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10 things you need to know today: May 19, 2014

Harold Maass
South Korean President Park Geun-hye announces her plan. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
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South Korean plans to disband coast guard over ferry response

South Korean President Park Geun-hye announced Monday that she would disband her country's coast guard for failing to rescue more passengers from the sinking ferry Sewol last month. At least 286 people died, most of them vacationing high school students. The coast guard "didn't do its duty," said Park, addressing the nation on TV for the first time since the disaster. She apologized, saying she was "ultimately responsible." [The New York Times]


AT&T reaches a $48.5 billion deal to buy DirecTV

AT&T has reached an agreement to acquire satellite broadcaster DirecTV for about $48.5 billion, the companies announced on Sunday. The deal would instantly make the nation's biggest phone company a major player in pay TV. "This is a unique opportunity that will redefine the video entertainment industry," AT&T Chairman and Chief Executive Randall Stephenson said. The sale comes three months after Comcast snapped up Time Warner Cable for $45 billion. [http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-att-to-acqurie-directv-in-48-billion-deal-20140518-story.html]


Reince Priebus says Hillary Clinton's age, health will "come up" in 2016

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said Sunday that conservatives had every right to bring up Hillary Clinton's age and health in the 2016 presidential campaign, if she runs. GOP strategist Karl Rove angered Democrats recently by saying that the former secretary of State might have suffered a "traumatic brain injury" in a 2012 fall. "I'm not a doctor," Priebus said. "What I do know is that the issue is going to come up." [The New York Times]


New York rule might end California Chrome's Triple Crown hopes

California Chrome might lose its Triple Crown bid before next month's Belmont Stakes in New York even begins. The colt won the Preakness Stakes on Saturday and the Kentucky Derby earlier in the month, giving it a shot at becoming the first horse to sweep the three races since 1978. New York has a rule barring nasal strips, which California Chrome wears in races to enhance breathing, and its trainer says it might not race unless Belmont Park lets horses wear them. [New York Daily News]


Libyan gunmen demand a purge of Islamist extremists

Gunmen loyal to a renegade Libyan military leader, retired General Khalifa Haftar, attacked parliament on Sunday and shut it down. The assailants also called for driving Islamist militants out of the North African nation. The attack intensified some of the worst clashes among rival militias since the 2011 war that toppled longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi. The central government issued a statement Monday saying it was still in control. [Reuters, NBC News]


Bosnia and Serbia suffer the worst flooding on record

Bosnia and Serbia declared states of emergency on Sunday as the heaviest rains in memory caused the worst flooding since record-keeping began 120 years ago. At least three people have drowned as rivers have run over their banks and covered entire villages in water, causing landslides that have buried houses. The government has sent military helicopters to evacuate thousands of people stranded by the floodwaters. [BBC News]


Switzerland says no to $25-an-hour minimum wage

Swiss voters on Sunday rejected a proposal to raise the country's minimum wage to 22 Swiss francs ($24.65 an hour), the highest in the world. The measure didn't come close — about 76 percent of voters said no. Business leaders expressed relief. "If the initiative had been accepted, without doubt that would have led to job cuts, particularly in remote and structurally weaker regions," Swiss Economy Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann said. [Reuters]


Racism claim kills bid to name Lake Tahoe cove after Mark Twain

Nevada's State Board on Geographic Names decided against naming a Lake Tahoe cove after Mark Twain after the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California objected, saying the famed author held racist views against Native Americans. Spokesmen for the tribe, whose ancestral homeland includes the lake, said Twain referred to them as the "digger tribe," a derogatory term referring to Western tribes that dug roots for food. [The Associated Press]


Godzilla returns at No. 1

Godzilla destroyed the competition to finish No. 1 at the box office in its debut weekend. The new take on the 1950s Japanese monster classic, which features Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston, hauled in $93.2 million in the U.S., blasting past BoxOffice.com's $76 million estimate. "It was a monster opening for Godzilla," said Paul Sweeney, a Bloomberg Industries analyst. [Bloomberg Businessweek]


Michael Jackson hologram performs at Billboard awards

Sunday's Billboard Music Awards featured an unlikely guest — the late Michael Jackson, in hologram form, performing "Slave to the Rhythm." The King of Pop recorded the previously unreleased track in 1991 with L.A. Reid and Babyface during sessions for Dangerous. It's on his posthumous album, XSCAPE. The hologram performance, which took six months to plan, choreograph, and film, brought some in the audience to tears. Others said they were "creeped out." [New York Daily News, The Washington Post]

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