(Oct. 2) Today's Top Headlines - The top 10 stories of the day - Tucson Local Media: Today's Headlines

(Oct. 2) Today's Top Headlines - The top 10 stories of the day

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Posted: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 9:36 am | Updated: 9:37 am, Wed Oct 2, 2013.

1. Government shutdown furloughs 800,000 and closes national attractions

The U.S. government's first shutdown in 17 years began on Tuesday, closing all national parks, monuments, and government agencies like NASA and the EPA. Approximately 800,000 federal workers were furloughed indefinitely and favorite programs, from the PandaCam at the National Zoo to food assistance for low-income mothers and their children, were halted. There have been 17 shutdowns since 1976, with the longest lasting 21 days in 1995. There is no end in sight for this shutdown, however; Congress remains at a stalemate over what steps to take next. [CBS, CNN]

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2. ObamaCare launches in midst of shutdown, encounters glitches

The first day of the U.S. government shutdown also marked the launch of ObamaCare. Due to the overwhelming volume of users, ObamaCare's online health exchanges across the country encountered numerous problems and delays — both a blessing and a curse for the contentious policy. Wait times as long as four hours, numerical errors, and other problems affected people in states from Oregon to Rhode Island, as officials rushed to fix issues associated with the unforeseen demand. President Obama on Tuesday said the public's appetite for the exchanges "exceeds anything that we had expected" and Health and Human Secretary Director Kathleen Sebelius likened the technical problems to the roll out of iOS 7. [The New York Times]

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3. The war on drugs is failing, experts say

Using data from seven government-funded drug surveillance systems around the world and calling on 10 years of research, the International Center for Science in Drug Policy has suggested that the war on drugs has failed. Drugs are now cheaper and purer around the world than at any time in the last 20 years. While seizures of cannabis, heroin, and cocaine by law enforcement agencies has risen significantly since 1990, the report indicates that controlling the global market through law enforcement is largely futile. Instead, the report suggests that drugs should be treated as a public health issue, rather than a criminal one. [BBC]

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4. Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been named a candidate for this year's Nobel Peace Prize by a Russian advocacy group for his work to prevent an attack on Syria by the U.S. and its partners. Though Putin is no pacifist (see Chechnya, Georgia, and Libya), the nominating group — the International Academy of Spiritual Unity and Cooperation of Peoples of the World — argues that he is more deserving of the title than President Obama, who won the prize in 2009. [The New York Times]

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5. Venezuela says there will be "no cordial relations" with the U.S.

A day after expelling top U.S. diplomat Kelly Keiderling from Venezuela, the country's president, Nicolas Maduro, announced that "no cordial relations" between the two nations will occur until U.S. diplomats cease conspiring with "the extreme right" to destabilize the country. In retaliation for the dismissal of Keiderling, the U.S. ordered three Venezuelan diplomats on Tuesday to leave the country. [ABC]

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6. Pope Francis in talks to change the Vatican

Big changes may be in store for the Catholic Church. Pope Francis on Tuesday began a landmark, closed-door discussion with cardinals from around the world about how to change the inner workings of the papal bureaucracy and forge a long-term vision for the church. Having called his predecessors "narcissists" and the papal court "the leprosy of the papacy" in a recent interview with La Repubblica, Pope Francis hopes to shift Vatican attitudes to reflect more universal values. [Reuters]

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7. Sectarian violence in Myanmar continues

Sectarian violence has reached new heights in western Myanmar. A 94-year-old Muslim woman was stabbed to death on Tuesday by a Buddhist mob of 800, which went on to burn down more than 70 homes. Even with police present, the mob caused devastating damage to the area. More than 200 are dead and 140,000 have fled their homes due to sectarian clashes. [USA Today]

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8. Berlusconi capitulates

Having been defied by members of his own party, Silvio Berlusconi on Wednesday announced he would back Italy's current Prime Minister, Enrico Letta, in a confidence vote. It was a stunning turn of events for the former Italian prime minister, who had aimed to bring down the coalition government after it threatened to strip him of a Senate seat for his conviction of tax fraud. [ABC]

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9. Japanese citizens take to Twitter to report nosebleeds

Thousands of people have been reporting persistent nosebleeds in Japan over the past few weeks, with over 2,500 tweeting as such in the last three days alone. Some say the malady could be a sign of radiation illness resulting from the explosion of the Fukushima power plant last year. The Japanese government has kept the details of radiation illness in Japan mostly under wraps, drawing criticism from around the world, particularly from Korea, whose minister of oceans and fisheries, Yoon Jin-sook, called the practice "immoral." [Arirang]

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10. Chemical weapons inspectors arrive in Damascus

Twenty chemical weapons experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons landed in Damascus on Tuesday to set about destroying Syrian chemical weapon supplies. The mission will involve local truces in conflict zones — seven of the 19 sites are active, according to Syria's foreign minister, Walid Muallem. [Fox News]

Compiled by theweek.com

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