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10 things you need to know today: April 1, 2014
Healthcare.gov buckles under last minute pressure, Ebola rocks West Africa, and more
 
Doctors Without Borders prepares an isolation and treatment area in Guinea. 
Doctors Without Borders prepares an isolation and treatment area in Guinea.  (AP Photo/Kjell Gunnar Beraas, MSF)

1. ObamaCare website buckles under last minute pressure
As Americans scrambled to beat the March 31 ObamaCare enrollment deadline, Healthcare.gov was overloaded by the sheer number of people trying to sign up for insurance. The site stopped taking applications for several hours and even made it difficult for those who hadn't yet set up accounts. A spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services said the site experienced record traffic, with more than 1.6 million visitors before 2 p.m. [The New York Times]

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2. Ebola outbreak spreads to Liberia
At least 78 people have reportedly been killed due to an outbreak of the Ebola virus that started in the West African country of Guinea. It took health officials six weeks to identify the outbreak, and the delay allowed it to spread to Liberia, where two cases have been confirmed. The World Health Organization has been called in to help contain the disease, which has no cure and quickly kills those who have been infected. [TIME ]

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3. General Motors issues another recall
General Motors is recalling 1.3 million vehicles because of a faulty power-steering mechanism. The news came on the heels of a separate recall of 2.2 million cars due to an ignition switch problem that has been blamed for 13 deaths. Later today, CEO Marry Barra is scheduled to testify before Congress about how the company handled the ignition switch issue. [CNN]

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4. Senate investigation reveals harsh tactics didn't lead to bin Laden
Enhanced interrogation tactics did not lead to the death of Osama bin Laden, according to a classified, 6,200-page report prepared by the Senate Intelligence Committee. The findings note that most of the useful information on the whereabouts of bin Laden was gathered through standard techniques — either before or after detainees were subjected to waterboarding and other extreme measures. The CIA disputes the report's conclusions. [USA Today]

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5. Ukraine prepares for Crimean refugees
Now that Russia has annexed Crimea, thousands of refugees have begun fleeing to mainland Ukraine. Arseniy Yatseniuk, Ukraine's prime minister, has said his country will offer assistance to the refugees and is preparing to provide shelter to those who are displaced. Most of those leaving Crimea are ethnic Tatars, but officials expect Ukrainian soldiers stationed on the peninsula and their families to decamp from the Russian occupation. [Fox News]

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6. French president shakes up government
French President Francois Hollande formed a new government on Monday after municipal elections across the country dealt severe losses to his Socialist Party and were widely viewed as a rebuke to his leadership. In the biggest change, Hollande accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and replaced him with Interior Minister Manuel Valls, a popular immigration hawk. Center-left newspaper Le Monde called the elections — in which the far-right party National Front made significant inroads in municipal governments — a "historic rout." [The New York Times]

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7. U.S. mulls releasing Israeli spy
In an effort to keep delicate peace talks from imploding, the Obama administration may grant an early release to convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard. The idea was floated as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry made an emergency visit to the Middle East to resuscitate negotiations that have stalled in recent weeks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders. Pollard was a civilian U.S. Navy employee who pleaded guilty to providing classified information to Israeli agents. He was sentenced to life in prison and has served almost 29 years. [The Washington Post]

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8. Toxic contaminants from mudslide hamper recovery efforts in Washington state
Officials in Washington state say the massive mudslide that killed two dozen people also released a slew of toxic contaminants. Sewage, propane, and household solvents are just a few of the pollutants to seep into the mud that devastated a rural community on March 22. Despite the challenges, recovery efforts continue in the hopes of finding the more than 20 people who are still missing. [Chicago Tribune]

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9. Judge clears way for restrictive Arizona abortion law
A federal judge declined to halt new rules approved by Arizona's legislature that would restrict medication-induced abortions in the first seven weeks of pregnancy. Judge David C. Bury said that the new regulations won't put an undue burden on women seeking abortions because they still have a surgical option. Planned Parenthood, one of the plaintiffs in the case, said it will appeal the ruling. [The New York Times]

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10. Archaeologists unearth ancient tomb in Egypt
Researchers have unearthed in Egypt a 3,300-year-old tomb that most likely had a 23-foot-pyramid on top of it at one time. Along with the remains of 15 to 18 people, archaeologists also found a sandstone sarcophagus that was painted red and covered with the images of several Egyptian gods. It is believed the sarcophagus belonged to a scribe named Horemheb. [NBC]

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Laura Colarusso
Laura Colarusso is a freelance journalist based in Boston. She has previously written for Newsweek, The Boston Globe, the Washington Monthly and The Daily Beast.

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