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10 things you need to know today: April 5, 2012
Violence erupts in Syria ahead of ceasefire, Obama leads Romney in the polls, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
With the 2012 general election unofficially underway, President Obama leads likely Republican nominee Mitt Romney in 10 of 13 national polls.
With the 2012 general election unofficially underway, President Obama leads likely Republican nominee Mitt Romney in 10 of 13 national polls.
Win McNamee/Getty Images

1. VIOLENCE REIGNITES IN SYRIA
Activists say government troops have launched fierce new attacks in a suburb of Damascus and towns throughout Syria, even as a U.N. envoy is set to arrive in the country to discuss plans for a ceasefire. A spokesman for U.N.-Arab League peace envoy Kofi Annan says he expects a ceasefire to be in place by April 12, and that the Syrian government is already reporting some troop withdrawals, though the renewed violence suggests otherwise. Turkish officials say more than 900 Syrians have fled the country and sought refuge in Turkey in the past 24 hours, more than double the number that have done so in recent days. [Reuters]
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2. OBAMA AHEAD OF ROMNEY IN POLLS
With Mitt Romney increasingly likely to become the Republican nominee in the 2012 presidential election, polls show that President Obama has a solid general-election lead. Of the 13 national polls administered since the beginning of March, 10 show the president leading by two to 12 points. Romney has a slight edge according to two of the polls. [Chicago Tribune]
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3. CONNECTICUT MAY REPEAL DEATH PENALTY
Early Thursday, the Connecticut Senate voted 20-16 in favor of a bill that would abolish capital punishment in the state. The bill now moves to the House, where it is expected to pass. The state's democratic governor, Dannel Malloy, has said he will sign the measure into law if it reaches his desk. [CNN]
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4. MISSISSIPPI BILL RESTRICTS ABORTION PROVIDERS
The legislature in Mississippi has passed a bill requiring that doctors performing abortions be board-certified obstetrician-gynecologists and have admitting privileges at a hospital in the area. Some say the measure could force the one abortion clinic in the state to close. Republican Gov. Phil Bryant has said he wants the state to be "abortion free." [CNN]
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5. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT TO RESPOND TO TEXAS JUDGE
On Wednesday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said that the Justice Department will "appropriately" respond to a federal judge in Texas who questioned a comment President Obama made about the Supreme Court possibly striking down health care reform. Obama said the court doing so would be "unprecedented," a remark some interpreted as an attempt to bully the high court and limit its authority. [Associated Press]
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6. MARKETS FALL AMID SPANISH TROUBLES
World stock markets are down Thursday following a weak auction of Spain's government debt that is sparking fresh concern about Europe's debt crisis. [Associated Press]
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7. YAHOO TO LAY OFF 2,000
On Wednesday, Yahoo announced plans to lay off 2,000 employees, a startling 14 percent of its workforce, as the struggling internet portal attempts a dramatic restructuring. [San Francisco Chronicle/Bloomberg]
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8. OFFICIALS RELEASE HOUSTON AUTOPSY REPORT
Whitney Houston's autopsy report was released Wednesday, providing a more detailed account of how she died. According to the report, there were signs of cocaine and drug paraphernalia in her hotel room; cocaine was also found in the singer's body. [Associated Press]
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9. GOOGLE SHOWS OFF HI-TECH GLASSES
Google unveiled a prototype for its upcoming digital glasses, dubbed "Project Glass." The fancy specs will wrap around a user's face and provide an augmented reality experience powered by a myriad of Google services. [Associated Press]
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10. MASTERS TOURNEY OFF TO ROCKY START
As the the first day of the Masters is set to kick off with Tiger Woods hoping for a fifth win in the storied tournament, comments made at a press conference Wednesday are getting more attention. Billy Payne, the chairman of Augusta National, the club that hosts the tournament, was faced with questions about when he would allow women to become members of the club. "As has been the case whenever that question is asked, all issues of membership have been and are subject to private deliberations of the members," he said. [Associated Press]

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