling for a criminal investigation after six inmates alleged that correctional officers forced them to rub habanero hot sauce on their genitals, resulting in painful blisters.

N.C. Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Pamela Walker said Monday that officials had asked the State Bureau of Investigation to review conduct at Sampson Correctional Institution. She said that a staff member at the prison has been reassigned and that another is on leave after an internal investigation. The findings are being kept confidential.

The probe was initiated after male inmates complained that guards had forced them to perform numerous humiliating acts, including gulping hot sauce and slathering it on themselves. The inmates also reported being forced to capture and kiss wild snakes while working on a road crew.

Killer a 'genius'

CHEYENNE, WYO. - A relative of a man who killed his father in front of a computer-science class at a Wyoming community college called him a "borderline genius" upset by the belief that he had inherited Asperger's Syndrome from his dad. Barbara Nichols, an aunt of Christopher Krumm, 25, said that her nephew had trouble keeping jobs and blamed Asperger's.

Police said that Krumm shot James Krumm, 56, with an arrow and stabbed him in his Casper College classroom Friday. About six students escaped unhurt, but earlier Krumm had fatally stabbed his father's girlfriend, Heidi Arnold, 42, at their home.

Christopher Krumm fatally stabbed himself in the classroom. Asperger's is a mild form of autism not normally associated with violent behavior.

Postmark still glows

RUDOLPH, OHIO - Volunteers in the northwest Ohio village of Rudolph have come together to save the most famous postmark of all.

Thousands of letters flood the village post office every December so that they can be stamped with a Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer postmark. But the tradition was in danger of ending when the post office staff was cut down to one, and the work became too much to handle.

That's when volunteers in the community decided to take over the job. Close to 75 people, including a few retired postal workers, have signed up to stamp the special Reindeer Station postmark on the 80,000 letters and cards that come in from across the country.

And on Wall Street . . .

Stocks edged lower on Wall Street on Monday after a surprisingly weak manufacturing report heightened concern that fiscal deadlock in Washington is already hurting the economy.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 59.98 points to close at 12,965.60. The Standard and Poor's 500 dropped 6.72 points to 1,409.46. The Nasdaq composite was down 8.04 points to 3,002.20.

- Daily News wire services