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10 things you need to know today: February 17, 2014
Romney tells Republicans to drop the Lewinsky scandal, Obama condemns Uganda's anti-gay law, and more
 
Mitt Romney, at the tail end.
Mitt Romney, at the tail end. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

1. Romney says the Lewinsky scandal shouldn't matter in 2016
Former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Sunday that Bill Clinton "breached his responsibility" and "embarrassed" the nation by getting sexually involved with Monica Lewinsky while in the White House, but that Republicans should not exploit the scandal to oppose Hillary Clinton's possible 2016 presidential bid. "I don't think Bill Clinton is as relevant as Hillary Clinton if she decides to run for president," Romney said on Meet the Press. "She has her own record and her own vision." [NBC News]
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2. Obama tells Uganda its anti-gay law will backfire
President Obama on Sunday warned Uganda's leaders that a measure to criminalize homosexuality in the country would hurt its relationship with the U.S. Uganda's president, Yoweri Museveni, indicated Friday that he would probably sign a bill, which threatens as much as life in prison for anyone promoting homosexuality or the rights of same-sex couples. Obama said the law would reflect poorly on the country's respect for human rights. "It will be a step backward for all Ugandans," Obama said. [The New York Times]
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3. Craigslist killing suspect reportedly confesses
Pennsylvania teenager Miranda Barbour reportedly confessed to killing a man she met on Craigslist. She said in a jailhouse interview with a local newspaper that she also participated in more than 20 other murders. Barbour said the killings began when she joined a satanic cult in Alaska at age 13. Barbour, now 19, told the Daily Item in Sanbury, Pa., that she "stopped counting" when "I hit 22" killings. Her lawyer could not be reached for immediate comment. "I feel it is time to get all of this out," Barbour said. [Los Angeles Times]
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4. A dozen law-breaking miners are freed from South Africa mineshaft
Twelve miners were freed from a gold mine near Johannesburg, South Africa, on Sunday. As many as 200 others remain trapped, apparently afraid to leave for fear of being arrested. The miners were digging for gold in a shaft that belongs to Chinese-owned Gold One, which is not working the site at the moment. It is common in South Africa for miners to illegally enter abandoned shafts, hoping to excavate ore and sell it on their own. [Reuters]
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5. Kerry urges Indonesia to do more to combat climate change
Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday called for the world to do more to fight climate change before Earth reaches "a tipping point of no return." Kerry made the plea in a speech in Indonesia, which he noted was among low-lying Asian nations particularly threatened by rising sea levels. "This country, this region is really on the front lines of climate change," Kerry said. "It's not an exaggeration to say to you that your entire way of life that you live and love is at risk." [Telegraph, The New York Times]
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6. South Korean tourists killed in Sinai bus blast
Four people — including three South Korean tourists — were killed Sunday when a bomb exploded in a bus in the Egyptian resort town of Taba. The other person killed was the bus driver. Another 14 people were injured. The tour group had the Greek Orthodox Monastery of St. Catherine's, in the Sinai Peninsula and was in line to cross the border into Israel. The attack was seen as the latest attempt by Islamists to disrupt the tourism industry in retaliation for former president Mohamed Morsi's ouster. [CNN]
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7. Co-pilot hijacks Ethiopian plane
An Ethiopian Airlines co-pilot hijacked a Boeing 767-300 bound for Rome, and flew it to Geneva, where he requested asylum and was arrested early Monday. "The pilot went to the toilet and he (the co-pilot) locked himself in the cockpit," an airport official said. Two Italian fighter jets were scrambled to escort the airliner, but the 202 passengers did not know it had been hijacked. It was unclear why the co-pilot wanted asylum, although Ethiopia has a bad human rights record. [The Associated Press]
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8. Bodies of two missing skiers found after Colorado avalanche
Two skiers were found dead in Colorado on Sunday, a day after they were reported missing in an avalanche at Star Mountain. Three other people were injured. It was the third deadly avalanche in a week. The Colorado Avalanche Information Center has been warning of dangerous conditions in Colorado mountains due to two weeks of heavy snow. [CBS News]
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9. Snake-handling preacher dies after getting bit during service
Snake-handling Kentucky preacher Jamie Coots died on Sunday after being bitten by a rattlesnake during a church service. Coots, 42, refused medical treatment, and was pronounced dead two hours after the snake bit his right hand. "It was the quickest snakebite (death) I ever seen in my life," his son Cody Coots said. Coots, a third-generation snake handler, was profiled last year in a National Geographic Channel program called Snake Salvation. The last church snakebite death in the state was in 2006. [Lexington Herald-Leader]
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10. 12 Years a Slave takes top British film awards
12 Years a Slave won the best-picture award at the British Academy Film Awards on Sunday. Chiwetel Ejiofor also won the best-actor prize for his portrayal of a free black man kidnapped and enslaved in the 19th-century South. He thanked director Steve McQueen for making the film a reality. "This is yours," Ejiofor told McQueen as he collected his trophy. "I'm going to keep it — that's the kind of guy I am — but it's yours." [The Associated Press]

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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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