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10 things you need to know today: February 13, 2014
Ice storm heads north after hammering the South, Comcast to buy Time Warner Cable, and more
 
Hundreds of thousands are without power in the South. 
Hundreds of thousands are without power in the South.  (AP Photo/John Amis)

1. Winter storm leaves hundreds of thousands without power
A rare, massive winter storm knocked out power to 550,000 homes and businesses on Wednesday and forced the cancellation of 3,000 airline flights. The harsh weather was blamed for 11 deaths. The storm paralyzed traffic across the South, from Atlanta to Raleigh, N.C. Streets and highways were essentially empty. The federal government ordered offices closed in Washington, D.C., on Thursday as the storm moved up the East Coast. [The Associated Press, Bloomberg]
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2. Comcast to buy Time Warner Cable for $45 billion
Comcast has agreed to buy Time Warner Cable for $45 billion. If it meets regulatory approval, the deal would be the second-biggest cable acquisition ever. Charter Communications isn't expected to try to match the bid. It reportedly will, however, buy any assets sold off by Comcast, which will surrender 3 million subscribers to keep its market share below 30 percent. [Bloomberg]
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3. Senate pushes through bill raising the debt ceiling
The Senate voted 67 to 31 to break the filibuster Wednesday night, then passed a bill to raise the debt ceiling with none of the conditions hardline conservatives wanted. A dozen Republicans joined Democrats in breaking the filibuster. The bill itself passed in a party-line, 55–43 vote. GOP leaders in the House and Senate decided to push the measure through to avoid another damaging debt ceiling fight that risked angering voters. [The New York Times]
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4. ObamaCare signups rise in January
The number of Americans who signed up for health-care coverage using government insurance marketplaces surpassed the Obama administration's expectations in January, the first month in which that has happened since the law took effect in October. Nearly 1.2 million people enrolled in the health plans last month, bringing the total to 3.3 million. January marked the first time the infamous computer glitches didn't hobble the system. [The Washington Post]
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5. Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin convicted of corruption
A jury found former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin guilty of corruption on Wednesday. Prosecutors accused the two-term Democrat of taking bribes for city contracts. Nagin, who was thrust into the national spotlight after the city was devastated by Hurricane Katrina, was convicted on 20 of the 21 charges against him. He faces up to 20 years in prison under sentencing guidelines. [Slate]
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6. Jeter announces he will retire after 2014 season
New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter said in a Facebook post that 2014 will be his final season. The 39-year-old captain was the remaining star from the team that won three straight World Series crowns from 1998 to 2000. The 13-time All-Star helped lead the Yankees to five World Series championships, but only played 17 games last season as he recovered after breaking his left ankle in the 2012 playoffs. [CBS News]
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7. Afghan releases prisoners over U.S. objections
The Afghan government on Thursday released 65 alleged Islamist militants, some of whom were accused of killing U.S. soldiers. The U.S. had protested the move, saying the prisoners were dangerous and could return to the battlefield to fight coalition forces. President Hamid Karzai's decision to let the suspects go further strained already tense relations with Washington as nearly all foreign troops prepare to leave at the end of the year. [Fox News]
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8. Researchers reach a nuclear-fusion milestone
Scientists have for the first time produced nuclear fusion reactions that created more energy than was contained in the fuel they started with. The reactions, created with 192 lasers, lasted just a billionth of a second and created only enough power to light a 100-watt bulb for three minutes. The experiment, reported Wednesday in the journal Nature, still marked "an important milestone," said UCLA plasma scientist Warren Mori. [Los Angeles Times]
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9. Sid Caesar dies at 91
Comedian Sid Caesar, a comic icon from the "Golden Age of Television" in the 1950s, died Wednesday at age 91. Caesar's anarchic brand of comedy was behind the hits Your Show of Shows — the show that made him famous starting in 1950 — and Caesar's Hour, a blend of sketches and music. Caesar's TV success got a lift from some of the 20th century's greatest comic writers, including Neil Simon, Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, and Woody Allen. [CNN]
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10. Americans sweep medals in slopestyle skiing
Joss Christensen of Utah took the gold medal in men's slopestyle skiing at the Sochi Games on Thursday, leading an American sweep of the new Olympic event. Gus Kenworthy of Colorado won the silver, and Nick Goepper of Indiana took bronze. It was just the third time in history that U.S. athletes had won all three medals in an event at the Winter Games. [Daily News]

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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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