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10 things you need to know today: May 20, 2012
The Lockerbie bomber dies, a powerful earthquake hits northern Italy — and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
Libyan Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, who was found guilty of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, was released from prison on compassionate grounds in 2009 because he was said to have just months to live.
Libyan Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, who was found guilty of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, was released from prison on compassionate grounds in 2009 because he was said to have just months to live.
AP Photo/Abdel Magid Al Fergany, File

1. LOCKERBIE BOMBER AL-MEGRAHI DIES
Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, 60, the only person convicted over the 1988 Lockerbie bombing of Pan Am flight 103, which killed 270 people above Scotland, has died at home in Libya, his brother has told news agencies. Megrahi was convicted by a special court in the Netherlands in 2001. In 2009, he was released from prison on compassionate grounds because he was suffering from cancer and was said to have only months to live. Shortly before being freed, Megrahi dropped his second appeal against his conviction. His release sparked the fury of many of the relatives of the victims of the Lockerbie disaster. [BBC
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2. POWERFUL EARTHQUAKE KILLS FOUR IN N. ITALY
Aftershocks continued in northern Italy on Sunday after a 6.0 magnitude earthquake struck, killing at least four people and injured more than 50. The epicenter of the quake was 3.2 miles below ground, north of Bologna, and was felt across Italy, from Liguria to the Veneto. [Guardian]
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3. BLIND CHINESE DISSIDENT ARRIVES IN NYC
Chen Guangcheng, the blind Chinese dissident who recently sought refuge in the American Embassy in Beijing, arrived in New York City's Greenwich Village neighborhood on Saturday. Chen said he was grateful to the American Embassy and the Chinese government, which allowed him to leave China, and thanked China for "dealing with the situation with restraint and calm." Chen will study at New York University. [New York Times]
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4. NATO SUMMIT OPENS IN CHICAGO
World leaders at a NATO summit in Chicago will tackle Afghanistan's post-conflict future beginning Sunday. Dignitaries will discuss everything from funding for security forces to upcoming elections. President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai will have an hour-long private meeting to discuss Afghanistan's 2014 elections, as well as the prospect of a political settlement with the Taliban, a senior Obama administration official said. [Associated Press]
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5. EXPLOSION NEAR U.N. OBSERVERS IN SYRIA
A bomb exploded in a suburb of the Syrian capital Damascus, some 500 feet away from where U.N. observer chief Maj. Gen. Robert Mood, his team, and a group of journalists were. No casulaties were reported. The U.N. team of more than 200 members has had little success quelling the violence in the crisis, despite a ceasefire that went into place April 12. [Associated Press]
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6. NAACP ENDORSES SAME-SEX MARRIAGE
In a historic move, the NAACP, the nation's oldest African American civil rights group, voted to support same-sex marriage. The NAACP passed the resolution at a meeting of its board of directors in Miami, saying it opposed any policy or legislative initiative that "seeks to codify discrimination or hatred into the law or to remove the constitutional rights of LGBT citizens." [Los Angeles Times]
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7. STUDY QUESTIONS ROLE OF 'GOOD' CHOLESTEROL
In a study published in The Lancet, a team of Boston researchers examined the health of more than 100,000 people, and found that raising the levels of "good" cholesterol — or HDL — did not lower their risk of heart attacks. The results come shortly after a clinical trial of an HDL-raising drug being tested by the Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche was halted. [Boston Globe]
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8. FACEBOOK'S ZUCKERBERG MARRIES GIRLFRIEND
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg married his longtime girlfriend Priscilla Chan on Saturday in a surprise ceremony at his Palo Alto mansion. The couple had been planning the event for several months, but told guests they were invited to a party to celebrate Chan's graduation from medical school. This week was also momentous for the couple because Facebook stock began trading on Friday. [Associated Press]
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9. RARE SOLAR ECLIPSE COMING SUNDAY
A solar eclipse will be visible on a path from northwestern Texas through New Mexico, northeastern Arizona, southern Utah, Nevada, northern California and southwestern Oregon late Sunday. The eclipse will begin over Asia during its Monday morning, when it will be visible in southern Japan and southern China. The eclipse is a rare annular one, during which the moon does not block the entirety of the sun, but leaves a bright ring of visible light at the edges, according to NASA. [CNN]
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10. I'LL HAVE ANOTHER WINS PREAKNESS
The horse I'll Have Another won the Preakness Stakes on Saturday, just two weeks after winning the Kentucky Derby. The colt is scheduled to head to Belmont Park, where he will try to become the 12th horse to sweep the Triple Crown, horse racing's holy grail, and the first one since Affirmed did so in 1978. [New York Times]

 

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