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10 things you need to know today: September 28, 2013
Obama talks to Iran, the Senate kicks the government shutdown ball back to the House, and more
 
President Obama outlined his phone conversation with Iranian President Rouhani on Friday.
President Obama outlined his phone conversation with Iranian President Rouhani on Friday. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

1. Senate passes budget bill, sends government shutdown fight back to House
By a 54-44 party-line vote, the Senate on Friday approved a continuing resolution to fund the government that did not include a provision defunding ObamaCare. The bill now returns to the House, where Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has indicated his party would not agree to a clean budget bill. If the House fails to pass the Senate's version, the government will likely shut down at midnight Monday. [New York Times]
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2. Obama holds historic talk with Iranian president
In a Friday news conference, President Obama announced he had spoken directly by phone with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, marking the first time leaders from the two nations have spoken to each other since 1979. The news came on the same day that Iran and the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog agency held "constructive" talks about Iran's nuclear ambitions. [New York Times]
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3. New Jersey court rules state must permit gay marriages
A New Jersey judge on Friday ruled the state must allow same-sex couples to wed. Citing the recent Supreme Court ruling that barred the federal government from discriminating against gay couples, Judge Mary Jacobson said it would be unconstitutional for New Jersey to deny same-sex couples rights now guaranteed by the federal government. [Washington Post]
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4. Health groups sue to block parts of Texas' restrictive abortion law
A coalition of national women's rights groups and Texas health clinics sued the state on Friday to block implementation of key pieces of a new abortion law set to take effect October 29. The law, which drew significant national attention following Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis' (D) 13-hour filibuster attempt, would require doctors to have admitting privileges at local hospitals and ban abortions beyond 20 weeks. [USA Today]
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5. U.N. probes more allegations of Syrian chemical weapons use
Inspectors from the United Nations are looking into seven more alleged cases of chemical weapons being used in Syria, three of which may have happened after the August 21 attack that left hundreds dead and triggered an international outcry. They are expected to wrap up the investigation next week and deliver their findings by the end of October, though the U.N. did not offer many other details. The U.N. Security Council, meanwhile, has tentatively agreed on a resolution calling on Syria to give up its chemical weapons cache. [Reuters]
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6. EA Sports settles lawsuit with college athletes
Video game company E.A. Sports and Collegiate Licensing Company agreed to pay out $40 million to settle a lawsuit brought by former athletes who objected to their names and likenesses being used without their consent. Former UCLA basketball player Ed O'Bannon brought the lawsuit, which will benefit some 200,000 to 300,000 players, and which could have broad implications for the future of college sports. If a judge approves the terms of the settlement, the NCAA would be left as the lone defendant in the case. [ESPN]
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7. Obama offers bankrupt Detroit $320 million in aid
The Obama administration on Friday extended $320 million in federal and private aid to the struggling city, which in July became the largest municipality ever to file for bankruptcy. The funds will be used to do everything from clearing blighted buildings and beefing up law enforcement, to improving transit infrastructure and repairing streetlights — 40 percent of which are broken. [Bloomberg]
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8. Aaron Hernandez's fiancee indicted in murder investigation
Prosecutors indicted Shayanna Jenkins, the fiancee of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, accusing her of perjury in the murder case of Odin Lloyd. They also filed charges against Hernandez's cousin, Tanya Singleton. Hernandez is charged with orchestrating Lloyd's murder, and has pleaded not guilty. [Boston Globe]
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9. Scientists create new form of matter likened to Star Wars' lightsaber
To the delight of nerds everywhere, a team of Harvard and MIT scientists said they had stumbled across a way to bind photons together, thus creating what they said was something "similar to what we see in the movies." Scientists previously believed photons had no mass, but when placed under the right conditions, the researchers discovered they could clump photons together to form molecules. "It's not an in-apt analogy to compare this to lightsabers," Harvard physicist Mikhail Lukin said. [The Independent]
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10. NSA staff accused of spying on spouses, former lovers
Some dozen staffers with the National Security Agency — the body tasked with monitoring foreign correspondence for signs of terrorism — allegedly used their power to snoop on their current and former partners, according to a government watchdog group. The NSA Office of the Inspector General said the practice, known in the business as "LOVEINT," took place over the past decade and included inappropriate monitoring of personal email and phone records. [Reuters]
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Jon Terbush is an associate editor at TheWeek.com covering politics, sports, and other things he finds interesting. He has previously written for Talking Points Memo, Raw Story, and Business Insider.

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