10 things you need to know today: April 24, 2014

Hamas and Fatah join forces. 

Hamas and Fatah join forces. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

The Week

Rival Palestinian factions join forces, the FCC abandons net neutrality, and more

1. Rival Palestinian factions announce plans for a unity government
The two main Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas, announced plans to form a unity government in the next few weeks. The rival groups — Fatah controls the West Bank, Hamas runs the Gaza Strip — made a violent break in 2007. The U.S. said it was disappointed with the reconciliation deal, and predicted it would “seriously complicate” peace efforts with Israel. Hamas’ militant Islamists don’t accept Israel’s right to exist. [Voice of AmericaThe Jerusalem Post]

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2. FCC gives up on net neutrality and proposes internet fast lane
The Federal Communications Commission officially gave up on its bid to ensure all internet content is treated equally, and announced Wednesday that it was proposing rules to let companies such as Disney and Netflix pay internet service providers for faster lanes for their streaming content. The FCC’s decision to give up on what’s known as net neutrality came three months after an appeals court struck down rules that tried to guarantee an open internet. [The New York Times]

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3. Ukraine takes back a town from separatists
Ukrainian police cleared pro-Russia separatists out of city hall in the southeastern city of Mariupol, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said Thursday. The move came a day after government forces regained control of the town of Syvatogorsk as Kiev stepped up operations against rebels. Russia said it would respond if its interests were attacked, and President Obama said he was ready to impose new sanctions against Russian leaders. [BBC NewsBloomberg News]

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4. U.S. doctors killed at hospital in Afghanistan
Three American doctors were shot and killed by an Afghan security guard at an American-run Christian hospital in Kabul, the U.S. embassy said Thursday. Several other people were injured. The shooting was the latest in a series of insider attacks against foreigners in Afghanistan ahead of the planned withdrawal of international troops at the end of the year. The facility, CURE Hospital, mostly provides medical care for needy children. [The Washington Post]

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5. Politician says doomed South Korean ferry was overloaded with cargo
A South Korean lawmaker, citing prosecutors, said the ferry Sewol was overloaded with 3,600 tons of cargo — three times its recommended maximum — when it tipped and sank a week ago. Divers have recovered 156 bodies, but more than 300 people are feared dead, most of them high school students. The ship’s captain has been arrested and accused of negligence and making an “excessive change of course without slowing down.” [NBC News]

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6. Facebook profits surge
Facebook reported quarterly earnings on Wednesday that shattered analysts’ expectations. The social network’s advertising revenue for the first three months of the year reached $2.27 billion, 82 percent more than the first quarter last year. The company also continued to make progress onboosting income from mobile users, CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg said, with mobile now accounting for 59 percent of Facebook’s ad revenue. [San Jose Mercury-News]

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7. Oklahoma high court ends execution delays over lethal injection drugs
The Oklahoma Supreme Court late Wednesday rejected two death-row inmates’ claim that they had a right to know the source of the drugs that would be used to kill them. The condemned men, convicted murderers Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner, succeeded in getting their executions postponed as they demanded the information in court. The state Supreme Court paved the way for the executions to proceed, saying the men were just stalling. [The Associated Press]

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8. Apple surges thanks to iPhone sales
Apple shares shot eight percent higher in overnight trading after the company announced that strong iPhone sales had more than made up for a dip in demand for iPads in the first three months of 2014. Profits were up over a year ago, with revenue of $45.6 billion, $2 billion more than analysts expected. Apple also announced that it was boosting a stock buyback plan from $60 billion to $90 billion, and making a seven-to-one stock split. [PCWorldThe Wall Street Journal]

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9. FDA moves to regulate e-cigarettes
The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday is unveiling a proposal to start regulating electronic cigarettes the way it does conventional cigarettes. The new rules would ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, and require health-warning labels. The regulations would also apply to cigars and pipe tobacco, which long avoided the tight control placed on cigarettes. [The New York Times]

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10. Jodie Foster marries photographer and actress Alexandra Hedison
Oscar-winning actress Jodie Foster has married her girlfriend, photographer Alexandra Hedison, Foster’s representative said Wednesday. Foster, 51, has long guarded her privacy, and first acknowledged she was gay in a speech at last year’s Golden Globe Awards. Hedison, 44, dated comedian Ellen DeGeneres a decade ago, and appeared as an actress in the former Showtime series The L Word. [Reuters]

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