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The Dow Jones Has Never Closed Higher: Wall Street Journal: "The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged to its highest closing level ever, finally overcoming the losses tied to the financial crisis on the back of a tenacious stock rally that began in March 2009. And the blue chips did it with an exclamation point—a 125.95-point blast that left the old record in the dust. ... The Dow advanced 0.9% to 14253.77 Tuesday to top its previous high of 14164.53, set in October 2007. Stocks plunged in the wake of the financial crisis, with the benchmark bottoming at 6547.05 on March 9, 2009."
More Drone Memos: Washington Post: "White House counterterrorism adviser John O. Brennan moved closer to becoming the next CIA director on Tuesday when the Senate Intelligence Committee voted 12 to 3 in favor of his nomination for the spy post. The vote came after the White House agreed to give lawmakers access to additional secret Justice Department memos that lay out the Obama administration’s legal justification for the killing of U.S. citizens accused of collaborating with al-Qaeda overseas. Brennan now faces a vote before the full Senate, where he is widely expected to win confirmation despite lingering concerns over aspects of his record and the administration’s refusal to let lawmakers see the full list of legal memos on targeted killing operations."
Venezuela Expels Two Americans: New York Times: "With the cancer-stricken president, Hugo Chávez, taking a marked turn for the worse, [Venezuela] warned Tuesday that the United States was seeking to destabilize the country and expelled two American military attachés, accusing one of seeking to recruit Venezuelan military personnel. The government seemed to go into a state of heightened alert as Vice President Nicolás Maduro, who has been running the country since Mr. Chávez went to Cuba for cancer surgery in mid-December, convened a crisis meeting in Caracas of cabinet ministers, governors loyal to the president and top military commanders. At midday, surrounded by top officials, Mr. Maduro, gave a lengthy televised speech to rally a nation troubled by new levels of uncertainty over Mr. Chávez’s failing health. He called on Venezuelans to unite as he raised the specter of foreign intervention." UPDATE: Hugo Chavez is Dead, Venezuelan VP Says
At Least Everything Is Calm in North Korea: Oh wait. Reuters: "The United States and China reached a deal that 'significantly expands' U.N. sanctions on North Korea for its third nuclear test, eliciting a renewed threat by Pyongyang on Tuesday to scrap an armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War. North Korea also said it would sever a military 'hotline' with the United States if South Korea and Washington pressed on with two-month-long war games. China's U.N. ambassador, Li Baodong, told Reuters the 15-nation Security Council was aiming for a Thursday vote on a draft sanctions resolution, which was agreed to by Washington and Beijing after three weeks of negotiations. China is North Korea's closest ally and has a history of resisting tough sanctions on its neighbor. The Chinese envoy made clear that Beijing was displeased by North Korea's February 12 nuclear test—its third since 2006—though he cautioned against responding too harshly."
Giant Camels! NBC News: "The ancestors of the modern camel included an Arctic giant that lived in chilly coniferous forests about 3.5 million years ago. The ancient ungulates were 30 percent bigger than living camels today, weighing about a ton. Scientists pieced together a picture of this camel from a crop of 30 fossilized bone fragments found on Ellesmere Island in the Canadian Arctic. It's the first evidence that camel ancestors lived so far north. The location and age of the bone fragments indicate that the camel lived at time when the planet was 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit (3 degrees Celsius) warmer than it is today, when parts of the Arctic were covered in coniferous forests filled with larch and birch. The Ellesmere Island region itself was about 36 degrees F (20 degrees C) warmer than it is today."
New TSA Rules: CBS News: "Small knives are set to be permitted in carry-on luggage on flights, in a change to current guidelines announced by the TSA today. Knives with blades no more than 2.36 inches in length from tip to where the blade meets the handle or hilt will be approved for carry-on. The blade must be no more than half an inch in width. The TSA also announced toy bats and sporting equipment such as hockey sticks and golf clubs will also be allowed on board aircraft."
Update From Brooklyn: ABC News: "The suspect wanted in the hit-and-run death of a Brooklyn couple and their baby says he is ready to turn himself in, but still remains on the lam from police, according to ABC station WABC-TV, which reached him by phone. Julio Acevedo, 44, said he was fleeing gunfire when he hit the livery cab carrying Nachman Glauber and his pregnant wife Raizel, both 21, around 12:30 a.m. Sunday. ... Cops say Acevedo, 44, fled on foot after slamming his BMW into the couple's car, instantly killing Nachman Glauber and sending Raizel and their unborn child to the emergency room. Raizel Glauber died after delivering the baby via C-section. The baby boy, just 7 months old, briefly survived the ordeal, but died Monday morning. Acevedo has a lengthy criminal history, including manslaughter and drunk driving, police said today."
Sinkhole Season?: Only in Florida. Associated Press: "As crews entombed a man who was swallowed by a sinkhole near Tampa, the earth opened up again just a few miles away. On Tuesday, in a neighboring county, officials investigated reports of a home cracking, perhaps due to another sinkhole. Across Florida this time of year, it's the start of what's unofficially considered the "sinkhole season," State Geologist Jonathan Arthur said. It coincides with the beginning of the state's rainy season and usually lasts until the end of summer. ... Arthur said February is usually when the state is at its driest, but it's also the start of the rainy season. Acidic rain can, over time, eat away the limestone and natural caverns that lie under much of the state, causing sinkholes. Both extremely dry weather and very wet weather can trigger sinkholes, he said."
A Few More Quick Hits From Slate's Blogs—
The Vault: Going to Summer Kamp with the KKK
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As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.