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10 things you need to know today: March 30, 2014
John Kerry travels to Paris for diplomatic talks with Russia, Turkish voters head to the polls, and more
 
Secretary of State John Kerry
Secretary of State John Kerry WPA Pool / Getty Images

1. John Kerry to meet Russian counterpart in Paris
While headed home from Saudi Arabia Saturday, Secretary of State John Kerry abruptly turned his plane around and traveled instead to Paris to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The two are expected to meet Sunday evening, two days after President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by phone, in hopes of reaching a diplomatic solution to the situation in Ukraine. As of yet, there has been no breakthrough on that front, with Russia insisting it was within its right to annex Crimea, and the U.S. and the international community alleging the annexation was a violation of international law and of Ukraine's sovereignty. [The Guardian]

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2. Turkey holds crucial local elections
Turkish voters head to the polls Sunday to vote in municipal elections widely viewed as a referendum on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Though Erdogan himself does not appear on the ballot, he has campaigned for candidates from his Justice and Development Party (AKP.) The party has dominated Turkish politics for a decade, but a corruption scandal and political unrest could begin to chip away at that. [The New York Times, Associated Press]

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3. Florida advances, Arizona stumbles in NCAA tournament
The Florida Gators, the top overall seed in the NCAA tournament, punched their ticket to the Final Four Saturday night by knocking off the Dayton Flyers, 62-52. Meanwhile, fellow No. 1 seed Arizona squandered a couple of chances to tie or win their game against Wisconsin in the closing seconds, falling to the Badgers in overtime. Michigan will play Kentucky and Michigan Sate will take on UConn Sunday to determine the last two teams into the Final Four. [CBS Sports]

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4. Australia, China yet to link recovered debris to Flight 370
Search crews from Australia and China continued to pull debris from the Indian Ocean over the weekend, though they've yet to definitively tie any of it to missing Flight 370. Close to a dozen ships and ten aircraft are combing the water west of Perth, Australia. The Malaysian government last week said the plane had most likely gone down somewhere in that area, killing all those on board. [The Washington Post, AFP]

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5. Tally of missing in Washington mudslide falls to 30
Officials in Washington said this weekend that the number of people missing following last weekend's fatal mudslide had fallen from 90 to 30. Meanwhile, the death toll rose to 18, and it could rise higher yet as responders dig through the rubble of mud and splintered buildings. "The slide hit with such force," Jason Biermann, of the Snohomish County Office of Emergency Management, said, "that often times, the rescuers are not recovering full, intact victims." [NPR]

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6. North Korea threatens 'new form' of nuclear test
Pushing back against the United Nations, North Korea on Sunday threatened to hold a "new form of nuclear test," though it did not specify what that would entail. The threat came after the U.N. Security Council condemned North Korea's recent test-firing of ballistic missiles. In a statement, the North's foreign ministry said it was "absolutely intolerable" for the U.N. to turn "a blind eye to the U.S. madcap nuclear war exercises" while criticizing its tests. [Reuters]

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7. Philadelphia 76ers avoid record-setting losing streak
The Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday decided to win a game for a change, and in doing so halted their 26-game losing streak one game shy of setting a new record for futility in pro American sports. The 76ers beat the Detroit Pistons 123-98 in Philadelphia, leaving them tied with the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers for the longest losing streak in NBA history. The NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in the 1970s, also lost 26 straight games, the only other team to ever do so. [ESPN]

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8. At least 16 dead in Iraq attacks
A string of attacks in Iraq killed at least 16 people, with some reports pegging the death toll higher, at close to three dozen. Police said attackers opened fire at a checkpoint and, hours later, a suicide bomber detonated the car he was riding in near the city of Ramadi. [Al Jazeera]

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9. Baseball season kicks off Sunday night
One week after the baseball season technically began with a couple of games in Australia, the 2014 season will officially begin stateside Sunday night when the Los Angeles Dodgers head to San Diego to take on the Padres. Opening Day festivities will be held around the league Monday. It will be the first season to feature expanded use of instant replay, which has so far only been tested out in spring training games. [Sporting News]

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10. One Direction, Hunger Games win big at 27th Kids' Choice Awards
Perhaps not too surprisingly, the latest installment in the Hunger Games franchise and boy band One Direction cleaned up at the 27th annual Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards Saturday. One Direction captured top music group and favorite song honors, while Hunger Games: Catching Fire earned three blimps, including one for best movie. Awards show host Mark Wahlberg, meanwhile, got slimed. [NBC News, Time]

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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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