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10 things you need to know today: November 19, 2013
Bombers target Iran's embassy in Beirut, George Zimmerman faces domestic violence charges, and more
 
Back in jail.
Back in jail. (AP Photo/Seminole County Sheriff's Office)

1. Suicide bombers target Iran's embassy in Lebanon
Two bombs exploded outside the Iranian Embassy in Beirut on Tuesday, killing at least 20 people, including at least one Iranian diplomat. More than 100 others were injured. The attack reportedly was carried out by two suicide bombers, one on a motorcycle and the other in a car. It appeared to be the latest spillover of sectarian violence into Lebanon from the civil war in neighboring Syria, where Iran is a major ally of the government. [Los Angeles Times, Daily Star]
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2. Zimmerman arrested on domestic violence charges
George Zimmerman was charged with aggravated assault with a weapon and domestic violence on Monday after his girlfriend said he pointed a shotgun at her, smashed a glass table, and tried to push her out of her home. Zimmerman, acquitted in July of murder and manslaughter in the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, was being held late Monday without bail in the Seminole County, Fla., jail. [Orlando Sentinel]
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3. Documents detail authorization for NSA spying
The Obama administration released 1,000 pages of declassified documents late Monday, including one that appeared to be the initial Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court order authorizing the National Security Agency to collect data on Americans' email and phone records to help catch terrorists. The documents, released in response to lawsuits, also included admissions of privacy-rule violations and repeated promises to fix them. [Washington Post]
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4. Paris police hunt for gunman
Heavily armed police guarded news media offices in Paris on Tuesday as a huge manhunt was underway to find a gunman who walked into the main entrance of the left-leaning newspaper Libération on Monday, fired two shotgun blasts, and fled. One man, a photographer's assistant, was critically wounded. Surveillance video indicated that the same man had brandished a shotgun on Friday at the TV news channel BFMTV's headquarters on Friday. [Independent]
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5. Toronto council members take away Rob Ford's powers
The Toronto City Council voted Monday to strip Mayor Rob Ford, whose reputation is in freefall since he admitted to smoking crack in a "drunken stupor," of most of his authority. Ford compared the move to "a coup d'etat" and the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. "Mark my words, my friends, this is going to be outright war in the next election," Ford told the council members, "and I am going to do everything in my power to beat you guys." [CNN]
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6. GOP senators block another Obama judicial nominee
Senate Republicans on Monday used a filibuster to block one of President Obama's judicial nominees — the third one in a few weeks. Obama had named Robert L. Wilkins to fill one of three vacancies on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, the nation’s most powerful appeals court. GOP leaders, who want to prevent Obama from eroding the court's conservative tilt, said the court's workload didn't justify filling its vacancies. [New York Times]
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7. Pastor convicted in church trial over gay wedding
Pennsylvania United Methodist pastor Frank Schaefer was found guilty Monday in a church trial of violating church practice by presiding over his son's marriage to another man six years ago. Schaefer told the jury of 13 pastors that he knew that performing a same-sex wedding went against church doctrine, but he said he did it in "good conscience" out of a sense of obligation to his son. [WHTM]
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8. Icahn spooks investors with talk of a market plunge
After the Dow surged past 16,000 for the first time, stocks retreated a bit from record levels on Monday following a warning from billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn that the market could be in for a nosedive. Icahn said high share prices are being buoyed not by earnings and good corporate management but historically low interest rates, thanks to Federal Reserve policy. "This market could easily have a big drop," Icahn said. [Reuters]
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9. Spacecraft takes off from Florida to study Mars
NASA launched an Atlas V rocket carrying a spacecraft on a 10-month trip to Mars on Monday. The $671 million Maven mission will study the Red Planet's atmosphere to provide hints about how the once wet and warm planet lost its water. Fifty-three minutes after the rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, the orbiter deployed for its trip. "What a Monday at the office," project manager Dave Mitchell said. [USA Today]
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10. Selfie is proclaimed Oxford's word of the year
Sorry, "twerk" fans. The Oxford Dictionaries announced Tuesday that "selfie" is the word of the year for 2013. Selfie — a self-portrait usually on a smartphone or webcam — saw a 17,000 percent rise in usage over a year ago, evolving "from a social media buzzword to mainstream shorthand for a self-portrait photograph." Despite its sudden popularity, the word isn't all that new. Oxford editors traced its origin to a 2002 Australian online forum. [Reuters]

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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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