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10 things you need to know today: May 16, 2014
India's ruling party loses in a landslide, California wildfires flare up, and more
 
India's next prime minister Narendra Modi greeted supporters Friday. 
India's next prime minister Narendra Modi greeted supporters Friday.  (AP Photo/ Saurabh Das)

1. India's ruling party goes down in defeat
Opposition leader Narendra Modi is set to become India's next prime minister after his Bharatiya Janata Party won a five-week national election in the country's biggest landslide in decades, according to partial results released Friday. The Indian National Congress, which has long dominated the government, conceded defeat "in all humility." The result was seen as a protest against a wave of corruption scandals and economic setbacks. [The New York Times]

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2. More evacuate as California wildfires flare up
California authorities issued 18,400 new evacuation notices in the San Diego suburb of San Marcos on Thursday after wildfires there flared up just as crews were making progress containing them. Nine unseasonably early fires have destroyed at least eight houses, an 18-unit condominium complex, and two businesses, and a badly burned body was found in a transient camp. Cooler temperatures are expected to help firefighters regain the upper hand despite the state's worst drought in decades. [The Associated Press, Fox News]

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3. Workers try to drive separatists out of Ukrainian cities
In a major setback for Russia and Ukrainian separatists, thousands of steelworkers and miners made a push on Thursday to retake several cities in eastern Ukraine from pro-Russian militants. Steelworkers reportedly managed to seize control of the city of Mariupol, which separatists took over several weeks ago. The nationalist workers, who are reportedly all employed by Ukraine's richest man, also tried to win back the regional capital, Donetsk, but could not immediately drive out their rivals. [The New York Times]

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4. VA watchdog reports more complaints of long hospital waits
The Veterans Affairs acting inspector general, Richard Griffin, told Congress on Thursday that new complaints had surfaced about long wait lists and falsified reports at VA hospitals and clinics. Griffin said, however, that he had not confirmed reports that dozens of veterans had died while awaiting treatment. VA Secretary Eric Shinseki said he was "mad as hell" about the controversy and promised quick results of an internal audit. [The Associated Press]

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5. Judge rules Arkansas gay marriages can resume
An Arkansas judge said Thursday that his ruling declaring the state's gay marriage ban unconstitutional applied to all state laws, allowing gay marriages to resume a day after the state Supreme Court had said a law against issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples remained in effect. In Idaho, a U.S. appeals court delayed a federal judge's ruling overturning that state's gay marriage ban while it considers motions for a longer stay. [Fox News, Reuters]

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6. Protesters vent rage at Turkish government over mine disaster
Thousands of trade union members protested Turkey's worst mining disaster ever on Thursday in cities around the country. Demonstrators clashed with police in the city of Izmir as the death toll in the mine reached 284, with 18 still missing. Public outrage rose against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is preparing a run for president, after one of his aides was caught on camera kicking a protester being held down by police. [BBC News, Montreal Gazette]

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7. The Obamas report $2 million to $7 million in assets
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama listed $2 million to $7 million in assets in a financial disclosure report released Thursday. In the report, required of presidents and other officeholders, Obama declared holding $1 million to $5 million in U.S. Treasury notes, along with other holdings in bank accounts, index funds, and college savings plans. Vice President Joe Biden listed $276,000 to $940,000 in assets. [USA Today]

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8. J.C. Penney shares rise after brightening quarterly report
J.C. Penney Co. stock jumped as much as 27 percent in late trading Thursday after the struggling department store chain reported its first quarterly sales gain in three years. Penney has lost more than $2.5 billion in three years and is still losing money — but less than expected. Analyst William Frohnhoefer of BTIG LLC said Mike Ullman, who returned as CEO last year, has stabilized the company: "The question is, can he grow it?" [Bloomberg Businessweek]

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9. Clippers owner Donald Sterling fights NBA punishment
Disgraced Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling is refusing to pay a $2.5 million fine issued by the NBA over secretly recorded racist remarks that have been attributed to him, according to Sports Illustrated. Sterling has hired prominent antitrust lawyer Maxwell Blecher, who has written NBA leaders threatening to sue, saying Sterling did nothing to deserve the lifetime ban the league imposed in April, and "no punishment is warranted." [Sports Illustrated]

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10. Jupiter's Great Red Spot is not as great as it used to be
Jupiter's most distinctive feature — the Great Red Spot — is shrinking, according to a NASA review of images form the Hubble Space Telescope. The spot is a gigantic storm in the planet's atmosphere that was once as wide as three Earths side by side. It was 14,500 miles across in 1979, and a thousand miles thinner in 1995. Now its width is down to 10,250 miles. Scientists suspect eddies have been altering the storm's internal dynamics. [CNET]

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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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