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10 things you need to know today: April 16, 2012
Norway's massacre trial begins, U.N. observers arrive in Syria, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
A team of U.N. monitors arrived in Damascus on April 16 to monitor the fragile ceasefire brokered by international envoy Kofi Annan.
A team of U.N. monitors arrived in Damascus on April 16 to monitor the fragile ceasefire brokered by international envoy Kofi Annan.
REUTERS/Khaled Al Hariri

1. NORWEGIAN KILLER PLEADS NOT GUILTY
On Monday, Anders Behring Breivik, the fanatical conservative behind the massacre that left 77 people dead in Norway last July, pleaded not guilty. Breivik admitted to the acts of terror, but claimed he acted in self-defense. He also rejected the court's authority, saying "I don't recognize Norwegian courts because you get your mandate from the Norwegian political parties who support multiculturalism." A militant anti-Muslim, Breivik has said that the massacre was needed to prevent Muslims from taking over Norway. His 10-week trial will focus on his mental health, and whether he belongs in prison or under psychiatric care. [Associated Press]
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2. U.N. OBSERVERS ARRIVE IN SYRIA, ATTACKS CONTINUE
The first six United Nations truce observers arrived in Syria on Monday, as the opposition reported regime shellfire in Homs and elsewhere. Still, reports from around the country suggest that the fragile ceasefire is holding in some places. An additional 25 monitors will arrive in Syria in the next few days, and that number could grow to 250. [New York Times]
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3. AUTHORITIES SAY TORNADO WARNINGS SAVED LIVES
Urgent warnings from weather forecasters are being credited with saving lives as the Midwest was struck by numerous tornadoes over the weekend. While one storm killed five people in Woodward, Okla., casualties have not been reported elsewhere. The 20 outdoor tornado warning sirens in Woodward were knocked out when lightning hit a control tower; authorities are still trying to determine whether the failed sirens contributed to the deaths in the town. [Associated Press]
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4. OBAMA WANTS "THOROUGH" SCANDAL INVESTIGATION
At a news conference on Sunday, President Obama called for a "thorough" and "rigorous" probe of the Secret Service prostitution scandal. Eleven Secret Service agents allegedly paid for the services of prostitutes in Cartagena, Colombia, last week, prior to the president's arrival for the Summit of the Americas. [CNN]
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5. MILITANTS CLAIM RESPONSIBILITY FOR AFGHAN ATTACKS
The Haqqani network, a deadly group with ties to al Qaeda and the Taliban, appears to be behind an 18-hour assault on Kabul that took the lives of three civilians and eight policemen, according to a militant who was arrested. The bold attacks demonstrate the insurgency's enduring strength and ability to get past Afghan security. [Associated Press]
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6. CLASSES IN SESSION ON VIRGINIA TECH ANNIVERSARY
Monday marks the fifth anniversary of the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech, in which Seung-Hui Cho killed 27 students and five faculty members before killing himself. It was the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history. Traditionally, classes have been suspended to honor the victims; this year, students will head to class. [Associated Press]
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7. GOOGLE-ORACLE SHOWDOWN BEGINS
A lawsuit brought by Oracle against Google will go to trial on Monday in San Francisco. Oracle claims Google's Android operating system violates several of its patents and copyrights because it infringes upon Oracle's intellectual property rights related to the Java programming language. Oracle is seeking $1 billion in compensation, which makes the case one of the biggest tech lawsuits to date. [BBC News]
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8. COAST GUARD CALLS OFF SEARCH FOR MISSING SAILORS
Saying the window of survivability has passed, the Coast Guard has called off the search for four sailors who were swept overboard on Saturday during a San Francisco yacht race after large waves battered their sailboat. The presumed death toll from the incident now stands at five, as rescuers recovered the body of one sailor, Marc Kasanin. [Reuters]
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9. PHOTO SHOWS PIPPA WITH GUN-TOTING MAN
Kate Middleton's sister is caught in the middle of a "growing scandal" after she was photographed in a convertible with three wealthy French bachelors, one of whom appears to be waving a gun at the photographer. Pippa could face arrest and imprisonment for her involvement in the incident, though many say that's unlikely. [USA Today]
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10. FIRST WEEKEND OF COACHELLA WRAPS
Critics are gushing over the first weekend of the Coachella music festival in the California desert. Radiohead, Mazzy Star, Pulp, and even a hologram of the late Tupac Shakur were among the many that performed. "Coachella's first of two weekends offered a snapshot of pop music in wonderful, remarkable disarray, a Jackson Pollock of frequencies and angles, of off-shoots, reflections, of 20-something musicians digging back to revive genres once thought extinct," says Randall Roberts in the Los Angeles Times. [Los Angeles Times]

 

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