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10 things you need to know today: April 2, 2013
Connecticut lawmakers agree on strict gun laws, North Korea restarts its nuclear plant, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
A boy pays his respects to the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings during a December candlelight vigil in Tirana, Albania.
A boy pays his respects to the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings during a December candlelight vigil in Tirana, Albania. REUTERS/Arben Celi

1. CONNECTICUT LEGISLATORS AGREE ON TOUGH GUN LAWS
Connecticut lawmakers agreed on what they called the nation's toughest gun laws on Monday, just over three months after their state was shaken by the deadly shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. The package, which is expected to be passed on Wednesday, requires eligibility certificates for the purchase of any rifle, shotgun or ammunition, requires people convicted of weapons offenses to register with the state, imposes universal background checks for gun buyers, and expands a state ban on assault weapons. It also bans the sale of high-capacity magazines with more than 10 bullets, although lawmakers declined to completely ban the clips despite pleas from relatives of 11 Sandy Hook victims. [New York Times]
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2. PROSECUTOR SEEKS DEATH PENALTY FOR JAMES HOLMES
A Colorado prosecutor announced Monday that he would seek the death penalty against James Holmes, who is accused of killing 12 people and wounding 70 others in a shooting rampage inside a movie theater last July. Defense lawyers had offered to have Holmes, a graduate school dropout with a history of psychiatric problems, plead guilty in exchange for a promise that he would not be executed, but District Attorney George Brauchler rejected the deal after speaking with 60 people who lost loved ones in the Aurora, Colo., massacre. "In this case, for James Egan Holmes, justice is death," Brauchler said. [USA Today]
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3. NORTH KOREA SAYS IT'S RESTARTING MOTHBALLED NUKE PLANT
North Korea announced Tuesday that it would restart a nuclear reactor and uranium-enrichment facilities shut down under an aid-for-disarmament deal five years ago. The declaration demonstrated the commitment of the isolated regime's leader, Kim Jong Un, to expanding its nuclear arsenal, and heightened tensions raised by weeks of war threats against the U.S. and South Korea. "It's yet another escalation in this ongoing crisis," said Ramesh Thakur, director of the Center for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament at Australian National University in Canberra. [CNN]
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4. KENNEDY REPORTEDLY HEADED FOR EMBASSY IN JAPAN
Caroline Kennedy is reportedly in line to become President Obama's next ambassador to Japan. Kennedy, the daughter of slain President John F. Kennedy, is a lawyer and author, and provided Obama with an early endorsement in 2008 that helped him beat out Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination. The appointment has been rumored to be in the works for weeks. If it goes through, it will thrust Kennedy into one of the world's most visible diplomatic posts as China's rise and North Korea's belligerence are raising the stakes in the region. [Boston Globe]
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5. SANFORD FACES GOP RIVAL IN PRIMARY RUNOFF
Former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford takes the next step on the comeback trail on Tuesday, when he faces a lone rival in a GOP congressional primary runoff four years after an extramarital affair derailed his political career. Polls indicate that Sanford, who once held the seat in the Charleston-area district, is favored to beat personal-injury lawyer and former city councilman Curtis Bostic for the Republican nomination. Bostic is trying to catch up by enlisting help from evangelical preachers angered by Sanford's affair. The winner will face Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, a business development official and an older sister of political satirist Stephen Colbert, in May. [Bloomberg]
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6. EUROZONE UNEMPLOYMENT AT RECORD HIGH
Unemployment in the eurozone rose to a record 12 percent in the first two months of 2013, the European Union's statistical agency, Eurostat, reported on Tuesday. That means that 1.8 more people are unemployed in the 17 nations using the common currency than at the same time last year. The loss of jobs has been part of the social cost of three years of government spending cuts and other austerity measures, and the latest data will raise pressure on the European Central Bank to keep interest rates at their current record low, or cut them further, at a Thursday meeting. [New York Times]
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7. FIRE KILLS 13 AT MYANMAR MUSLIM SCHOOL
A fire killed 13 boys in a dormitory at a Muslim school in Myanmar on Tuesday. Fire officials said the flames erupted and spread quickly after a transformer overheated under a staircase, filling the building with smoke and suffocating some of the 70 boys sleeping on the top floor. Some Muslims, however, were skeptical about the official version, as the tragedy came after a wave of anti-Muslim violence in the predominantly Buddhist nation. [Reuters]
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8. COURT OKs LIVE-STREAMING OF BROADCAST TV
An appeals court on Monday ruled that start-up Aereo can continue live-streaming local TV online and through its app, marking a potentially significant setback for TV broadcasters. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York backed up a lower court that ruled Aereo isn't violating broadcasters' copyrights. Each of Aereo's subscribers, all in the New York City area for now, leases an antenna in the company's warehouse, and gets feeds to their computers and other devices. Consumer groups praised the decision, saying it would give viewers flexibility without hefty cable bills, but a dissenting judge called Aereo's system "a Rube Goldberg-like contrivance" designed to sidestep the law. [USA Today]
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9. MTV HALTS BUCKWILD AFTER REALITY SHOW STAR DIES
MTV has suspended filming of the second season of Buckwild, a reality TV show about a rowdy group of friends in West Virginia, after the death of cast member Shain Gandee. The popular 21-year-old, his uncle, and another man were found dead in a red-and-white 1984 Ford Bronco that was partially submerged in a deep mud pit. The men were last seen at 3 a.m. Sunday at a bar, where they told people they were going driving off-road. Authorities are still investigating the cause of death. If the muffler was submerged while the engine ran, the vehicle could have filled with deadly carbon monoxide from the exhaust. [Associated Press]
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10. A SEA LION WITH RHYTHM
For the first time, a non-human mammal has shown it can follow a musical beat. Scientists at the University of California, Santa Cruz, taught a sea lion named Ronan to "bob her head in time with rhythmic sounds," starting with a simple beat and moving on to the Backstreet Boys' "Everybody" and Earth, Wind & Fire's "Boogie Wonderland," her favorite song. The success of the experiment challenges the conventional wisdom that only humans and some birds capable of vocal mimicry can keep time with a musical beat. [Mashable]

 
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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