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10 things you need to know today: September 17, 2013
Navy Yard shooting leaves 12 victims dead, the U.N. confirms that Syrians were gassed, and more
Hundreds of emergency personnel descended on the Navy Yards after a gunman went on a shooting spree, killing 12. 
Hundreds of emergency personnel descended on the Navy Yards after a gunman went on a shooting spree, killing 12.  (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

1. Washington Navy Yard shooting rampage leaves 12 victims and the suspect dead
A gunman killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday in a rampage that threw the nation's capital into turmoil. The FBI identified the suspect, who was killed in a shootout with police, as Aaron Alexis, 34, a troubled former Navy reservist. Alexis had been arrested twice for firing guns, but had access to the heavily guarded base as a defense contractor. The motive for the attack remains a mystery. [Washington Post]
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2. U.N. inspectors confirm Syrians were gassed
The United Nations on Monday released a report by arms inspectors confirming that hundreds of Syrians who died in an August 21 attack outside Damascus were killed with sarin nerve gas. The inspectors didn't say who was responsible, but the Obama administration and military experts said the evidence undercut the Syrian government's claim that rebels were to blame. Only government forces have the kind of rockets that were used. [New York Times]
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3. A break in Colorado rain helps the rescue effort
Rescuers took advantage of sunny weather on Monday to evacuate hundreds of people stranded in remote, flooded communities in north-central Colorado. Most were ferried to safety by National Guard helicopters. Eight days of downpours covered 17 counties in a year's worth of rain, destroying 1,600 homes. The death toll from the flash floods has climbed to eight. [Reuters]
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4. Daley ends his run for Illinois governor
Bill Daley, President Obama's former chief of staff, abruptly ended his bid for the Democratic nomination for Illinois governor on Monday. Daley, the son and brother of former Chicago mayors, worked in two White House administrations and served as a presidential campaign manager, but he told the Chicago Tribune that a lifetime in politics had not prepared him for the "enormity" of his first run for office. [Chicago Tribune]
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5. Obama says a government shutdown would create chaos
President Obama on Monday warned congressional Republicans that they would trigger "economic chaos" if they blocked funding needed to keep the government from shutting down on October 1. House Republican leaders are meeting Tuesday to find a way to avoid a shutdown without alienating conservatives determined to stop ObamaCare. Congress faces another showdown in late October over raising the debt limit. [Associated Press]
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6. A man is arrested for throwing firecrackers at the White House
The Secret Service arrested a man on Monday for allegedly lighting firecrackers and tossing them over a fence onto the White House lawn. With tensions still high after the deadly shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard just a few miles away, the incident prompted authorities to lock down the White House for about 30 minutes. The suspect, Alexander Sahaghan, is expected to be charged with "throwing a projectile." [ABC News]
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7. Turkey downs a Syrian helicopter that violated its airspace
Turkey said Monday that one of its fighter jets shot down a Syrian military helicopter that had flown into Turkish airspace. Turkey, which has been a strong advocate of a foreign intervention to stop Syria's civil war and topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, said the incident would discourage Syria from violating its borders again. Syria accused Turkey of intentionally escalating its military presence along the border separating the two former allies. [BBC News]
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8. Study finds extreme binge drinking among high schoolers
Ten percent of high school seniors are extreme binge drinkers, meaning they sometimes down 10 or more drinks in a session, according to a new study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics. Nearly 6 percent of the respondents said they sometimes consumed 15 or more drinks. The authors said their study was the first to document such excess in teens, although previous studies have found that one senior in five reports sporadic heavy drinking. [USA Today]
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9. Salvage workers raise the wrecked cruise ship Costa Concordia
Engineers in Italy succeeded in righting the capsized ocean liner Costa Concordia early Tuesday, 20 months after it ran aground, killing 32 people. The 19-hour operation was risky — salvage crews were concerned that the massive, 952-foot ship could break apart or spill contaminated water into the surrounding marine sanctuary. The job isn't over, though. It will take months to inspect, repair, and refloat the vessel so it can be towed away. [BBC News]
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10. Cyrus and Hemsworth split
Miley Cyrus and Hunger Games actor Liam Hemsworth have broken off their engagement, their representatives said Monday. Cyrus, 20, and Hemsworth, 23, met while making the movie The Last Song in 2010. They got engaged in May 2012, but their romance has been rocky. Gossip watchers knew the end was near when Cyrus, a former Disney star now known for raunchy twerking, unfollowed Hemsworth on Twitter several days ago. [Los Angeles Times]

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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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