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10 things you need to know today: September 5, 2013
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee backs a Syria strike, Chelsea Manning requests a pardon, and more
 
Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey testify during a hearing on Syria on Sept. 4.
Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey testify during a hearing on Syria on Sept. 4. Alex Wong/Getty Images

1. A split Senate panel backs a Syria strike
The Senate on Wednesday took the first step toward approving a military strike to punish Syria over its alleged use of chemical weapons. A sharply divided Foreign Relations Committee approved a deal giving President Obama 60 days, with the possibility of a 30-day extension, to use force, but prohibiting him from using ground troops. The full Senate is expected to vote next week. A similar proposal faces stiff opposition in the House. [New York Times]
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2. Syria looms as G-20 summit begins
World leaders are gathering in Russia Thursday for a G-20 summit, where an agenda centered on trade is expected to be overshadowed by deep divisions over Syria. Host Vladimir Putin, a key Syria ally, warned that a U.S. strike without United Nations approval would be "an aggression." President Obama said the international community would lose credibility if it failed to respond to Syria's alleged gassing of its own people. [BBC News]
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3. Egyptian minister survives assassination attempt
The interior minister of Egypt's military-backed interim government, Mohamed Ibrahim, survived an assassination attempt early Thursday. A motorcycle with at least three bombs — apparently detonated by remote control — reportedly exploded near the minister's convoy as he left his house. The attack marked an escalation in the political violence that erupted after President Mohamed Morsi was ousted in July. [New York Times]
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4. Manning formally requests a presidential pardon
Chelsea Manning, the Army private sentenced to 35 years for giving secret government documents to WikiLeaks, requested a presidential pardon in a letter made public Wednesday. Manning, formerly known as Bradley Manning, says she acted out of a "sense of duty to others," hoping to call attention to civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan. The White House says Manning's request will go through the normal review process, which can take years. [USA Today, Los Angeles Times]
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5. Samsung unveils its Galaxy Gear smartwatch
Samsung officially launched the next great tech battle — the smartwatch war — when it unveiled its new Galaxy Gear device on Wednesday. The gadget puts the capabilities of a pared-down smartphone on your wrist — complete with a 1.63-inch touch screen, a 1.9-megapixel camera, and a handful of apps. The devices, starting at $299, will begin shipping September 25. Now all eyes are on Apple, which is expected to unveil its rumored iWatch as soon as next week. [NBC News]
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6. Weiner gets into a nasty spat with a heckler
Days before the New York City mayoral primary, embattled candidate Anthony Weiner got into a shouting match with a man at a kosher deli. A video posted online shows the heckler calling the sexting-scandal-plagued Weiner a "scumbag." Weiner replied, "Takes one to know one, jackass." The Weiner campaign later posted a longer video in which the heckler, who is Jewish, appeared to trigger the exchange with a slur against Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, who is Muslim. [New York Daily News]
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7. Prosecutors appeal former teacher's 30-day rape sentence
Prosecutors are asking the Montana Supreme Court to give more prison time to a former teacher sent to prison for just 30 days for raping a 14-year-old student who later committed suicide. Judge G. Todd Baugh sentenced Stacey Rambold, 54, to 15 years with all but a month suspended, saying the victim was "older than her chronological age." Under pressure, Baugh scheduled a resentencing hearing for Friday, but prosecutors want to proceed with their appeal. [Associated Press]
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8. Archaeologists say Richard III had worms
Researchers examining the remains of King Richard III said Wednesday that the monarch, killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485, was infected with roundworms in his intestines. The feces-borne parasites, common in the Middle Ages but rare in Britain now, might have been spread to the king by cooks who didn't wash their hands. Archaeologists found Richard III's skeleton last year under a parking lot built where a church once stood. [CNN]
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9. Studies explore ObamaCare health premiums
Two independent studies released this week give an early look at how much Americans will pay for health care under the Affordable Care Act. A 21-year-old person with a mid-range plan would pay $270 a month, compared with $330 a month for the typical 40-year-old, data firm Avalere Health said. But the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation noted that subsidies could reduce premiums to $190 for anyone making about $29,000. [Associated Press]
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10. Yahoo gives its logo a makeover
Yahoo unveiled a new logo intended to reflect the internet pioneer's new image under CEO Marissa Mayer. Mayer herself helped design the new logo, and described the process in a post — titled "Geeking out on the new logo" — on Yahoo's newly acquired Tumblr site. The rather spare logo is still purple with an exclamation point, although Mayer says the team decided to tilt the punctuation by nine degrees "just to add a bit of whimsy." [USA Today]

 
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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