RSS
10 things you need to know today: October 23, 2013
American spy chief denies hacking French phone calls, most Americans now back marijuana legalization, and more
 
It's high time the U.S. legalized marijuana, most Americans now say.
It's high time the U.S. legalized marijuana, most Americans now say. (Marc Piscotty/Getty Images)

1. American officials deny reports of spying on French citizens
U.S. intelligence chief James Clapper said late Tuesday that France's claim that the National Security Agency had collected data on French citizens' phone calls was "false." The French daily Le Monde, citing secret documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, reported that the NSA had collected more than 70 million "recordings of French citizens' telephone data," a claim that Clapper said was "misleading and inaccurate." France has summoned the U.S. ambassador in outrage. [BBC News]
………………………………………………………………………………

2. Most Americans now back marijuana legalization, Gallup says
For the first time, a clear majority of Americans — 58 percent — favor legalization of marijuana, according to a Gallup poll released Tuesday. When Gallup first asked the question in 1969, only 12 percent wanted to legalize the drug. Public support jumped to 28 percent in the '70s and has grown at a quickening pace recently, partly thanks to Washington and Colorado, which recently became the first two states to legalize recreational pot use. [Gallup]
………………………………………………………………………………

3. White House official fired for insulting and revealing tweets
An official at the National Security Council was fired for anonymously tweeting insults and information about the inner workings of the Obama administration, The Daily Beast disclosed Tuesday. Via the Twitter account @natsecwonk, Jofi Joseph, who worked on nuclear proliferation issues in the White House, "openly criticized the policies of his White House bosses and often insulted their intellect and appearance." Joseph was fired after a months-long investigation into the account revealed he was the source. [The Daily Beast] ………………………………………………………………………………

4. Apple shows off its latest tablets and computers
Apple unveiled a slimmer, faster tablet called the iPad Air on Tuesday. The tech giant, facing intensifying competition for its flagship products, also offered free upgrades on its operating system, and faster versions of its Mac computers. The updates aimed to boost sales in the upcoming holiday season. Apple shares dipped slightly, however, as investors hoping for innovative new products shrugged at the tweaks to existing lines. [Reuters]
………………………………………………………………………………

5. IRS says the shutdown has delayed tax season
The Internal Revenue Service announced Tuesday that it would have to delay the start of the 2013 income-tax season by a week or two due to the recent government shutdown. The IRS said it would likely begin accepting returns between January 28 and February 4, but the deadline will still be April 15. "We must take the time to get it right," Daniel I. Werfel, the acting IRS commissioner, said in a statement. [New York Times]
………………………………………………………………………………

6. Miami Hurricanes escape bowl ban
After a two-plus-year investigation, the NCAA announced Tuesday that it was stripping the Miami Hurricanes of nine scholarships over the next three years because booster Nevin Shapiro lavished improper benefits, including free meals and extravagant parties, on members of the men's football and basketball teams. The Hurricanes' undefeated football team escaped a postseason bowl ban because the school had already imposed penalties on itself. [ESPN]
………………………………………………………………………………

7. Friend said Tamerlan Tsarnaev participated in triple homicide
Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, killed in a shootout with police, took part in a 2011 triple homicide, according to a Chechen immigrant, Ibragim Todashev, who was shot dead last year while being questioned by investigators in Orlando. The revelation came in papers filed by prosecutors arguing against a request for information from lawyers for Tamerlan's brother, surviving bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. [CBS News]
………………………………………………………………………………

8. Nuclear missile crews left security doors open
Air Force officers handling the launch keys to nuclear missiles have been caught twice this year leaving open a blast door intended to keep terrorists out of their underground command post, The Associated Press reported Tuesday, citing Air Force officials. In both cases, at least one crew member was napping inside. Rules say the blast doors should never be left open if anyone inside is sleeping because of the damage an intruder could do. [Associated Press]
………………………………………………………………………………

9. Parents searching for missing kids ask if "Maria" is theirs
Parents of missing children in the U.S., Canada, Poland, and France are asking authorities to see whether a 5- or 6-year-old blond girl named Maria found in a raid on a Roma community in Greece is theirs. So far, about 10 missing children cases are being examined in connection with Maria's suspected abduction. DNA tests show she's not the biological daughter of the couple she was found with. They say they adopted her. [USA Today]
………………………………………………………………………………

10. Showtime promises more Homeland and Masters of Sex
Showtime announced Tuesday that it will produce another season of its hit shows Homeland and Masters of Sex. Both programs will get a dozen hour-long episodes in 2014. Homeland is the premium cable channel's top show, with its audience growing in each of its three seasons and now averaging 6.5 million weekly viewers. Masters of Sex, about famed sex researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson, is averaging 5.4 million viewers in its first season. [Los Angeles Times]

Get '10 things you need to know today' in your inbox each morning. Sign up for the email version here.

 
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.

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week