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10 things you need to know today: May 30, 2013
Ricin is detected on a threatening, anti-gun-control letter sent to Bloomberg, Obama picks a Republican to head the FBI, and more
 
"Every day that goes by without action, 34 more people will be murdered with guns," said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in August 2012.
"Every day that goes by without action, 34 more people will be murdered with guns," said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in August 2012. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

1. RICIN DETECTED ON LETTERS THREATENING NYC MAYOR BLOOMBERG
Two letters containing threats to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg have tested positive for ricin, a deadly poison, police said Wednesday. One of the envelopes, addressed to Bloomberg, was opened at a mail center. The other was sent to Mark Glaze, the director of the Bloomberg-financed Mayors Against Illegal Guns in Washington, D.C. Both letters were postmarked in Louisiana and referenced the push to tighten gun laws, which Bloomberg has led. No injuries have been reported. [New York Times]
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2. OBAMA CHOOSES FORMER BUSH OFFICIAL TO RUN FBI
President Obama reportedly plans to nominate James B. Comey, who served in the Justice Department under President George W. Bush, to replace Robert S. Mueller III as FBI director, according to two informed sources. Comey is a Republican, so his selection is seen as an effort to project bipartisanship. His dramatic 2004 refusal to reauthorize a Bush administration warrantless domestic eavesdropping program is expected to make him palatable to many Democrats. [Washington Post]
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3. BALES PLANS TO PLEAD GUILTY TO AFGHAN MASSACRE
Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, who has been accused of murdering 16 Afghan villagers last year, plans to plead guilty to avoid the death penalty, Bales' defense lawyer said Wednesday. The plea deal still must be approved by a judge and commanding general. The rampage strained relations between the U.S. and Afghanistan, and victims' relatives expressed outrage that Bales might escape execution. [BBC News]
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4. SYRIA SAYS IT HAS RECEIVED RUSSIAN AIR-DEFENSE MISSILES
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says in a TV interview airing Thursday that his government has received a shipment of Russian air defense missiles. If true, the delivery could heighten tensions over Syria's civil war. Russia, Assad's key defender, vowed to send the weapons to discourage foreign intervention after the European Union ended a ban on sending arms to Syrian rebels. Neighboring Israel, which sees the missiles as a threat, has suggested it might target them in an airstrike. [Globe and Mail]
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5. GAY COUPLE WEDS IN FRANCE'S FIRST SAME-SEX MARRIAGE
A gay couple — Vincent Autin, 40, and Bruno Boileau, 29 — exchanged vows to loud applause on Wednesday in France's first same-sex wedding. The ceremony took place at city hall in the southern city of Montpellier, with riot police posted outside. The law making France the 14th nation to permit same-sex marriage has been divisive — 100,000 gay-marriage opponents demonstrated in Paris on Sunday, and last week an opponent of gay marriage killed himself on the altar of Notre Dame cathedral. [Reuters]
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6. IOWA COURT SETS TRIAL DATE FOR BACHMANN LAWSUIT
Hours after Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) announced that she wouldn't seek re-election next year, an Iowa court set a May 2014 trial date for a lawsuit accusing Bachmann's former presidential campaign of stealing the email database of an Iowa Christian home school group. The organization's leader, Barbara Heki, says the campaign took the list when her computer was in Bachmann's office, then used it to send out fundraising emails. Bachmann says she did nothing wrong. [Des Moines Register]
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7. TSARNAEV FRIEND WAS UNARMED WHEN SHOT BY FBI
Ibragim Todashev, a Chechen friend of Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was unarmed when he was shot and killed by an FBI agent last week, law enforcement officials said Wednesday. Todashev was being questioned at his Orlando apartment, and reportedly had implicated himself and Tsarnaev, who was killed in a shootout with police, in a 2011 triple murder in Massachusetts. Some officials have said Todashev lunged at the agent with a knife; others say he tried to take the agent's gun. [Washington Post]
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8. PIRATES LOVE ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT
Reviews of Netflix's revival of Arrested Development have been mixed, but video pirates appear to love the long-awaited fourth season of the wildly popular cult comedy. Netflix launched its 15 new episodes — featuring the entire original cast — on Sunday. Within 24 hours, 100,000 people without subscriptions to Netflix's streaming video service had illegally downloaded the sitcom, according to digital media website paidContent. [NME]
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9. OLDEST KNOWN TORAH SCROLL FOUND IN ITALY
An expert in Hebrew manuscripts said Wednesday that he had found the oldest known Torah scroll in the library of the University of Bologna in Italy. Mauro Perani, a professor of Hebrew in the university's cultural heritage department, says that the sheepskin document had been mistakenly labeled as dating to the 17th century, but it was really much older. Two separate carbon-dating tests suggest it was made between the years 1155 and 1225. [Associated Press]
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10. NEIL PATRICK HARRIS NAMED EMMY HOST
Neil Patrick Harris has signed on for a second stint as host of the Emmy Awards in the fall, CBS announced Wednesday. The last time the 39-year-old How I Met Your Mother actor headlined the ceremony was in 2009, which was also the last time they were broadcast on CBS. Harris is becoming a regular on the MC circuit. He's also hosting the Tony Awards, on Sunday, for the fourth time in five years. [New York Daily 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.

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