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10 things you need to know today: October 10, 2013
Obama meets with lawmakers on the shutdown, Alice Munro wins the Nobel for literature, and more
 
The sweet smell of success
The sweet smell of success (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

1. Obama invites House Republicans to the White House
President Obama is scheduled to hold meetings with House Republicans and Senate Democrats on Thursday to discuss solutions to the government shutdown and the looming threat of a default on some of the nation's debts. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is proposing a short-term hike of the debt limit in exchange for tax reform and cuts to entitlement spending, but without the delay to ObamaCare that Tea Party conservatives are demanding. [Washington Post, Los Angeles Times]
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2. Alice Munro wins the Nobel for literature
Canadian author Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday. Munro, 82, has made a career of short fiction rather than novels, a rare feat. The most recent of her 13 short-story collections was Dear Life, but it will be her final one if she sticks to an announcement in July to retire from writing. The New York Times says her "visceral work explores the tangled relationships between men and women, small-town existence, and the fallibility of memory." Author Cynthia Ozick has called her "our Chekhov." [The New York Times, Globe and Mail]
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3. Embarrassed lawmakers vote to restore military death benefits
Facing a wave of outrage, the House on Wednesday voted 425-0 to restore death benefits to the families of soldiers killed in action. It is unclear how fast the Senate might take up the measure, but, in the meantime, the Pentagon struck an agreement with the nonprofit Fisher House Foundation to restore to families the payments that have been stalled by the shutdown. [USA Today]
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4. Yellen calls for more action to boost the recovery
Janet Yellen, whom President Obama nominated Wednesday to replace Ben Bernanke as head of the Federal Reserve, says the economy is gaining strength, but "more needs to be done to strengthen the recovery." Yellen, now the Fed's vice chair, is expected to win confirmation and become the first woman to lead the central bank, but the debate could complicate already tense partisan battles over the nation's finances. [The New York Times]
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5. Libya's prime minister is abducted, then freed, in Tripoli
Gunmen seized Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan early Thursday from the Tripoli hotel where he lives, then freed him within hours. The abduction appeared to be a militia group's retaliation against the Libyan government for supposedly allowing U.S. commandos to capture suspected al Qaeda leader Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai, a.k.a. Abu Anas al-Libi, in Tripoli on Saturday. Militants have accused the government of collusion in the raid. [USA Today]
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6. The Obama administration slashes aid to Egypt
The U.S. is cutting hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Egypt "pending credible progress toward an inclusive, democratically elected civilian government through free and fair elections," a State Department spokesman announced Wednesday. The U.S. is not withholding all of the $1.5 billion in aid Egypt gets annually, but it is stopping delivery of some large-scale military systems and some cash assistance to the government. [TIME]
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7. Pakistani court allows Musharraf to leave house arrest on bail
A Pakistani court on Wednesday granted bail to former president and military chief Pervez Musharraf, who faces several charges linked to the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and other alleged crimes committed during his nine years in power. Musharraf returned from nearly four years in self-imposed exile hoping for a political comeback and vowing to "save Pakistan." Now, his lawyer says, he'll be leaving the country again. [Los Angeles Times]
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8. Haitians sue the U.N. over a deadly cholera outbreak
Five Haitians on Wednesday sued the United Nations for causing a cholera outbreak that has killed roughly 8,300 people in the impoverished Caribbean nation since the country was struck by a devastating earthquake in 2010. Legal experts say the plaintiffs face long odds — the U.N. claims it has immunity. Investigators concluded that Nepalese peacekeepers caused the outbreak by secretly dumping fecal matter into a river. [The Wall Street Journal]
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9. Snowden's father arrives in Russia for a visit
The father of National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden arrived in Moscow to meet with his son for the first time since April. Lon Snowden said he doubts his son, whom Moscow granted temporary asylum in August, will ever return to the U.S., where he faces espionage charges for releasing classified documents on NSA surveillance programs. The elder Snowden thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for sheltering his son. [Bloomberg Businessweek]
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10. Azerbaijan's president wins re-election, but the opposition cries fraud
Azerbaijan's president, Ilham Aliyev, won re-election on Wednesday, but the opposition vowed to challenge the result in court, saying the vote was tainted by ballot fraud and police interference. In an embarrassing gaffe that fueled suspicions of tampering, Azerbaijan's election authorities released vote results a day before voting started, although it claimed it was just testing a smartphone app with 2008 election results. [Reuters, Washington Post]

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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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