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10 things you need to know today: September 23, 2013
Soldiers free hostages at a besieged Kenyan mall, Breaking Bad and Modern Family win top Emmys, and more
 
Smoke rises from Kenya's Westgate Mall, the site of a hostage crisis that has entered its third day. 
Smoke rises from Kenya's Westgate Mall, the site of a hostage crisis that has entered its third day.  (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

1. Security forces free hostages at Kenyan mall
Gunfire and explosions erupted inside a Kenyan shopping mall early Monday as a standoff between security forces and about 10 members of Somalia's al Qaeda-linked rebel group, al Shabab, entered its third day. Soldiers regained control over parts of the luxury mall late Sunday, and freed most of the terrorists' roughly 30 hostages. Al Shabab threatened to kill the remaining hostages if soldiers don't back off. So far, 68 people have been killed. [New York Times]
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2. Breaking Bad and Modern Family win top Emmys
The AMC drama Breaking Bad — its series finale a week away — won Best Drama at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday night. Modern Family took its fourth straight Best Comedy trophy. There were also some big upsets, including Jeff Daniels' win for best lead in a drama series (The Newsroom), which many expected to go to three-time winner Bryan Cranston for his ruthless Breaking Bad role. [CBS News]
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3. Obama prepares to address the U.N.
President Obama arrives in New York on Monday ahead of his fifth annual address to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday. Obama will press Syria to fulfill its pledge to give up its chemical weapons. The big question, however, is whether he and Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani, will follow up on recent goodwill gestures, and become the first heads of the two countries to shake hands in over three decades. [New York Daily News]
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4. Hackers bypass cutting-edge iPhone fingerprint sensor
Just two days after Apple's new iPhones were released around the world, the Chaos Computer Club announced on Sunday that its "biometrics hacking team" had managed to get around the special fingerprint sensor on the latest version of the popular smartphone — using a glue model of someone's fingerprint. "This demonstrates — again — that fingerprint biometrics is unsuitable as access control method," the group said in a blog post. [Venturebeat]
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5. Obama calls for tougher gun laws in Navy Yard eulogy
President Obama called for a "transformation" of America's gun laws on Sunday, as he delivered a eulogy for the 12 people killed in last week's shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard. "Our tears are not enough," Obama said during a memorial service. Obama acknowledged that his gun control push had stalled in Congress, but said Americans must fight "a creeping resignation" so mass shootings won't become "the new normal." [USA Today]
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6. Voters reward Germany's Merkel with a huge victory
German Chancellor Angela Merkel won a landslide victory in Germany's general election on Sunday. Partial results gave her conservative bloc 42 percent of the vote, its strongest showing since German reunification in 1990. The vote is being interpreted as a solid endorsement of Merkel's steady leadership during the eurozone's debt crisis, leaving her just shy of a rare absolute majority in the lower house of parliament. [Reuters]
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7. Ariel Castro's son speaks out
The son of Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro, in his first public comments about his father's crimes, wrote in the Cleveland Plain Dealer over the weekend that he was "horrified and disgusted" to learn his father had held three women captive for a decade, repeatedly raping them. The elder Castro, who committed suicide in prison, was sentenced to life plus 1,000 years. He deserved "every day of those 1,000 years," Ariel Anthony Castro said. [Reuters]
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8. Harvard raises the bar on college donor campaigns
Harvard University launched a $6.5 billion capital campaign over the weekend — the largest in the history of higher education. The prestigious Ivy League school says it has already raised more than a third of the money, thanks to a two-year preliminary push. Last year, Stanford University set the current fundraising record by completing a five-year, $6.2 billion campaign. [Associated Press]
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9. Bombers kill 78 at a Christian church in Pakistan
A suicide attack killed at least 78 people in the historic All Saints Church in Peshawar in northwestern Pakistan on Sunday. The attack was part of a wave of violence against the mostly Sunni Muslim nation's religious minorities, including Shiite Muslims. Two suicide bombers detonated bombs as 600 attendees were leaving to receive free food being distributed outside. Seven of the dead were children. [New York Times]
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10. Pilot makes an emergency landing on a major Chicago street
An amateur pilot, John Pederson, landed his two-seater, single-engine airplane on Chicago's Lake View Drive on Sunday after the aircraft's stabilizing gear malfunctioned and caused the plane to begin shaking violently. Pederson brought his plane down in the northbound lanes, heading north, right after traffic stopped for a red light. Nobody was hurt, although two cars bumped Pederson's plane after he landed. [Chicago Tribune]
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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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