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10 things you need to know today: August 28, 2013
U.N. inspectors keep working in Syria as a military strike looms, hackers shut down The New York Times, and more
 
Hacked!
Hacked! Ramin Talaie/Getty Images

1. INSPECTORS KEEP WORKING AS THE WEST PREPARES TO STRIKE SYRIA
United Nations weapons inspectors in Syria crossed into rebel territory on Wednesday for a second visit to the scene of an alleged poison-gas attack. The team is still gathering evidence, but the U.S. says it has proof — reportedly an intercepted phone call between Syrian commanders — proving that Syrian forces were responsible for the attack, which killed hundreds of civilians. Obama administration officials say the U.S. and its allies plan to respond with missile strikes as soon as Thursday. [BBC News, Guardian, CBS News]
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2. HACKERS HIT THE NEW YORK TIMES' WEBSITE... AGAIN
The New York Times' website was shut down by a cyberattack on Tuesday — its second outage in two weeks — and remained inaccessible early Wednesday. The Times' chief information officer, Marc Frons, said the problem appeared to have been caused by an attack on the company's domain name registrar. Security experts blamed hackers aligned with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and said the group also targeted Twitter and several other websites. [CNN, Bloomberg]
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3. SYRIA FEARS PUSH UP OIL PRICES
With a Western military strike against Syria looming, oil prices surged to a six-month high on Wednesday on fear the violence could spread across the oil-rich Middle East. Stocks sank worldwide for the second straight day, and investors seeking safety turned to gold. "The market feels an attack on Syria is highly probable," says IDEAglobal managing director Mike Gallagher, "but what they're concerned about is the retaliation." [Reuters]
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4. FIRE THREATENS TO CLOSE A SECOND YOSEMITE ENTRANCE
A huge California wildfire appears likely to force the closure of the second of four access roads into Yosemite National Park on Wednesday, which could severely limit access to the park over the Labor Day weekend. The blaze, known as the Rim Fire, has burned 184,000 acres — an area larger than Chicago — including 40,000 acres inside Yosemite. The fire is the largest in California since 2007, and the sixth biggest in state history. [Reuters]
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5. OBAMA ASSESSES PROGRESS 50 YEARS AFTER MLK'S "DREAM" SPEECH
President Obama plans to deliver a speech at the Lincoln Memorial to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. Obama, standing at the site where the late King delivered his historic address, is expected to outline the progress that has been made thanks to the civil rights movement, as well as the work remaining to realize King's vision of racial equality. [NPR]
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6. MORE PHOTOS OF TSARNAEV'S CAPTURE EMERGE
Boston magazine has published 48 more photos of the capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect. In the images, Tsarnaev emerges bloodied from his hiding place in a boat in a Watertown, Mass., backyard. The pictures were among those police photographer Sean Murphy gave the magazine in July. Murphy, upset by a Rolling Stone cover featuring Tsarnaev, said then that he wanted to show "the real Boston bomber." [Fox News]
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7. BOMBINGS ESCALATE IRAQ'S SECTARIAN VIOLENCE
A wave of at least 10 coordinated bombings killed at least 65 people in Baghdad on Wednesday in the latest sign of rising tensions among Shiite and Sunni Muslims. The blasts mainly targeted Shiite neighborhoods at rush hour. No organized group claimed responsibility, but the attacks were believed to have been carried out by Sunnis who believe they have been marginalized by the Shiite-led government. [TIME]
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8. WALMART SAYS SAME-SEX SPOUSES WILL GET HEALTH BENEFITS
Walmart, the nation's second-largest employer after the federal government, told employees this week that it would offer health-insurance benefits to same-sex couples and domestic partners starting Jan. 1. The Supreme Court in June struck down the Defense of Marriage Act's definition of marriage as between a man and a woman. Walmart said it needed one policy for all 50 states, including those where same-sex spouses are eligible for benefits. [CNN]
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9. RESEARCHERS BLAME VIRUS FOR DOLPHIN DEATHS
Federal officials say they have determined that a measles-like virus is probably responsible for the worst die-off of bottlenose dolphins on the East Coast in 25 years. As of the start of this week, 333 dolphin deaths had been reported from New York to North Carolina. Researchers found that 32 of 33 dolphins tested were infected with the morbillivirus, which killed more than 700 of the marine mammals in the last major outbreak, in the 1980s. [Associated Press]
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10. RUSSIAN AUTHORITIES SEIZE RACY PAINTING MOCKING PUTIN
With a G-20 summit coming up next week, Russian officials on Tuesday confiscated several satirical paintings from a St. Petersburg gallery, including one showing President Vladimir Putin in women's underwear, lovingly combing the hair of Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev. Officials, who said the paintings "violated existing legislation," also seized paintings poking fun at two politicians who pioneered Russia's anti-gay laws. [Independent]

 
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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