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10 things you need to know today: March 16, 2014
Crimea votes on whether to secede from Ukraine, authorities open a criminal investigation in the hunt for the missing Malaysian jet, and more
 
A girl stands outside a polling place in Crimea
A girl stands outside a polling place in Crimea Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

1. Crimea votes on referendum to secede from Ukraine
Residents of Ukraine's Crimea region head to the polls Sunday to vote in a disputed referendum on whether to break away and join Russia. The vote comes one day after Russia vetoed a U.N. resolution that would have preemptively declared the referendum's results invalid. "The result has been pre-planned by the Kremlin as a formal justification to send in its troops and start a war that will destroy people's lives and the economic prospects for Crimea," Ukraine's interim President Oleksandr Turchynov said. [AFP]
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2. Focus of Malaysian plane search shifts to flight crew
As the search for the missing Malaysian Airline plane broadened following the revelation that "deliberate action" diverted the jet, authorities said Sunday they had opened a criminal investigation examining the flight crew and passengers in hopes of finding a motive. Authorities searched the homes of pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah ad co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid, and said they were reviewing a flight simulator found at Shah's home. In addition, one official said a signaling system on board the plane was already disabled when Shah radioed air traffic controllers and reported no trouble. [New York Times, Washington Post]
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3. Former Boston mayor Thomas Menino diagnosed with cancer
Only a few months removed from office, former Boston mayor Thomas Menino has been diagnosed with an advanced form of cancer, according to The Boston Globe. Doctors have so far been unable to determine the source of the cancer, which has spread to Menino's lymph nodes and liver, though they began chemotherapy treatment earlier this month. "My attitude really is, we'll get through it," Menino told the Globe. "I have great doctors and supportive friends." [The Boston Globe]
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4. Paris imposes driving restrictions to combat pollution crisis
Beginning Monday, Parisian drivers will only be able to use their vehicles every other day in an attempt by the city to tackle its burgeoning air pollution problem. A lingering high-pressure system has trapped fine particles in the air, leading to an unusually high level of smog in recent days. The government on Friday made public transportation free to all riders as a means to keep more cars off the road. [BBC]
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5. Iran doesn't expect final nuclear accord in upcoming talks
Iran's foreign minister said Sunday he does not believe the nation will strike a final deal with other world leaders in the upcoming nuclear negotiations. In November, the U.S. and Iran announced a six-month interim deal to ease some sanctions on Iran in exchange for a suspension of parts of its nuclear program as the two sides worked toward a permanent accord. The minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said the parties would discuss the "dimensions" of Iran's nuclear program in the coming talks and hopefully make progress toward a future final deal. [Associated Press]
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6. North Korea test fires 18 rockets
North Korea on Sunday test-launched 18 short-range rockets off its east coast into the Sea of Japan, according to South Korea's defense ministry. The launch comes as the United States and South Korea are engaging in joint military exercises in the region. [Associated Press]
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7. NCAA tournament bracket to be revealed Sunday night
The 68-team field for the 2014 NCAA basketball tournament will be unveiled Sunday night, hours after the last few conference title games wrap up. Entering Sunday, Florida, Arizona, Michigan, and Wichita State were projected to snag the top seeds. Seeds for the women's tournament will be announced Monday. [ESPN, Sports Illustrated]
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8. Indian diplomat indicted again
The Indian diplomat whose arrest last year sparked a mini-diplomatic spat between the United States and India was indicted again on Friday of visa fraud. The new indictment against Devyani Khobragade essentially reinstates the charges already filed against her. Khobragade returned to India before the first indictment, and would face arrest if she came back to the states. [The Guardian]
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9. Rapper Tyler, the Creator arrested at SXSW
Tyler, the Creator was arrested at the South By Southwest music festival in Austin on Saturday after allegedly trying to start a riot. During his performance Thursday, the rapper allegedly egged on fans to rush past security and into a venue that was already at maximum capacity. His bond was set at $3,500. [Rolling Stone]
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10. Comedian David Brenner dead at 78
Comedy veteran David Brenner died at his Manhattan home on Saturday at the age of 78. The cause of death was cancer, his publicist said. Brenner was best known as a frequent guest on the The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, where he appeared more than 150 times in his career. [The New York Times]

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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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