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10 things you need to know today: May 8, 2012
The CIA foils an al Qaeda bomb plot, Rick Santorum endorses Mitt Romney, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
Rick Santorum at a press conference where he suspended his campaign on April 10: Santorum sent an email on Monday, reluctantly endorsing Mitt Romney for the GOP nomination.
Rick Santorum at a press conference where he suspended his campaign on April 10: Santorum sent an email on Monday, reluctantly endorsing Mitt Romney for the GOP nomination.
Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

1. CIA THWARTS AL QAEDA BOMB PLOT
Intelligence officials report that the CIA stopped a plan by the Yemeni branch of al Qaeda to smuggle a bomb aboard a commercial flight headed to the U.S. The CIA became aware of the plot in mid-April, and the explosive device was seized about a week ago. Officials say the bomber is alive, but they won't disclose whether he is in foreign custody. The thwarted plot is being called a "worrisome sign" that al Qaeda is still determined to attack the U.S., and a senior administration official says "the sophisticaion of the IED [improvised explosive device] is concerning." [New York Times]
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2. HOLLANDE TO FOCUS ON RELATIONS WITH GERMANY
France's Socialist President-elect Francois Hollande says changing the Franco-German partnership will be a key priority, as he pushes economic growth over austerity. Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel says she will greet Hollande "with open arms," but will not agree to his plan to renegotiate the European Union's austerity treaty. Merkel, along with current French President Nicolas Sarkozy, a fellow conservative, instituted the treaty in December in an effort to curb deficits and debts. [Washington Post]
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3. RICK SANTORUM ENDORSES MITT ROMNEY
In an email sent out late Monday, former GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum called on his supporters to back Mitt Romney, writing, "President Obama must be defeated. The task will not be easy. It will require all hands on deck if our nominee is to be victorious." During his campaign, Santorum once called Romney "the worst Republican in the country." Monday's email reflected the lingering tension between the two men, with Santorum writing that "the primary campaign certainly made it clear that Gov. Romney and I have some differences." [Associated Press]
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4. N.C. VOTERS CONSIDER GAY MARRIAGE BAN 
The spotlight is on North Carolina Tuesday, as voters consider a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as solely between a man and a woman. Gay marriage is already banned by law in North Carolina, but a constitutional amendment would solidify the ban. In March, an Obama spokesman said the president opposed the amendment. Experts expect it to pass. [Associated Press]
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5. CHINA EJECTS AL-JAZEERA REPORTER
Al-Jazeera says it has been forced to close its English-language bureau in Beijing because Chinese authorities have refused to renew the visa and press credentials of correspondent Melissa Chan, an American journalist working for the Qatar-based network. The incident is China's first expulsion of a foreign journalist in 14 years, and the Foreign Correspondents' Club of China has reacted in protest, calling it "the most extreme example of a recent pattern of using journalist visas in an attempt to censor and intimidate foreign correspondents." [Christian Science Monitor]
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6. ARMY SAYS SOLDIER WASN'T SHOT ON SKYPE
Army investigators say they have found no evidence of a bullet wound on the body of Capt. Bruce Kevin Clark, the Army medic who died in Afghanistan while on a Skype video-call with his wife. On Sunday, Clark's family released a statement saying his wife had seen a bullet hole in the closet behind him. An Army spokesman says the investigation is ongoing. [Associated Press]
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7. ZUCKERBERG DEFENDS INSTAGRAM BUY
Ahead of Facebook's upcoming $10 billion initial public offering, CEO Mark Zuckerberg kicked off a cross-country roadshow Monday to pitch potential investors. Speaking at a hotel in New York City and wearing a hoodie and jeans, Zuckerberg defended his recent $1 billion purchase of Instagram, saying he had no regrets over hastily acquiring the photo-sharing app. [Reuters]
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8. DRUGMAKER TO PAY $1.6 BILLION FINE
In the second largest fraud settlement involving a drug company, Abbott Laboratories has pleaded guilty and agreed to a $1.6 billion settlement for promoting its prescription drug Depakote for illnesses it was not approved to treat. The Food and Drug Administration approved the drug for treating epileptic seizures and bipolar mania, as well as migraines, but Abbott was promoting it for treating schizophrenia and elderly dementia. [CNN]
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9. JURY DEADLOCKS IN GOOGLE-ORACLE CASE
A federal jury has reached an impasse on a key point in Oracle Corp.'s copyright-infringement suit against Google. The jury agreed that parts of Google's Android operating system are indeed pirated from Oracle's Java, but it was divided on whether Google's actions were allowed under "fair use" laws. Software maker Oracle is seeking $1 billion in damages, but a big payout now looks unlikely. [Associated Press]
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10. BY 2030, 42 PERCENT OF AMERICANS WILL BE OBESE
A new report in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine projects that 42 percent of Americans will be obese by 2030, requiring an additional $549.5 billion in medical spending. "If you could keep the obesity rates at today's level, you would save $550 billion," says the report's lead author, Eric Finkelstein. [CNN]

 

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