10 things you need to know today: April 18, 2014

(Image credit: (AP Photo))

1. Russia agrees to deal on easing tensions in Ukraine

Russia, Ukraine, the United States, and the European Union struck a deal Thursday calling for pro-Russia separatists to surrender local government buildings they seized in eastern Ukraine. The agreement also spells out steps to defuse tensions. President Obama said the deal was promising but if it fizzles the U.S. still could impose more sanctions on Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin declined to rule out sending troops if violence escalates.

The New York Times

2. Mount Everest avalanche kills at least 12

An avalanche killed at least 12 Nepalese Sherpa guides on Mount Everest early Friday. It was the deadliest disaster ever on the world's highest mountain. Three other guides are still missing. The guides had set out early to fix ropes for other climbers below Camp 2. Hundreds of climbers, along with their guides and support crews, are gathered at the base camp to attempt to reach the 29,035-foot summit when weather permits next month.

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The Associated Press

3. ObamaCare enrollments topped 8 million by Tuesday's deadline

More than eight million people signed up for ObamaCare health plans by Tuesday's enrollment deadline, President Obama announced Thursday. The tally exceeded the estimate administration officials made last summer by one million, despite terrible glitches when the health law's online insurance exchanges launched last fall. The number of young people signing up fell short of White House hopes. Still, Obama said, "this thing is working."


4. South Korea ferry slips underwater as death toll climbs

The death toll from the South Korea ferry disaster reached 28 on Friday. Hopes for saving the 270 still missing dimmed as the ship became completely submerged in frigid Yellow Sea waters. Despite strong currents, two divers managed to enter the hull to search for trapped survivors. An arrest warrant was issued for Captain Lee Joon Suk, and a vice principal who accompanied high school students on board hanged himself after being rescued.


5. Texas seizes jailed polygamist Warren Jeffs' ranch

Texas authorities have seized the secluded ranch of imprisoned polygamist Warren Jeffs, leader of the Utah-based Fundamentalist LDS Church. Only eight adults were still living at the compound. The FBI and police raided the Yearning for Zion Ranch in April 2008 to investigate allegations that underage girls there were being forced into polygamist marriages. Jeffs was convicted in 2011 of sexually assaulting two child brides. He is serving a life sentence.

The Associated Press

6. Scientists discover the most Earth-like planet ever seen

Researchers have discovered the first Earth-sized planet in another solar system's habitable zone, meaning it is at the right distance from its star to allow it to hold liquid water and support life. The rocky planet, which has been named Kepler 186f, is 500 light years away. The find, made with the now defunct Kepler telescope, marked a leap forward in the hunt for life on another planet. "This is a historic discovery," one astronomer said.

Popular Mechanics

7. Gunmen kill dozens at U.N. base in South Sudan

Armed youths, pretending to be peaceful protesters, attacked a United Nations compound in South Sudan on Thursday, killing at least 20 civilians and wounding dozens more. Nearly 5,000 civilians and U.N. personnel are being sheltered at the base in the war-ravaged town of Bor. The roughly 350 attackers reportedly broke the gate. "They came in and started shooting indiscriminately," said Toby Lanzer, U.N. assistant secretary general in South Sudan.

BBC News Reuters

8. Suspect arrested in Kansas City highway shootings

Kansas City police have arrested a man suspected in a series of apparently random freeway shootings that has left nine people injured since last month. Nobody has been killed, but the attacks have frightened motorists in and around the city, with many telling journalists they have altered their driving habits to stay safe. A neighbor said the suspect, who was not immediately charged, kept odd, late hours: "The dude was like a ghost."

The Kansas City Star

9. Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton announces pregnancy

Chelsea Clinton announced Thursday that she and her husband, Marc Mezvinsky, are expecting their first child. "I just hope that I will be as good a mom to my child and hopefully children as my mom was to me," said Clinton, 34, with her mother, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, by her side. The baby is due in the fall. The surprise announcement comes as Hillary Clinton weighs a second run for the presidency in 2016.

The Washington Post

10. Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez dies

Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez, master of the magical realism genre and winner of the 1982 Nobel Prize for Literature, died Thursday at his home in Mexico City. He was 87. His novel One Hundred Years of Solitude was considered one of the great books of the 20th century. It helped establish Garcia Marquez as one of the rare writers, along with such icons as Dickens and Hemingway, who was embraced by critics and the public alike.

The New York Times

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Harold Maass

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 Herald, Fox News, and ABC News. For several years, he wrote a daily round-up of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and two sons.