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10 things you need to know today: March 31, 2012
Obama imposes new sanctions on Iran, the Mega Millions jackpot gets split three ways, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
President Obama is forging ahead with new sanctions on Iran, saying that the world has enough oil for U.S. allies to get their fuel fix elsewhere.
President Obama is forging ahead with new sanctions on Iran, saying that the world has enough oil for U.S. allies to get their fuel fix elsewhere.
Ralf-Finn Hestoft/Corbis

1. OBAMA IMPOSES NEW OIL SANCTIONS ON IRAN
President Obama determined Friday that the world's oil supply is sufficiently plentiful that banning purchases from Iran wouldn't harm U.S. allies. The latest sanctions against Iran are meant to pressure the country — which exports about 2 million barrels of oil a day, or roughly 2.5 percent of the global market — into curbing its nuclear program. Countries like Italy and Japan have already been cutting back on purchases, but those nations that do buy Iran's oil will be penalized by the U.S. starting in June. [New York Times]
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2. LAWYER: ARMY IS BLOCKING AFGHAN SHOOTING PROBE
John Henry Browne, the lawyer representing Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, who is charged with killing 17 Afghan civilians on March 11, says that U.S. forces in Afghanistan are hindering his investigation. Browne says his team of investigators in Afghanistan has been prevented from interviewing injured civilians at a hospital in Kandahar, and that the Army is allowing other witnesses to scatter, making it difficult to track them down. [Reuters]
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3. SPAIN TO SLASH ITS BUDGET BY $36 BILLION
Spain's new conservative government announced that it will cut $36 billion (27 billion euros) from its budget this year to reduce the country's deficit. Treasury Minister Cristobal Montoro said that civil servants' salaries will be frozen and business taxes would increase, changes that the government hopes will help lift Spain out of a prolonged economic crisis. [CNN]
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4. FDA REJECTS BAN ON BPA FROM PACKAGING
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rejected a petition from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) that would have banned the plastic-hardening chemical bisphenol-A from all food and drink packaging, including plastic bottles and canned food. The FDA said studies cited by NRDC were often too small to be conclusive, even though some scientists believe exposure to BPA can harm the reproductive and nervous systems, particularly in small children. [USA Today]
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5. MASTERCARD AND VISA WARN OF SECURITY BREACH
MasterCard Inc, Visa Inc, and Discover Financial Services — the first, second, and fourth largest global credit-card processors, respectively — have been victims of a potential security breach. The companies said the issue stemmed from a third-party vendor, and not their own internal systems. MasterCard and Visa alerted banks about the breach, and Discover said that it's monitoring accounts for suspicious activity. [Reuters]
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6. MEGA MILLIONS WINNING TICKET SOLD IN 3 STATES
Three ticket holders in Maryland, Kansas, and Illinois will share a $640 million world-record prize when they claim their winnings. The Friday night drawing whipped the nation into a frenzy, with 400 million tickets sold in the final 48 hours before the numbers were picked. [ABC News]
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7. BIN LADEN FATHERED FOUR WHILE ON THE RUN
Pakistani investigators have been interrogating three of Osama bin Laden's wives about their connection to the deceased al Qaeda leader, and details from the interrogation report say that bin Laden fathered four children while he was a fugitive. The children's identities remain unknown. [Los Angeles Times]
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8. GINGRICH ADMITS ROMNEY WILL PROBABLY WIN
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told Milwaukee radio station WTMJ Friday that he thinks Mitt Romney, his opponent in the Republican presidential primary, "is clearly the frontrunner," and that Romney "will probably" get the 1,144 delegates he needs to clinch the nomination. Gingrich's turnaround comes after he and Romney reportedly had a secret meeting, where some say the two discussed Gingrich dropping out of the race. [Associated Press]
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9. HITLER TOMBSTONE TO BE REMOVED
An unnamed relative of Adolf Hitler's has decided to remove the Nazi leader's headstone from his grave in Leonding, Austria, because "she does not want the grave to continue serving as a neo-Nazi pilgrimage site." Leonding Mayor Walter Brunner, who made the announcement, said he has no details about the Hitler relative. [Associated Press]
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10. KEITH OLBERMANN OUT AT CURRENT TV
Just nine months after launching his Current TV show Countdown, TV host Keith Olbermann was dismissed from the network. In a letter, Current's founders, former Vice President Al Gore and Joel Hyatt said Current TV was "founded on the values of respect, openness, collegiality, and loyalty to our viewers. Unfortunately, these values are no longer reflected in our relationship with Keith Olbermann and we have ended it." Olbermann disputes the claim, and promises legal action. [USA Today]

 

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