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Here are the 5 things you need to know this Thursday, according to USA Today

The Masters begins — without Tiger

A thawing nation turns its eyes this week to Augusta National Golf Club, where a hint of a sustained spring is in the air. The Masters starts today, and Tiger Woods, golf's most polarizing figure and biggest star, is not present. Many have been led to wonder how his absence will affect the event. "Anytime he's in the tournament, he draws so much more attention," Steve Stricker said. "Anytime he's in the field, it makes it a better tournament. ... But this is the Masters. It's still going to be a huge tournament."

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony tonight is open to the public

Get ready to rock. Tonight is the 29th annual induction ceremony for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, and the event is open to the public. Inductees include Kiss, Nirvana, Hall & Oates, Peter Gabriel, Linda Ronstadt and Cat Stevens.

Gay-marriage appeals move issue back toward high court

The march toward making same-sex marriage legal nationwide takes a giant step forward this week in one of the most conservative parts of the country. Appeals of federal district court rulings that sanctioned gay marriages in Utah and Oklahoma will be heard by a three-judge panel of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver on successive Thursdays, moving the issue closer to a return engagement at the Supreme Court.

Presidents pay tribute to Civil Rights Act

President Obama — as well as three of his predecessors — are paying tribute in Austin this week to the man and the movement that in many ways made Obama president. That man — President Lyndon Johnson — and the movement that forged the Civil Rights Act of 1964 are topics of a three-day, 50th-anniversary summit at the LBJ Library that opened Tuesday. Today, Obama and former president George W. Bush are scheduled to discussthe series of civil rights laws that continue to change American life, politics and culture.

'It's a Small World' turns 50. Sing along!

It's a Small World is celebrating its 50th anniversary this week, and Disney is inviting everyone to sing along. At Disney Parks today, hundreds will break into the relentlessly perky refrain, and fans can record videos of themselves singing the tune at SmallWorld50.com. The It's a Small World ride debuted at the 1964 New York World's Fair in a salute to UNICEF, moved to Disneyland Resort in California in 1966 and is now installed in all five Disney theme parks, where the song plays an estimated 1,200 times a day.

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