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10 things you need to know today: February 15, 2014
Rand Paul petitions Obama on Edward Snowden's behalf, Ellen Page comes out as gay, and more
Fighting for Snowden.
Fighting for Snowden. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

1. Snowstorm pummels Northeast... again
A pileup of as many as 100 cars blocked the Pennsylvania turnpike Friday morning. The crash, which sent 24 people to the hospital with injuries, was brought on by the brutal Winter Storm Pax that pummeled the Northeast Thursday. The blizzard caused at least 21 deaths and left 424,000 homes without power. [NBC Philadephia]

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2. Ellen Page comes out as gay
Juno star Ellen Page announced that she is gay during an emotional speech in Las Vegas on Friday. "I'm here today because I am gay," the Canadian actress said at the Time to THRIVE event. "And because... maybe I can make a difference." She continued: "I am tired of hiding and I am tired of lying by omission. I suffered for years, because I was scared to be out." [CNN]

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3. Rand Paul asks Obama for Snowden clemency
The Kentucky senator and potential presidential candidate launched a petition imploring the Obama administration to grant clemency to NSA leaker Edward Snowden. In a video, Paul said he wants Snowden to return to the U.S. without facing charges before his amnesty in Russia expires. [AP]

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4. Uncle Sam explains how to do business with legal pot industry
The Justice and Treasury departments issued a roadmap Friday with guidelines for banks doing business with marijuana sellers. The guidance, which comes in the wake of Washington and Colorado's newly legal marijuana industries, will increase the availability of financial services but still allow the government to enforce criminal laws. [AP]

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5. Study suggests homosexuality is genetic
A new study of 400 gay men in the U.S. found that at least two chromosomes affected whether a man was gay or not. Scientists speculate the chromosomes, which are passed down maternally, may have survived evolution because they make the women carrying them more fertile. The revelation will undoubtedly be met with controversy, as it would invalidate the notion that sexuality is a choice. [The Guardian]

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6. France to increase military deployment in the Central African Republic
The French president's office said Friday it will send 400 more soldiers to the region, bringing France's total to 2,000. The announcement comes in response to increased violence in the former colony between Muslims and Christian militiamen. Last month the Christian sect overthrew the nation's Muslmi Seleka government, igniting the conflict. [AP]

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7. Joe Biden: "There isn't a Republican Party"
The vice president lobbed a rhetorical bomb at the divided GOP on Friday. "There isn't a Republican Party. I wish there were, I wish there was a Republican Party," Biden said. "I wish there was one person we could sit across the table from, make a deal, make a compromise and know when you got up from that table it was done." [TPM]

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8. Joel McHale to host White House Correspondents Dinner
The star of The Soup and Community will host the annual White House Correspondents Dinner on Saturday, May 3. Past hosts include Jimmy Kimmel, Conan O'Brien, and Stephen Colbert. [The Wrap]

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9. Indiana delays proposed same-sex marriage ban until at least 2016
The Indiana State Senate decided not to turn a constitutional same-sex marriage ban over to voters until at least 2016. And with growing national support for gay marriage rights, it's possible the legislation won't be voted on by Indiana voters before the Supreme Court makes a definitive ruling. [USA Today]

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10. Obama endorses House of Cards on Twitter
Netflix released the entire second season of its hit political drama, House of Cards, Friday. President Obama said on Twitter, "Tomorrow: @HouseOfCards. No spoilers, please." Kate Mara, one of the stars, called the tweet, "one of the coolest things that's happened to me." [USA Today]

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Monica Nickelsburg is a digital producer for TheWeek.com. She has previously worked for Transient Pictures, The Daily Beast, NBC, and Forbes. Follow her @mnickelsburg.

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