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10 things you need to know today: April 8, 2014

Harold Maass
Aarrgghh. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
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UConn beats Kentucky for the men's NCAA basketball crown

The University of Connecticut basketball team, led by seasoned star guard Shabazz Napier, defeated the freshmen-led Kentucky Wildcats 60-54 to win the NCAA men's basketball championship Monday night. The difference came at the free-throw line, where UConn went 10 for 10, and Kentucky was 13 for 24. The win — the Huskies' fourth championship since 1999 — came a year after an academic ban kept the team out of the tournament. [CNN]


Senate approves restoring benefits for the long-term unemployed

Senate Democrats, with help from six Republicans, pushed through a bill on Monday seeking to restore expired jobless benefits for 2.4 million Americans unemployed for six months or more. President Obama has called on the GOP-led House to approve the bill, too. It has faced firm opposition in the House, although Republicans are facing increasing pressure to pass relief for the unemployed ahead of November's midterm elections. [Reuters]


Pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine declare independence

Pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine declared independence from Kiev on Monday, and called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to send in troops. Ukraine's acting prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, called the move, along with pro-Russia demonstrators' seizure of government buildings in three cities, part of a Russian bid to ignite "division and destruction" to justify invading. Ukraine said Tuesday it had retaken one of the buildings. [The New York Times, BBC News]


Justices won't help photographer accused of anti-gay discrimination

The Supreme Court on Monday turned down an appeal from a New Mexico photographer who refused to shoot pictures at a lesbian couple's wedding. The photographer, Elaine Huguenin, was charged with violating the state's anti-discrimination law after refusing to shoot the wedding because it would violate her religious beliefs. The high court's refusal to hear the appeal marked a significant victory for gay marriage advocates. [Los Angeles Times]


Germany reaches a deal on returning art looted by Nazis

The German government announced a deal Monday that could lead to the return of works of art — including some by Picasso, Chagall, and Gauguin — that were wrongfully taken from Jewish owners. The agreement calls for a year of investigation to determine which of the works seized in 2012 from the apartment of Cornelius Gurlitton, the son of a Nazi-era art dealer, are of questionable provenance and therefore eligible for possible restitution. [The New York Times]


Searchers fail to pick up more pings in the hunt for missing plane

Search crews in the southern Indian Ocean have failed to relocate electronic pings detected Saturday and Sunday in the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which vanished a month ago, leaders of Australia's search effort said Tuesday. Crews plan to deploy a submersible vessel to narrow the search for the plane's black boxes once another ping is heard. "This is the most positive lead we've had," minister of defense David Johnston said. [USA Today]


Megachurch pastor resigns over mysterious scandal

Florida megachurch pastor Bob Coy confessed to a "moral failing" and abruptly resigned from his 20,000-member Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, the nation's 14th largest church. Coy made no further comment, but news outlets reported that the decision came as a result of an extramarital affair. Church leaders declined to comment beyond saying that Coy's transgression "disqualifies him from continuing his leadership role at the church." [CNN]


Scientists restore some movement in four paralyzed men

Researchers used electrical currents to restore some voluntary movement to four men paralyzed by spinal cord injuries. The researchers from the University of Louisville and the University of California-Los Angeles said in an article published online Tuesday in the journal Brain that the currents "dialed up" signals thought lost between the men's brains and legs, allowing them to stand and restoring bladder and bowel control, and sexual function. [USA Today]


Baby Prince George makes his first official trip abroad

Prince William and his wife Catherine on Monday launched a three-day visit to New Zealand and Australia that marks the first official overseas trip for their infant son, Prince George. "It's just lovely to have a first public look at him," one royal commentator said. William and Catherine broke with tradition and arranged to be with George every day, rather than leaving him with a nanny, signaling a new hands-on approach to royal parenting. [CTV News]


Peaches Geldof dies suddenly at 25

Peaches Geldof — a model, media personality, and daughter of Irish singer and Live Aid founder Bob Geldof — was found dead at her home in southeast England on Monday. She was 25. Her last post to Twitter was a photo of herself as a toddler with her mother, TV host Paula Yates, who died in a 2000 drug overdose. Peaches Geldof had acknowledged using drugs but said in 2009 she had quit. Her father said the family was "beyond pain." [ABC News]

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