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10 things you need to know today: December 8, 2013
South Africa mourns Mandela, U.N. inspectors arrive at an Iranian nuclear site, and more
 
South Africa mourns Nelson Mandela with a day of prayer.
South Africa mourns Nelson Mandela with a day of prayer. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

1. South Africa mourns Mandela
At the start of a week of commemorations, South Africans are embarking Sunday on what the authorities have called a day of prayer and reflection following the death of Nelson Mandela, gathering in places of worship, private homes, and even open fields to offer spiritual homage to the moral icon of the battle against apartheid. Mandela, South Africa's first democratically-elected leader, died Thursday at 95. [The New York Times]

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2. Severe storm system heads for East Coast
The winter storm system that pummeled the South from Texas up through the Ohio Valley, Arkansas, and Kentucky on Friday and Saturday will hit the East Coast on Sunday. Snow, ice, or freezing rain will fall on Washington, Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston. However, on Monday, temperatures will rise into the 40s and any accumulation should start to melt. [CNN]

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3. U.N. inspectors visit Iran nuclear site
U.N. inspectors visited an Iranian plant on Sunday linked to a planned heavy-water reactor that could yield nuclear bomb fuel. The increased transparency is the result of a thaw in relations between Iran and the West that culminated in a deal struck last month under which Tehran is to curb its nuclear program in return for an easing of sanctions. Tehran says its program is for peaceful purposes. [Reuters]

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4. South Korea to expand air defense zone
South Korea on Sunday announced the expansion of its air defense identification zone, extending it farther south into an area that overlaps with similar zones claimed by Japan and China. The South's decision marks the latest move in a regional struggle over airspace above the East China Sea. Air defense identification zones are not territorial claims. [Washington Post]

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5. U.S. remembers Pearl Harbor "day of infamy"
On Saturday, states and organizations throughout the U.S. commemorated the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor that killed more than 2,400 American troops and pulled the United States into World War II. Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie and Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell led a day of remembrance at the USS Arizona Memorial center near the site of the initial attack. [NBC News]

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6. Thai opposition party quits government
Thailand's main opposition party resigned from Parliament on Sunday to protest what it called "the illegitimacy" of a government with which it can no longer work. The move deepens the country's latest political crisis one day before new street demonstrations that many fear could turn violent. [TIME]

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7. Paul calls unemployment benefits a disservice
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (R) said Democratic attempts to extend unemployment benefits for 1.3 million workers were a "disservice" to the unemployed. "I support unemployment benefits for the 28 weeks they're paid for," he said on Fox News Sunday. Democrats are trying to include an extension of unemployment benefits in a year-end budget deal. Republicans have balked at the $25 billion cost. [Politico]

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8. FDA approves new hepatitis C treatment
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved on Friday a new treatment for hepatitis C that promises to cure more patients in a fraction of the time. The drug, Sovaldi, is the first pill approved to treat some types of hepatitis C without interferon, an injected drug that can cause flulike symptoms. More than three million Americans and about 170 million worldwide are infected with the disease, which if untreated can lead to liver damage and death. [Wall Street Journal]

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9. Michigan State wins Big Ten championship
Michigan State ended Ohio State's school-record 24-game win streak Saturday with a 34-24 victory in the Big Ten championship. Auburn is expected to be slotted to face No. 1 Florida State when the final BCS Standings are released Sunday night. [USA TODAY]

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10. 2014 Grammy Award nominees announced
The nominees for the 56th annual Grammy Award were announced Friday night in conjunction with a concert special televised from Nokia Theatre L.A. Live. Jay-Z leads the nominations with nine, while Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Pharrell Williams, and Timberlake each earned seven nods. The awards telecast will air Jan. 26. [People]

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Terri is a freelance writer at TheWeek.com. She's a graduate of Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism, and has worked at TIME and Brides.

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