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10 things you need to know today: April 27, 2012
Liberia's Charles Taylor is convicted, George Zimmerman raises big money for his defense, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
Former Liberian President Charles Taylor awaiting his verdict: Taylor was convicted of 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and will face sentencing in May.
Former Liberian President Charles Taylor awaiting his verdict: Taylor was convicted of 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and will face sentencing in May.
REUTERS

1. CHARLES TAYLOR FOUND GUILTY OF WAR CRIMES
The warlord–turned–Liberian president was convicted of 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity on Thursday. An international tribunal ruled that Taylor was guilty of arming and supporting violent rebels in Sierra Leone that committed mass atrocities during the country's 11-year civil war, which left more than 50,000 dead and many others brutally mutilated. Taylor is the first head of state to be convicted by an international war crimes court since the second world war. The court, which has no death penalty or life sentence, will announce Taylor's punishment next month. [Associated Press, New York Times]
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2. HOUSE PASSES CYBERSECURITY BILL
Defying Obama's veto threat, the House passed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act by a 248-168 vote on Thursday. The measure urges companies and the government to voluntarily share information about cyber threats, and gives them the legal immunity to do so. The Obama administration has strongly opposed the bill on the grounds that it doesn't do enough to protect the country from cyberattacks, and that it would threaten consumer privacy by allowing personal data to be shared too freely. [Bloomberg]
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3. ZIMMERMAN RAISES $200,000 FOR HIS DEFENSE
George Zimmerman, the man who killed 17-year-old unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin, has raised some $200,000 in donations for his legal defense, his attorney revealed Thursday. A lawyer for Trayvon Martin's family says Zimmerman should return to jail because he didn't disclose that he had the funds at his recent bond hearing, instead portraying himself as needy. [CNN]
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4. SENATE RENEWS DOMESTIC ABUSE LAW
The Senate voted 68-31 on Thursday to renew the Violence Against Women Act. The bill seeks to get more funding for the law and expand the protections for immigrants and same-sex couples. Democrats say that GOP resistance to the law's expansion is evidence of the Right's "war on women." Republicans argue that they do not oppose the law, and say that Dems are loading it with "hot-button political issues" in order to make them look bad in an election year. [CNN]
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5. OFFICIALS SAY SYRIA PEACE PLAN "FAILING"
"What is obvious and indisputable is that the Kofi Annan plan has failed," says Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). "We are talking about economic sanctions and diplomatic sanctions when we should be helping these people as we helped the people of Bosnia," McCain noted, advocating for armed intervention by the U.S. Derek Chollet, President Obama's nominee to be assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, agreed with McCain that the cease-fire had fallen apart. [Bloomberg]
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6. FORMER CIA AGENT DEFENDS WATERBOARDING
In his upcoming book, Hard Measures, out April 30, retired top CIA officer Jose Rodriguez defends waterboarding and his decision to order the destruction of videos showing the practice. "I am very secure in what we did and am very confident that what we did saved American lives," Rodriguez says. [CBS News]
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7. PAKISTAN DEPORTS BIN LADEN FAMILY 
Pakistan deported 14 members of Osama bin Laden's family to Saudi Arabia on Friday. A judge ordered the deportation because the relatives were illegally living in the country. Bin Laden's three widows and two daughters were among those being deported. [CNN]
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8. U.S. TO MOVE 9,000 MARINES OFF OKINAWA
The U.S. has agreed to withdraw some 9,000 Marines from the Japanese island of Okinawa — the number equals roughly half of the Marines stationed there — in an effort to ease tensions with local residents. Cries for the military to leave Okinawa first intensified in 1995 after a 12-year-old Japanese girl was raped by three U.S. troops. [CNN]
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9. FEDS HIRE TOP LAWYER TO FIGHT GOOGLE
In a sign that the federal government could be ready to take Google to court over possible antitrust violations, regulators have hired a prominent outside lawyer, Beth A. Wilkinson, who played a lead role in the conviction of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. While no formal decision has been made about bringing a case against Google, Wilkinson's hiring is seen as a sign that the investigation is intensifying and the likelihood of a big court case is increasing. Google competitors allege that the company abuses its search engine popularity by unfairly ranking search results. [New York Times]
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10. AMAZON EXCEEDS REVENUE EXPECTATIONS
The e-tailing giant has blown away analysts' estimates for the first quarter, reporting a 34 percent rise in revenue, to $13.18 billion, from the same period a year ago. Amazon's net income dropped by 35 percent as it spent big on the Kindle Fire and a new shipping center, but even that number was better than analysts expected. The company's shares soared nearly 15 percent in after-hours trading. [New York Times]

 

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