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10 things you need to know today: April 9, 2013
Louisville wins the NCAA title, Obama makes a final appeal for tougher gun laws, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
Injured Louisville guard Kevin Ware celebrates after cutting down the net after his team beat Michigan 82-76.
Injured Louisville guard Kevin Ware celebrates after cutting down the net after his team beat Michigan 82-76. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

1. LOUISVILLE WINS NCAA BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
The Louisville Cardinals defeated the Michigan Wolverines, 82-76, on Monday night to win the NCAA men's basketball championship. The Cardinals played without Kevin Ware, the sophomore guard who suffered a horrific leg injury in the team's victory over the Duke Blue Devils two rounds earlier. Louisville, energized by some spectacular dunks, came back after trailing by double digits in the first half. Louisville head coach Rick Pitino said Michigan turned in an "absolutely incredible" performance, but this year's Cardinals came out on top because they're probably "the 13 toughest guys I've ever coached." The win made Pitino the first coach to win an NCAA title at two schools, the other being Kentucky. [CNN]
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2. OBAMA MAKES A LAST-DITCH APPEAL FOR TOUGHER GUN LAWS
President Obama launched a final push for tighter gun-control laws on Monday with a speech in Hartford, Conn., roughly an hour's drive from the scene of the December massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Obama urged the crowd to honor the 20 children and six educators who were killed by pressuring Congress to approve tougher gun measures, including strengthening background checks on gun buyers. Momentum behind the legislation has weakened in the face of intense lobbying from the National Rifle Association and gun makers, and Republicans are threatening to block a vote in the Senate. "In honesty," said John Hudak of the Brookings Institution think tank, "this is really a last-ditch effort by the White House." [Reuters]
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3. NORTH KOREA TELLS FOREIGNERS TO LEAVE SOUTH KOREA
North Korea is warning foreigners to make plans to evacuate South Korea in case war breaks out. The latest threatening rhetoric from Pyongyang, reported by the country's state news agency on Tuesday, came as Japan deployed U.S.-made Patriot anti-missile systems in three locations to protect Tokyo. North Korea, angry over the tightening of sanctions over its nuclear and missile programs, has vowed to attack South Korea, the U.S., and their allies, although a defector said officials in North Korea are telling civilians "a war won't be happening, that it would be 'psychological warfare,' not physical warfare." [BBC News, Wall Street Journal]
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4. U.K. PREPARES FOR THATCHER'S FUNERAL
British officials on Tuesday removed former prime minister Margaret Thatcher's body from London's Ritz Hotel, where she died Monday after suffering a stroke, and began preparing for a funeral with full military honors scheduled for April 17. Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, will be among the mourners. Dignitaries are expected to fly in from around the world to honor Thatcher, who served as prime minister from 1979 to 1990. Her leadership and death left Britons bitterly divided, however, and seven police officers were injured overnight when violence broke out at one of several street parties set up by people who think Thatcher's conservative policies hurt workers. [Associated Press, BBC News]
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5. U.S. DEPLOYS NEW LASER WEAPON IN PERSIAN GULF
The Navy is deploying a new laser attack weapon that can take down aerial drones and disable patrol boats, military leaders announced Monday. The prototype shipboard laser has been fitted on a converted amphibious transport and docking ship in the Persian Gulf in an apparent warning to Iran. "It operates much like a blowtorch... with an unlimited magazine," one official said. The Islamic Republic's fast-attack boats have harassed American warships in the strategically important oil-shipping gateway, and Tehran has been building remotely piloted surveillance aircraft to patrol the region. The drones also might eventually be armed with rockets. [New York Times, Fox News]
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6. GOOGLE FACES EUROPEAN ANTITRUST COMPLAINT OVER ANDROID
Google's rivals have filed a complaint with antitrust regulators in Europe, accusing the internet search giant of using its Android software "as a deceptive way to build advantages for key Google apps." The complaint, which was filed by Fairsearch Europe, a group of competitors including Nokia and Microsoft, says that Google forces phone makers that use Android to place Google-branded apps, such as YouTube, in prominent positions. The European Union's antitrust chief, Joaquín Almunia, declined to comment on the complaint, but said regulators have been examining Android independently of an inquiry into whether Google had used its internet search dominance to squeeze out rivals. [New York Times]
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7. GUNMAN KILLS 13 RELATIVES AND NEIGHBORS IN SERBIA
A 60-year-old Serbian man allegedly went on a shooting rampage in a village near Belgrade, killing 13 people, including a child, before reportedly turning his gun on himself. Witnesses said the man, identified only as Ljubisa B, shot and killed his own son first, then left his house and began attacking neighbors, some of them still sleeping. The rampage ended when the man shot his wife and himself. Both remained critically injured early Tuesday. Police did not immediately offer a motive for the shootings. [Guardian]
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8. J.C. PENNEY BOARD BOOTS CEO RON JOHNSON
J.C. Penney pushed out CEO Ron Johnson on Monday in the middle of his overhaul of the struggling retailer's stores. Penney poached Johnson from Apple 17 months ago, hoping that he could turn the chain around. His renovations and new product lines, such as Joe Fresh, were well received, but his sharp reduction of clearance sales alienated once loyal customers, and Penney sales fell by 25 percent in the 12 months ending Feb. 2. Johnson's predecessor, Myron Ullman, is getting his old job back, and will have to decide whether to press on with Johnson's plans, or make quick changes to soothe impatient investors. [Wall Street Journal]
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9. FORD SAYS FOCUS WAS WORLD'S TOP-SELLING CAR LAST YEAR
Ford Motor Co. reported Tuesday that its Focus model was the world's best-selling car in 2012. Ford sold 1,020,410 of the compact cars last year, the company said, citing data from consulting firm Polk. Roughly a quarter of the sales were in China, which has become the world's biggest auto market. Ford launched the Focus in China last March. The company's U.S. sales rose by 40 percent in 2012. [Reuters]
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10. FORMER MOUSEKETEER ANNETTE FUNICELLO DIES
Annette Funicello, one of the most famous original members of the 1950s Mickey Mouse Club, died Monday, due to complications from multiple sclerosis. She was 70. Funicello was just a teenager when Walt Disney himself discovered her at a dance performance and put her on the popular TV show. She later starred in a series of beach-party films in the 1960s. Funicello was also a musical talent who had a string of top 40 hits. She "was and always will be a cherished member of the Disney family, synonymous with the word Mouseketeer, and a true Disney Legend," Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger said. [CNN]

 
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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