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10 things you need to know today: March 4, 2012
Rush Limbaugh apologizes, Russians vote, LiLo does SNL, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
Rush Limbaugh in 2007: The conservative radio talk show host has apologized to a Georgetown law student who he called a "slut" and a "prostitute."
Rush Limbaugh in 2007: The conservative radio talk show host has apologized to a Georgetown law student who he called a "slut" and a "prostitute."
Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

1. RUSH LIMBAUGH APOLOGIZES
After six advertisers bailed on his show, conservative talk radio giant Rush Limbaugh apologized Saturday for branding 30-year-old Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a "slut" and a "prostitute." Fluke had argued at a congressional hearing that employers should pay for workers' birth control. "My choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir," Limbaugh said in a statement. "I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices." [Associated Press]

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2. MITT ROMNEY WINS WASHINGTON STATE
Rejuvenated GOP presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney won Washington state's caucuses on Saturday, taking 37.6 percent of the vote. Ron Paul was second with 24.8 percent, followed by Rick Santorum with 23.8 percent, and Newt Gingrich with 10.3 percent. Romney has won five in a row — Maine, Michigan, Arizona, Wyoming, and now Washington — heading into the 10 contests of Super Tuesday this week. [Politico]

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3. MIDWEST, SOUTH RECOVER AFTER DEADLY STORMS
The weather finally gave "dazed" Americans a respite on Sunday, after a series of powerful tornadoes in recent days killed at least 39 people — 20 in Kentucky, 14 in Indiana, three in Ohio, one in Alabama, and one in Georgia. The total death toll from the "unseasonably early storms" this week is at least 52. "We're not unfamiliar with Mother Nature's wrath," Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-Ind.) said. "But this is about as serious as we've seen" in many years. [Reuters]

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4. RUSSIANS HEAD TO THE POLLS
Millions of Russians voted Sunday in a presidential election that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is widely expected to dominate amid charges of vote-rigging. Putin served two terms as president before being forced out by term limits in 2008, when he assumed the role of prime minister instead. If Putin wins the presidency on Sunday, he would lead Russia at least through 2018. [Voice of America]

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5. AYATOLLAH ALI KHAMENEI WINS BIG IN IRAN
With about 90 percent of the votes from Friday's parliamentary elections counted, Iran's supreme leader appeared to have gained ground in his years-long power struggle with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as Khamenei's supporters captured about three-fourths of parliamentary seats. Friday's election is the first since an arguably-fraudulent 2009 presidential vote that sparked massive protests against Ahmadinejad. [CNN]

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6. POLAND TRAIN CRASH KILLS 16
At least 16 people are dead in Poland's worst train wreck in two decades. Two high-speed trains smashed into each other head on late Saturday night, injuring roughly 60 of the 350 people on board. [Reuters]

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7. CHINA INCREASES MILITARY SPENDING
The world's most populous nation plans to increase its defense spending by more than 11 percent this year, to about $106.4 billion. China's military spending has doubled since 2006, and is now the second highest in the world. America's military budget is still by far the world's most expensive, roughly five to six times larger than China's. [Bloomberg]

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8. NFL CRITICIZES SAINTS FOR "BOUNTY" PAYMENTS
For years, the New Orleans Saints defense employed a "lucrative bounty system that paid players for injuring oppnents," an NFL investigation revealed. The bounty pool held as much as $50,000, was financed by players, and administered by the team's former defensive coordinator. Players were awarded $1,000 if they injured an opponent who then had to be carted off the field. The revelation is particularly embarrassing as the NFL tries to combat it's growing safety and concussion problems. [New York Times]

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9. NASA DISCOVERS OXYGEN AROUND SATURN'S MOON
Molecular oxygen ions around Dione, one of Saturn's moons, were detected by NASA's Cassini spacecraft, confirming that Dione has a very thin atmosphere. "The atmosphere at Dione's surface would only be as dense as Earth's atmosphere 300 miles above the surface." [The State Column]

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10. LINDSAY LOHAN LAMPOONS HERSELF ON SNL
The troubled starlet, who has spent years in and out of court and jail, launched her comeback bid by making fun of her legal troubles on Saturday Night Live. In an opening monologue, Lohan was frisked by one cast member and had her pupils examined for signs of drug use by another. "I thought you guys trusted me," she joked. [Daily News]

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