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10 things you need to know today: March 19, 2012
Apple prepares a big-money announcement, details emerge about the Afghan-massacre suspect, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
Apple is expected to reveal what it will do with part of its cash stockpile on Monday.
Apple is expected to reveal what it will do with part of its cash stockpile on Monday.
Feng Li/Getty Images

1. APPLE TO MAKE $98 BILLION ANNOUNCEMENT
On Monday morning, Apple is set to announce plans for its $98 billion cash stockpile. Many anticipate that the company will pay shareholders a dividend for the first time since 1995. Others anticipate a stock buyback. Last Thursday, the tech giant's shares surpassed $600 for the first time ever. In other Apple news, on Friday This American Life announced that it was retracting a popular podcast criticizing the company's labor practices in China. The episode centered around an excerpt from Mike Daisey's play The Agony and the Ectasy of Steve Jobs. TAL says Daisey flat-out lied in his stories of the people he met and labor violations he witnessed while visiting factories in Shenzen, China. [Reuters]
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2. PORTRAIT OF AFGHAN MASSACRE SUBJECT EMERGES
Details continue to surface about Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the U.S. soldier suspected of massacring 16 Afghan civilians. Friends describe him as a solid guy who joined the Army after 9/11 and then served three tours in Iraq, where he saw heavy fighting and suffered a traumatic brain injury. But he was also once arrested on a misdemeanor charge of assault on a woman, and was having financial problems.  [New York Times]
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3. GUNMAN KILLS FOUR AT FRENCH JEWISH SCHOOL
A man on a motor scooter opened fire on a Jewish school in Toulouse, France, on Monday, killing a father and three young children. It's the latest incident in a string of motorcycle shootings in France in the last week. Officials are investigating a possible terrorist link. [CBS News/Associated Press]
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4. ROMNEY CONFIDENT AHEAD OF ILLINOIS
After sweeping all 20 of Puerto Rico's delegates on Sunday, Mitt Romney's campaign is looking increasingly confident ahead of Tuesday's primary in Illinois. On Sunday, with her husband at her side, Romney's wife, Ann, called for party unity and said it was time for other GOP contenders to quit the race. Polls show a tight race in Illinois, and Rick Santorum is vigorously campaigning in the state. [Associated Press]
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5. HEAVY FIGHTING ERUPTS IN DAMASCUS
On Monday, Syrian government forces clashed with rebels in an upscale neighborhood in Syria's capital city, leaving at least three dead. The fighting in the Mazzeh district was some of the worst Damascus has seen since the uprising began a year ago. The capital has been largely free of the violence that has been seen across the country, but there have been multiple bombings there in recent days, killing dozens. The fighting in Damascus suggests that rebels might be changing their strategy by striking closer to where senior regime members live. [CBS News/Associated Press]
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6. OCCUPY CELEBRATES SIX MONTHS WITH ARRESTS
Occupy Wall Street protesters tried to recapture Zuccotti Park on Saturday. Police forced protesters from the park and arrested 74 people. The day marked six months since the protests began on Sept. 17. [CNN]
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7. RYAN TO UNVEIL NEW BUDGET
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is set to unveil a new budget on Tuesday, and Congress is bracing for another round of vicious debate over government spending. Last year, the GOP rallied behind a Ryan budget that proposed making deep spending cuts and voucherizing Medicare. [Washington Post]
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8. OBAMA STRUGGLING TO ATTRACT BIG DONORS
President Obama's campaign is having a hard time attracting big donations. Less than half as many people have donated more than $2,000 to the Obama campaign as had at the same point four years ago. [Washington Post]
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9. COPTIC POPE MEMORIAL DESCENDS INTO CHAOS
Three people were killed and dozens were injured in Cairo on Sunday as tens of thousands of Egyptians flooded into the main cathedral to see Egypt's late Pope Shenouda III sit on the throne a final time. The 88-year-old leader of the nation's Orthodox Church died on Saturday. [Daily Mail]
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10. 21 JUMP STREET WINS BOX OFFICE
The Jonah Hill-Channing Tatum comedy topped the weekend box office, bringing in $35 million. That's the best opening ever for a non-sequel, non-summer, R-rated comedy. [Hollywood Reporter]

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