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10 things you need to know today: March 18, 2013
Cyprus bailout mess rattles markets, The Wall Street Journal is investigated in China, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
A spokesperson for The Wall Street Journal said no wrongdoing was found after an internal investigation at the China bureau.
A spokesperson for The Wall Street Journal said no wrongdoing was found after an internal investigation at the China bureau. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

1. BAILOUT TERMS SPARK TURMOIL IN CYPRUS
Global stocks dropped Monday after the European Union proposed a bailout deal imposing a one-time 6.75 percent tax on bank deposits in Cyprus. Investors feared the move would tip Europe back into crisis, but Cyprus' new president, Nicos Anastasiades, said the country faces a "complete collapse of the banking sector" if it doesn't get the $13 billion bailout. Lawmakers, however, delayed a vote on the rescue from Monday to Tuesday, as Anastasiades was having troubling rallying enough support to pass the strict terms. Cypriots have lined up at automated teller machines since the levy was proposed on Saturday, but the government has ordered banks closed until Tuesday. [New York Times]
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2. SYRIAN REBELS MEET TO PICK INTERIM PRIME MINISTER
Syrian opposition leaders are meeting in Turkey on Monday to choose a prime minister to lead an interim government in rebel-held territory. The Syrian National Coalition is already recognized by dozens of countries and international organizations as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people. The 73 coalition members have already made several failed attempts to set up an interim government, however, and some warned that the vote, which is expected to take place on Monday or Tuesday, might not lead to a consensus. The move comes two years into the fight to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which has left 70,000 people dead. [Agence France Presse]
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3. WHISTLE-BLOWER REPORTED BRIBERY AT WALL STREET JOURNAL IN CHINA
The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that the Justice Department had investigated a whistle-blower's claim that employees in the newspaper's China news bureau had bribed local officials for information. Paula Keve, a spokeswoman for The Wall Street Journal, said the company had conducted its own investigation and found no evidence of impropriety. The U.S. Department of Justice had asked Dow Jones & Co., which operates the newspaper, to look into the claims as part of a wider inquiry into the 2011 British phone-hacking scandal at its parent company, Rupert Mudoch's News Corp. [New York Times, Reuters]
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4. PRIVATE PLANE CRASHES INTO HOUSES IN INDIANA
A private jet crashed into a northern Indiana neighborhood on Sunday, killing two of the four people on board. The other two passengers were injured, as was one person on the ground. The plane, a Beechcraft Premier I twin jet, had taken off from Tulsa and reportedly experienced mechanical trouble. The pilot had tried once to land at South Bend Regional Airport, and was circling around for another attempt when the plane went down, hitting three houses and becoming lodged in the last one. [Associated Press]
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5. PRISONERS RECAPTURED AFTER DARING ESCAPE IN CANADA
Two men posing as tourists allegedly commandeered a tour-company helicopter and plucked two inmates from a Montreal prison on Sunday, in full view of shocked guards. It was a "James Bond moment," witness Francis Emond said. The two prisoners were identified as Benjamin Hudon-Barbeau, 36, who is in prison in connection with an attempted murder investigation, and Danny Provencal, 33, who is serving a seven-year sentence for arson and other crimes. They left the heliport in a white Cadillac Escalade with police in pursuit, and were recaptured within a few hours. The men accused of breaking them out were also arrested. [CNN]
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6. SUSPECT ARRESTED FOR DEATH OF NEW YORK TOURIST IN TURKEY
Turkish authorities on Sunday arrested a 46-year-old homeless man suspected in the killing of 33-year-old New York City woman Sarai Sierra. She had been touring Turkey alone when she disappeared, triggering a search that involved hundreds of Turkish police officers, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and, later, her husband and brother. Her bludgeoned body was found on Feb. 2 on an Istanbul roadside, near the walls of the Old City. The suspect, identified only by the initials Z.T., was reportedly captured by rebels just over the border in Syria. [New York Times]
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7. STUDY FINDS SURPRISING EVIDENCE OF LIFE MILES BENEATH THE SEA
The deepest spot in the ocean, once thought to be a dead zone, is actually teeming with microbes, according to a new study. Scientists analyzed sediment samples collected from the floor of the Mariana Trench, seven miles beneath the surface of the Pacific Ocean, and found that deep-sea microbes were consuming a considerable amount of oxygen, indicating that there is a surprisingly active community of bacteria in the mud. The study added to a growing body of research suggesting that many creatures can cope with the complete darkness, immense pressure, and near-freezing temperatures of the deepest parts of the sea. [BBC News]
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8. MEN ACCUSED OF RAPING SWISS TOURIST IN INDIA APPEAR IN COURT
Six men accused of the gang rape and robbery of a Swiss tourist in India are making their first appearance in court on Monday. The men, all between the ages of 20 and 25, were reportedly "paraded" through a police station in central Madhya Pradesh state, where they were arrested Sunday. Police say the men attacked the 39-year-old woman in their tent at a wooded campsite. They allegedly stole the woman's laptop and cellphone, along with $185 in cash, and beat her husband, before four of them raped her. The attack came after several violent sexual assaults, including the fatal gang rape of a 23-year-old student in December, provoked anger over widespread abuse against women in India. [Voice of America]
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9. OBAMA TO NOMINATE PEREZ AS LABOR SECRETARY
President Obama will nominate Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez to replace Hilda Solis as labor secretary on Monday, according to the White House. Perez, head of the Justice Department's civil-rights division, will be the first Latino appointed to Obama's second-term Cabinet. Perez, who was Maryland's state labor secretary under Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) from 2007 to 2009, still must be approved by the Senate, and Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) said "he should face a lot of tough questions" about the Justice Department's role in the withdrawal of a housing discrimination case that was before the Supreme Court. [Washington Post]
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10. LOUISVILLE GETS TOP SEED IN NCAA BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT
Louisville won the top seed overall Sunday in the NCAA men's basketball tournament. The team beat out Kansas, Indiana, and Gonzaga — the No. 1 seeds in the other three brackets — after charging to a win in the Big East conference tournament. Sports analysts cautioned against placing too much stock in the ranking going into March Madness this year, however, as there have been too many upsets recently for any team to become a clear favorite. One thing is certain: Kentucky won't be winning a second straight championship. The Wildcats failed to make the 68-team field. [Associated Press]

 
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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