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10 things you need to know today: February 10, 2014
College football star Michael Sam comes out as gay, a second round of Syrian peace talks begins, and more
"I just want to own my truth," Mizzou lineman Michael Sam said Sunday. 
"I just want to own my truth," Mizzou lineman Michael Sam said Sunday.  (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

1. Mizzou linebacker Michael Sam comes out
College football standout Michael Sam revealed Sunday that he is gay. Sam, a first-team All-American defensive lineman for the University of Missouri, is expected to be picked in an early round of the NFL draft, which would make him the first publicly gay player in professional football. "I want to be a football player in the NFL," Sam said. "I'm not afraid of who I am.... I'm an openly, proud gay man." [The New York Times, Bleacher Report]
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2. Second round of Syria peace talks begins
Syria's warring sides began a second round of peace talks on Monday in Geneva. United Nations envoy Lakhdar Brahimi is meeting with opposition leaders and government negotiators separately. The first round ended 10 days ago — the first face-to-face negotiations in three years of war — and led to a three-day cease-fire that let civilians leave the besieged rebel-held city of Homs. Six hundred women, children, and old men were evacuated on Sunday. [CNN]
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3. House GOP focuses on debt ceiling deal
With the Treasury Department warning it will hit the debt ceiling on February 27, House Republicans return to Washington on Monday with Tea Partiers and mainstream leaders in rare agreement over the need for a quick deal. The chamber closes Wednesday and returns just two days before the government hits the $17 trillion borrowing limit. "Most of us don't think it's the time to fight," Tea Party Caucus founder Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said. [The Washington Post]
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4. Paper regrets endorsing Chris Christie
Editorial page editor Tom Moran of the Newark-based Star-Ledger, New Jersey's biggest newspaper, wrote Sunday that he regretted endorsing Gov. Chris Christie's re-election bid. The second thoughts came after top Christie aides were implicated in the alleged Bridgegate plot to create traffic jams in a political foe's city. "We knew Christie was a bully," Moran said. "But we didn't know his crew was crazy enough to put people's lives at risk." [Star-Ledger]
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5. NFL faces pressure from Congress over Redskins' name
Two lawmakers have written NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell urging him and the league to support changing the Washington Redskins' name. The politicians — Senate Indian Affairs Committee Chairwoman Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and House Native American Caucus member Tom Cole (R-Okla.) — called the name a "racial slur," and suggested the NFL's tax-exempt status could be on the line. A Redskins spokesman said Congress should have more important things to do. [The Washington Post]
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6. North Korea scraps talks on prisoner Kenneth Bae
North Korea on Sunday canceled a meeting with U.S. envoy Robert King over the fate of American citizen Kenneth Bae, a missionary who was arrested in late 2012 and accused of working to undermine the state. The State Department said it was disappointed in Pyongyang's decision and vowed to continue pressing for Bae's release. North Korea gave no reason, but it has been urging the U.S. and South Korea to cancel upcoming joint military exercises. [Agence France Presse]
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7. Flappy Bird creator pulls the plug on his own app
The creator of the wildly popular game app Flappy Bird deleted it the App Store and Google Play early Monday, saying in a tweet that the game "ruins my simple life." Nguyen Ha Dong, a 29-year-old from Vietnam, released the game in 2013, but was thrust into the spotlight recently when the game began taking off. The free app was making $50,000 a day from in-app ads, although some were accusing Dong of artificially increasing his download tallies. [The Associated Press]
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8. Switzerland backtracks on a free immigration pact with the EU
Swiss voters on Sunday narrowly backed the return of immigration quotas with the European Union, in what Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga called "a turning point." Neutral Switzerland is not in the EU, but it enacted a pact on the free movement of citizens into and out of the EU 12 years ago as part of a package of agreements. Sunday's vote threatens to unravel those bilateral accords. [Reuters]
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9. Zoo criticized for killing healthy giraffe
Denmark's Copenhagen Zoo faced a torrent of online protests on Sunday after officials there shot and killed a 2-year-old male giraffe named Marius, then fed his remains to lions. Zoo officials said they were following the recommendations of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria when they put the healthy animal down. His genes are similar to others in the zoo's breeding program, and experts wanted to avoid inbreeding. [The Associated Press]
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10. Americans sweep snowboarding gold medals
Jamie Anderson of South Lake Tahoe, Calif., won the gold medal in the women's slopestyle snowboarding competition at the Sochi Olympics on Sunday. Her victory gave the U.S. a gold-medal sweep in the new Olympic event — fellow American Sage Kotsenburg captured the men's slopestyle gold a day earlier. "It's kind of a big deal," said Anderson, 23. "This is The Event." Jenny Jones won the bronze, giving Britain its first medal ever in a snow sport. [CBS News, Daily Mail]

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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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