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10 things you need to know today: February 12, 2012
Jeremy Lin shines, Rick Santorum surges, the world mourns Whitney Houston — and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
Whitney Houston performs at Wembley Stadium in London in 1988: The six-time Grammy winner died Saturday at the age of 48.
Whitney Houston performs at Wembley Stadium in London in 1988: The six-time Grammy winner died Saturday at the age of 48.
REUTERS/Peter Skingley

1. THE WORLD MOURNS WHITNEY HOUSTON
Whitney Houston, the '80s and '90s mega-star behind hit songs like "I Will Always Love You" and "Saving All My Love for You" (and the popular film The Bodyguard), died Saturday at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. Houston, who had seen "much of her success crumble away amid the fumes of addiction and reckless ego," was 48 years old. The cause of her death remains unknown, though authorities are planning an investigation. [Los Angeles Times]

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2. MITT ROMNEY WINS MAINE AND CPAC
Romney won a pair of potentially momentum-shifting victories on Saturday, "reasserting himself in the GOP presidential race with a win in the straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference and later emerging triumphant in the Maine caucuses." Romney won the CPAC straw poll with 38 percent, followed by Rick Santorum's 31 percent. In Maine, Romney edged Ron Paul 39 percent to 36 percent. Neither Santorum nor Newt Gingrich contested the Maine caucuses. [Politico]

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3. BUT SARAH PALIN "SHINES BRIGHTEST" AT CPAC
With her fiery, Obama-blasting keynote speech Saturday, the Alaskan political star "received far-and-away the most spirited and enthusiastic reception" at the weekend's conservative conference. "The cheers for Palin were so loud that they drowned out her remarks again and again." If Palin had been on the straw poll ballot, "there is little doubt she would have won." [The Hill]

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4. RICK SANTORUM SURGES INTO A NATIONAL LEAD
After his victories last week in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri, the former Pennsylvania senator has catapulted to a 15-point national lead over Mitt Romney in PPP's latest poll. Santorum has surged to 38 percent, with Romney at 23, Newt Gingrich at 17, and Ron Paul at 13. "It's been an amazingly fast ascent to first place for Rick Santorum," says PPP's Dean Debnam. But remember, when Romney inevitably attacks, Santorum's lead "could evaporate just as quickly as it was created." [PPP]

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5. THE ARAB LEAGUE CONSIDERS RETURNING TO SYRIA
At a meeting Sunday, the 22-member regional group will consider reviving its "suspended observer mission in Syria by expanding it to include monitors from non-Arab, Muslim nations and the United Nations." The Arab League yanked its observers out of Syria last month "under heavy criticism for failing to stop the bloodshed engulfing the country." Thousands have been killed in President Bashar al-Assad's brutal assault on pro-reform activists. [Associated Press]

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6. GREECE NEARS VOTE ON AUSTERITY PACKAGE
Greek leaders are inching toward agreement on "a deeply unpopular bailout deal" in an attempt to avert "economic chaos." The austerity package, which the 300-member parliament will vote on Sunday evening, cuts 3.3 billion euros worth of domestic wages, pensions, and jobs in order to secure a 130-billion euro bailout from the EU and IMF. [Reuters]

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7. CATHOLIC BISHOPS BLAST OBAMA'S COMPROMISE
Catholic bishops still have "grave moral concerns" over President Obama's birth-control mandate. The president bowed to pressure by giving religiously-affiliated employers an exemption from having to directly pay for employees' contraceptive coverage, mandating instead that insurers provide these services directly to workers. But bishops are still condemning what they call "a nationwide mandate of insurance coverage of sterilization and contraception." [Politico]

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8. MUSIC FANS PREDICT A BIG GRAMMY WIN FOR ADELE
Whitney Houston's death will surely cast a pall over Sunday's 54th Annual Grammy Awards. But as far as the honors themselves, "the soulful British chanteuse Adele" is the odds-on favorite to dominate the evening. The young singer, who hasn't performed publicly since undergoing vocal chord surgery in November, is expected to sweep Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Album. [Regional News Network]

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9. JEREMY LIN'S "MAGICAL RUN" CONTINUES
New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin led his team to its fifth win in a row Saturday night, a 100-98 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Lin, a massively underated, undrafted point guard from Harvard who's still sleeping on his brother's Manhattan couch, continues to amaze basketball fans, and himself, with his shockingly strong play. "I feel like I'm in a dream right now," Lin said. [ESPN]

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10. THE WORLD GETS A GLIMPSE OF BLUE IVY CARTER
Five "emotional and captivating" photos of the "world's most-hyped 1-month-old" appeared online this weekend, showing baby Blue Ivy Carter being cuddled by proud parents Jay-Z and Beyonce. Though many celebrity couples "shop baby photos for millions of dollars," the Blue Ivy pics were posted for free on Tumblr. [New York Post]

 

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