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10 things you need to know today: May 7, 2012
French and Greek voters reject austerity, an American hostage appeals to Obama, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
A defaced poster of President Sarkozy is seen as the French run-off election is held on May 6: Socialist candidate Francois Hollande defeated the incumbent Sarkozy on Sunday.
A defaced poster of President Sarkozy is seen as the French run-off election is held on May 6: Socialist candidate Francois Hollande defeated the incumbent Sarkozy on Sunday.
Patrick Aventurier/Getty Images

1. EURO, MARKETS DOWN AFTER ELECTIONS IN FRANCE AND GREECE
The euro and markets have tumbled following game-changing elections in Europe. Socialist Francois Hollande beat incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy in the French presidential run-off; meanwhile, in Greek parliamentary elections, voters dealt a blow to long-dominant political parties in favor of supporting anti-bailout groups. Both elections show voters chafing against the austerity measures of the German-led plan to deal with Europe's debt crisis and are expected to have wide-reaching consequences. [Washington Post]
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2. AL QAEDA'S AMERICAN HOSTAGE PLEADS WITH OBAMA
Warren Weinstein, a 70-year-old American who was abducted in Pakistan last August, desperately appeals to President Obama in an al Qaeda video released Sunday. Weinstein tells the president he will be killed if Obama doesn't accept al Qaeda's demand that the U.S. stop airstrikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen. It has also demanded the release of al Qaeda and Taliban suspects around the world. "My life is in your hands, Mr. President," Weinstein says in the video. "It's important you accept the demands and act quickly and don't delay." [Associated Press]
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3. RON PAUL WINS IN MAINE AND NEVADA
The libertarian outlier picked up the most delegates at state GOP conventions in Maine and Nevada over the weekend. While Mitt Romney is widely presumed to be the GOP nominee, Paul's determined supporters show no signs of backing down. [Christian Science Monitor]
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4. PUTIN SWORN IN AMID PROTESTS
In a short ceremony at the Kremlin on Monday, Vladimir Putin was sworn in as Russia's president for a new six-year term. The inauguration followed a mass protest that drew more than 20,000 on Sunday; the demonstration turned violent when some protesters tried to march on the Kremlin and were beaten and detained by riot police. Hundreds of protesters lined up along the route of Putin's motorcade on Monday. [Associated Press]
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5. BIDEN MAKES REMARKS IN FAVOR OF GAY MARRIAGE
Appearing on NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday, Vice President Joe Biden said "I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women and heterosexual men and women marrying one another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties." Gay rights activists are taking Biden's remarks as "unmistakable support" for same-sex marriage, but Obama officials insist that the vice president is not breaking ranks with the president, who does not publicly support gay marriage. [Associated Press]
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6. SYRIAN OPPOSITION BOYCOTTING ELECTION
Syria is holding its first multi-party parliamentary elections in five years Monday, and the main opposition has dismissed the elections as a sham that will likely be rigged in favor of President Bashar al-Assad and his Baath party. The elections are not likely to affect the 13-month uprising and the violent crackdown by government forces. [ABC News, CBS News]
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7. FAMILY DISCUSSES U.S. SOLDIER'S SKYPE DEATH 
The family of Capt. Bruce Kevin Clark released a statement Sunday detailing what his wife saw on April 30 when she witnessed his sudden death while the couple was video-chatting on Skype. Clark, an Army nurse, was talking with his wife from Afghanistan when, according to the statement, he "was suddenly knocked forward... The closet behind him had a bullet hole in it." The Pentagon has said previously that Clark's death is still being investigated. [Associated Press]
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8. GEORGE LINDSEY, ANDY GRIFFITH'S GOOBER, DIES
George Lindsey, the actor best known for his role as Goober Pyle on The Andy Griffith Show, died Sunday at the age of 83. His character Goober was "the quintessential grinning hayseed, equal parts annoying and endearing." [New York Times]
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9. THE AVENGERS SMASHES BOX OFFICE RECORD
The superhero supergroup flick opened to $200.3 million at the domestic box office, setting a new record for the biggest opening ever. The final Harry Potter movie, which opened to $169.2 million, previously held the record. [Chicago Sun-Times]
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10. POLICE TREATING DERBY DEATH AS A HOMICIDE
Foul play is suspected in the death of an unidentified Latino man whose body was discovered Sunday at Churchill Downs, just one day after the Kentucky Derby was run at the famous Louisville racetrack. An autopsy of the body is scheduled for Monday. [CNN]

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