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10 things you need to know today: March 1, 2014
Putin requests military force in Ukraine, the Pakistani Taliban announces a cease-fire, and more
 
Troops bearing no identifying insignia are already occupying Crimea.
Troops bearing no identifying insignia are already occupying Crimea. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

1. Putin appeals to Russian Senate to use military force in Ukraine
Coming hours after U.S. President Barack Obama warned Russia against military intervention, President Vladimir Putin asked Russia's parliament for permission to send troops into Ukraine this morning. The request follows Friday's takeover of disputed peninsula Crimea by Moscow-aligned forces. [The New York Times, Time]
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2. Taliban-linked militants ambush polio vaccination team in Pakistan
Militants killed 12 members of a Pakistan-backed security escort today. The team was providing cover for a UNICEF polio vaccination operation. Taliban-backed attackers detonated a roadside bomb and opened fire on the convoy. The Pakistani Taliban had just announced a month-long ceasefire aimed at reopening talks with government officials. [Reuters, BBC]
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3. World Bank suspends $90 million loan to Uganda
Uganda's tough anti-gay law prompted the World Bank to freeze a planned $90 million loan to the country on Friday. Although Uganda relies on donor aid for developing sectors such as health care, government officials downplayed the loan suspension, saying the country will continue to develop with or without Western aid. [Al Jazeera]
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4. Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox files for bankruptcy
Tokyo-based exchange Mt. Gox announced on Friday that it was filing for bankruptcy protection, following a security breach that allowed hackers to defraud the company's customers of more than 700,000 coins. The company admitted such a software flaw existed several weeks ago. “There were weaknesses in the system,” exchange executive Mark Karpeles said. “I’m truly sorry to have caused inconvenience.” [The New York Times]
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5. California's weather woes turn from drought to flash floods
After suffering through a months-long drought, Californians faced a different problem this week: Rain. Two winter storms knocked out power to thousands of San Francisco-area residents on Friday. Meanwhile, mudslides became the main concern in the foothills of Azusa and Glendora, which lost vegetation coverage in the Colby fire. Despite the downpours, "I don't think it'll bring us up to where we should be," Bob Benjamin of the National Weather Service said. [The New York Times, Los Angeles Times]
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6. Authorities save 382 babies in Chinese trafficking sting
Chinese police rescued 382 abducted babies from four internet-based trafficking rings, authorities announced on Friday. Fueled by China's one-child law, trafficking rings thrive in the country by selling kidnapped babies through fake adoption websites. Police arrested 1,094 suspects in the six-month operation, some of whom could face death sentences in a country with harsh trafficking punishments. [The Associated Press]
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7. New Mexico nuclear waste dump employees exposed to radiation
Officials at New Mexico's Waste Isolation Pilot Plant disclosed on Wednesday that workers were exposed to low levels of radiation in a safety breach earlier this month. While employees at the facility appear to be unharmed, the accident prompts questions about the plant's safety procedures. Housing Cold War-era radioactive materials, the plant's accident could cause a setback in the development of similar waste storage facilities. [NPR]
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8. Scientists discover "microbial Pompeii" in ancient teeth
Researchers studying ancient calcified plaque found DNA belonging to millions of tiny organisms, according to findings first published in the journal Nature Genetics. The associated bacteria could paint a picture of what our ancestors ate, which diseases they fought, and even what antibiotics they resisted. "This is a game changer," lead study author Christina Warinner said. [Los Angeles Times]
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9. United reports 22,500 canceled flights in first two months of 2014
The No. 2 airliner in the world, United Continental canceled four times as many flights in the first two months of 2014 as compared to last year. The company said the higher number of cancelations was due mostly to bad weather. Other airlines have reported weather-based cancelations, too, but with hubs in Chicago and Newark, United has been particularly hard-hit this winter. [CNN]
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10. Chu wins ninth-straight Jeopardy! episode
Christened the "Jeopardy Villain" by show purists, Arthur Chu, 30, used his unconventional but effective tactics to take a ninth-straight victory on Friday. The insurance compliance worker and voice-over actor has caused a stir with his game-theory tactics — not to mention his prolific tweets as each episode airs. "There were two choices — retreat behind a rock and wait for the trolling to blow over, or consciously engage the trolls … and own my image as a nerdy, rumpled 'Jeopardy! jerk,'" Chu told Jeopardy! legend Ken Jennings. "The latter has turned out to be a lot of fun." [ABC News]

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Sarah Eberspacher is an associate editor at TheWeek.com. She has previously worked as a sports reporter at The Livingston County Daily Press & Argus and The Arizona Republic. She graduated from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

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