Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: May 18, 2013

An ousted IRS official testifies before Congress, Iraq experiences its deadliest day in eight months, and more

1. CONGRESS GRILLS IRS OFFICIAL Congress heard testimony from Steven Miller, the acting IRS commissioner who was forced to resign by President Obama after it was revealed that the agency flagged Tea Party groups for extra scrutiny. Miller told the House Ways and Means Committee that while the agency's actions were "obnoxious," they weren't motivated by partisanship. [New York Times]………………………………………………………………………………

2. BOMBS KILL 76 IN BAGHDAD At least 76 people were killed by bombs in Sunni areas of Baghdad on Friday, a result of continuing tensions between the country's majority Shiites and minority Sunnis. It was the deadliest day in Iraq in eight months; the worst attack killed at least 41 and injured 56 outside a Sunni mosque. [Associated Press]………………………………………………………………………………

3. CONSUMER SENTIMENT AT HIGHEST LEVEL IN NEARLY SIX YEARSA new report showed that more consumers have a favorable view of their personal finances now than at any time since 2007. The index on consumer sentiment rose to 83.7, from 76.4 in April, beating expectations. Households in the upper third of income levels were the most optimistic about their financial situation. [Reuters]………………………………………………………………………………

4. ARGENTINE DICTATOR JORGE RAFAEL VIDELA DIESJorge Rafael Videla, the military junta leader who presided over Argentina's "Dirty War" in the mid-1970s, died in a Buenos Aires prison on Friday. He was 87. Anywhere from 15,000 to 30,000 people were killed or "disappeared" by his regime. [New York Times]………………………………………………………………………………

5. TORONTO MAYOR ROB FORD DENIES SMOKING CRACKToronto Mayor Rob Ford told reporters that allegations that he was videotaped smoking crack cocaine were "absolutely not true" and "ridiculous." Reporters for The Toronto Star and Gawker both say they viewed the video. Owners of the video are trying to sell it to the media for $200,000. [Reuters]………………………………………………………………………………

6. BILL GATES ONCE AGAIN WORLD'S RICHEST MANMicrosoft co-founder Bill Gates reclaimed his position as the world's richest man, with a fortune valued at $72.7 billion. He beat out Mexican investor Carlos Slim, who lost $3 billion after Mexico's government passed a bill that hurt the market share of his telecom company America Movil. [Bloomberg]………………………………………………………………………………

7. THIEVES PULL OFF $1 MILLION JEWELRY HEIST IN CANNESAround $1 million worth of jewelry was stolen when thieves ripped a safe from the wall of a Novotel hotel room located near the Cannes Film Festival. The room was being rented by an employee of Swiss watch and jewelry maker Chopard. French investigators say that the crime was probably well-planned and carried out by more than one person. [Associated Press]………………………………………………………………………………

8. IDAHO MAN ARRESTED ON TERRORISM-RELATED CHARGESFazliddin Kurbanov, 30, pleaded not guilty in Boise, Idaho, to charges that he allegedly taught other Uzbek refugees how to build bombs meant to attack public transportation. It is unknown whether the alleged bombs were for domestic use or intended to aid militants in his native Uzbekistan. [Washington Post]………………………………………………………………………………

9. NEW YORK JETS RUNNING BACK ARRESTED New York Jets running back Mike Goodson was arrested on drug possession and weapon charges by New Jersey state police. Goodson, 25, was found in the passenger seat of a GMC Yukon SUV carrying a small amount of marijuana. More marijuana and a loaded handgun were also found in the car. [ESPN]………………………………………………………………………………

10. POWERBALL JACKPOT REACHES $600 MILLIONThe jackpot for the 43-state Powerball lottery climbed to $600 million on Friday, its highest total ever. If nobody wins after the drawing on Saturday night, it could eclipse the $656 million Mega Millions jackpot from March 2012. [Los Angeles Times]

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