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10 things you need to know today: February 16, 2012
Lin's seventh straight win, Congress' payroll-tax deal, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
Jeremy Lin helped the Knicks to another win Wednesday night with a career-high 13 assists.
Jeremy Lin helped the Knicks to another win Wednesday night with a career-high 13 assists.
Anthony J. Causi/Icon SMI/Corbis

1. LIN LEADS THE KNICKS TO 7th STRAIGHT WIN
The Linsanity continued Wednesday night as the New York Knicks extended their winning streak to seven, handily beating the Sacramento Kings 100-85. Focusing on his passing game, NBA sensation Jeremy Lin scored just 10 points, but handed out a career-high 13 assists. "As a point guard, my field goal attempts have been really high, and I don't think that's necessarily good," Lin said. "I think it's more my job to distribute and get people in rhythm." [Associated Press]
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2. CONGRESSIONAL PANEL FINALIZES PAYROLL-TAX DEAL
In negotiations that stretched past midnight, members of a House-Senate committee agreed early Thursday on a $150-billion proposal to extend payroll tax cuts and long-term unemployment benefits through the end of the year. While many of the details of the deal had been worked out earlier in the week, plans to save $15 billion over a decade by changing federal worker benefits were a sticking point. The measure should be ready for a House vote Friday. [Associated Press

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3. MICHIGAN GOVERNOR BACKS ROMNEY
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is set to endorse Mitt Romney on Thursday. Romney, whom Snyder called "the man for the job" in an op-ed Thursday, needs all the help he can get to stave off Rick Santorum. Losing the Feb. 28 primary in Michigan, where his father served as governor in the 1960s, would be a major embarrassment from which his campaign might not be able to recover. [New York Times]
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4. THE U.S. SECRETLY TALKS PEACE WITH THE TALIBAN
Afghan President Hamid Karzai says secret talks are underway between the Taliban and the U.S. and Afghan governments to broker an end to the 10-year war. "People in Afghanistan want peace, including the Taliban," Karzai told The Wall Street Journal. [Telegraph]
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5. IRAN SEEKS TO RESUME NUCLEAR TALKS
In a letter to European foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, Tehran proposed resuming nuclear talks, which have been stalled since a "fruitless" meeting in Istanbul last month. Meanwhile, Israel's defense minister says that Iran's recent claims of big advancements in its nuclear program have been been embellished and exaggerated but that country's nuclear plans remain dangerous. [Reuters]
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6. HONDURAS FACES PRISON FIRE AFTERMATH
Forensic experts are working to recover the bodies of the more than 350 killed after a fire broke out in a Honduran prison on Tuesday. It was the world's worst prison fire in a century; the Honduran government has said it will launch a full investigation, and that reform is needed. With the highest murder rate in the world, Honduras has 13,000 prisoners in a system meant for just 8,000. [BBC]
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7. GREEK BAILOUT DELAYED
European markets are down and the euro is at a three-week low as political acrimony holds up the 130-bilion-euro ($169 billion) bailout deal Greece desperately needs to avoid default. European leaders are having a hard time believing Athens will hold up its end of the bargain. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble compared Greece to a "bottomless pit," a remark that Greek President Karolos Papoulias, an octogenarian veteran of the World War II anti-Nazi resistance, did not take well. [Reuters]
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8. SANTORUM RELEASES TAX RETURNS
GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum released his tax returns Wednesday. In 2010, Santorum earned $923,411 and paid a tax rate of 28.5 percent. By contrast, Mitt Romney raked in $21.7 million in 2010 and was taxed at a rate of just 13.9 percent because the majority of his income came from investments, which are taxed at a lower rate than wages. [ABC News]
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9. INTERRACIAL MARRIAGE HITS A NEW HIGH
A new study says that interracial marriage in the U.S. has hit an all-time high. In 2010, 8.4 percent of all marriages in the U.S. were between spouses of different ethnicities and races, compared with 3.2 percent in 1980. Fifteen percent of new marriages in 2010 were interracial, compared with 6.7 percent in 1980. [CNN]
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10. HOUSTON FUNERAL TO BE LIVE-STREAMED
The late singer's Saturday funeral will be an intimate, invitation-only affair, but fans will be able to share in the mourning. A camera will be allowed in the church, and the service will be live-streamed on the internet and broadcast via satellite. [Associated Press]

 

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