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10 things you need to know today: February 16, 2014
The U.S. hockey team defeats Russia in Sochi, Obama signs legislation raising the debt ceiling, and more
 
Phil Kessel of the United States celebrates after teammate Cam Fowler scored a goal on Sergei Bobrovski of Russia in Sochi.
Phil Kessel of the United States celebrates after teammate Cam Fowler scored a goal on Sergei Bobrovski of Russia in Sochi. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

1. U.S. hockey team beats Russia in Sochi
The U.S. men's ice hockey team defeated Russia 3-2 in a gripping shootout at the Sochi Winter Olympics on Saturday. Regulation time ended in deadlock, as did a five-minute overtime, and seven rounds of a shootout. Then American center and designated shootout marksman T.J. Oshie, who had taken most of the shootout shots, became an instant hero by slapping the puck through Russian goalie Sergei Bobrovsky's legs, and it was over. [The Washington Post]
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2. Obama signs legislation raising America's borrowing limit
President Obama on Saturday signed a bill raising the debt ceiling, officially putting to rest a political squabble that has raised the threat of a federal default several times. The deal included none of the conditions conservative Republicans wanted, and ensured that the government will be able to pay its debts through March 2015. The measure also removed the volatile issue as a focus during the November midterm elections. [Reuters]
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3. Jury hands down mixed verdicts in "loud-music" killing
A Florida jury found Michael Dunn guilty of four charges Saturday night, but could not reach a verdict on the main count — first-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Jordan Davis. The convictions, including three second-degree murder charges, could result in "essentially a life sentence" for Dunn, 47, defense lawyers said. Dunn, who is white, shot into a car at a Jacksonville gas station — killing Davis, who was black — after getting into an argument over loud music blaring from the car. [CNN]
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4. Syrian peace talks end with no progress
United Nations negotiator Lakhdar Brahimi apologized to the Syrian people on Saturday as the second round of peace talks between the government and opposition ended in stalemate. "I am very, very sorry," he said. "We haven't helped them very much." The two sides didn't even set a date for a third round of talks. Brahimi said the discussions broke down largely because the government refused to discuss the rebels' main demands. [The New York Times]
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5. VW workers thwart union efforts to expand in the South
The United Auto Workers union's plans to focus on the South for its growth has stalled after employees at a Tennessee VW plant voted not to unionize. The decision was a stinging defeat, as the UAW pushed hard for a yes vote, and VW did nothing to oppose it. The union had seen the vote as a first step toward expanding in a region long known for its traditionally anti-union atmosphere. [The New York Times]
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6. Kickstarter hit by hackers
Kickstarter has become the latest popular website to be targeted by hackers trying to access private customer information. The crowdfunding website said in a blog post Saturday and in a letter to project organizers and backers that hackers managed to obtain user names, email addresses, mailing addresses, and passwords. The company ensured users that the hackers hadn't managed to access any credit card information. [PC World]
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7. Maduro backers take to the streets in Caracas
Thousands of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's supporters demonstrated in Caracas on Saturday to counter days of anti-government protests. The pro-Maduro crowds denounced opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, whom Maduro called a "coward." The government issued a warrant for Lopez's arrest warrant after demonstrations he organized turned violent, resulting in three deaths. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the warrant was trampling its opponents' right to express themselves. [Voice of America]
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8. Lebanon finally gets a new government
Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam on Saturday announced the formation of a compromise government after 10 months of wrangling. The cabinet will be split equally between the rival Hezbollah-led pro-Syria group and the Western-leaning March 14th movement, along with another group of eight ministers appointed by centrist President Michel Suleiman. The deal aims to ease tensions over the civil war in neighboring Syria, where Hezbollah backs the government and the March 14th faction supports the rebels. [BBC News]
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9. Eleanor Roosevelt hangs on as top-rated first lady
Eleanor Roosevelt was voted America's greatest first lady in a survey of historians released Saturday. It was the fifth straight time over 32 years that Roosevelt has topped the Siena/C-SPAN poll. Abigail Adams placed second for the fourth consecutive time, followed by longtime favorites Jacqueline Kennedy and Dolly Madison. Michelle Obama came in fifth, edging out Hillary Clinton, who placed seventh. "What's surprising is the incredible consistency," Siena's Don Levy said. [The Christian Science Monitor]
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10. Muppets founder Jim Henson's son, John Henson, dies at 48
John Henson, son of the late Muppets creator Jim Henson, has died of a heart attack at age 48, his sister Cheryl said Saturday. John Henson sometimes performed in his father's troupe, playing the large, hairy Muppet called Sweetums. He was also a member of Jim Henson Co.'s board, although he wasn't directly involved in the company's daily operations. Jim Henson also died young, succumbing to pneumonia at age 53 in 1990. [Los Angeles Times]

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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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