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10 things you need to know today: March 1, 2012
The Senate takes on birth control, North Korea makes a deal, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
Sen. Roy Blunt
Sen. Roy Blunt
Alex Wong/Getty Images

1. SENATE TO VOTE ON CONTRACEPTION AMENDMENT
As the culture wars continue, the Senate is set to vote Thursday on a controversial amendment to President Obama's policy on birth-control coverage. The new measure, sponsored by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), would allow employers and insurers to opt out of any mandated health-insurance coverage, including birth control, if they objected to it for religious or moral reasons. On Wednesday, GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney initially said he would oppose such legislation, but recanted hours later, saying he supported the Blunt amendment. [CNN]
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2. NORTH KOREA AGREES TO SUSPEND NUKE PROGRAM
In a surprise announcement Wednesday, North Korea said it would cease developing its nuclear program and allow international monitoring, a reassuring sign that the country's new leader, Kim Jong Un, is open to diplomacy. In exchange, the U.S. has pledged to send nearly 265,000 tons of food to aid the impoverished communist nation. [New York Times]
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3. ANALYSTS WARN OF $5 GAS
With tensions over Iran and Syria escalating and the summer driving season on the horizon, analysts say gas could go up another 50 cents on the gallon or more. According to a report Wednesday, gas prices are currently at record highs for the winter season — $4.32 per gallon, on average, in California, and $3.73 nationwide. [New York Times]
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4. SANTORUM CLAIMS MICHIGAN WAS A TIE
Rick Santorum's campaign says Tuesday's Michigan primary was a tie. While Romney won by 3 percentage points, it's unclear whether he won the majority of the state's delegates. The two candidates could end up evenly splitting Michigan's 30 delegates; as of Wednesday night, the Michigan Republican Party hadn't determined how the delegates would be allocated. [Detroit Free Press]
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5. U.N. CONDEMNS SYRIA'S GOVERNMENT
The United Nations Human Rights Council voted Thursday to condemn Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his violent crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators and civilians. Thirty-seven countries voted in favor of the measure at a Human Rights Council meeting; only China, Cuba, and Russia voted against it. Government troops continue their brutal ground assault on the the city of Homs. Meanwhile, the Syrian National Council opposition group has moved to form a military council to unite rebel forces. [Reuters]
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6. TWO U.S. TROOPS KILLED IN AFGHANISTAN
As the violent reaction to the burning of Islamic holy books at a U.S.-run military base in Afghanistan continues, two American soldiers were shot and killed in southern Afghanistan on Thursday. Six Americans have been killed and dozen of Afghans have been wounded or killed in the Koran-burning backlash.[CBS/Associated Press]
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7. MICROSOFT UNVEILS WINDOWS 8
On Wednesday at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Microsoft announced a consumer preview of Windows 8, its dramatically redesigned and much discussed new operating system that relies on a tablet-like interface. [USA Today]
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8. CRUISE SHIP REACHES SEYCHELLES
Passengers aboard a disabled Italian cruise ship at last reached land on Thursday. The 1,000-plus people aboard the ship, the Costa Allegra, disembarked at Victoria Harbor on Mahé Island in the Seychelles. Approximately 375 of them are taking the cruise ship company up on its offer of a free 15-day vacation in the Seychelles. [Associated Press]
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9. STORM KILLS 12, EXPECTED TO WEAKEN
The massive storm system that swept across the Midwest, causing tornadoes and killing a dozen people, is expected to weaken as it moves over the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic. According to the National Weather Service, the chance of tornadoes Thursday morning was just 5 percent. [CNN]
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10. MONKEES SINGER DAVY JONES DIES
Davy Jones, the front man for made-for-TV band The Monkees, died Wednesday after suffering a heart attack in Florida. The '60s-era teen idol was 66. [Billboard]

 

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