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10 things you need to know today: March 31, 2013
Texas' district attorney is killed, Gabby Giffords' husband argues for mental health checks for gun purchases, and more in our roundup of stories that are making news and driving opinion
Mark Kelly and wife Gabrielle Giffords at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence on Jan. 30.
Mark Kelly and wife Gabrielle Giffords at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence on Jan. 30. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

1. TEXAS DISTRICT ATTORNEY AND WIFE KILLED AT HOME
Mike McLelland, the district attorney of Kaufman, Texas, and his wife, Cynthia Woodward McLelland were found shot and killed on Saturday in their home, just two months after his deputy was killed. One law enforcement officer said it appeared the door had been kicked in and "there were shell casings everywhere." Authorities in Kaufman county said they believed all other employees in the district attorney's office have been accounted for, and police are investigating whether the McLellands' deaths are related to the killing of Mark Hasse, a Kaufman county prosecutor who was killed on Jan. 31 while walking to his car. The FBI had also been investigating if Hasse's death was linked to the March 19 murder of Colorado prisons chief Tom Clements. [Daily Beast]
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2. EGYPTIAN SATIRIST RELEASED ON BAIL
The popular Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef has been released on bail, after questioning by prosecutors over allegations he insulted Islam and President Mohamed Morsi. He was ordered to pay 15,000 Egyptian pounds ($2,190; £1,440). Youssef had spent five hours at the public prosecutor's office, a day after a warrant was issued for his arrest. He has faced several complaints over his show El Bernameg (The Program), which is similar to The Daily Show and satirizes many public figures. On his Twitter feed, Youssef said the bail conditions were related to three lawsuits, while a fourth was still being investigated. The case has highlighted worries about press freedoms in Egypt. [CNN, BBC]
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3. CREWS CLEAN UP AFTER OIL PIPELINE SPILL
Emergency crews are working to contain several thousand gallons of crude oil that spilled from a ruptured Exxon Mobil pipeline in central Arkansas on Friday. Crews from Exxon Mobil are still investigating the cause of the rupture, which occurred in a section of the Pegasus pipeline near the town of Mayflower, 25 miles north of Little Rock. Local authorities said in a statement on Saturday that 22 homes in the vicinity of the spill had been evacuated. As soon as the spill was detected, the pipeline was shut down and isolation valves were closed to prevent further leakage. About 4,500 barrels of oil and water had been removed by Saturday evening, according to Exxon Mobil. The Environmental Protection Agency classified the leak as a "major spill." [New York Times]
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4. MINESWEEPER REMOVED FROM PHILIPPINE CORAL REEF
Workers in southwestern Philippines removed the last major part of a U.S. Navy minesweeper from a protected coral reef where it ran aground in January. The damage will be assessed to determine the fine Washington will have to pay, officials said Sunday. A crane lifted the 250-ton stern of the dismantled USS Guardian on Saturday from the reef, where it accidentally got stuck Jan. 17, officials said. The reef, designated a World Heritage site by UNESCO, the United Nations' cultural arm, is located in the Tubbataha National Marine Park in the Sulu Sea, about 400 miles southwest of Manila. An initial estimate showed about 4,780 square yards of coral reef was damaged by the ship grounding, according to Tubbataha Reef park superintendent Angelique Songco. [Politico]
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5. MARK KELLY ARGUES FOR BETTER MENTAL HEALTH CHECKS FOR GUN BUYS
Gun control activist Mark Kelly said on Fox News Sunday that a proposed national gun background bill under discussion in the Senate should include better access to mental health records that could prevent psychologically disturbed people from obtaining guns. Kelly, a former astronaut and husband of former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, said Sunday that the suspect accused of severely wounding his wife could not have bought the guns he wielded if a background check had exposed his mental problems. Jared Loughner pleaded guilty to shooting Giffords and killing six people in Phoenix in January 2011. Case records released last week showed Loughner passed a background check despite evidence of his agitated mental state. [Washington Post]
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6. TWO MEN DIE FROM NEW STRAIN OF BIRD FLU
Two men have died in Shanghai after contracting a strain of bird flu not previously seen in humans, Chinese officials say. The men, aged 27 and 87, both fell ill with the H7N9 strain in February and died some weeks later in March, Xinhua news agency reported. A 35-year-old woman who caught the virus elsewhere is said to be critically ill. It is unclear how the strain spread, but the three did not infect each other or any close contacts. [BBC
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7. POPE FRANCIS OFFERS EASTER PRAYER FOR PEACE
Pope Francis delivered a plea for peace in his first Easter Sunday message to the world, decrying the seemingly endless conflicts in the Middle East and on the Korean peninsula after celebrating Mass along with more than 250,000 faithful. After the Mass in St. Peter's Square, Francis shared in the crowd's exuberance as they celebrated the belief that Jesus Christ rose from the dead following crucifixion. Since the start of his papacy on March 13, Francis has repeatedly put his concern for the poor and suffering at the center of his messages, and the Easter speech he delivered from the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica reflected his push for peace and social justice. [Los Angeles Times]
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8. USPTO DENIES APPLE A TRADEMARK FOR IPAD MINI
Right after it launched the iPad mini, Apple filed a trademark application for the name with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). But the USPTO will likely refuse Apple's trademark filing because, as a reviewer from Patently Apple argues, "the applied-for mark merely describes a feature or characteristic of applicant's goods." The letter was mailed to Apple on Jan. 24, but was only made public in the last few days. Patently Apple also notes that the reviewer denied the application because Apple should have provided the USPTO with evidence other than its own product website, even though Apple always uses these for its trademark applications. The reviewer also said that there is a "likelihood of confusion" between Apple's existing iPad trademarks and this new iPad mini application. [TechCrunch]
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9. MUSIC PRODUCER PHIL RAMONE DIES
Phil Ramone, a music producer who helmed classic albums by Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, and many others—over a career that stretched back to the early 1960s—died Saturday morning in New York. His 14 Grammy Awards reflect the wide variety of his work and the landmark nature of the recordings he was associated with: His first Grammy win came in 1964 for engineering the breakthrough bossa nova album Getz/Gilberto, while Billy Joel's 52nd Street won album of the year for 1979 and in 1982 became the first pop CD ever released. Ramone was 79." [Billboard]
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10. WICHITA STATE MOVES ON TO FINAL FOUR
The Wichita State Shockers upset the Ohio State Buckeyes to advance to the Final Four last night, in an unexpected win for the mid-major college basketball team. The Shockers will go on to play in Atlanta next weekend, where Syracuse is already set to play the winner of the South region. This year's tournament included stunning wins by Florida Gulf Coast, La Salle, and Harvard, but nobody kept it going longer than Wichita State. Although Wichita state scored a major victory for a school with a tiny budget, they will face another giant next weekend: The winner of Sunday's Midwest Regional final between Duke and Louisville.  [ESPN]

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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