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10 things you need to know today: February 8, 2012
A super-quick roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
Rick Santorum's triple win on Tuesday changed the dynamics in the race for the GOP presidential nomination.
Rick Santorum's triple win on Tuesday changed the dynamics in the race for the GOP presidential nomination.
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

1. SANTORUM TRIUMPHS IN 3 STATES
On Tuesday, Rick Santorum won the Colorado and Minnesota caucuses and a nonbonding primary in Missouri, throwing yet another wrench into the volatile GOP primaries. Santorum's sweep, his first victories since he won the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3, casts fresh doubt on frontrunner Mitt Romney's widespread appeal and Newt Gingrich's status as the leading conservative non-Romney alternative. [The New York Times]

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2. CALIFORNIA'S GAY MARRIAGE BAN MAY HEAD TO SUPREME COURT
It was a landmark day for gay marriage Tuesday, when the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals declared that California's Proposition 8, a 2008 ballot measure that defined marriage as being only between a man and a woman, was unconstitutional. Now Prop. 8 proponents may appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. If the high court agrees to hear the case, the outcome is expected to hinge on Justice Anthony Kennedy, a known swing voter who wrote the 1996 decision used as legal precedent for Tuesday's ruling. [Los Angeles Times]

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3. OBAMA BIRTH-CONTROL RULE UNDER FIRE
With a new administration rule requiring all health insurance plans, including those offered by Catholic institutions, to cover birth control threatening to become a pesky election-year issue, President Obama's aides are scrambling to quell a religious backlash. On MSNBC's Morning Joe, Obama's senior campaign strategist David Axelrod said a compromise was possible, leading some women's health advocates to worry that the president was caving on contraception. [Politico]

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4. U.S. WEIGHS SYRIA OPTIONS
As the violent crackdown on opposition continues and U.N. diplomatic efforts collapse, the U.S. is struggling to come up with an effective strategy for Syria. Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) have called for arming opposition forces, a move the Obama administration has rejected. "We are not considering that step right now," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday. "We are working with our partners again to ratchet up the pressure, ratchet up the isolation on Assad and his regime… Ultimately, it needs to result in Assad ceasing the violence, stopping the brutality, and allowing for a transition supported by the Syrian people." [CBS News]

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5. STOCKS AND EURO RISE ON HOPES FOR GREEK DEAL
The euro hit an eight-week high on Wednesday and stocks have been bolstered as Greece nears a deal for a second bailout that would secure 130 billion euros for the troubled nation. Without the cash, Greece will be unable to pay off a large bond redemption next month, a default that could wreak economic havoc around the world. [ABC News]

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6. MALDIVES PRESIDENT SAYS ARMY FORCED HIM OUT
Mohamed Nasheed, the island nation's first democratically elected president, says army officers and police staged a coup and forced him to step down at gunpoint. On Wednesday, following protests in the streets, Nasheed called for immediate elections and demanded his job back. [BBC]

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7. NOKIA CUTS JOBS, SHIFTS ASSEMBLY TO ASIA
The Finnish electronics manufacturer has announced that it will cease phone assembly in Europe; cut 4,000 jobs in Finland, Hungary, and Mexico; and shift production to Asia. It's just the latest reorganization move to better compete with Apple's iPhone and Google's Android in the smartphone market. Last year, Nokia announced some 10,000 layoffs. [Washington Post]

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8. NO SINGING MUPPETS AT OSCARS SPARKS OUTRAGE
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has reportedly decided to nix performances by the Best Original Song nominees from this year's Oscar ceremony, a controversial move that means there will be no rendition of the song "Man or Muppet" from the hit movie The Muppets. It's "a shame," says the song's writer, Bret McKenzie of Flight of the Conchords. [Billboard]

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9. FORMER JFK INTERN-LOVER TELLS ALL
In her new book, Once Upon a Secret, out Wednesday, Mimi Beardsley Alford writes of the 18-month-long affair she had with John F. Kennedy as a White House intern, further tarnishing the JFK myth. [Washington Post]

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10. BREAD BLAMED FOR AMERICA'S SALT OVERDOSE
A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spotlights an unlikely salty culprit. Bread and rolls are the leading source of sodium in the American diet, accounting for more than twice as much of our salt intake as savory snacks. [ABC News]

 

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