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10 things you need to know today: August 3, 2013
The U.S. issues a global travel alert over terrorism fears, Robert Mugabe's party heads to victory in Zimbabwe, and more
President Mugabe's party appears headed for victory in Zimbabwe. 
President Mugabe's party appears headed for victory in Zimbabwe.  AP Photo

1. U.S. ISSUES GLOBAL TRAVEL ALERT DUE TO AL QAEDA THREAT
The U.S. State Department issued a global travel warning as it made preparations to close embassies in the Middle East, North Africa, and other regions on Sunday. The travel alert stated that al Qaeda and affiliated terrorist organizations may be planning an attack between now and the end of August. CNN sources claim that the threat comes from an al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen. [CNN]
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2. ECONOMY SHOWS TEPID JOB GROWTH
Only 162,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy in July, less than economists had predicted, dropping the unemployment rate to 7.4 percent. Experts had predicted an increase of 175,000 to 185,000 jobs. The economy has now been adding jobs for 34 consecutive months, but not at a fast enough rate to recover from the Great Recession. [ABC News]
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3. MUGABE'S PARTY HEADED TO VICTORY IN ZIMBABWE
The party of Robert Mugabe, the autocratic president of Zimbabwe first elected in 1980, looks poised to win a majority in parliament after losing it last term to the Movement for Democratic Change. African officials called the election "free and peaceful" but refrained from calling it fair, while Morgan Tsvangirai, Mugabe's main political rival and the country's prime minister, called it "a farce." [The New York Times]
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4. WHITEY BULGER REFUSES TO TESTIFY
Infamous gangster James "Whitey" Bulger refused to testify at his trial, calling it a "sham." Bulger, 83, is accused of taking part in 19 murders while head of the mafia in South Boston. Earlier, Stephen Rakes, who was set to testify against Bulger, was found dead after drinking iced coffee laced with cyanide. Investigators say they believe Rakes' murder was unrelated to the case. [Boston Globe, Associated Press]
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5. TEXAS RUNNING OUT OF DRUGS FOR LETHAL INJECTIONS
Texas, which has the highest execution rate in the Untied States, will run out of the drug it uses in lethal injections by September. The drug, pentobarbital, has been used in the execution of 11 inmates so far in 2013, which is more inmates than have been killed in the rest of the country combined. [Reuters]
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6. U.S. TO GRANT GAY COUPLES VISA BENEFITS
The State Department will begin granting U.S. entry visas to the foreign spouses of U.S. citizens in same-sex marriages, Secretary of State John Kerry announced on Friday. He also said that visa applications from foreign same-sex married couples would be considered jointly. This comes after the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in July. [The Washington Post]
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7. U.S. GOVERNMENT PAID U.K. SPY AGENCY £100 MILLION
The United States government paid at least £100 million to the GCHQ, the U.K.'s major spy agency, to secure access to its data and to influence its intelligence program, a new report based on information from whistleblower Edward Snowden says. Privacy advocates say they are worried about the close relationship between the GCHQ and its equivalent in the United States, the NSA. [The Guardian]
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8. REPUBLICANS PUSH HUGE CUT IN FOOD STAMPS
Republicans in the House are planning to propose a $40 billion cut over 10 years in the food stamps program. Republicans say the program, which costs $78 billion a year, is too expensive, while Democrats counter that many Americans still depend on it, especially in a weak economy. [NBC News]
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9. FDA REQUIRES NEW STANDARDS FOR GLUTEN-FREE FOODS
The FDA is creating new guidelines for what foods can be called gluten-free, which it says can help those with celiac disease "make food choices with confidence." The FDA claims that many so-called gluten-free foods are made in facilities where they could be exposed to cross-contamination. [CBS News]
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10. ELLEN DEGENERES TO HOST THE OSCARS
Actress, comedian, and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres announced that she was going to host the 86th Academy Awards. DeGeneres previously hosted the Oscars in 2007. [The Hollywood Reporter]

Keith Wagstaff is a staff writer at TheWeek.com covering politics and current events. He has previously written for such publications as TIME, Details, VICE, and the Village Voice.

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