(March 25) Today's Top Headlines - Top 10 Stories of the Day - The Explorer: Today's Headlines

(March 25) Today's Top Headlines - Top 10 Stories of the Day

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Posted: Tuesday, March 25, 2014 8:45 am

1. Obama will reportedly push to end NSA bulk phone surveillance

The Obama administration plans to propose an overhaul of National Security Agency spying that would end its mining of bulk phone recordsThe New York Times reported Tuesday. The law would leave the data under phone company control. The NSA would have to get a warrant from a judge to examine specific records. An ACLU spokesman said the U.S. can track terror suspects "without placing millions of people under permanent surveillance." [The New York Times]

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2. Authorities in Malaysia conclude that Flight 370 crashed

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said Monday that satellite and flight data indicated that Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which went missing on March 8, "ended in the southern Indian Ocean," with no survivors. The announcement touched off despair among the loved ones of the 237 people who were on board the flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Search crews are still looking for traces of the plane. [The Washington Post]

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3. Washington mudslide death toll rises to 14

The death toll from a weekend mudslide in Washington state climbed to 14 on Monday, after search-and-rescue crews found another six bodies. As many as 176 people have been reported missing. The devastated area covers a square mile, in which about 30 homes were destroyed. Authorities described the prospects for finding survivors as grim. "We have not found anybody still alive on this pile since Saturday," said a local fire chief. [King5.com]

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4. The U.S. and its allies kick Russia out of the Group of 8

President Obama and allies in six major industrialized nations effectively booted Russia out of the Group of Eight on Monday as punishment for Moscow's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region. The U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Britain agreed to boycott a planned June G-8 summit in Sochi, Russia, and meet in Brussels as the Group of Seven instead. They also threatened tougher sanctions. [The New York Times]

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5. Former Madoff aides convicted in connection with his Ponzi scheme

Five former aides of Bernard Madoff were convicted Monday on 31 fraud and conspiracy chargesconnected to the imprisoned financier's $17.5 billion scam — the biggest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history. Madoff, who is serving a 150-year sentence, insists he acted alone. One juror said however that "the facts spoke for themselves." She said the defendants collected hefty pay from Madoff for decades and were his "soldiers." [Bloomberg Businessweek]

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6. Polluted air blamed for millions of deaths

Air pollution was the world's biggest health hazard in 2012, killing 7 million people, the World Health Organization said Tuesday. The estimated toll was twice as high as previously estimated. If accurate, it meant that one in every eight deaths was linked to dirty air. "The risks from air pollution are now far greater than previously thought or understood, particularly for heart disease and strokes," said the WHO's Maria Neira. [Reuters]

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7. Disney buys YouTube programmer Maker Studios

Disney announced Monday that it had agreed to buy YouTube content provider Maker Studios for $500 million. Disney also said it would pay up to $450 million more if Maker hits targets for performance, bringing the potential value of the deal close to $1 billion. The move marks an attempt to connect to the youthful audience that turns to short-form videos. [Bloomberg Businessweek]

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8. U.N. says 2013 was the sixth-warmest on record

The United Nation's weather agency, the World Meteorological Organization, reported Monday that 2013 was the sixth-warmest year on record. The WMO's secretary-general, Michel Jarraud, said the warming probably contributed to last year's extreme weather patterns, including droughts and tropical cyclones. Rising sea levels, for example, increase damage from coastal flooding in major storms like November's deadly Typhoon Haiyan, he said. [The Associated Press]

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9. Men arrested for parachuting off of One World Trade Center

Three men accused of parachuting off the 104-story One World Trade Center construction site in September turned themselves in at a New York City police station on Monday, as did an alleged accomplice. A defense attorney said the men — Marko Markovich, 27; Andrew Rossig, 33; Kyle Hartwell, 29; and James Brady, 32 — were "professional thrill-seekers." He said they would plead not guilty to burglary and reckless endangerment charges. [Reuters]

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10. Girl Scout beats a decades-old record for cookie sales

An Oklahoma City girl, Katie Francis, has broken the record for Girl Scout cookie sales. Francis sold 18,107 in the seven-week fundraiser, which ended Sunday night, beating the old high mark of 18,000, set in the 1980s. Francis sold 12,428 boxes last year. Her trick, she says, is devoting a lot of time to the project, and making a sales pitch to every person she meets. [The Associated Press]

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