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10 things you need to know today: April 24, 2012
The U.N. chief calls out Sudan, China pledges its allegiance to North Korea, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has had his hands full recently with the shaky ceasefire in Syria and escalating violence between Sudan and South Sudan.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has had his hands full recently with the shaky ceasefire in Syria and escalating violence between Sudan and South Sudan.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

1. OFFICIALS SAY CHINA LINKED TO NORTH KOREA ROCKET LAUNCH
U.N. diplomats say that a website belonging to a Chinese company boasts that it supplied North Korea with the body of a vehicle used to transport missiles. If the Chinese firm did knowingly make such a sale, it may have violated a U.N ban on selling North Korea technology that can be used to further its ballistic missile program. Meanwhile, on Monday, Chinese President Hu Jintao pledged China's ongoing ties to North Korea, saying, "We will carry on this tradition... boost strategic communication and coordination on key international issues and work for peace and stability on the Korean peninsula." [ReutersBBC News]
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2. U.N. CHIEF CONDEMNS SUDAN VIOLENCE
U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon has condemned Sudan's cross-border air raids on South Sudan. He called for Sudan to immediately cease all attacks and for the leaders of both countries "to stop the slide toward further confrontation and... return to dialogue as a matter of urgency." [Telegraph]
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3. SYRIAN DEATHS CAST DOUBT ON PEACE PLAN
Syrian activists say some 70 people were killed Monday, the majority of them in a regime crackdown on the city of Hama. The attacks call into question the effectiveness and potential for the U.N. peace plan to save lives. The same day, President Obama unveiled new sanctions against Syria and Iran that are meant to stop the two governments from using social media to find and target dissenters. [BBC News]
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4. JENNIFER HUDSON TESTIFIES IN FAMILY MURDER TRIAL
The award-winning actress and singer gave a teary testimony Monday, serving as a witness for the prosecution in the trial of a man accused of murdering her mother, brother, and nephew. "None of us wanted her to marry him," Hudson said of the defendant, William Balfour, her sister's estranged husband. "We did not like how he treated her." The trial is expected to last three or four weeks. [CNN]
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5. WALMART SHARES PLUNGE AMID BRIBERY PROBE
Walmart shares fell 4.7 percent Monday, knocking some $10 billion off the company's market value, as authorities investigate allegations that Walmart de Mexico perpetrated a $24 million bribery campaign to expand its business in the country. A New York Times article alleges that several senior executives were aware that the company was paying bribes to get permits. If the allegations are true, Walmart would have violated several federal laws, including the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. [Reuters]
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6. GINGRICH MAY DROP OUT THIS WEEK
In an NBC News interview Monday, Newt Gingrich hinted that he might withdraw from the GOP race this week, saying he would "reassess" his campaign if things don't go well for him in Tuesday's Delaware primary. Meanwhile, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) says he'll stay in the race until the Republican convention, even if Mitt Romney gets the 1,144 delegates needed to secure the nomination. [MSNBC]
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7. MORE MEXICANS LEAVING U.S. THAN ENTERING
For the first time since the Depression, more Mexicans are leaving the United States than are coming in, according to a Pew Hispanic Center report. The weak U.S. job market, tighter border control, and declining birthrates in Mexico are believed to be behind the historic shift. "I think the massive boom in Mexican immigration is over, and I don't think it will ever return to the numbers we saw in the 1990s and 2000s," says Douglas Massey, a Princeton sociology professor and co-director of the Mexican Migration Project. [Washington Post]
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8. FACEBOOK REVENUE UP, PROFIT DOWN
The tech titan reported Monday that its profits declined for the first quarter, down 12 percent from the same period a year ago, despite a 45 percent increase in revenue, as the company spends more on sales, marketing, and research and development. Facebook also revealed that it had made a deal with Microsoft to acquire 650 patents for $550 million in cash. [USA Today]
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9. NETFLIX POSTS FIRST LOSS SINCE 2005
The troubled DVD-by-mail and streaming service posted a loss of $4.6 million for the last quarter, down from a $60 million profit for the same period a year ago. In better news, Netflix reported that it gained nearly 3 million streaming subscribers last quarter, but it predicted slower growth ahead, sending shares stumbling by more than 16 percent in after-hours trading. [New York Times]
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10. SCIENTISTS SPOT WHITE KILLER WHALE NEAR RUSSIA
Scientists have spotted an adult white orca off the coast of eastern Russia. Young white orcas have been seen before, but this is believed to be the first sighting of an adult white killer whale. Nicknamed "Iceberg," he seems to be healthy and, aside from his stark coloring, normal. [BBC News]

 

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