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10 things you need to know today: March 25, 2012
Obama spies North Korea, the U.S. pays the families of Afghan murder victims, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
President Obama peeks at North Korea during a visit to the truce village of Panmunjom in the demilitarized zone separating the isolated country from the South.
President Obama peeks at North Korea during a visit to the truce village of Panmunjom in the demilitarized zone separating the isolated country from the South.
REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

1. OBAMA URGES CHINA TO STOP NORTH KOREAN NUKES
President Obama, in Seoul for a nuclear security summit, urged China to do its part in preventing North Korea from furthering its nuclear ambitions. "I believe that China is very sincere that it does not want to see North Korea with a nuclear weapon," Obama said. "But it is going to have to act on that interest in a sustained way." The statement came shortly after Obama visited the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, where the president got his first look at the highly isolated North, and reinforced U.S. support of South Korea. [Telegraph, ABC News
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2. U.S. PAYS $50,000 PER AFGHAN MASSACRE VICTIM
The U.S. government has paid $50,000 in compensation for each of the 17 Afghan villagers who were killed in a shooting rampage in which U.S. Army soldier Robert Bales faces murder charges, Afghan officials said Sunday. Families of the wounded received $11,000 per injured victim. The sum is an unusually large amount for deaths attributed to Western troops, experts say. [Los Angeles Times]
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3. ANNAN TO LEAD SYRIA TALKS IN MOSCOW
Special U.N. and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan is expected to meet Russian President Dmitri Medvedev in Moscow to discuss ways of ending the Syrian crisis. Russia has been a staunch supporter of Syria during the deadly uprising that the U.N. says has claimed 8,000 lives, but Annan will try to persuade the Kremlin to take a harder stance against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime. [BBC]
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4. SANTORUM WINS LOUISIANA PRIMARY
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum handily won the Republican primary in Louisiana on Saturday, with 49 percent of the vote, but analysts say that it "does little to change the delegate math that has rival Mitt Romney with a more than 2-to-1 lead," and that Santorum has a long way to go. "Rick Santorum is like a football team celebrating a field goal when they are losing by seven touchdowns with less than a minute left in the game," Ryan Williams, a Romney campaign spokesman, said in a statement. [CNN]
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5. FORMER VP CHENEY GETS HEART TRANSPLANT
Former Vice President Dick Cheney, who has suffered five heart attacks since his late 30s, underwent a heart transplant Saturday after more than 20 months on a transplant list. Cheney, 71, is recovering in the intensive care unit of Inova Fairfax Hospital in Virginia. Last year, Cheney revealed that while he was in office he kept a secret resignation letter in a safe because of his ongoing medical problems. [Washington Post]
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6. LAWYER FOR ALLEGED MARTIN SHOOTER SPEAKS OUT
Craig Sonner, the lawyer for George Zimmerman, a Florida man accused of wrongfully killing black teen Trayvon Martin, spoke out for the first time, and maintained that his client, who is half-white, is not racist. Sonner contends that Zimmerman acted in self defense when he shot and killed Martin in February, while the unarmed teen was visiting his father in the gated community of Sanford. Zimmerman remains free and uncharged by police. [Reuters]
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7. FRANCE INVESTIGATES TOULOUSE GUNMAN'S BROTHER
French investigators opened a judicial inquiry into Abdelkader Merah, the older brother of Mohamed Merah, a gunman who allegedly shot and killed seven people in a series of attacks in Toulouse, and a neighboring city in southern France. The Paris prosecutors office says it has reason to believe that Abdelkader was complicit in planning the shootings that Mohamed — who was shot and killed by police in a standoff last week — allegedly carried out. [Associated Press]
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8. OHIO STATE AND LOUISVILLE ADVANCE TO FINAL FOUR
Ohio State defeated Syracuse 77-70 to advance to the Final Four of the NCAA basketball tournament. The team will face either North Carolina or Kansas next week. Meanwhile, Louisville beat Florida 72-68 to also advance to the Final Four in New Orleans. [USA Today]
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9. SENATORS ASK FOR FACEBOOK PASSWORD PROBE
Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) have asked Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate whether employers who ask for Facebook passwords during job interviews are violating federal law. Recent reports have revealed that some private and public agencies around the country are asking job seekers for their social media credentials, a practice that prompted Facebook to release a statement warning employers not to ask for passwords. [Associated Press]
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10. FLORIDA MAN WINS NAT'L MEMORY COMPETITION
Nelson Dellis, 28, of Miami, won a national memory contest held in New York City on Saturday. Dellis trained himself for the competition by memorizing a randomly shuffled deck of cards as he climbed Mount Everest during a recent trip to the mountain. This was the second year in a row that he won the challenge. [Associated Press]

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