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10 things you need to know today: March 12, 2013
Cardinals start the papal conclave, judge overturns New York's sugary soda ban, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
The cardinals head to mass on March 12 before entering the conclave to choose the next pope.
The cardinals head to mass on March 12 before entering the conclave to choose the next pope. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

1. CARDINALS START CONCLAVE TO PICK NEXT POPE
The Catholic Church's 115 members of the College of Cardinals prepared to lock themselves into the Sistine Chapel on Tuesday to begin the secretive conclave where they will elect the next pope. The cardinals will remain out of view, leaving the world to await news in the form of signals from the chapel's chimney — black smoke means no decision; white smoke means they've chosen Benedict XVI's successor. The process could wrap up on Tuesday, or, more likely, it could take days. The frontrunners, according to Vatican experts, include Cardinals Angelo Scola of Italy and Odilio Scherer of Brazil, as well as a few American cardinals who could become the first "superpower" pope. [Washington Post]
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2. COURT REJECTS NEW YORK'S SUGARY SODA BAN
A judge overturned New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's controversial ban on large, sugary sodas on Monday, the day before it was scheduled to take effect. Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling sided with soda companies and called the rule "arbitrary and capricious," with too many loopholes. Bloomberg, cheered by health and anti-obesity activists, wanted to stop sales of sugary sodas larger than 16 ounces by restaurants, movie theaters, pushcarts, and sports arenas. "People are dying every day. This is not a joke," Bloomberg said. "We're talking about lives versus profits." [New York Daily News]
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3. NORTH KOREA FOLLOWS THROUGH ON THREAT TO SCRAP CEASE-FIRE
Tensions continued to rise on the Korean Peninsula on Monday, as the official North Korean state newspaper Rodong Sinmun said that the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War had been "declared invalid." The announcement indicated that Pyongyang was following through with a threat to scrap the cease-fire because of new sanctions imposed by the U.N., which are punishment for North Korea's recent nuclear test. Pyongyang also apparently disconnected the emergency hotline between North and South Korea, a Red Cross telephone line, blaming a joint U.S.-South Korea military exercise that began March 1 and continues into April. Last week, North Korea threatened to pre-emptively nuke the U.S. [New York Times]
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4. SENATORS UNVEIL A DEAL TO AVOID A GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN
Leading Senate Democrats and Republicans released a compromise catchall spending bill Monday night that would prevent a government shutdown when current funding runs out on March 27. The proposal would keep the federal government running through Sept. 30, but it wouldn't give President Obama new money to implement his signature first-term accomplishments, such as Wall Street reform and an expansion of health-care subsidies. The measure adds a bit of money and flexibility to the version passed by the GOP-controlled House last week as Congress braces for what is expected to be weeks of clashes over spending in 2014. [Associated Press]
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5. FALKLANDS RESIDENTS OVERWHELMINGLY BACK BRITISH RULE
Three decades after Argentina and Britain went to war over the Falkland Islands, residents of the South Atlantic archipelago voted nearly unanimously to stay under British rule. The vote — with only three "no" votes out of roughly 1,500 cast — was held to counter Argentina's new push to assert its sovereignty over the islands, known in Argentina as the Malvinas. "Surely this must be the strongest message we can get out to the world," said Roger Edwards, one of the eight elected members of the Falklands' assembly. Argentina dismissed the vote as a publicity stunt. [Reuters]
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6. FORMER DETROIT MAYOR KILPATRICK GUILTY OF CORRUPTION
A jury found former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick guilty of corruption on Monday, ending a five-month trial in which prosecutors said Kilpatrick took kickbacks and rigged contracts while his city went broke. "Kwame Kilpatrick didn't lead the city. He looted the city," U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said after the verdict. Kilpatrick, 42, was sent to jail to await sentencing. He could face more than 10 years in prison for two dozen convictions, including racketeering conspiracy, bribery, and tax crimes. [Associated Press]
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7. HARVARD CONFIRMS IT ACCESSED RESIDENT DEANS' EMAIL ACCOUNTS
Harvard University administrators confirmed on Monday that they had secretly gained access to email accounts of 16 resident deans as part of an effort to track down on a leak about a cheating scandal last year. The university issued a statement apologizing for any discomfort caused by the move — which critics called unnecessarily intrusive — but said it was necessary to protect the privacy of students linked to the scandal. "To be clear: No one's emails were opened and the contents of no one's emails were searched by human or machine," the statement said. [Boston Globe, Associated Press]
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8. FACEBOOK 'LIKES' CAN REVEAL SECRETS
What you "Like" on Facebook can reveal intimate details about your personality, and more, according to a new study. Researchers at the University of Cambridge in the U.K. tracked the Facebook activity of more than 58,000 people and say they were able to accurately predict traits — including race, age, IQ, sexuality, personality, substance use, and political views — based on the photos, status updates, products, and other things that inspired the users to click the "Like" button. "Your likes may be saying more about you than you realize," Cambridge University researcher David Stillwell, one of the study's authors, said. [USA Today]
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9. COMET MOVES INTO VIEW
Comet Pan-STARRS moves into prime viewing position on Tuesday, offering stargazers what might be their best opportunity to see it with the naked eye. "Certainly not a 'great comet' by any means," astronomer Alan Hale, the co-discoverer of 1997's Comet Hale-Bopp, wrote in a posting to the Comets-ML online forum. "The visibility should hopefully improve over the next few nights as it climbs higher out of the twilight." Tuesday night, the comet will appear just to the left of the crescent moon, making the moon a guidepost for anyone trying to make out the faint comet with binoculars just after sunset. The 10- to 12-minute visibility windows will continue through the end of the month. [NBC News]
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10. HACKER GOES AFTER BIG NAMES
Hackers attacked 15 political and show-business celebrities, including Jay-Z, Beyoncé, and Hillary Clinton, and posted some of their financial records and other sensitive information online. The Los Angeles Police Department is trying to track down those responsible for sending the information to a website. The other victims included Kim Kardashian, Britney Spears, Donald Trump, Paris Hilton, Mel Gibson, Ashton Kutcher, Vice President Joe Biden, Attorney General Eric Holder, and FBI Director Robert Mueller. [New York Daily News]

 
Harold Maass is a contributing editor at TheWeek.com. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami HeraldFox News, and ABC News.

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