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10 things you need to know today: March 3, 2014
Russia invades the Crimean Peninsula, 12 Years a Slave takes the Oscar for best picture, and more
 
Anti-Russia demonstrators protest in Lithuania.
Anti-Russia demonstrators protest in Lithuania. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)

1. Russia seizes Crimea region in Ukraine
Russian troops took over Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula on Sunday without firing a shot. The interim Ukrainian government mobilized its armed forces and called up reservists. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said the Ukrainian opposition's ouster of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was a "seizure of power" that would end in "new blood." U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to fly to Kiev on Tuesday to support Ukraine. [CNN, The New York Times]
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2. 12 Years a Slave wins the Oscar for best picture
12 Years a Slave won the Oscar for Best Picture on Sunday night. The film's British director, Steve McQueen, dedicated the award to "all the people who have endured slavery." The film also won two other Academy Awards: John Ridley for adapted screenplay and newcomer Lupita Nyong'o for Best Supporting Actress. The biggest winner of the evening was space thriller Gravity, which won seven Oscars, including Best Director for Alfonso Cuarón. [Los Angeles Times]
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3. Ukraine turmoil hits stocks hard
Global stocks plunged on Monday as investors reacted to the threat of war in Ukraine. Russia was hit hardest, with the Moscow stock market dropping by 9 percent after President Vladimir Putin sent troops and tanks to Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula. Gold surged to a four-month high as investors sought safe assets. "The events over the weekend are a wake-up call for the market," said David Thebault of Global Equities in Paris. [Reuters]
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4. Pistorius' murder trial begins
Oscar Pistorius, the first athlete to race in the Olympics on prosthetic legs, pleaded not guilty on Monday at the start of his trial for the killing of his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp. Pistorius, 27, shot Steenkamp four times at his Pretoria, South Africa, home on Valentine's Day 2013. He said he thought she was an intruder. Prosecutor Gerrie Nel said Pistorius was "willing and ready to fire and kill" after a loud argument. [BBC News, USA Today]
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5. Keystone pipeline protesters arrested at the White House
Police arrested dozens of people who were protesting the Keystone XL oil pipeline project on Sunday outside the White House. The demonstrators, most of them college-aged, used plastic ties to link themselves to fences around the White House and called on President Obama not to approve the project. "If the Democratic Party wants to keep our vote," one student said, "they better make sure President Obama rejects that pipeline." [Reuters]
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6. De Blasio attends gay-friendly St. Patrick's Day event
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio marched Sunday in a gay-friendly St. Pat's for All parade in Queens. De Blasio said he still respected Police Commissioner William Bratton's decision to attend the traditional St. Patrick's Day celebration in Manhattan on March 17, even though it excludes gays. Organizers of Boston's biggest St. Patrick's Day parade, scheduled for March 16, struck a tentative agreement to lift a 20-year ban on gay groups. [New York Post]
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7. Yet another brutal winter blast hits the East
The latest in a rapid-fire series of harsh winter storms slammed the East Coast early Monday after blanketing the central U.S. with snow, ice, and freezing temperatures. Washington, D.C., was expected to get nine inches of snow, forcing the House of Representatives and the Senate to postpone Monday business. The weather, which has affected 90 million people, is "a real mess," said National Weather Service meteorologist Bruce Sullivan. [Reuters]
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8. Suicide attack kills 11 in Islamabad court complex
At least 11 people, including a judge, were killed Monday in a suicide attack on a court complex in Islamabad on Monday. Authorities said two or three gunmen opened fire and threw grenades, and two suicide bombers detonated themselves. It was one of the deadliest assaults in the Pakistani capital in years. Over the weekend, the Pakistani Taliban and government had agreed to a monthlong cease fire to restart peace talks. [The Hindu, BBC News]
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9. Disney ends funding to Boy Scouts over anti-gay policies
The Walt Disney Co. is cutting off its funding to Boy Scouts of America troops in 2015 over the organization's ban on gay leaders. A Boy Scouts spokesman said Sunday that the organization was "disappointed" and that the move "will impact our ability to serve kids." Disney typically donates to individual troops, not the national organization. A Disney spokesman did not respond to requests for comment. [The Associated Press]
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10. Henley wins the Honda Classic after McIlroy squanders lead
Russell Henley came from behind to win the Honda Classic in Florida on Sunday, defeating Rory McIlroy, Russell Knox, and Ryan Palmer in a four-man playoff. McIlroy went into the final round of the golf tournament three strokes ahead, only to lose after holding the lead for 54 holes. The playoff lasted just one hole — Henley won with a birdie as the other three shot pars. Tiger Woods withdrew earlier in the day with back spasms. [Palm Beach Post]

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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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