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10 things you need to know today: March 2, 2014
Ukraine mobilizes for war, Pakistan strikes back at the Taliban, and more
 
A soldier stands guard near a military base in Crimea.
A soldier stands guard near a military base in Crimea. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

1. Ukrainian PM: Nation 'on the brink of national disaster'
One day after the Russian parliament unanimously voted to deploy armed forces to Crimea, Ukraine mobilized its full military, warning that it would respond with force to an increased incursion. Saying the nation was "on the brink of disaster," Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk called on the international community for help, saying, "This is not a threat, this is actually a declaration of war to my country." Russian President Vladimir Putin has maintained Russia has a right to protect its citizens living in Ukraine from the violence that has engulfed that nation since late last year. [Reuters]
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2. Pakistani military bombs Taliban hideout
Pakistani warplanes on Saturday bombed the hideout of a militant leader, Mullah Tamanchey, reportedly killing five insurgents. Tamanchey is believed to have orchestrated an attack on a polio vaccination operation that killed 12 members of a Pakistani security escort Saturday. The strike came hours after the Pakistani Taliban agreed to a one-month cease-fire to pursue negotiations with the government. [NBC]
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3. U.S., Britain, Canada, France pull out of G8 prep talks
As Russia and Ukraine moved closer to war over the weekend, the United States, Britain, Canada, and France announced they would no longer take part in upcoming G8 preparatory talks, which are to be held in Sochi, Russia. "Ukraine's sovereign territory must be respected and the Ukrainian people must be free to determine their own future," Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a statement. On Saturday, President Obama held a 90-minute phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin to express his "deep concern" with the escalating situation, and urged him to pull back his troops. [Calgary Herald, BBC, Politico]
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4. China blames separatist terrorists for deadly knife attacks
Chinese authorities are pursuing five assailants who slashed to death dozens of people at a train station in southern China on Saturday, an attack the government blamed on Xinjiang separatists. Police fatally shot four black-clad attackers — bringing the total body count to 33 — and captured one more, though another five escaped. [The Guardian]
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5. Supreme Court to hear case on executing mentally ill
The Supreme Court on Monday will revisit the question of whether states can execute mentally retarded convicts when it hears the case of Freddie Lee Hall, who was sentenced to death for killing a 21-year-old pregnant woman. The high court in 2002 ruled that states could not execute people with severe mental impairments, though it did not at the time offer a specific definition of what constituted mental retardation. [USA Today]
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6. 86th Academy Awards to be held Sunday night
The 86th Oscars will be held Sunday night in Los Angeles. 12 Years a Slave is the early favorite to bring home the night's top honors. The awards show kicks off at 8:30 p.m. EST. [Associated Press]
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7. 51 killed in Nigerian bombings
Twin explosions ripped through a crowded marketplace in the northeastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri on Saturday, killing at least 51 people, according to the International Red Cross. Officials suspect the armed militant group Boko Haram, which has been blamed for more than 300 deaths this month alone, is responsible for the latest attack. [Al Jazeera America]
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8. LeBron James switches to clear face mask
At the behest of the NBA, Miami Heat star LeBron James on Saturday wore a clear protective mask instead of the black carbon-fiber one he donned earlier in the week. "It's not a league rule, but it's a league request," said James, who is wearing the mask to protect his recently broken nose. "I didn't agree with their reasons, but I'll do it." [Fox Sports]
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9. Will, Jaden Smith named worst actors at Razzies
Father-son movie duo Will and Jaden Smith shared the screen in the colossal flop After Earth last year, and they now share another ignominious distinction: worst actors of the year. Jaden won worst actor, Will won worst supporting actor, and the two won for worst screen combo at the annual Razzie Awards on Saturday, which spotlight Hollywood's worst performances of the year. [Associated Press]
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10. Massive crowd-sourced Pokemon game ends in victory
After some 390 hours of gameplay, participants in the online, crowd-controlled project Twitch Plays Pokemon finally beat the classic Game Boy game Pokemon Red. The experiment allowed all users to submit endless streams of commands, and then democratically determined, often with disastrous results, which course of action to take. [CNET]

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Jon Terbush is an associate editor at TheWeek.com covering politics, sports, and other things he finds interesting. He has previously written for Talking Points Memo, Raw Story, and Business Insider.

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