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10 things you need to know today: April 8, 2012
The U.S. and Afghanistan reach a deal on night raids, Santorum cancels events, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
Alleged militants in Afghanistan seen through night vision optics in 2002: Afghan forces will now be responsible for carrying out night raids in the country.
Alleged militants in Afghanistan seen through night vision optics in 2002: Afghan forces will now be responsible for carrying out night raids in the country.
Pool/Getty Images

1. U.S. AND AFGHANISTAN REACH DEAL ON NIGHT RAIDS
Afghanistan and the United States signed an agreement on Sunday which would hand responsibility for carrying out night raids in Afghanistan over to Afghan forces. The agreement, which "clears the way for the two countries to move ahead with a more comprehensive long-term partnership," would still allow continued American involvement. The night-raids deal was the second of two contentious issues that the countries had to resolve. The other, for which a deal was signed March 8, involved the handover to the Afghans of the main United States detention facility in Parwan. [New York Times]
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2. SYRIA WANTS REBEL PULLBACK GUARANTEE
The Syrian government refuted reports that Damascus would remove its troops from cities and suburban areas by April 10, saying that it wants "iron-clad assurances" that antigovernment troops would stop fighting before implementing a troop pullback of its own. Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi said he would not allow a repeat of past events in which the government pulled its forces back only to see rebels rearm and take control of "entire neighborhoods." [Voice of America]
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3. PAKISTANI PRESIDENT MEETS WITH INDIAN PM
Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari met with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in India on Sunday, the first Indian visit by a Pakistani head of state since 2005. The two nuclear-armed nations are trying to normalize relations following the 2008 terror attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai. The suspected mastermind of those attacks, Hafiz Saeed, operates openly in Pakistan. [NDTV]
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4. POPE URGES SYRIA TO END BLOODSHED
In his annual Easter address, Pope Benedict XVI urged the Syrian regime to heed international demands to end its bloody conflict in order to save lives. The Pope also "expressed hope that the joy of Easter will comfort Christian communities suffering because of their faith." [Associated Press]
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5. SANTORUM CANCELS EVENTS TO BE WITH DAUGHTER
Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum said he will cancel his Monday campaign events in order to be at the hospital with his 3-year-old daughter Isabella, who has a debilitating chromosomal defect called Trisomy 18. This is the second time Isabella has been hospitalized during Santorum's campaign. [National Journal] 
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6. U.N. URGES SWIFT TRANSFER OF POWER IN MALI
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged Mali's military junta to quickly sign an accord it had reached on Friday with West African leaders in order to transfer power back to civilian leaders following the country's March 22 coup. Military coup leader Amadou Sanogo has said the junta is stepping aside for an interim government of national unity in return for amnesty and the lifting of sanctions. [Voice of America]
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7. POLICE ARREST TWO IN TULSA SHOOTINGS
Oklahoma police arrested two men, Jake England, 19, and Alvin Watts, 32, for their alleged connection to a deadly string of shootings  on Friday in Tulsa. Three people were killed and two wounded. Authorities don't yet know how the two men are related or what the motive was for the killings. Some reports have noted that the two alleged shooters are white, while all the victims were black. [CNN]
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8. NBC: EDIT OF ZIMMERMAN CALL A "MISTAKE"
NBC New President Steve Capus told Reuters that the decision to air an edited call from George Zimmerman to police moments before he shot Trayvon Martin was "a mistake and not a deliberate act to misrepresent the phone call." In the version that NBC News aired, Zimmerman says that Martin is black without being prompted. The unedited call log revealed that the police dispatcher had asked Zimmerman for Martin's race. Capus also said that the producer who edited the audio has been fired. [Reuters]
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9. MARLINS MANAGER SAYS HE 'RESPECTS' CASTRO 
The Miami Marlins' new manager Ozzie Guillen has come under fire for saying in an interview that he "respects" Fidel Castro. "I respect Fidel Castro. You know why? Many people have tried to kill Fidel Castro in the last 60 years, yet that [SOB] is still there," Guillen told TIME magazine. The Marlins organization issued a statement shunning Castro as a "brutal dictator," and Guillen later apologized. [Miami Herald]
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10. ANCHORAGE BREAKS SEASONAL SNOW RECORD
A total of 133.6 inches of snow has fallen in Anchorage, Alaska following a spring snowfall of 3.4 inches on Saturday. Anchorage's 2011-2012 snowfall surpassed the record of 132.6 inches set in the winter of 1954-55. [Associated Press]

 

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