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10 things you need to know today: February 7, 2013
Brennan heads to hearing for CIA post, Boy Scouts delay decision on gay ban, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
The Boy Scouts of America won't have a decision about its gay ban until May.
The Boy Scouts of America won't have a decision about its gay ban until May. Tom Pennington/Getty Images

1. BRENNAN HEADS TO CONFIRMATION HEARING FOR TOP CIA POST
John Brennan, deputy national security adviser to President Obama, heads to the Senate Thursday for his confirmation hearing as the nominee for CIA director. Brennan's meeting comes amid heightened anger over new details about the government's clandestine drone program, which Brennan "essentially institutionalized himself." On Monday, NBC published a confidential Justice Department memo outlining the expansive justification with which the U.S. authorizes drone strikes. On Wednesday, the White House directed the Justice Department to release to two congressional intelligence committees classified documents discussing the legal justification for killing, by drone strikes and other means, American citizens abroad who are considered terrorists. The announcement appears to refer to a 2010 memo justifying the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born cleric who had joined al Qaeda in Yemen. He was killed in a CIA drone strike in September 2011. Members of Congress have long demanded access to the document. [CBS News, New York Times
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2. POSTAL SERVICE TO STOP DELIVERING LETTERS ON SATURDAY
The U.S. Postal Service on Wednesday announced that it would stop delivering letters on Saturday, the debt-embattled agency's most drastic step yet to reduce costs. The Postal Service's financial problems largely stem from costly retiree payments, as well as a general decline in mail volume as people increasingly rely on the internet to communicate. The move, which may face resistance from Congress, could affect businesses across the country that expect to receive mail on Saturdays. [Associated Press]
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3. BOY SCOUTS DELAY DECISION ON GAY BAN 
The Boy Scouts of America said Wednesday that it needs "time for a more deliberate review" of its policy banning gay Scouts and troop leaders. The organization said last week that it would review its controversial policy, which has dogged the BSA for the past several years as the gay-rights movement has intensified and after President Obama ended the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, allowing gays to serve openly in the armed forces. The roughly 1,400 voting members of Scouting's national council will take action on the resolution at the national meeting in May 2013, the organization said. [NBC News
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4. DAMASCUS SEES WORST FIGHTING IN WEEKS
Syrian rebels fought army units for control of parts of Damascus on Thursday, in a second day of intense fighting, which the capital has not seen for some time. President Bashar al-Assad, battling to crush a 22-month-old uprising in which 60,000 people have died, has lost control of large parts of the country, but his forces, backed by air power, have so far kept rebels on the fringes of the capital. [Reuters]
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5. RBS PLEADS GUILTY TO RATE-RIGGING
The Royal Bank of Scotland pled guilty to participation in a rate-rigging scheme, and agreed to pay a fine of $612 million to British and U.S. authorities. RBS was part of a cabal of multinational banks that allegedly manipulated the Libor, a global interest rate benchmark used to determine trillions of dollars' worth of financial transactions a day. [New York Times]
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6. IRAN'S SUPREME LEADER HAS NO HOPE FOR U.S. TALKS
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Thursday in a meeting with Iran's air force commanders that direct talks with the United States would not resolve the dispute over Iran's nuclear program. "You Americans have pointed guns toward Iran, but at the same time you want to negotiate," Khamenei said. "The Iranian nation will not be intimidated by these actions." It wasn't clear what impact his remarks would have on a round of negotiations scheduled for Feb. 26 in Kazakhstan involving Iran, the United States, Britain, China, France, Russia, and Germany. Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have both signaled hope for some progress in the upcoming talks. [Washington Post]
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7. BOEING WORKING ON DREAMLINER BATTERY DESIGN
According to government and airline industry officials, Boeing is proposing a series of design changes to batteries that have grounded 787 Dreamliners around the world. The fixes would apparently allow the jets to fly again while the company continues to search for a longer-term fix. Any changes would require approval from U.S. and Japanese regulators now investigating two incidents last month in which the batteries burned on 787s owned by Japanese airlines. [Wall Street Journal]
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8. MONOPOLY'S IRON GAME PIECE GETS DUMPED FOR A CAT
Through an online poll, the internet decided to do away with Monopoly's iron game piece in favor of a cat. The iron was a member of the original six metal tokens introduced in 1937, surviving purges in later years that killed the cannon. But out it goes, to welcome a new feline friend. [The Week
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9. REVIEWS FOR MICROSOFT'S SURFACE PRO ARE MIXED
Microsoft's Surface Pro, which is "more akin to an ultrabook than an iPad," goes on sale for $899 on Saturday, and so far the reviews for the device are just lukewarm. Some reviewers have called it a versatile piece of hardware packed with an impressive Intel Core i5 processor that can run any Windows 8 app imaginable. Yet while the Pro seems to work fast, it also has "horrible" battery life, says David Pierce at The Verge. [The Week]
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10. GERMAN MAN DOWNLOADS 25 BILLIONTH SONG FROM ITUNES
Phillip Lupke of Germany earned himself a $13,528 (10,000 euro) iTunes gift card on Wednesday when he downloaded the 25 billionth song on iTunes. The lucky song that won Lupke a lot more songs was "Monkey Drums (Goksel Vancin Remix)" by Chase Buch, a British DJ and producer who's well known in the house-music scene. The iTunes store first launched in 2003, and according to Apple, users download an average of 15,000 songs every minute. [CNN]

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