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10 things you need to know today: April 20, 2014

Jon Terbush
Pope Francis leads Easter Mass in St. Peter's Square Franco Origlia / Getty Images
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Ukrainian PM warns Putin 'dreams' of rebuilding Soviet Union

In an interview with Meet the Press that will air Sunday, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin is intent on annexing more territory. "President Putin has a dream to restore the Soviet Union," Yatsenyuk said, "and every day he goes further and further, and God knows where is the final destination." The remark came as fighting between government forces and pro-Russian separatists at a checkpoint in eastern Ukraine left at least five people dead. [NBC, BBC]


Healthcare.gov passwords reset due to Heartbleed bug

With the full extent of the Heartbleed cyber security flaw still unknown, the Obama administration took the preemptive step of resetting all Healthcare.gov passwords. In a statement posted to the federal health exchange website, the administration said there was "no indication" user information had been compromised, but that it reset passwords anyway "out of an abundance of caution." The Heartbleed flaw is an encryption error that may have left sensitive information on two-thirds of servers — and perhaps a quarter of all websites — vulnerable to hackers. [The Hill, Healthcare.gov]


Pope Francis marks Easter with call to peace

In his Easter address Sunday, Pope Francis offered a traditional blessing and prayed for peace in nations gripped by deadly infighting. Speaking to an estimated crowd of 150,000, Pope Francis decried the used of "deadly force" in Syria, and in particular called for a peaceful resolution to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. And touching on the humility that has marked his papacy, Pope Francis also urged those in attendance to help overcome the global "scourge of hunger" and the "immense wastefulness for which we are often responsible." [The Telegraph, NPR]


Syria on pace to destroy chemical weapons by deadline

Despite a slow start to the process, Syria is on track to meet an end-of-month deadline to destroy its stockpile of chemical weapons. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said Saturday that Syria has already destroyed 80 percent of its cache, adding that a "renewed pace in movements is positive and necessary to ensure progress towards a tight deadline." In February, Syria caught flak from the OPCW for having destroyed only about 11 percent of its chemical weapons ahead of the original February 5 deadline. [CNN]


U.S. to send troops to Poland

With the situation in Ukraine threatening to devolve into further violence, the United States this week will announce that it is sending troops to Poland to beef up NATO's footprint in the region. Poland's defense minister, Tomasz Siemoniak, visited Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel at the Pentagon last week and then told The Washington Post the two nations had reached an agreement on the troop deployment. Siemoniak told the Post the U.S., which under the Obama administration had begun to shift its focus to Asia, needed to "re-pivot" to Europe in light of Russia's recent militaristic streak. [The Washington Post]


South Korean ferry death toll rises to 52

Dive crews searching through the wreck of a South Korean ferry recovered another dozen bodies on Sunday, bringing the death toll in the crash to 52. more than 250 people remain missing after the ferry went down last week with almost 500 on board. The ship's captain, Lee Joon-seok, was arrested Saturday and charged with five counts, including negligence. [USA Today]


Malaysia to issue death certificates in plane disappearance

The Malaysian government said Sunday it would soon issue death certificates for those who went missing aboard Flight 370 and extend financial assistance to their families. Government officials announced weeks ago they had concluded the plane crashed with no survivors in the Indian Ocean, though they've yet to find signs of the wreckage beyond a few pings possibly emitted by the plane's flight recorder. The news came as a submersible drone searching for the plane returned from its seventh mission with no leads. [NBC, CNN]


Space station gets Easter basket, of sorts

It appears the Easter Bunny can leap into orbit. On Sunday, astronauts aboard the International Space Station snared a shipment containing more than two tons of food, equipment, and personal care packages, all delivered via the SpaceX Dragon. Apparently, even NASA doesn't know what the astronauts will be receiving from their families. "It will be a surprise for all of us when they open the hatch," NASA's Bill Gerstenmaier told the Associated Press. [Associated Press]


Upsets abound as NBA playoffs kick off

The 2014 NBA playoffs got underway Saturday night in surprising fashion, with three of the four higher-seed teams losing. In the Eastern Conference, the top-seeded Indiana Pacers lost a shocker to the Atlanta Hawks, who finished the season with a losing record. Meanwhile, fellow No. 6 seeds Golden State and Brooklyn also won their opening matchups. Only Oklahoma City, the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, met expectations by winning on its home court. [Sports Illustrated]


White House won't comment on deporting Justin Bieber

Delighting tween girls everywhere, the White House says it will not comment on an online petition to send Justin Bieber back to his native Canada. A White House petition with the cheeky goal of "immigration reform" obtained 274,000 signatures, almost three times the 100,000 needed to trigger an automatic administration review. Yet the White House said that to "avoid the appearance of improper influence" it would not comment on the effort, adding, "Sorry to disappoint." [New York Daily News]

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