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10 things you need to know today: March 4, 2014
Senators debate sanctioning Russia over Ukraine, Obama unveils his 2015 budget, and more
 
Ukrainian soldiers march at a military base near Sevastopol. 
Ukrainian soldiers march at a military base near Sevastopol.  (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

1. Senators consider sanctions against Russia's Ukraine intervention
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Monday began considering whether to impose sanctions against Russia for sending thousands of soldiers into Ukraine's Crimea region following the ouster of the country's president, Viktor Yanukovych. Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) said the intervention was "a clear violation of international law." Russia's United Nations ambassador said Russia sent the soldiers at Yanukovych's request. [Reuters, CNN]
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2. Obama unveils his new budget
President Obama is rolling out his 2015 budget on Tuesday. The White House says Obama is proposing closing tax loopholes for the wealthy and giving 13.5 million others tax breaks, including an expanded income tax credit for people without children and bigger child- and dependent-care tax credits for families. The shift follows the populist tone of Obama's State of the Union address and the Democrats' midterm election year pitch to voters. [TIME]
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3. Snow and ice shut down Washington, D.C.
A deadly winter storm struck the mid-Atlantic coast with snow and ice on Monday. A Virginia man was killed when he drove off an embankment in the snow. Early Tuesday, temperatures dipped below zero in parts of northern Virginia, the coldest March temperatures for the area in decades. Government offices shut down in Washington, D.C., on Monday, and were scheduled to open late on Tuesday, as crews tried to clear four inches of snow. [The Washington Post, Reuters]
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4. Bin Laden son-in-law goes on trial
Jury selection began Monday in the trial of Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, son-in-law of the late Osama bin Laden. Abu Ghaith is the highest ranking bin Laden aide ever prosecuted in a U.S. civilian court since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. "Abu Ghaith held a key position in Al Qaeda, comparable to the consigliere in a mob family or propaganda minister in a totalitarian regime," said George Venizelos, director of the FBI's New York office. [The New York Times]
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5. Many soldiers have suicidal tendencies before enlisting
Most U.S. soldiers with suicidal tendencies already had them when they enlisted, according to research released online Monday in the journal JAMA Psychiatry. The papers found that one in 10 soldiers had "intermittent explosive disorder" — a rate five times that of the general population. The studies sought to bring together the results of five years of research into the doubling of suicide rates in the military from 2004 to 2009. [The New York Times]
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6. Gates returns to the top of Forbes' list of billionaires
Bill Gates is once again the richest man in the world. The Microsoft co-founder saw his fortune rise by $9 billion to $76 billion, edging out Mexican telecommunications tycoon Carlos Slim Helu, who had held the top spot on the Forbes list of the world's wealthiest people for four years. This year's list, released Monday, included record tallies of 172 women billionaires and 152 from China. [Forbes, International Business Times]
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7. Report finds that national parks stimulate local economies
The National Park Service released a report Monday saying that the U.S.'s national parks brought $14.7 billion in spending to nearby communities in 2012. The report said that the money brings 243,000 jobs to towns and rural communities within 60 miles of the entrance to a park, and contributed $26.8 billion to the national economy. "Our parks are economic engines for local communities," said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. [NBC News]
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8. Nets keep Collins around for another 10 days
The Brooklyn Nets reportedly signed Jason Collins, the first openly gay NBA player ever, to a second 10-day contract starting Wednesday. After that the team will have to decide whether to keep Collins for the rest of the season. Collins, who came out after finishing last season for the Washington Wizards, said he would let his agent deal with the contract. "He'll do his job and I'll do my job, which is basketball," he said. [Daily News]
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9. James has a record night for the Heat
LeBron James scored a career-high 61 points Monday night as his team, the Miami Heat, trounced the Charlotte Bobcats. It was the most any player had scored for the Heat in the team's 26-year history. James, an All-Star forward, made 22 of 33 shots from the field, including eight of 10 three-pointers. He said he was in such a groove he felt he couldn't miss. "It felt," James said, "like I had a golf ball, throwing it into the ocean." [Sun-Sentinel]
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10. Ellen DeGeneres sets a Twitter record with an Oscar selfie
Ellen DeGeneres smashed Twitter records with a selfie she posted from Sunday night's Oscar ceremony. The photo, taken by American Hustle star Bradley Cooper, featured DeGeneres surrounded by A-list movie stars, including Meryl Streep, Brad Pitt, Jennifer Lawrence, and Oscar-winning newcomer Lupita Nyong'o. The pic got 2.7 million retweets, smashing a record set by President Obama, whose reelection-night pic got 778,000 retweets. [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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