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10 things you need to know today: October 9, 2013
Obama picks Janet Yellen to lead the Fed, the shutdown cuts off military death benefits, and more
Yellen will be the first woman to lead the Fed 
Yellen will be the first woman to lead the Fed  (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

1. Obama to nominate Janet Yellen for Fed chair
President Obama plans to nominate Janet Yellen to succeed Ben Bernanke as head of the Federal Reserve, the White House said Tuesday. If Yellen is confirmed, the former University of California economist — currently the Fed's vice chairwoman — will be the first woman to lead the central bank. Yellen would be a more popular pick than Obama's reported first choice, former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, who withdrew in September due to stiff opposition to his candidacy. [Los Angeles Times]
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2. Shutdown cuts off military death benefits
The Pentagon said Tuesday that the government shutdown had left it unable to pay death benefits to the families of soldiers killed in action. After funding ran out for many federal agencies, Congress quickly passed the Pay Our Military Act, ensuring that active duty soldiers will continue to receive their paychecks, but the law didn't cover the $100,000 typically sent to families of those killed or burial and housing benefits. [New York Times]
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3. Off-duty cop accused of participating in road-rage attack
An off-duty New York City police officer was arrested Tuesday in connection with the beating of an SUV driver, Alexian Lien, who was chased down by a gang of motorcyclists after a fender bender. Detective Wojciech Braszczok was the fifth biker charged. The chase began after Lien — with his wife and 2-year-old daughter in the car — was threatened and took off, seriously injuring a biker. The whole thing was caught on a video uploaded to YouTube. [Reuters]
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4. Obama tells GOP to stop making "threats"
President Obama on Tuesday stepped up his pressure on Republicans to pass a stopgap spending bill to end the government shutdown without forcing a delay of ObamaCare. In a White House news conference, Obama called on GOP lawmakers to "lift these threats from our families and our businesses" and avoid forcing the U.S. to default on its debts. Republicans say Obama is the one refusing to negotiate. [New York Times]
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5. DNA match provides a break in 1991 murder
New York City police announced Tuesday that they had identified the mother of "Baby Hope," a 4- to 5-year-old girl whose battered body was found stuffed in a cooler in 1991, through a DNA match. Investigators are now searching for the child's father for questioning in the high-profile murder case. The mother never saw the girl again after the father left with her and her younger sister following the couple's acrimonious breakup. [New York Daily News]
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6. The U.S. prepares to cut aid to Egypt
U.S. officials say the Obama administration plans to announce within days that it is reducing aid to Egypt's military, which has been cracking down on supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi. Army chief Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, in his first interview since the July coup, said Morsi could have prevented the crisis by resigning in the face of protests. Sisi left open the question of whether he would run to replace Morsi. [CNN, Washington Post]
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7. Trouble in the house of the Kardashians
Kris Jenner, mother of the Kardashian sisters of tabloid fame, and her husband, former Olympic decathlon champion Bruce Jenner, announced in a joint statement that they have separated after 22 years of marriage. The couple, who put their personal lives on display in the reality TV show Keeping Up with the Kardashians, said in a joint statement, "We are living separately and we are much happier this way." [BBC News]
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8. Passengers absorbed in smartphones didn't notice gunman
The San Francisco Police Department said Tuesday that security footage showed that a man who killed college student Justin Valdez on a light-rail train had his gun in plain sight, but other passengers didn't notice because they were staring at their smartphones. "They're just so engrossed, texting and reading and whatnot," said District Attorney George Gascon. Investigators believe suspect Nikhom Thephakaysone was hunting for a stranger to kill. [San Francisco Chronicle]
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9. Three share Nobel in chemistry
Three researchers have won this year's Nobel Prize in chemistry for their work in the 1970s developing computer models used to study complex reactions like photosynthesis and combustion, and how drugs interact. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which awards the Nobels, said the trio opened up new possibilities for chemists by making "Newton's classical physics work side by side with the fundamentally different quantum physics." [New York Times]
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10. Argentine president is recovering after surgery
Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner underwent successful surgery to remove a blood clot outside her brain on Tuesday. The injury was the result of a fall in August. Doctors did not immediately say how long the 60-year-old president's recovery would take, raising concerns over the country's weakening economy three weeks ahead of legislative elections in which Fernandez's governing party appears likely to lose strength. [Associated Press]

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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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