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10 things you need to know today: March 18, 2012
Car bombs rock Syria, Santorum says he can clinch the GOP nod, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
Demonstrators gather at the site of an explosion in Damascus, where two large blasts killed 27 people on March 17.
Demonstrators gather at the site of an explosion in Damascus, where two large blasts killed 27 people on March 17.
Reuters/Khaled Al Hariri

1. CAR BOMBS HIT TWO SYRIAN CITIES
A car bomb hit the Syrian city of Aleppo on Sunday, a day after blasts killed 27 in Damascus. The death toll in Sunday's explosion, which happened between two residential buildings, is not yet known. Meanwhile in the capital, crowds had gathered to remember memorials the victims of Saturday's blasts. But security forces dispelled more than 200 activists, beating and arresting dozens. "These explosions are always done by the regime to discourage people from joining the revolution," said one activist. [Reuters]
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2. CHARGES AGAINST U.S. SOLDIER COMING THIS WEEK
Charges against Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the U.S. soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians, are expected to be filed within a week. If the case goes to court, the trial will be held in the United States, a U.S. military legal expert said Sunday. [Associated Press]
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3. CONVICTED NAZI CAMP GUARD JOHN DEMJANJUK DIES
Ukrainian-born John Demjanjuk, who died Saturday at 91, was found guilty by a German court in May 2011 of being an accessory to more than 28,000 murders at a Nazi concentration camp. While his family maintained that Demjanjuk was a victim of mistaken identity, experts say that documents prove he was a guard at the infamous Sobibor death camp in Poland. [The New York Times]
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4. NORTH KOREA PRESSES AHEAD WITH ROCKET LAUNCH
Despite appeals from the U.S., Japan, Britain, and other countries, North Korea vowed Sunday to move forward with plans to launch a long-range rocket. North Korea said Friday that it would fire an observation satellite into space on a new rocket to mark the 100th anniversary of late President Kim Il Sung's birth. The announcement came two weeks after the North had agreed to suspend long-range missile tests in exchange for much-needed food aid from the United States. [Associated Press]
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5. OWS ANNIVERSARY ENDS WITH POLICE SWEEP
Marking the six-month anniversary of the start of the Occupy Wall Street protest, demonstrators gathered in Zuccotti Park in New York City late Saturday night. After several hours of peaceful demonstrations, dozens of police officers entered the park to remove protesters when some participants broke park rules and began setting up tents and sleeping bags. Nearly a dozen people were arrested. [The Washington Post]
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6. GAS PRICES RISE FOR NINTH STRAIGHT DAY
For the ninth day in a row, gas prices rose, with the national average hitting $3.84 a gallon Sunday, just 6.7 percent below the record high of $4.11 from July 2008. Gasoline averages more than $4 a gallon in seven states: Alaska, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, New York, and Washington. [CNNMoney.com]
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7. SANTORUM: ILLINOIS WIN GUARANTEES NOMINATION
Although former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has long been favored to win Illinois' GOP presidential primary, Rick Santorum has other ideas. "If we're able to come out of Illinois with a huge or surprise win, I guarantee you, I guarantee you that we will win this nomination," he said of the Tuesday vote. [MSNBC]
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8. POOR LITERACY INCREASES DEATH RISK FOR ELDERLY
A new study published in the British Medical Journal finds that adults over 65 are more than twice as likely to die within five years if they have difficulty understanding basic health-related information, as compared with those who have no literacy problems. The University College London study tested nearly 8,000 adults and found that one in three had trouble comprehending such things as aspirin instructions. [BBC]
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9. IPAD SALES EXPECTED TO TOP 1 MILLION ON DAY ONE
Gene Munster, an analyst with Piper Jaffray, tells Eweek.com that he expects first-day iPad sales to surpass 1 million units. While lines outside of Apple retail stores on Friday appeared to be shorter than when the iPad 2 was released, Munster says the reduced number of people lining up is "better than we expected" given the combination of "nine days of pre-orders" for the new tablet, along with the 8 a.m. release time. [Eweek.com]
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10. ANTIBIOTIC OVERUSE COULD PROVE DEADLY
World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan says that if the overuse of antibiotics continues to be a prevalent trend, normal infections could eventually become deadly. "Things as common as strep throat or a child's scratched knee could once again kill," she said at a conference in Copenhagen. [CBS News

 

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