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10 things you need to know today: March 29, 2013
North Korea threatens a rocket attack, France proposes a 75 percent tax, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
President Obama urged Congress to pass gun control measures on March 28.
President Obama urged Congress to pass gun control measures on March 28. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

1. KIM JONG-UN ORDERS ROCKETS ON STANDBY
North Korean state media said Friday that the country's leader, Kim Jong-un, ordered his missile units to be ready to strike the United States and South Korea, which South Korean officials said could mark either preparations for missile tests or just more blustering. Kim's order, which North Korea said was given during an emergency meeting early Friday, was similar to the one issued Tuesday when the North's top military command told all its missile and artillery units to be on the "highest alert" and ready to strike the United States and South Korea in retaliation for their joint military exercises. By attributing such an order to its top leader, North Korea tried to add weight to its threat, the New York Times reported. "We believe they are taking follow-up steps," said Kim Min-seok, spokesman of the South Korean Defense Ministry, referring to the surge in vehicle and troop movements at North Korean missile units in recent days. [New York Times]
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2. HOLLANDE PROPOSES 75 PERCENT TAX
French President Francois Hollande pressed his country to accept reduced pension and welfare benefits, among other economic measures, as part of a national effort to revive a moribund economy and stem a rise in unemployment that has caused his popularity to slump. In a national television interview last night, Hollande also promised to enforce a rule in which companies that pay their employees more than 1 million euros ($1.3 million) will be required pay 75 percent payroll taxes on those salaries. The changes to jobless benefits and a proposed cut in payouts to families would be unprecedented in France, the region's third-largest economy, while a plan to lengthen the number of work years would extend moves begun by Hollande's predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy. [Bloomberg, TIME]
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3. RUBIO, INHOFE JOIN GUN CONTROL FILIBUSTER GROUP
Sens. Marco Rubio and Jim Inhofe are joining three other Senate Republicans — Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Mike Lee — in threatening to filibuster the Senate Democrats' gun control legislation slated for consideration next month. Rubio's office announced Thursday that he's joining the trio to oppose any legislation that might infringe on the Second Amendment. Paul, Cruz, and Lee had announced Tuesday that they had sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid threatening to filibuster Reid's bill, leaving open the possibility of another marathon session mirroring Paul's nearly 13-hour filibuster on the CIA's drone policy. The inclusion of Rubio — a closely watched, well-liked conservative, who, like Paul, is considering a 2016 presidential run — should only add more exposure to Republican opposition to the legislation. [Washington Post]
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4. OKLAHOMA DENTAL PATIENTS INSTRUCTED TO GET HIV TEST
Health officials said Thursday that 7,000 patients of an Oklahoma dentist were advised to undergo testing for HIV and hepatitis after officials investigating the source of a patient's disease discovered instruments weren't being cleaned properly. The Oklahoma Board of Dentistry said Thursday that state and county health inspectors inspected Dr. W. Scott Harrington's practice after a patient with no other known risk factors tested positive for hepatitis C and HIV. At Harrington's clinics, they found multiple sterilization issues, including cross-contamination of instruments and the use of a separate, rusty set of instruments for patients who were known to carry infectious diseases. Harrington, an oral surgeon who has been practicing for 36 years, voluntarily closed his practices in Tulsa and suburban Owasso and is cooperating with investigators, said Kaitlin Snider, a spokeswoman for the Tulsa Health Department. [ABC News]

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5. ARMY VET CHARGED WITH FIGHTING WITH SYRIAN AL QAEDA GROUP
A former U.S. soldier has been arrested and charged with illegally using a weapon on behalf of an al Qaeda-affiliated group in Syria. Eric Harroun, 30, of Phoenix was arrested Tuesday night by the FBI at a hotel near Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia. A Justice Department official tells CNN that FBI agents questioned Harroun at the hotel, then took him into custody. Harroun appeared Thursday in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, and was charged in connection with his alleged use of a rocket-propelled grenade in Syria. Harroun served with the U.S. Army from 2000 to 2003. He is not charged with targeting U.S. troops in Iraq. [CNN]
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6. OBAMA TO DISCUSS ECONOMY IN MIAMI
Following a day of strenuous pushes for gun control legislation, President Obama turns back to the economy today during a day trip to a pivotal political state, Florida. The president plans to stress road and bridge construction during remarks at the port in Miami, where he will also tour a new tunnel project. Obama will discuss "ways to create jobs and strengthen the economy by investing in infrastructure," says the White House schedule. [USA Today
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7. MANDELA REPORTEDLY IN GOOD CONDITION
Following the news that South African anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela had been hospitalized for a recurring lung infection, President Jacob Zuma said Thursday that Mandela is doing "very well." He also told the BBC that South Africans "must not panic." Mandela spent a second night in a hospital, as the country's leaders reassure the public that the 94-year-old's health is improving. The government has said the former South African president is responding positively to treatment for a recurring lung infection, but it had no update on his condition as of early Friday. [Voice of America]
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8. RUSSIAN SPACECRAFT REACHES ISS IN 6 HOURS
A Russian spacecraft took a record-breaking 6-hour trip to the International Space Station (ISS) on Thursday, shaving hours off of the standard two-day journey. The Soyuz craft carried a veteran Russian commander, a rookie cosmonaut, and a Navy SEAL-turned-astronaut in the test to reduce the time crew members have to spend cooped up inside the cramped Soyuz ferry craft. The crew also planned to deliver food and goods to the ISS staff. [CBS News]

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9. BARBARA WALTERS MAY RETIRE IN 2014
Barbara Walters is set to retire from broadcasting in May 2014, a person familiar with her plans told The Huffington Post. The news followed a report in Deadline that said Walters, 83, would announce her retirement this May. Walters has had several health scares in recent years, including heart surgery in 2010 and a concussion just this past January. In her 52-year career, Walters has been anchor of Today, coanchor of ABC News, anchor of ABC Evening News, host of 20/20, and panelist of The View, which she co-created and executive produces. News of Walters' retirement comes on the heels of Joy Behar's announcement that she is leaving The View at the end of the season. [Huffington Post]
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10. POWERBALL WINNER WANTED FOR CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS
Pedro Quezada, the New Jersey man who won $338 million in the Powerball lottery last weekend, is wanted on charges of unpaid child support, according to the Passaic County Sheriff's Office. An arrest warrant was issued for Quezada in 2009, the sheriff's office said. He has five children ages 5-23 and owes a total of $29,000 in back child support. According to lottery spokeswoman Judith Drucker, every person who wins more than $600 in the New Jersey Lottery is checked for outstanding taxes, liens, child support payments and so on; the funds owed are deducted from the winner's final payment. Reports show that Quezada has already closed the deli he owned after choosing a lump-sum cash jackpot payment that will amount to about $152 million after taxes. [CNN, New York Post]

Terri is a freelance writer at TheWeek.com. She's a graduate of Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism, and has worked at TIME and Brides.

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