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10 things you need to know today: November 22, 2013
Democrats nuke the filibuster, Dallas honors JFK on the 50th anniversary of his assassination, and more
 
The JFK memorial in Dallas. 
The JFK memorial in Dallas.  (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

1. Frustrated Democrats limit the use of the filibuster
Senate Democrats went nuclear on Thursday, pushing through a landmark rule change preventing the Republican minority from filibustering most presidential nominees. The move, long threatened by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, should break a GOP blockade against President Obama's Cabinet and judicial nominees. Furious Republicans called it a power grab, suggesting the move would further polarize an already sharply divided Congress. [New York Times, USA Today]
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2. Dallas honors JFK on the 50th anniversary of his death
Dallas is marking the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's assassination on Friday with a ceremony in Dealey Plaza, where he was shot. In past years, conspiracy theorists unconvinced that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone flocked to the plaza on the anniversary. Mayor Mike Rawlings said this year's events will honor JFK's life and legacy with "the sense of dignity and history he deserves." [Star-Telegram, Reuters]
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3. Jury says Samsung owes Apple $290 million in damages
A California jury on Thursday ruled that Samsung must pay Apple nearly $290 million more for violating the rival smartphone-maker's patents. A jury last year had said Samsung should pay $1 billion in damages, but a judge reduced the amount by $450 million, leaving Samsung to pay $600 million. The latest decision determined how much more Samsung would have to pay to close this chapter in the rivals' ongoing legal saga. [New York Times]
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4. Yellen takes another step toward confirmation as Fed chair
The Senate Banking Committee on Thursday approved President Obama's nomination of Janet Yellen to be the Federal Reserve chairwoman. The 14-8 vote virtually assured Yellen's confirmation, as the Senate's Democratic majority supports Yellen, currently the Fed's vice chair, as do several influential Republicans. Democrats also revised Senate rules Thursday to prevent the GOP minority from blocking confirmation votes by filibuster. [Wall Street Journal]
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5. Skakel gets out on bond
Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel was released on $1.2 million bond on Thursday, weeks after a Connecticut judge vacated his conviction for the 1975 murder of a 15-year-old neighbor, Martha Moxley. The judge ruled Skakel did not get adequate representation in his 2002 trial. Skakel didn't comment as he left the courthouse. Skakel's family said his release while he awaits a new trial was a "first step in correcting a terrible wrong." [CNN]
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6. The last three Scottsboro Boys are posthumously pardoned
Alabama's Board of Pardons and Paroles on Thursday posthumously pardoned three of the Scottsboro Boys, nine black teenagers wrongfully accused of gang-raping two white women aboard a train in 1931. Charles Weems, Andy Wright, and Haywood Patterson were the last of the nine whose names hadn't been cleared. Their convictions, by all-white juries, sparked protests and helped inspire the civil rights movement. [Reuters]
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7. FCC proposes allowing travelers to use cellphones on airliners
The Federal Communications Commission is proposing letting airline passengers on specially equipped flights make cellphone calls at altitudes of 10,000 feet or higher. The Association of Flight Attendants argued that letting passengers talk away on their phones in flight could undermine safety. Tom Wheeler, the FCC's new chairman, said Thursday that the rules against cellphones were "outdated and restrictive," and should be reviewed. [Associated Press]
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8. London police free three women held captive for decades
British police announced Thursday that they had rescued three women held captive in a London home for as many as 30 years. A man and a woman, both age 67, were arrested as part of a slavery investigation. The London Metropolitan Police said in a statement that officers began investigating the case after the Freedom Charity reported getting a call from one of the women, who said she was being held against her will. [Reuters]
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9. Latvian mall collapses, killing 33
The death toll from Thursday's collapse of a shopping mall roof in Latvia's capital has risen to at least 33, emergency workers said Friday. It was the Baltic state's deadliest accident, at least since it won independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991. Rescuers said 35 survivors were injured in the Thursday collapse at the Maxima shopping mall in Riga. Three firefighters were among the dead. [CNN]
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10. Eager gamers line up to buy Microsoft's new Xbox One
Video game fanatics lined up for hours to buy Microsoft's Xbox One when it went on sale at 12:01 a.m. Friday. It is Microsoft's first new game console since the launch of the Xbox 360 in 2005. The debut came one week after rival Sony introduced its PlayStation 4. The PS4 is aimed more at hard-core gamers, while Xbox One is intended for a wider audience looking for an all-in-one entertainment center. [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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