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10 things you need to know today: April 12, 2012
Earthquakes rock Mexico, Zimmerman is charged, Romney tries to woo women, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney faces an uphill battle to win over conservative women who favored Rick Santorum.
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney faces an uphill battle to win over conservative women who favored Rick Santorum.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

1. PROSECUTORS CHARGE ZIMMERMAN WITH SECOND-DEGREE MURDER
On Wednesday, George Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. He has turned himself in and is expected to plead not guilty. Legal experts note that the prosecution will face a challenge with the second-degree murder charge rather than a lesser charge of manslaughter because they'll have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman shot Martin out of hatred or ill-will. Zimmerman claims he acted in self-defense. If convicted of second-degree murder, Zimmerman could face a maximum sentence of life in prison. [CBS/Associated Press]
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2. EARTHQUAKES HIT MEXICO
On Thursday, a magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck off the coast of Mexico. It came just hours after a magnitude 6.4 quake hit near Mexico City, causing buildings in the capital to sway. There have been no reports of casualties or major damage. In other earthquake news, authorities say five people died Wednesday in Indonesia following two major earthquakes off the coast of the island nation. [Associated Press]
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3. CALM COMES OVER SYRIA AFTER TRUCE DEADLINE
Syria is reportedly calm on Thursday, as both the government and opposition say they will abide by a ceasefire that began at 6 a.m. Many are skeptical that President Bashar al-Assad's troops will hold their fire for long, and the government still hasn't pulled its troops back, defying U.N. envoy Kofi Annan's demands. On Friday, the opposition plans to protest peacefully. [Associated Press]
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4. AMAZON SLASHES E-BOOK PRICES
After the Department of Justice reported that it was suing Apple and five major publishers for allegedly fixing prices on e-books, Amazon announced plans to cut prices on some of its most popular e-books. Publishing analysts say the e-tailing giant can afford to take a loss on e-books to help sell more Kindles and further its dominance in the market. [New York Times]
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5. ROMNEY TRIES TO WOO WOMEN VOTERS
On Wednesday, in attempts to counter claims that he is anti-woman, Mitt Romney tried to win over female voters in Hartford, Conn. Touting his economic policies as better for women, Romney repeatedly highlighted his claim that under President Obama, 92.3 percent of the jobs lost were held by women. [USA Today]
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6. EDWARDS JURY SELECTION BEGINS
On Thursday, jury selection will begin in the trial of fallen Democratic golden boy John Edwards. He is charged with six felony and misdemeanor counts related to the handling of money during his 2008 presidential bid. If convicted, Edwards could face up to 30 years in prison, and he could be fined as much as $1.5 million. [CNN]
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7. FORECLOSURES AT LOWEST POINT SINCE 2007
According to new housing data, the number of foreclosures fell during the first quarter of 2012, reaching the lowest point since the end of 2007, when the housing market began to collapse. Still, experts say the data isn't as hopeful as it may seem and that a "flood of foreclosures" is on the horizon in states like California, New York, and Florida, where there's a backlog because the increased number of foreclosures in recent years has slowed processing. [Washington Post]
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8. ROSS WON'T DIRECT HUNGER GAMES SEQUEL
Last week's rumors have been confirmed: Hunger Games director Gary Ross isn't onboard to direct Catching Fire, the next film in the franchise. In a statement released by Lionsgate, the movie studio that produces the films, Ross cited timing issues and the tight shooting schedule. Because of star Jennifer Lawrence's other obligations, Catching Fire will have to start shooting in August rather than in the fall. [Los Angeles Times]
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9. POLICE CLOSE WHITNEY HOUSTON INVESTIGATION
The Beverly Hills Police Department announced Wednesday that the investigation into the death of Whitney Houston is "officially closed," and that her death has been ruled an accidental drowning. Police also released audio of a 911 call made by a security officer at the Beverly Hilton, after Houston's body was found in the bathtub of her hotel room. [CNN]
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10. AXL ROSE REJECTS HALL OF FAME
On Wednesday, Axl Rose, the Guns N' Roses frontman, announced that he would not be attending the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony where his band is supposed to be inducted; he also asked not to be inducted "in absentia." Rose has had a longtime feud with the band's guitarist Slash, and the two haven't shared a stage for nearly two decades. Rose now leads a reconstituted Guns N' Roses that does not include Slash or other former Guns N' Roses members. [Associated Press]

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