10 things you need to know today: March 10, 2015

Obama blasts Republicans over their letter to Iran, Missouri state court judge takes over Ferguson cases, and more

Obama at the National League of Cities summit on Monday.
(Image credit: Pool / Getty Images)

1. Obama criticizes GOP senators over letter to Iran

President Obama on Monday accused Republican senators of "interfering" in nuclear negotiations by writing a letter to Iran warning that any deal could be modified or revoked by Congress after Obama leaves office in 2017. The letter came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at the invitation of GOP leaders, told a joint session of Congress that a deal would "pave Iran's path to the bomb." Obama said the 47 senators who signed the letter were forming an "unusual coalition" with hardline Iranian leaders.

BBC News

2. Missouri puts state judge in charge of Ferguson municipal court

The Missouri Supreme Court assigned a state appeals court judge to oversee municipal cases in Ferguson, saying "extraordinary action" was needed to restore trust in the court system there. The move came days after a scathing Justice Department report accusing the police and municipal court of unfairly targeting African Americans, and using court cases to raise money. The current municipal judge, Ronald J. Brockmeyer, announced his resignation after being cited repeatedly in the report.

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The New York Times

3. HBO unveils new stand-alone streaming service

HBO announced at Apple's big Monday product announcement that it was launching HBO Now, a stand-alone subscription streaming video service that would be available exclusively on Apple products starting in early April. The $14.99 per month service will include full access to HBO TV shows as well as films available for viewing on its premium cable service. Subscribers will be able to view the programming on iPads, iPhones, and Apple TVs. HBO chairman and CEO Richard Plepler called the move a "transformative moment for HBO."

PC World

4. CBO lowers estimate of ObamaCare's cost

The Congressional Budget Office released a forecast on Monday estimating that the Affordable Care Act would cost 11 percent less than previously expected. President Obama's signature health-care law is now projected to cost $142 billion less that predicted in January, mainly due to a 20 percent decline in the expected cost of premium subsidies. The subsidy spending revisions were the result of "projections of slower growth in premiums and, to a lesser extent, slightly lower exchange enrollment," according to the CBO.

5. Gov. Scott Walker signs Wisconsin "right to work" legislation

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on Monday signed a law banning labor contracts requiring employees of private businesses to pay union dues. The so-called right to work law was backed by manufacturers, while organized labor fought it. Wisconsin is the 25th state to approve such a law. Walker, who is considered a potential GOP president candidate in 2016, said the legislation would be "one more big tool" to attract businesses to the state.

Journal Sentinel

6. Obama sanctions Venezuela over human rights abuses

President Obama on Monday signed an executive order increasing sanctions on Venezuela over alleged human rights abuses. "We are deeply concerned by the Venezuelan government's efforts to escalate intimidation of its political opponents," the White House said in a statement, calling for the country to respect rights such as freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly." The move, which builds on the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act of 2014, includes sanctions on seven Venezuelan officials.

USA Today

7. Oklahoma loses a top recruit over racist video

A top University of Oklahoma football recruit, offensive tackle Jean Delance, reversed a decision to play for the Sooners on Monday. He cited "personal reasons," but later acknowledged that the driving factor was a racist video in which members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity chanted about lynching and said no black person would ever join the frat. Also on Monday, the school severed ties with the fraternity and shut it down, a day after the national fraternity closed the campus chapter.

Yahoo Sports Chicago Tribune

8. 59 injured in North Carolina Amtrak wreck

At least 59 people were injured Monday when an Amtrak train slammed into a tractor-trailer that was stuck on the tracks in North Carolina. The truck driver, who had been trying to make a difficult left, jumped out before impact. The New York-bound train's locomotive and baggage car derailed when the engine hit the truck's oversized flatbed trailer, which was carrying a modular home. It was the third major train crash in less than two months, following deadly wrecks in New York and California.

NBC News

9. Three top French athletes among 10 killed in helicopter crash

Three French sports stars, including Olympic gold-medal-winning swimmer Camille Muffat, were among 10 people killed in a helicopter crash in Argentina on Monday. Two other top French athletes — yachtswoman Florence Arthaud and Olympic boxer Alexis Vastine — were also among the dead. They were traveling with a TV production crew to shoot part the reality TV show Dropped for French TV station TF1 when two helicopters collided. Both pilots and several members of the production company also died.


10. Simpsons co-creator Sam Simon dies at 59

Sam Simon, co-creator of The Simpsons, died Monday after battling colon cancer for more than two years. He was 59. Simon, who left The Simpsons in 1993 but remained an executive producer, was diagnosed in late 2012. Doctors told him then that he had three to six months to live. Simon decided to give away the bulk of his fortune, and, mostly through his Sam Simon Foundation, focused on feeding hungry families with vegan fare, and rescuing stray and abused dogs.

Los Angeles Times

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