RSS
10 things you need to know today: April 3, 2013
The AP drops the use of "illegal immigrant," Sanford wins South Carolina runoff, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
Sanford attends the Republican National Convention in August.
Sanford attends the Republican National Convention in August. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

1. AP DROPS USE OF TERM 'ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT'
In a win for immigrant advocacy groups, The Associated Press on Tuesday announced that it will stop using the term "illegal immigrant." Activists had complained that the term dehumanizes people who entered the U.S. illegally. AP senior vice president and executive editor Kathleen Carroll wrote in a blog post that the news agency's influential stylebook would now be changed to allow use of "illegal" to describe actions — "such as living in or immigrating to a country illegally" — rather than people. Carroll said the policy to avoid labeling people would also extend to other areas, such as mental health. For example, people will be described as "diagnosed with schizophrenia" rather than as "schizophrenics." [Politico]
………………………………………………………………………………

2. NORTH KOREA SHUTS OUT SOUTH KOREA FROM JOINT INDUSTRIAL PARK   
North Korea stepped up pressure on South Korea on Wednesday by cutting off access to a joint factory zone, the Kaesong industrial park, which lies just inside North Korea. The move escalated tensions that have been rising for weeks since the United Nations imposed fresh sanctions to punish Pyongyang over its latest nuclear test. On Tuesday, North Korea announced that it would restart a nuclear reactor it had shut down under an aid-for-disarmament deal five years ago. The industrial zone, established in 2000 to improve ties between the two countries, employs 800 South Korean managers and workers and 50,000 North Korean workers. It is a key part of the $2 billion a year in trade between the two countries, which is a vital lifeline for impoverished North Korea. [Reuters]
………………………………………………………………………………

3. MARK SANFORD WINS GOP RUNOFF
Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford won a Republican runoff for a congressional seat on Tuesday, taking the next step in a political comeback after an extramarital affair nearly ended his career in 2009. "I failed very publicly," Sanford conceded in the primary campaign's final debate last week. Sanford's 57 percent to 43 percent victory over Curtis Bostic, a former Charleston County Council member, sets up the next step in his comeback attempt — a head-to-head May 7 contest against Democratic nominee Elizabeth Colbert Busch, sister of Comedy Central star Stephen Colbert, which polls suggest could be close even though the district traditionally votes Republican. [Washington Post]
………………………………………………………………………………

4. MALAYSIA PREPARES FOR TENSE ELECTIONS
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak dissolved his country's parliament on Wednesday, setting the stage for elections later this month that could be the closest his ruling coalition has faced in nearly six decades. Najib needs to restore the two-thirds majority his coalition lost in 2008 to push through his ambitious $444 billion economic reform package, which aims to transform Southeast Asia's third largest economy into a high-income powerhouse by 2020. The opposition alliance, which includes an Islamist party and a secular, ethnic Chinese party, is counting on young voters hungry for faster reform to help it pull off an upset. [Reuters]
………………………………………………………………………………

5. FORMER ATLANTA SCHOOLS CHIEF FACES CHEATING CHARGES
The former superintendent of Atlanta's public schools was among 27 educators who turned themselves in on Tuesday after being indicted on racketeering charges in a massive cheating scandal. Former Superintendent Beverly Hall was hailed as National Superintendent of the Year in 2009 by the Schools Superintendents Association, which said her leadership had "turned Atlanta into a model of urban school reform." Hall resigned in 2011 after large, unexplained test-score gains at some Atlanta schools prompted an investigation, but she has denied taking part in any cheating. She has been released on $200,000 bond. [CNN, WLOS]
………………………………………………………………………………

6. IMF SIGNS OFF ON CYPRUS BAILOUT
The International Monetary Fund agreed on Wednesday to contribute $1.3 billion to Cyprus' $13 billion bailout. The euro gained strength against the dollar after the announcement, which further cements a deal requiring Cyprus to restructure its two largest banks and reduce its budget deficits, among other financial reforms. "This is a challenging program that will require great efforts from the Cypriot population," IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said, but it "provides a sustainable path toward a recovery." [Bloomberg]
………………………………………………………………………………

7. HILLARY-FOR-PRESIDENT SUPER PAC LAUNCHES
A super PAC called Ready for Hillary officially launched on Tuesday, starting an effort to urge former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to run for president in 2016. The organization has unveiled a website to help it raise money online, and is urging supporters to pledge to help Clinton's campaign if she makes another White House run. "We are going to keep up the energy and excitement surrounding her potential candidacy," Ready for Hillary PAC Chairwoman Allida Black said in a statement. [Washington Post]
………………………………………………………………………………

8. SECOND REPUBLICAN SENATOR BACKS GAY MARRIAGE
Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) on Tuesday became the second Republican in the Senate to endorse gay marriage, thrusting himself into the middle of the debate as lawmakers in his home state move toward a possible vote on the contentious issue. Kirk, a GOP moderate, has supported civil unions but not marriage rights for same-sex couples, and his change of heart drew criticism from social conservatives. But Kirk said "life comes down to who you love and who loves you back — government has no place in the middle." Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) last month became the first in the party to back gay marriage, saying that he reconsidered his opposition after his son revealed that he is gay. [Chicago Tribune]
………………………………………………………………………………

9. GAME OF THRONES SETS PIRACY RECORD
The third-season premiere of HBO's mythical drama Game of Thrones set a record for video piracy this week, with more than a million viewers downloading the debut episode in the day after it first aired, according to piracy tracker TorrentFreak. At one point, more than 163,000 people were watching a single torrent, also a record. The previous record of nearly 145,000 simultaneous file-swappers was set in 2008 by the season three debut of Heroes. [CNN]
………………………………………………………………………………

10. MUPPETS CO-CREATOR JANE HENSON DIES
Jane Henson, the former wife of Muppets creator Jim, died Tuesday after battling cancer. She was 78. Henson and her late, former husband met in a puppetry class at the University of Maryland in the mid-1950s, and they created a five-minute TV sketch show, Sam and Friends, that included an early version of Kermit the Frog and formed the foundation for the creation of the Muppets. Jane Henson designed some of the hit TV show's puppets. She separated from Jim Henson in 1986, four years before he died. [BBC News]

 
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.

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week