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10 things you need to know today: April 20, 2012
China downplays India's missile, police reopen a decades-old disappearance case, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
New York City police officers search the basement of a building in the Soho neighborhood: Investigators say they might have a lead in the 1979 disappearance case of 6-year-old Etan Patz.
New York City police officers search the basement of a building in the Soho neighborhood: Investigators say they might have a lead in the 1979 disappearance case of 6-year-old Etan Patz.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

1. CHINA DOWNPLAYS INDIA'S MISSILE LAUNCH
China is playing it cool following India's successful launch Thursday of a long-range missile called the Agni-V, which is purportedly capable of reaching cities as far away as Shanghai — a milestone for India. A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman insisted that the two countries "are not rivals" but "partners." According to experts, India has been increasing military spending partly because of China's growing dominance in the Indian Ocean. In 1962, the two countries went to war over border disputes. Despite the measured government response to the launch, an editorial in China's state-backed Global Times said, "India should be clear that China's nuclear power is stronger and more reliable." [CNN]
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2. JUDGE MAY RELEASE ZIMMERMAN ON BAIL
George Zimmerman, who is charged with murder for shooting and killing unarmed teen Trayvon Martin in February, "stands a good chance" of being granted bail on Friday, legal experts say. If Zimmerman is granted bond, his lawyer, Mark O'Mara, says he'll ask that Zimmerman be allowed to leave the area for his safety. [Associated Press]
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3. PICTURES SURFACE IN SECRET SERVICE SCANDAL
The New York Daily News has published what it claims are the first photos of the 24-year-old single mom at the center of the Secret Service prostitution scandal. Meanwhile, Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.), the head of the committee that oversees the Secret Service, says that "several more people" will be pushed out of the agency as the scandal continues to unfold. [Daily News]
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4. SEARCH REOPENS IN 1979 DISAPPEARANCE CASE
Police and FBI rigorously searched the basement of a New York City apartment building on Thursday in hopes of finding the remains of Etan Patz, a 6-year-old boy who disappeared in 1979 without a trace. Etan's disappearance was covered heavily by the media at the time, and he was one of the first missing children to appear on a milk carton. In recent months, authorities have received tips suggesting that Etan's remains are buried in the basement. A carpenter thought to be friendly with the boy had his workspace in the building. [Associated Press]
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5. THE BAND'S LEVON HELM DIES AT 71
The co-founder of the musical group The Band died "peacefully... surrounded by family, friends, and band mates" Thursday afternoon. The singer and multi-instrumentalist was 71 and had suffered from throat cancer. "As a member of the one of the most influential rock and roll groups, The Band, Levon Helm produced music that was as much timeless as it was timely," a statement from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame reads. [CNN]
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6. SARKOZY'S RE-ELECTION INCREASINGLY UNLIKELY
Nicolas Sarkozy could become the first one-term French president since 1981. France's first round of voting takes place Sunday, and polls forecast a tight race between Sarkozy and his key challenger in the 10-person field, Socialist Francois Hollande. However, Hollande is predicted to win in a face-off next month. A Sarkozy defeat would have broad diplomatic implications given the relationships Sarkozy has fostered with other European leaders and President Obama. [New York Times]
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7. MICROSOFT SURPASSES ANALYST FORECASTS
Microsoft shares are on the rise following a better-than-expected third quarter report. Sales were up 6 percent to $17.4 billion, thanks to strong corporate demand for Windows computers. Xbox 360 sales, however, were below analysts' estimates, down 48 percent from the same quarter a year ago. [Bloomberg]
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8. PENN STATE PAYS PATERNO ESTATE $5.5 MILLION
A Penn State spokesman says the school has doled out more than $5.5 million in payments and other benefits to Joe Paterno's estate to settle his employment contract. Paterno was fired in November after his former assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky, was charged with sexually abusing children. In January, Paterno passed away at the age of 85. [Washington Post]
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9. LAWRENCE TO DIRECT HUNGER GAMES SEQUEL
Lionsgate has reportedly tapped Francis Lawrence, director of I Am Legend and Water for Elephants, to direct Catching Fire, the sequel to The Hunger Games. An official deal is still pending. Gary Ross directed the first installment in the hit franchise, but declined to direct the second because of scheduling conflicts. [Hollywood Reporter]
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10. JELLYFISH POPULATION IS BOOMING
University of British Columbia researchers have found that the jellyfish population is on the rise around the world, and the animals are wreaking havoc on fishermen and swimmers. Asia and coastal Europe have been the hardest hit, while North America's coasts have largely been unaffected thus far. Overfishing and pollution are two of the biggest reasons for the jellyfish boom, because when fish are killed by fishermen or dirty water, that leaves more food in the ocean for jellyfish. [Yahoo! News Canada]

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