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10 things you need to know today: September 9, 2013
Assad denies using chemical weapons, Serena Williams wins the U.S. Open, and more
Serena Williams celebrates winning her women's singles final match against Victoria Azarenka of Belarus at the U.S. Open on Sunday.
Serena Williams celebrates winning her women's singles final match against Victoria Azarenka of Belarus at the U.S. Open on Sunday. Elsa/Getty Images

1. Assad says he hasn't used chemical weapons
With a crucial Senate vote looming this week over authorizing military strikes against Syria, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told CBS the U.S. had no proof that he ordered a chemical attack that killed 1,400 people in August. Secretary of State John Kerry said, "The evidence speaks for itself." Kerry said Monday that Assad could prevent a U.S. attack by handing over his "huge stock" of chemical weapons. [Reuters, Wall Street Journal]
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2. Syria looms as lawmakers resume work on Capitol Hill
Congress returns to work Monday (after a five-week recess) with a full agenda that will be dominated, at least initially, by debate over authorizing military strikes against Syria. The Senate will take up the matter on Monday, ahead of an expected vote on Wednesday. A vote could follow next week in the GOP-led House, where a majority is leaning against giving President Obama a green light to order the strikes. [Fox News]
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3. NAACP leader steps down
NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous announced Sunday that he was stepping down by year's end, after five years as the leader of the nation's largest civil rights organization. He said he wanted to spend more time with his wife and two children, ages 7 and 1. Jealous, 40, was the youngest leader in the NAACP's history when he took over. He has been credited with whipping the organization into financial shape and making it more social-media savvy. [USA Today]
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4. Putin ally is projected the winner of Moscow mayor's race
Early results indicate that Sergei S. Sobyanin, the incumbent and an ally of Vladimir Putin, has narrowly won Moscow's first mayoral election in a decade. Opposition candidate Aleksei A. Navalny, a Kremlin critic, challenged the count on Monday, however, saying Sobyanin had not won the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff. The election was considered a test of Putin's power following 2011 and 2012 street protests over national elections. [New York Times]
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5. Brazilian TV says the NSA spied on Google and Petrobas
A week after broadcasting that the U.S. had spied on the presidents of Brazil and Mexico, the Brazilian network Globo is reporting that America's National Security Agency also tapped into the computer systems of Google, the Brazilian state-owned energy firm Petrobras, and other companies. The report was based on documents journalist Glenn Greenwald received from NSA leaker Edward Snowden. [Reuters]
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6. Museum confirms discovery of unknown Van Gogh painting
The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam announced Monday that it had confirmed the authenticity of a newly identified major painting by Vincent Van Gogh. The work, "Sunset at Montmajour," was painted at the height of the artist's career, during his time in the southern French town of Arles, when he also painted "Sunflowers," "The Yellow House," and "The Bedroom." The museum will display the painting starting Sept. 24. [Bloomberg]
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7. Toddler dies in Yellowstone shooting
The National Park Service is investigating the shooting death of a 3-year-old girl in a campground at Yellowstone National Park. The child's mother told authorities that the girl shot herself with her father's pistol. The apparent accident came three years after a new federal law lifted a decades-old ban on the possession of firearms by visitors to most national parks. It was the first shooting death in Yellowstone since 1978. [Los Angeles Times]
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8. Tropical Storm Humberto could become the first hurricane of 2013
A depression near Africa in the east Atlantic strengthened to become Tropical Storm Humberto early Monday. If, as expected, Humberto continues to intensify, it could become the season's first hurricane on Wednesday. Humberto would be the latest-developing first hurricane since the satellite tracking era began in the mid-1960s. Computer models suggest it might head north into the open ocean without threatening the U.S. [Sun-Sentinel]
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9. Rodman gushes about his friend Kim Jong Un
Former basketball star Dennis Rodman revealed new details about his second visit to North Korea in an interview with Britain's Guardian on Sunday. Rodman said he had "a relaxing time by the sea" with the Hermit Kingdom's leader, Kim Jong Un. Rodman confirmed the rumored birth of Kim's baby daughter, and revealed her name, Ju Ae. Rodman also called Kim, who has threatened to rain nukes on the U.S., an "awesome guy" and a "good dad." [Guardian]
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10. Serena Williams takes the U.S. Open
Serena Williams won the U.S. Open on Sunday, beating Victoria Azarenka 7-5, 6-7 (6-8), 6-1. The epic match marked Williams' 17th Grand Slam singles title, putting her one behind Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova on tennis' all-time list. Williams is having one of the best years of her career, winning nine tournaments so far and losing just four of her 71 matches. Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal play in the men's final on Monday. [USA Today]

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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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