RSS
10 things you need to know today: April 15, 2013
Venezuelans elect Maduro to succeed Chavez, Adam Scott wins the Masters, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
Adam Scott speaks to reporters after winning his — and Australia's — first green jacket.
Adam Scott speaks to reporters after winning his — and Australia's — first green jacket. Andrew Redington/Getty Images

1. CHAVEZ PROTEGE WINS VENEZUELAN ELECTION
Hugo Chavez's handpicked heir, Nicolas Maduro, narrowly won Venezuela's presidential election on Sunday. He campaigned on a promise to continue his charismatic late mentor's socialist policies. The slim margin of victory — Maduro got 50.7 percent of the vote, while challenger Henrique Capriles got 49.1 percent — promised to make governing difficult for Maduro. Capriles, who said Chavez left the oil-rich nation nearly ruined, refused to accept the result, accusing Maduro of cheating and demanding a recount to determine whether Maduro should be allowed to serve the rest of Chavez's six-year term, which had just begun when he died of cancer last month. [New York Times, Associated Press]
………………………………………………………………………………

2. NORTH KOREA MARKS BIRTHDAY OF FOUNDING LEADER
North Koreans filled the decorated streets of Pyongyang on Monday to commemorate the 101st anniversary of the birth of their first leader, the late Kim Il Sung. The isolated communist regime's current leader, Kim Jong Un, visited the mausoleum of his grandfather, Kim Il Sung, and father, Kim Jong Il. There was little evidence of panic despite the rising nuclear tensions between North Korea and the world. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry reassured an audience in Tokyo that the U.S. would "stand with the people of Japan in preventing conflict and ensuring safety and security." [CBS News, Los Angeles Times]
………………………………………………………………………………

3. ADAM SCOTT WINS MASTERS IN PLAYOFF
Australian Adam Scott beat Argentina's Angel Cabrera in a playoff on Sunday to win the 77th Masters championship at Augusta National Golf Club. Scott clinched the win — his first major and the first Masters for Australia — with a 12-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole. Tiger Woods, who was penalized two strokes for a rule infraction on Friday, finished tied for fourth place. Woods has now gone five years without a major championship, although this was his seventh top-six finish in the past eight Masters. [ESPN]
………………………………………………………………………………

4. SENATE PREPARES TO DEBATE GUN-CONTROL BILL
As the Senate prepares to debate a compromise gun-control bill on Monday, House Republicans are working on ways to weaken or defeat the legislation. The Senate is expected to vote Tuesday on a bipartisan Senate deal that calls for expanding federal background checks to cover people who buy guns online and at gun shows. Some House Republicans say the proposal would unfairly restrict gun rights guaranteed in the Constitution, so they're urging House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to kill any bill passed by the Senate by refusing to hold a vote on it. [Reuters]
………………………………………………………………………………

5. BOMBINGS RAISE FEARS AHEAD OF IRAQ ELECTIONS
A string of bombings across Iraq killed at least 20 people and wounded more than 100 others on Monday. Most of the coordinated attacks used car bombs on busy roads during rush hour. Sunni Muslim militants have been stepping up attempts to destabilize Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's Shiite-led government ahead of April 20 elections, which will be Iraq's first since 2010. [BBC News]
………………………………………………………………………………

6. GREECE CLINCHES DEAL FOR MORE BAILOUT MONEY
Greece and its foreign creditors said Monday that they had reached a deal on measures the struggling country must take to get the next infusion of bailout money it needs to stay afloat. The agreement was hammered out in two weeks of negotiations with the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund. It calls for laying off thousands of civil servants and recapitalizing Greek banks. If all goes as planned, the troika of creditors said, recession-ravaged Greece should return to growth in 2014. [New York Times]
………………………………………………………………………………

7. GLOBAL MILITARY SPENDING DROPS
World military spending dropped in 2012 for the first time since 1998, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute reported Monday. The world's governments spent $1.75 trillion on their armed forces, down 0.5 percent from 2011. The dip was largely due to the U.S. drawdown in Afghanistan and budget cuts in debt-burdened European countries. At the same, however, military spending is up in Russia, China, and the Middle East, narrowing the gap between Western nations and emerging powers. [Associated Press]
………………………………………………………………………………

8. RESEARCHERS GROW RAT KIDNEYS IN A LAB
Scientists have successfully implanted a lab-grown kidney into a rat. Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston reported Sunday in the journal Nature Medicine that the bioengineered kidneys had produced urine in laboratory dishes and in living animals. The milestone raises hopes that one day people with kidney failure might be able to receive new organs derived from their own cells, instead of having to wait for a transplant. Up to 10,000 people die in the U.S. each year before they qualify for a transplant. [Reuters]
………………………………………………………………………………

9. JENNA BUSH GIVES BIRTH  
Former first daughter Jenna Bush Hager has given birth to her first child, a girl named Margaret Laura "Mila" Hager. Former president and new grandfather George W. Bush announced the news in a statement released on Sunday, the day after the birth. "Jenna and Mila are healthy," he said. "And our family is elated." [Associated Press]
………………………………………………………………………………

10. BIEBER SLAMMED FOR NOTE AT ANNE FRANK'S HOUSE
Pop icon Justin Bieber stirred up a controversy over the weekend when he visited the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, and wrote in the guest book that the teen, who died in the Holocaust, was "a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber." Bieber was promptly slammed on Facebook by people calling him self-serving and immature. Anti-Defamation League director Abraham Foxman, however, said Anne Frank really was into celebrities and pop culture, "so for [Bieber] to say he would have hoped that she would have been a fan, it's a nice thing." [Chicago Sun-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.

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week