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10 things you need to know today: November 18, 2013
Tornadoes kill six in Illinois, Liz and Mary Cheney feud over gay marriage, and more
 
Tornados hit the Midwest on Sunday, killing at least six in Illinois.
Tornados hit the Midwest on Sunday, killing at least six in Illinois. (REUTERS/Jim Young)

1. Storms bring tornadoes to the Midwest
Severe storms whipped up freak tornadoes and hammered the Midwest on Sunday afternoon. Six people were killed in Illinois. Fast-moving twisters touched down east of Peoria and not far from the southern outskirts of Chicago. "It was complete destruction," said Anthony Khoury of Washington, Ill. "There are people in the streets crying." [CNN]
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2. Cheney sisters spar over gay marriage
A public spat broke out Sunday between Wyoming Senate candidate Liz Cheney and her openly gay sister, Mary Cheney, over same-sex marriage. Liz Cheney, who is challenging Sen. Mike Enzi in the GOP primary, said on Fox News, "I love Mary very much. This is just an issue in which we disagree." Mary Cheney and her wife, Heather Poe, responded on Facebook. "Liz — this isn't just an issue on which we disagree — you're just wrong," Mary Cheney wrote. [Washington Post]
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3. TEPCO starts removing fuel rods from unstable reactor
The operator of Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant on Monday began the long and risky job of removing highly radioactive spent fuel rods from a wrecked reactor building. Tokyo Electric Power Co., which is also battling leaks of contaminated water, must remove 1,500 brittle assemblies from the cooling pool at the unstable reactor No. 4. The process is expected to take a year; transferring the first batch of 22 will take two days. [Reuters]
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4. Pakistan pushes a treason case against Musharraf
Pakistan said Sunday that it is pursuing a "high treason" case against a former president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, alleging that he trampled on the country's constitution in 2007 by imposing emergency rule and firing judges. A treason case would mark an escalation in tensions between civilian leaders and the military, which has run the country for roughly half of its 66-year history. "It is a can of worms," one retired general said. [New York Times]
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5. U.S. prepares to train Libyan forces
The U.S. military plans to train 5,000 to 7,000 members of the Libyan security forces to help the country's government keep order as rival militias and Islamist extremists refuse to disarm two years after the toppling of Moammar Gadhafi. Adm. William McRaven, who heads the U.S. military's Special Operations Command, said over the weekend that the program was the only way to help Libya's leaders "deal with their own problems." [Reuters]
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6. Two miners die in Colorado
Two people died of carbon monoxide poisoning in a mining accident in western Colorado on Sunday. Another 20 people were pulled out of the mine and sent to hospitals, at least one in critical condition. The dead miners were identified as Nick Cappanno, 34, and Rick Williams, 59. State authorities said it was too early to determine what went wrong, but a Star Mine Operations project manager blamed smoke produced by explosives. [Denver Channel]
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7. New York to boost LaGuardia's flood defenses
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday that his state will spend $37.5 million to build flood barriers and improve drainage at LaGuardia Airport to prevent a repeat of the flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy last year. The airport is particularly vulnerable to a storm surge, as it sits nearly level with the sea on the north shore of Queens. [Reuters]
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8. Russia plane crash kills 50
A passenger plane crashed Sunday at a Russian airport, killing all 50 people on board, including 44 passengers and six crew members. The jetliner, a Boeing 737 belonging to Tatarstan Airlines, had taken off from Moscow and reportedly exploded on impact as it landed. A passenger list posted on Russian news sites said Irek Minnikhanov, a son of the president of the Russian Republic of Tatarstan, was among the dead. [BBC News]
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9. Writer Doris Lessing dies
Novelist Doris Lessing died Sunday in London. She was 94. Lessing wrote dozens of books, some drawing from her childhood in colonial Africa, but was best known for her 1962 breakthrough novel, The Golden Notebook, a daring work that made her an icon of the women's movement. When reporters informed the independent and often irascible Lessing she had won the 2007 Nobel Prize, she said, "Oh, Christ! ... I couldn't care less." [New York Times, Associated Press]
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10. Jimmie Johnson takes his sixth NASCAR Cup
Jimmie Johnson won his sixth NASCAR title in eight years with a win Sunday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The victory cemented Johnson's status as one of the most dominant competitors in sports history, and put him one cup title short of the record of seven held by Richard Petty and the late Dale Earnhardt. "We'll see if I can get seven," Johnson said. "Time will tell. We need to save the argument until I hang up the helmet." [ESPN, USA Today]

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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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