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10 things you need to know today: February 23, 2013
Oscar Pistorius is released on bail, giant goldfish are discovered in Lake Tahoe, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
Oscar Pistorius at his bail hearing on Feb. 22.
Oscar Pistorius at his bail hearing on Feb. 22. AP Photo/Antoine de Ras-Star

1. OSCAR PISTORIUS RELEASED ON BAIL
After a four-day hearing, Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair ruled Friday to set South African track star Oscar Pistorius free on $112,000 bail. Pistorius is accused of murdering his girlfriend, the model Reeva Steenkamp, who was found dead of gunshot wounds in his home. While Pistorius doesn't deny that he fired four shots through a locked bathroom door early on Valentine's Day, he claims that he mistook Steenkamp for a burglar. The case has also garnered much attention for its missteps: The lead prosecution witness, Detective Hilton Botha, was recently dropped from the case after it was discovered that he faces multiple attempted murder charges himself. [The New York Times]
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2. AIR TRAVEL THREATENED BY SEQUESTER CUTS
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood warned that looming budget cuts would be a "calamity" for air travel, leading to flight delays and cancelations. LaHood is just the latest government official to warn that the indiscriminate cuts, which are scheduled to go into effect on March 1, will wreak havoc on an array of government functions if Congress fails to prevent them. [Politico]
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3. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT JOINS LAWSUIT AGAINST LANCE ARMSTRONG
Lance Armstrong's lawyers revealed that the Justice Department has joined a lawsuit filed against the disgraced cyclist. The suit, originally filed in 2010 by Armstrong's former teammate Floyd Landis, alleges that Armstrong concealed his use of performance-enhancing drugs for over a decade and defrauded his long-time sponsor, the U.S. Postal Service. Last year, Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France wins and banned from the sport for life. (Landis himself was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title for doping.) The government joined the lawsuit, an Armstrong lawyer said, after negotiations with the feds failed because "we disagree about whether the postal service was damaged." [Associated Press] 
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4. OBAMA THANKED JIMMY CARTER'S GRANDSON FOR 47 PERCENT VIDEO
Appearing on Piers Morgan's talk show, former President Jimmy Carter noted that President Obama profusely thanked his grandson James Carter IV for his role in uncovering the damaging 47 percent video of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney just weeks before the election. On the tape, Romney said, "There are 47 percent of people who are with him, who are dependent on government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, you-name-it." The younger Carter, a researcher, said he found the video online and got the person responsible for the tape in touch with a writer for the liberal magazine Mother Jones. [CNN]
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5. GOOGLE UNLEASHES TOUCHSCREEN CHROMEBOOK PIXEL
Google unveiled its Chromebook Pixel, a touchscreen, cloud-based laptop aimed at poaching Apple fans. The machine's aluminum case even looks like much of Apple's Mac lineup. Pixel, with what Google calls the industry's highest-resolution display, targets people who access photos and applications via remote servers, and the price (starting at $1,299 for a 32 GB Wi-Fi version) comes with a terabyte of data storage in the cloud for three years. Google says it's "a real game changer in terms of people living in the cloud." Many critics were underwhelmed, saying that with its limited storage and other drawbacks, a $1,299 Pixel is "a rip-off." [USA Today, Forbes]
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6. SOLEDAD O'BRIEN OUT AS CNN MORNING SHOW HOST
Soledad O'Brien will step down as host of CNN's morning show Starting Point in a couple months, and instead launch on initiative that will focus on providing CNN with documentaries and other programs. O'Brien's new production company, Starfish Media, will also develop other scripted and non-scripted programming for other outlets. In an interview with The Huffington Post, O'Brien said that when NBC alum Jeff Zucker took over CNN, it was "clear that he had a very different vision." She added that her show did not get the support it needed from the network. "We did not get a lot of promotion. We did not get a lot of marketing. We weren't fully staffed." [Huffington Post]
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7. FBI EMPLOYEES CAUGHT 'SEXTING'
A confidential report obtained by CNN revealed that the FBI's leaders are upset about a recent rash of "sexting" among its employees. Records show that from 2010 to 2012, 1,045 FBI workers have reportedly been disciplined for a variety of reasons including sexting, dating a drug dealer, and soliciting sex at a massage parlor. While 1,045 out of 36,000 employees is admittedly a small percentage, the incidents were still enough to alarm FBI leaders. "You can't do this stuff," said FBI Assistant Director Candice Will. "When you are given an FBI BlackBerry, it's for official use. It's not to text the woman in another office who you found attractive or to send a picture of yourself in a state of undress." [The WeekCNN]
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8. GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S ATTORNEYS WANT DEPOSITION FROM TRAYVON MARTIN'S FRIEND
Defense attorneys for George Zimmerman, the Florida neighborhood watchman who killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin almost a year ago, want to question a witness who says she was on the phone with Martin before he was killed. Described as a friend of Martin's, the woman originally recounted the conversation she had with him to attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing Martin's parents, in a recorded phone interview. Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, saying he acted in self-defense. The trial is set for June. [Associated Press]
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9. GIANT GOLDFISH FOUND IN LAKE TAHOE
University of Nevada, Reno researchers searching for invasive fish species discovered a 4.2-pound, 1.5-foot long goldfish in the depths of Lake Tahoe. Upon further inspection, the researchers found about 15 other of the unusually large specimens in a specific area of the lake, leading them to believe that the fish were schooling and spawning in this unnatural habitat. Environmental scientists say the goldfish, which were likely dumped in the lake by aquarium owners, could interfere with the lake's ecosystem. [Discovery News]
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10. JAY-Z AND JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE ANNOUNCE TOUR
Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake will team up for a 12-city "Legends of the Summer" tour that will begin in Toronto in July and end in August in Miami. Timberlake's new album, The 20/20 Experience, which will be released next month, features "Suit & Tie," a collaboration with Jay-Z. [Reuters]

 

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