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10 things you need to know today: May 11, 2014

Jon Terbush
Eastern Ukraine votes in disputed sovereignty referendum John Moore / Getty Images
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1.

Ukraine votes in disputed referendum

Voters in eastern Ukraine head to the polls Sunday to cast ballots in a disputed sovereignty referendum. Pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk, who have engaged in deadly clashes with the government in recent weeks, insisted on holding the vote despite objections from the international community and even from Russian President Vladimir Putin. The U.S. has already said it won't recognize the outcome of the referendum.

2.

Michael Sam becomes NFL's first openly gay player

With the 249th pick in the NFL draft, the St. Louis Rams on Saturday selected Michael Sam, making him the first openly gay player in NFL history. An ESPN camera crew captured a tearful Sam receiving the phone call from Rams coach Jeff Fisher and then celebrating with cake and a kiss from his boyfriend.

3.

Arkansas to appeal gay marriage ruling

One day after a judge struck down Arkansas' ban on same-sex marriage, lawyers for the state said they would soon file an appeal to put the law back in place. Yet because the judge who issued the ruling did not stay his decision, 15 same-sex couples already received marriage licenses Saturday, and more are expected to wed Monday when government buildings reopen.

4.

Feds failed to inspect high-risk oil wells

The federal government has not inspected thousands of oil and natural gas wells despite acknowledging that they could pose a high risk of contaminating the environment, according to a congressional report obtained by The Associated Press. The report, from the Government Accountability Office, faults outdated inspection policies and lax oversight from the Interior Department and Bureau of Land Management. As a result, the report says, the government failed to inspect more than 2,100 wells it previously designated as "high priority" sites.

5.

North Korea vows to conduct more nuclear tests

North Korea on Saturday reaffirmed its recent threat to conduct a fourth nuclear weapons test despite concerns that such a move would further isolate the Hermit Kingdom. Through a state-run newspaper, the government said it would "take counter-measures including nuclear test[s] to protect the sovereignty and dignity" of Pyongyang. Last month, North Korea said it was considering a "new form" of nuclear test.

6.

September 11 remains transferred in somber ceremony

The unidentified remains of people killed in the September 11 terror attacks were transferred Saturday from a medical examiner's office to the World Trade Center Memorial. In what New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's office called a "a ceremonial transfer," 7,930 pieces of unidentified remains were delivered in three flag-draped metal cases, each the size of a coffin, to the site.

7.

Iranian President defends nuclear program

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday rebuffed calls for his nation to scrap its nuclear program, saying Iran would not accept "scientific and nuclear apartheid." The remark came as Iranian and U.N. negotiators are set to meet this week ahead of a May 15 deadline for Iran to implement several measures intended to ease concerns that its nuclear ambitions are purely domestic, and not military.

8.

MLB bought stolen Biogenesis documents

Major League Baseball purchased documents pilfered from Biogenesis, the shady clinic at the center of its huge PED investigation, even though it knew the materials were stolen, according to Newsday. Citing a police report and Florida investigators, the paper claims the league ignored repeated warnings that the documents were stolen, and then failed to notify police of the purchase for eight months. MLB has come under fire for using allegedly extra-legal maneuvers in its fervent pursuit of Alex Rodriguez and other suspected drug cheats.

9.

Bearded drag queen wins Eurovision Song Contest

Conchita Wurst won the annual Eurovision competition on Saturday in what she called a victory for "tolerance and respect." Wurst, an Austrian born Tom Neuwirth, said her win also served as a refutation of the thousands of people who petitioned to have her removed from the show. "This night is dedicated to everyone who believes in a future of peace and freedom," she said, adding, "we are unity and we are unstoppable."

10.

Marco Rubio says he's ready to be president

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R) on Sunday said he was prepared to be president, though he stopped short of saying whether he would indeed run in 2016. When asked directly in an interview with ABC's Jonathan Karl if he was "ready" to run the White House, Rubio responded, "I do."

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