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Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: February 26, 2016

Harold Maass
AP Photo/ David J. Phillip
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1.

Rubio and Cruz clash with Trump in GOP debate

Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz attacked frontrunner Donald Trump in Thursday's Republican debate in Houston, the last big chance for Trump's two closest rivals to slow his momentum ahead of next week's Super Tuesday presidential primaries. Rubio hammered Trump on everything from health care to his past hiring of undocumented immigrants. Trump responded by calling Rubio a "choke artist," and Cruz "a liar." The other two candidates, Ohio Governor John Kasich and Ben Carson, got less attention, with Carson joking, "Can somebody attack me, please?"

2.

Nevada governor withdraws from Supreme Court consideration

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) on Thursday took himself out of the running to be President Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court. The move came a day after news broke that Sandoval was being considered as a possible replacement for the late Antonin Scalia, who died earlier this month. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) had suggested Sandoval, and the White House was vetting him, despite Senate Republicans' insistence that they wouldn't hold hearings on anybody Obama might nominate because they want the next president to choose the next justice.

3.

Iranians crowd polls in first elections since nuclear deal

Iranians turned out in large numbers on Friday to vote in the first national election since their government reached an agreement with the U.S. and other world powers last year on curbing the country's nuclear program and lifting sanctions. All 290 seats in parliament are at stake. So are 88 seats in the Assembly of Experts, the body of clerics that picks the Supreme Leader, and might pick the successor to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is 76 and has been ill.

4.

Gunman kills 3 in Kansas before dying in shootout

A gunman shot and killed three people Thursday inside a lawnmower factory in Hesston, Kansas, before being fatally shot by police, authorities said. Another 14 people were injured, including two along roads near the plant. Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton said the suspected shooter was an employee of the company, Excel Industries, who was armed with "an assault-style long gun." Employees identified the suspect as Cedric Ford, 38, a worker on the plant's paint line. Co-workers said he had been worried about being fired.

5.

Migrants in French camp get partial reprieve

A French judge ruled Thursday that much of a makeshift migrant village known as the Jungle can remain standing, for now, in the port city of Calais. France's interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, had sought to empty and destroy the camp, currently housing up to 4,000 migrants. The court ruled that living quarters could be razed and some residents relocated, but that common spaces, such as schools, shops, and places of worship, could remain. The government claimed victory, saying the court was allowing an orderly and humane dismantling of the camp.

6.

Greece recalls ambassador from Vienna over immigration crisis

Greece, which is struggling to handle a massive influx of refugees, recalled its ambassador to Vienna on Thursday to protest action Austria has taken to make it harder for migrants to continue north into the heart of Europe. Greece was angry over being excluded from a meeting of Balkan states in Vienna to discuss the crisis this week. "Greece will not become a Lebanon or a warehouse of souls," said migration minister Yannis Mouzalas. Lebanon, with just 4 million citizens, has more than 1 million Syrian refugees.

7.

University of Missouri fires embattled professor

The University of Missouri announced Thursday that it had fired Melissa Click, an assistant professor in the communications department who faced widespread criticism last year after pushing a student journalist and trying to have him removed from a protest over the treatment of African Americans by administrators. Click, who has apologized, came under renewed scrutiny this month when police released video of another protest where she cursed an officer clearing protesters blocking a road. The university system's Board of Curators approved the firing 4-2.

8.

Ex-president of Mexico lashes out at Trump over proposed border wall

Former Mexican president Vicente Fox lashed out over Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump's proposal to build a wall to prevent Mexican immigrants from illegally entering the U.S., and make Mexico cover the costs. "I'm not going to pay for that f---ing wall," Fox said in an interview with Fusion's Jorge Ramos that was posted online Thursday afternoon. "He should pay for it. He's got the money." Trump shot back via Twitter: "Vicente Fox horribly used the F word when discussing the wall. He must apologize! If I did that there would be a uproar!"

9.

SeaWorld confirms workers spied on animal-welfare activists

SeaWorld admitted Thursday that several of its employees posed as animal-welfare activists to spy on the company's opponents. Seven months ago, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals first made the accusation that a San Diego employee attended protests pretending to be an animal rights activist, and made controversial comments on social media. The admission came at a difficult time for SeaWorld. Its business has suffered since the 2013 documentary Blackfish examined the stress of captivity on SeaWorld's killer whales.

10.

Investigation finds BBC missed chances to stop sexual abuse

A three-year independent investigation released Thursday concluded that an "atmosphere of fear" at the BBC prevented the British network from stopping one of its stars, the late Jimmy Savile, from sexually abusing 72 victims, including children. "Celebrities were treated with kid gloves and were virtually untouchable," said Janet Smith, the former judge who conducted the inquiry. Savile died in 2011. The report did not recommend holding the BBC responsible but found dozens of employees heard rumors about Savile but did nothing.

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