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10 things you need to know today: April 8, 2013
Margaret Thatcher dies, Kerry tries to restart Mideast peace talks, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas meets with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on April 7 in Ramallah, West Bank.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas meets with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on April 7 in Ramallah, West Bank. Thaer Ganaim/PPO via Getty Images

1. MARGARET THATCHER DIES
Former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher died Monday morning of a stroke, according to her spokesman. She was 87. Thatcher was the U.K.'s first — and, so far, only — female prime minister, and the first to lead her party to three electoral victories in a row. She served from 1979 to 1990, transforming her country's economy and establishing herself, alongside her U.S. ally Ronald Reagan, as an architect of the West's victory over the former Soviet Union in the Cold War. Friends and critics alike called her "Iron Lady," for her personal and political toughness. [Guardian, Telegraph]
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2. KERRY TRIES TO RESTART MIDEAST PEACE TALKS
Secretary of State John Kerry is meeting with Israeli and Palestinian leaders this week in an attempt to revive stalled peace talks. Kerry met for an hour Sunday with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank town of Ramallah. Kerry, who is on his third trip to the region in a month, arrived after meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and urging him to renew diplomatic relations with Israel. On Monday, Kerry will attend a wreath-laying ceremony to mark Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Day. He'll also meet separately with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and Israeli President Shimon Peres, and talk one-on-one with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before wrapping up his trip on Tuesday. [Bloomberg, VOA]
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3. DIPLOMAT'S BODY TO ARRIVE HOME
The family of Anne Smedinghoff, who was among five Americans killed in a Saturday suicide bombing in Afghanistan, is going to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, where the 25-year-old diplomat's body is expected to arrive on Monday. Smedinghoff — the first U.S. diplomat killed since last year's attack in Benghazi, Libya — was delivering books to schoolchildren when her convoy was attacked. "We are consoled knowing that she was doing what she loved," her parents, Tom and Mary Beth Smedinghoff, said in a statement. The bombing came on the same day as an American military airstrike near the Pakistan border that reportedly killed 18 people, including a senior Taliban commander but also women and children. The issue of civilian deaths has been a source of increasing tension between President Hamid Karzai and his Western allies. [CNN, New York Times]
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4. MAN WHO TOOK HOSTAGES AT A HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN OFFICE DISAPPEARS
Leeland Eisenberg, a New Hampshire man who took hostages six years ago at one of Hillary Clinton's campaign offices, went missing from his Manchester halfway house on Sunday, according to the New Hampshire Department of Corrections. Eisenberg, 52, was supposed to return to the facility but never showed up. Authorities are treating the case as an escape. Eisenberg was released from prison in 2009 after serving two years of a three-year sentence. He was arrested again in 2010 for violating his probation after he cut off a GPS tracking bracelet, earning him another 3 1/2 to seven years. [CNN]
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5. ONE KILLED IN MUSLIM-CHRISTIAN CLASH IN EGYPT
One person was killed and 84 were wounded when violence broke at the Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo on Sunday following a funeral for four Egyptian Christians killed in clashes with Muslims. Sectarian fighting has increased in the country since longtime president Hosni Mubarak was toppled in 2011 and once-repressed Islamists quickly claimed the presidency and a majority in the legislature. The cathedral, which is the headquarters of Egypt's Coptic Christian church, was pelted with rocks and Molatov cocktails. The man who was killed was identified as Mahrous Hana Tadros, a Christian name. [Reuters]
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6. PYONGYANG SHUTS DOWN JOINT NORTH KOREA-SOUTH KOREA FACTORY COMPLEX
North Korea announced Monday that it is pulling 51,000 North Korean workers out of a factory complex it operates with South Korea. Pyongyang said it was suspending operations in the complex, which is just inside the North Korean side of the border. The move severs, at least for now, the last economic link between the rival neighbors as tensions escalate over the North's controversial missile and nuclear programs. An estimated 475 South Korean managers are still at the Kaesong industrial complex, but North Korea did not say anything about when — or whether — they would be allowed to go home. [Associated Press]
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7. PHILADELPHIA ARCHDIOCESE REMOVES THREE PRIESTS OVER ABUSE ALLEGATIONS
The Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia on Sunday declared three priests implicated in sexual abuse cases unfit for the ministry. Two of the men — Fathers Joseph Gallagher and Mark Gasper — had been suspended following a scathing 2011 grand jury report that led to the conviction of a high-ranking archdiocese official, two other priests, and a Catholic school teacher on child endangerment charges. "Our only problem is that it took so long," said Marci Hamilton, the attorney for the family of a man, Daniel Neill, who committed suicide in 2009 after church officials dismissed his claim that Gallagher had abused him. [ABC News]
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8. TWO CHILDREN BURIED AT NORTH CAROLINA CONSTRUCTION SITE
Rescuers dug with their bare hands for hours in an attempt to free two children who were trapped when a wall of dirt collapsed on them at the site of a home being built in North Carolina. Early Monday, however, authorities in Denver, N.C., said it was unlikely that the children, trapped since Sunday afternoon, were still alive. The father of one of the children — a 7-year-old boy — saw the dirt fall on them and called 911. Rescuers arrived within minutes, but they couldn't get to the children because they were trapped about 20 feet below the building. [Associated Press]
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9. CHILE EXHUMES PABLO NERUDA'S REMAINS
Investigators are exhuming the body of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda on Monday to determine how the Nobel laureate died in the days following the military coup against his friend, president Salvador Allende. Neruda was suffering from prostate cancer when the forces of Gen. Augusto Pinochet seized power, and Allende took his own life rather than surrender. Neruda was ruled to have died of natural causes, but his driver and others suspected that the military poisoned him. Judge Mario Carroza approved a request by Chile's Communist Party to dig up his body, which is buried near his home at Isla Negra on the Pacific Coast, to confirm the cause of death. [Associated Press]
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10. FASHION ICON LILLY PULITZER DIES
Lilly Pulitzer, whose tropical print designs made her a fashion icon, died Sunday at her Florida home. She was 81. Pulitzer, an heiress who married into one of the country's most famous publishing families, got her start in business with a fruit stand, and in 1959 had a dress made with flowers in vivid colors, to hide fruit-juice stains. The clothing quickly began selling faster than the citrus, and Pulitzers resort wear became an emblem of Palm Beach style. [New York Times]

 
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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