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10 things you need to know today: April 13, 2014
The UN says catastrophic climate change can still be affordably averted, Ukrainian and pro-Russian forces engage in deadly clashes, and more.
 
A barricade outside the offices of the Ukrainian Security Service in eastern Ukraine
A barricade outside the offices of the Ukrainian Security Service in eastern Ukraine Pochuyev Mikhail/ITAR-TASS Photo/Corbis

1. IPCC: Worst-case climate change can still be avoided
The worst-case scenarios of global climate change can still be averted in an affordable manner, according to a United Nations report released Sunday. The report, the third and final installment from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, concluded that a concerted effort to funnel hundreds of billions of dollars away from fossil fuels and into renewable energy would trim global economic output by a slim 0.06 percent. The IPCC called on world leaders to work together, with IPCC official Ottmar Edenhofer saying, "Climate policy isn't a free lunch, but could be lunch that's worthwhile to buy." [The Guardian, Wall Street Journal]

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2. Pro-Russian gunmen, Ukrainian security forces engage in deadly clashes
Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian forces on Sunday battled for control of a police compound in eastern Ukraine in what Ukraine's Interior Minister Arsen Avakov called an "anti-terrorist" operation. One Ukrainian security officer was killed and five others wounded, with Avakov claiming there were an "unidentifiable number" of casualties among the separatists as well. The fighting came after pro-Russian gunmen stormed the police headquarters and occupied other buildings in the eastern Ukrainian city, stoking fears among U.S. officials that Mwscow was inciting violence to ultimately annex more territory. [Reuters, Washington Post]

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3. Chilean wildfire kills 7, burns hundreds of homes
An enormous wildfire scorched the Chilean city of Valparaiso over the weekend, burning more than 500 homes and killing at least four. Chile's National Emergency Office said the fire has already burned more than 660 acres, with strong winds fanning the flames and making it difficult for the hundreds of firefighters who are battling the blaze to keep it contained. "It's been one of the worst fires in history," Vina del Mar Fire Superintendent Fernando Reseio told CNN. [CNN]

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4. Early returns in Afghan election show close race
One week after Afghan voters went to the polls in a historic presidential election, the first official returns showed former opposition leader and foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah with a slim lead. With about 10 percent of the vote tabulated, Abdullah had 41.9 percent of the vote, according to the Independent Election Commission, with Ashraf Ghani close behind at 37.6 percent. If neither candidate wins a majority, there will be a runoff in late May or June. [Reuters, Los Angeles Times]

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5. NSA allowed to exploit web bugs for national security
President Obama permits the National Security Agency to take advantage of web coding failures if there is a "clear national security or law enforcement need," according to The New York Times. Though the NSA is in most cases supposed to report such bugs so they can be fixed, the White House reportedly permits the agency to use those gaps for its own cyberattacks. The Times story comes on the heels of the administration categorically denying another report that it had prior knowledge of and possibly exploited the Heartbleed bug. [New York Times]

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6. Large earthquakes strike Solomon Islands
Two powerful earthquakes shook the Solomon Islands on Sunday, triggering a tsunami warning in the area. The United States Geological Survey estimated the quakes both took place about 200 miles offshore, registering magnitudes of 7.6 and 7.5, respectively. There were no immediate reports of damage. [New York Times, Associated Press]

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7. Missing plane's black box may have died
A little more than a week after search crews first heard encouraging pings possibly emitted by missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, the batteries on the plane's black box may have died. The batteries on flight recorders are supposed to last about 30 days, an aviation official told the Associated Press. The plane has been missing for 37 days now, and searchers haven't detected a pulse signal since Tuesday. [Associated Press]

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8. Pope Francis delivers Palm Sunday remarks
Speaking to an estimated crowd of more than 100,000 in Saint Peter's Square, Pope Francis commemorated Palm Sunday by speaking of the last days of Jesus' life and exhorting followers to evaluate how they were living their own lives. "Has my life fallen asleep." he asked. "Where is my heart?" Pope Francis followed up the service by mingling with attendees and posing for selfies. [Associated Press, NPR]

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9. Union College wins NCAA hockey title
The Union College Dutchmen defeated top-seeded Minnesota 7-4 Saturday night in the Frozen Four to claim the school's first ever college hockey title. The Gophers, with 14 NHL draft picks to Union's lone pro prospect, were favored to win, and they pulled within a goal with minutes remaining. Yet Union answered with another goal of their own, and tacked on an empty-netter in the waning seconds to seal the victory. Disgruntled fans back in Minneapolis rioted, leading police to arrest 19 people. [Sports Illustrated]

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10. Conan O'Brien to host MTV Movie Awards Sunday
Late night comedian Conan O'Brien will host the 2014 MTV Movie Awards on Sunday. The host of TBS' Conan hinted that there would be plenty of flames and skin at the light-hearted awards show, which features such categories as "Best Shirtless Performance." And O'Brien joked that he may even flaunt his own pallid physique, saying, "My body is in incredible shape, and you might be seeing some of that on the show." [Associated Press]

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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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