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10 things you need to know today: February 13, 2013
Obama delivers State of the Union, a deadly shoot-out and fire ends Dorner manhunt, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
A burning California cabin where suspected cop-killer Christopher Dorner appears to have hidden after a shoot-out with police.
A burning California cabin where suspected cop-killer Christopher Dorner appears to have hidden after a shoot-out with police. ABC News

1. OBAMA CALLS FOR 'SMARTER GOVERNMENT' IN STATE OF THE UNION SPEECH
President Obama used his State of the Union address Tuesday to lay out his agenda for a second term, touching on a range of issues from the budget deficit and immigration to gun control and the minimum wage. While some analysts had predicted Obama would take a more partisan approach — the nuts-and-bolts version of the more liberal vision for the country he outlined in his inaugural speech — the president adopted a centrist stance, captured in the line, "It's not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government." However, the night did conclude with a rousing call for more gun control that is sure to have an impact on the ongoing debate. In the GOP response, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said Obama must "abandon his obsession with raising taxes." [Washington Post, Fox News]
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2. SUSPECTED COP-KILLER DORNER BELIEVED DEAD AFTER SHOOT-OUT
California authorities say "charred human remains" have been found inside a burned-out rental cabin where suspected cop-killer Christopher Dorner, himself a former Los Angeles police officer, apparently hid while he was the subject of a massive manhunt. "We have reason to believe that it is him," San Bernardino County sheriff's spokeswoman Cynthia Bachman said. One deputy died and another was wounded in a shoot-out at the cabin, which was located across the street from a police command post. Dorner, who allegedly went on a killing spree to avenge his firing from the L.A. force in 2009, was believed to be the only person inside the cabin when, after the shooting stopped, it erupted in flames. [New York Times]
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3. SENATE COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS HAGEL CONFIRMATION
The Senate Armed Services Committee backed former senator Chuck Hagel as President Obama's next defense secretary, sending the nomination to the full Senate. After heated debate, the committee approved Hagel in a party-line 14-11 vote, with the opposition coming from Hagel's fellow Republicans, some of whom criticized him as insufficiently supportive of Israel and tough on Iran. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the Senate's final debate on Hagel's confirmation as outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta could start on Wednesday. [Reuters]
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4. GOVERNMENT POSTS RARE MONTHLY SURPLUS
The federal government reported Tuesday that it took in a surplus of $2.9 billion in January, in part because the expiration of the Social Security tax cut brought in an added $9 billion. The rare monthly surplus — the first since September — brought the total deficit in the first four months of the 2013 budget year to $290.4 billion, nearly $60 billion less than at the same point last year. At this pace, the 2013 deficit is on track to be the first under $1 trillion since 2008. [Huffington Post]
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5. DISABLED CRUISE SHIP INCHES TOWARD PORT
Tug boats are towing a disabled Carnival Triumph cruise ship toward Mobile, Ala., where it is expected to arrive on Thursday, four days after a fire knocked out its propulsion. The 900-foot, 14-story ship is carrying 3,143 passengers and 1,086 crew members. Some people on board reported to relatives on shore that they are living in unsanitary conditions with limited water and working toilets, with some reporting sewage in hallways. "It's disgusting. It's the worst thing ever," passenger Ann Barlow told CNN. "The odor is sickening, and people are throwing up everywhere." [CNN]
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6. COMCAST BUYS GE'S REMAINING STAKE IN NBC
Cable giant Comcast has agreed to pay General Electric $16.7 billion for the remaining 49 percent of NBC Universal that it doesn't already own, giving the cable TV giant full ownership of the NBC broadcast network, cable channels MSNBC and Bravo, and the Universal film and theme park businesses. The move came more than a year earlier than Comcast originally planned. Comcast CEO Brian Roberts says that since Comcast took control of the company in 2011 he has become more "comfortable" with his bet on combining programming production and cable distribution. [Bloomberg]
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7. POPE THANKS PUBLIC IN FIRST REMARKS SINCE ANNOUNCING RESIGNATION
Pope Benedict XVI thanked supporters for their "love and prayers" on Wednesday in his first public appearance since announcing his resignation. The 85-year-old pontiff, who will be the first pope in six centuries to step down, told a crowd at the Vatican that his strength is declining as he ages. He had surgery to replace a pacemaker three months ago. "I did this in full liberty for the good of the Church," he said. [BBC]
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8. SYRIAN REBELS LOOT ARTIFACTS TO FINANCE WAR
Syria's unique landmarks and archaeological sites are being plundered by rebels who are selling artifacts to help finance their fight against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, according to The Washington Post. International experts have expressed alarm for months as historical treasures such as the 1,000-year-old Aleppo souk and the crusader castle Crac des Chevaliers were turned into battle zones. Now some opposition fighters are toting metal detectors and pickaxes along with their guns. "Some days we are fighters; others we are archaeologists," said one rebel. [Washington Post]
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9. BANANA JOE WINS TOP DOG AT WESTMINSTER SHOW
Banana Joe, a 5-year-old affenpinscher, beat out the other top dogs to win the Best in Show title at the 137th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Tuesday. The tiny, wire-haired pup from the toy group wasn't the frontrunner — that was considered to be Oakley, a German Wirehaired Pointer. Nor was he the crowd favorite — that was Swagger, a 90-pound Old English sheepdog. Swagger's appeal didn't go unrecognized, though. The fluffy 20-month-old won the "reserve" title, a "Miss Congeniality–esque accolade." [TIME, Daily Beast]
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10. HEART ATTACK GRILL SPOKESMAN DIES OF HEART ATTACK
John Alleman, an unofficial spokesman for the Heart Attack Grill in Las Vegas, died this week after suffering a massive heart attack at a bus stop. Alleman ate nearly every day at the unapologetically glutton-friendly burger joint, which promises diners "taste... worth dying for." Heart Attack Grill's owner was in Alleman's hospital room when he died and said both of his 52-year-old customer's parents had died of heart attacks in their 50s. [ABC News]

 

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