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10 things you need to know today: February 5, 2014
The CBO says ObamaCare will result in fewer workers, the Senate approves the long-delayed farm bill, and more
White House press secretary Jay Carney brushes up on his talking points. 
White House press secretary Jay Carney brushes up on his talking points.  (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

1. CBO says ObamaCare will mean 2 million fewer full-time workers
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released a report predicting that because of the Affordable Care Act, the economy will have 2.3 million fewer full-time workers in 2021, partly due to some opting to work fewer hours to avoid losing Medicaid or insurance subsidies. Republicans said that proved ObamaCare was a job killer; the White House said it indicated Americans will no longer be "trapped in a job" to avoid losing health coverage. [The Washington Post]
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2. The Senate passes the once-stalled farm bill
The Senate approved the long-delayed $1 trillion farm bill on Tuesday, sending it to President Obama, who is expected to sign it. The bill renews funding for agriculture, dairy production, foreign food aid, and hundreds of other programs. It also will reduce spending on farm subsidies and nutrition by $16.6 billion, including $8 billion in cuts to the food stamp program over the next decade. [The New York Times]
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3. Winter storm threatens the Plains to New England
Another in a series of powerful winter storms pushed through the Plains heading east, threatening two thirds of the U.S. with up to a foot of snow. Kansas City got blanketed late Tuesday. The storm was expected to slam the lower Great Lakes next, then New England before continuing out to sea Wednesday night. "Winter is entrenched," said National Weather Service meteorologist Greg Carbin. "It doesn't appear to be wanting to go anywhere." [Reuters]
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4. Deficit falls thanks to rising tax revenue and spending cuts
The federal budget deficit will shrink to $514 billion this year, its lowest level since President Obama took office five years ago, according to a Congressional Budget Office report released Tuesday. The reason: higher tax revenue from an improving economy, and sharp spending cuts. Later in the decade, analysts expect deficits to worsen by $100 billion per year because they now believe economic growth will be slower than previously expected. [The Associated Press]
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5. LaGuardia terminal evacuated over false alarm
Authorities evacuated a terminal at New York City's LaGuardia Airport on Tuesday after a baggage handler spotted smoke coming from luggage on a conveyor belt. The bag, which was being moved to a Delta flight to Richmond, Va., was determined to pose no threat. Some of the travelers ordered out of the terminal had already missed Monday flights due to a snowstorm. "It's a bunch of crap," one said after learning it was a false alarm. [Daily News]
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6. Sandra Fluke seeks support to replace outgoing Rep. Henry Waxman
Women's rights advocate Sandra Fluke is seeking the Democratic Party's endorsement to run for the seat of retiring Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.). She hasn't officially entered the race, though. Fluke was thrust into the spotlight when she testified before a House panel to advocate contraception coverage under ObamaCare, prompting conservative broadcaster Rush Limbaugh to call her a "slut" on his radio show. [The Christian Science Monitor]
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7. RadioShack reportedly plans to close 500 stores
RadioShack Corp plans to close 500 of its 4,500 stores early this year, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. The struggling electronics retailer wouldn't comment on the speculation, but the company's sales have been plunging thanks to strong competition and its old-fashioned image in a rapidly changing industry. CEO Joe Magnacca was hired a year ago to turn the company around, but said the job would take several quarters. [Reuters]
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8. Lawmakers in Scotland legalize gay marriage
The Scottish parliament overwhelmingly approved legalizing gay marriage on Tuesday. Scotland's first gay weddings could occur in October. Catholic and Baptist lawmakers tried unsuccessfully to add exemptions for religious authorities. Health secretary Alex Neil said religious celebrants already enjoyed "robust" protections. "At the heart of this issue there is one simple fact: A marriage is about love," Neil said. [The Guardian]
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9. Four arrested in investigation of drugs in Hoffman's apartment
New York City police late Tuesday arrested three men and a woman in connection with the heroin found in the late actor Philip Seymour Hoffman's apartment. Informants said the drugs might have come from the Manhattan building where the suspects — and 350 bags of heroin — were found. The drugs in Hoffman's home tested negative for fentanyl, a narcotic found in heroin that has killed 59 people in Pennsylvania and Maryland since September. [Daily News]
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10. U.N. panel sharply criticizes the Vatican's handling of abuse cases
The United Nations' Committee on the Rights of the Child on Wednesday called on the Vatican to "immediately remove" all clergy members accused of sexual abuse and turn them over to police. The panel summoned top Vatican officials last month to testify on their compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The committee slammed the Vatican, saying it had shielded suspects and put its interests over those of the alleged victims. [Voice of America]

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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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