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10 things you need to know today: March 2, 2012
The Red Cross rushes to Syria's aid, Obama and Netanyahu prepare to meet, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
The remains of a wrecked vehicle are seen next to a damaged house in Homs.
The remains of a wrecked vehicle are seen next to a damaged house in Homs.
REUTERS/Mulham Alnader

1. RED CROSS TO AID SYRIA'S HOMS
The Red Cross and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent plan to enter the devastated rebel area in Homs on Friday to evacuate the wounded and bring medicine and food to trapped civilians. Syrian authorities agreed to allow the relief effort after government forces on Thursday succeeded in overtaking the rebel enclave of Baba Amro in Homs and opposition forces retreated, a victory for President Bashar al-Assad's brutal crackdown following a 26-day siege. Opposition activists say Assad's army is hunting down and killing any insurgents who stayed behind in Baba Amro. [Reuters]
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2. OBAMA AND NETANYAHU TO MEET ON IRAN
President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are set to meet in Washington on Monday in what's being called "the most important encounter ever between the two." They're expected to focus their discussion on rising tensions over Iran's nuclear program. Meanwhile, in Iran on Friday, citizens went to the polls to vote on a new parliament in the first nationwide election since 2009, when the contested re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmandinejad sparked protests across the country and a brutal government crackdown. [New York Times]
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3. SENATE TABLES CONTRACEPTION AMENDMENT
On Thursday, the Senate voted 51-48 to set aside Republican Roy Blunt's "Respect for Rights of Conscience Act." The broad measure would have allowed employers to deny health-care coverage for birth control and any number of medical services because of moral or religious objections. [Reuters]
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4. MARYLAND GOVERNOR SIGNS GAY-MARRIAGE BILL
On Thursday, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat, signed a bill legalizing gay marriage in the state. Seven other states and Washington, D.C., already offer legal recognition of same-sex marriage. The law is set to take effect at the beginning of 2013, but opponents have vowed to fight it with a referendum on the November ballot. [Associated Press]
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5. MICHIGAN GOP AWARDS ROMNEY MORE DELEGATES
In a controversial move, Michigan GOP officials have awarded Mitt Romney 16 of the state's 30 delegates, though it appears that according to Tuesday's close election, he and Rick Santorum should have split the delegates evenly, 15-15. The Santorum campaign has vowed to contest the decision, calling it an "election scandal." [Associated Press]
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6. FUTURE OF BREITBART EMPIRE IN QUESTION
Following the sudden death of conservative firebrand Andrew Breitbart at the age of 43 on Thursday, the future of his scandal-inciting online empire, which includes websites like Big Government and Big Journalism, has become unclear. Breitbart was a star contributor and tireless salesman for the sites, and it wasn't immediately known who would take over the company. [Associated Press]
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7. AT&T PLACES LIMITS ON UNLIMITED DATA PLANS
In a move that has smartphone users enraged, AT&T has announced that users on unlimited data plans will experience much slower speeds once they exceed a new monthly usage cap. In 2010, AT&T became the first major carrier in the country to stop offering unlimited data plans to new users, but those who were grandfathered in were allowed to remain on such plans. The new limits will affect some 17 million AT&T customers. [Wall Street Journal]
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8. YELP TO GO PUBLIC
The online-review company will make its New York Stock Exchange debut on Friday with an IPO that values it at $900 million. Analysts say that's a big number for company that hasn't turned a profit since it was founded in 2004. [Associated Press]
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9. WOMAN WINS $168 MILLION IN HARASSMENT SUIT
A California physician's assistant was awarded $168 million in damages after bringing suit against a hospital chain for sexual harassment, bullying, and retaliation she suffered while working at one of its Sacramento locations. The award is thought to be the biggest in U.S. history for a single victim of harassment in the workplace. [Los Angeles Times]
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10. RESEARCHERS FIND SLEEP GETS BETTER WITH AGE
According to a new, large-scale study, seniors on average report better sleep than people in their 20s and 30s. The findings suggest that sleep issues aren't a normal part of aging but rather a sign of health problems. [MSNBC]

 

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