RSS
10 things you need to know today: March 25, 2013
Cyprus gets its bailout, a snowstorm blankets the Midwest, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
A man use an ATM on March 23 in Nicosia, Cyprus. The government has reached a last-minute bailout deal to rescue the island's failing banks.
A man use an ATM on March 23 in Nicosia, Cyprus. The government has reached a last-minute bailout deal to rescue the island's failing banks. Milos Bicanski/Getty Images

1. CYPRUS CLINCHES LAST-MINUTE BAILOUT DEAL
Cypriot and European leaders agreed on a $13 billion bailout deal just hours before a Monday deadline, saving Cyprus from bankruptcy and a potentially disastrous exit from the eurozone. Under the rescue plan, Cyprus will shut down its second-biggest bank, the largely state-owned Popular Bank of Cyprus, and shift deposits below 100,000 euros ($130,000) to the Bank of Cyprus, creating a surviving "good bank." The deal will raise $5.5 billion to cover the shuttered bank's losses and strengthen the remaining bank by forcing losses of up to 30 percent on deposits of more than 100,000 euros, which are uninsured. [Reuters, CNBC]
………………………………………………………………………………

2. U.S. AND SOUTH KOREA SIGN DEFENSE PACT
The U.S. said Monday that it had signed a mutual defense agreement with South Korea, committing the American military to help defend its ally if an increasingly belligerent North Korea attacks. The U.S. and South Korea have been working on contingency plans since 2010, when North Korea shelled a border island and killed four South Koreans. "By completing this plan, we improved our combined readiness posture to allow us to immediately and decisively respond to any North Korean provocation,” a joint statement from the two allies said. [New York Times]
………………………………………………………………………………

3. SPRING SNOWSTORM BLANKETS MIDWEST
A wide-ranging storm covered much of the Midwest in nearly a foot of snow on Sunday and Monday, forcing the cancelation of hundreds of flights. The National Weather Service issued storm warnings as far east as Pennsylvania. Officials blamed the weather for two deaths in separate crashes on snow-slicked roads in Kansas and Missouri. The storm is expected to weaken as it crosses Pennsylvania and New Jersey and into the Atlantic on Monday night. [Associated Press]
………………………………………………………………………………

4. SYRIAN OPPOSITION FACES BACK-TO-BACK SETBACKS
A top Syrian rebel commander, Col. Riad al-Asaad, was wounded — and possibly killed — when someone stuck a bomb to his car, activists said on Monday. The news came a day after Syria's opposition faced another potentially damaging setback when Ahmad Moaz al-Khatib, a moderate Islamist, resigned as president of the main coalition of the Syrian opposition in exile. The resignation of Khatib, who has advocated talks with the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, came less than a week after the opposition coalition elected an interim prime minister, Ghassan Hitto, who opposes dialogue with the regime. [USA Today, New York Times]
………………………………………………………………………………

5. U.S. HANDS OVER LAST AFGHAN PRISON
The U.S. military transferred control of its last detention facility in Afghanistan to local authorities on Monday. The ceremony at the prison — the Parwan Detention Facility near the U.S.-run Bagram military base outside Kabul — marked an important step toward the shifting of security duties to Afghan forces, said the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Joseph Dunford. Afghan President Hamid Karzai had demanded the handover as a matter of sovereignty. The dispute strained negotiations on the role of U.S. forces in Afghanistan after 2014, when Afghan forces take over security duties and most international troops withdraw. [Associated Press]
………………………………………………………………………………

6. U.K. INVESTIGATES RUSSIAN TYCOON'S DEATH
British authorities are investigating the death of Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky, who was found dead over the weekend at his residence outside London. Police said Monday they had found no suicide note — but no evidence that a "third party" was involved in the wealthy businessman's death, either. Berezovsky was once an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, but later became an outspoken critic. "From my point of view it is not likely that he committed suicide," said Marina Litvinenko, a friend of Berezovsky. "He had a lot of enemies." [Telegraph]
………………………………………………………………………………

7. CHRISTIE TO TAKE OVER STRUGGLING N.J. SCHOOL DISTRICT
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) is expected to announce on Monday that he's putting the Camden School District under state control. Camden, which New Jersey officials consider to be the worst-performing school district in the state, will be the fourth district under state control, but the first takeover under Christie. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that an official briefed on the plan said Christie, with the support of leading Democrats, will appoint a new superintendent and other leaders, leaving the school board with just an advisory role. [Philadelphia Inquirer]
………………………………………………………………………………

8. GIRL HIKES THROUGH ROUGH TERRAIN IN HEROIC RESCUE BID
A 9-year-old girl climbed out of a mangled Ford Escape SUV after a crash in California on Sunday, then climbed out of a 200-foot ravine in the dark and hiked a mile to find help for her injured father. "She walked quite a distance in a very, very threatening environment. It's very black out there, very dark," California Highway Patrol Sgt. Tom Lackey said. "It's very steep and it's brushy and there's also coyotes in the background." The girl flagged down a car, but by the time rescuers arrived, her father, 35-year-old Alejandro Renteria, had died of his injuries. [CNN]
………………………………………………………………………………

9. MCCASKILL JUMPS ON GAY-MARRIAGE BANDWAGON
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) on Sunday became the latest in a series of prominent Democrats to announce her support for same-sex marriage. "I have come to the conclusion that our government should not limit the right to marry based on who you love," McCaskill wrote on Tumblr. A week ago, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton made a similar announcement, fueling speculation that she plans to make another bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016. Later this week, the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments in a gay marriage case. [Washington Post]
………………………………………………………………………………

10. NASCAR DRIVER HOSPITALIZED AFTER WRECK
NASCAR racer Denny Hamlin was flown by helicopter to a hospital Sunday after crashing in the final lap of the Auto Club 400 in California. Hamlin was helped from his vehicle after the one-car wreck, and appeared to collapse. His girlfriend, Jordan Fish, tweeted Sunday night that Hamlin was "alert n awake," although doctors remained concerned about an injury to his back. [USA Today]

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.

EDITORS' PICKS

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week