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10 things you need to know today: May 27, 2012
Syria's government denies a deadly attack, a scandal explodes at the Vatican — and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
Anti-Syrian regime mourners chant as they carry the body of Khaled Shurbajy during his funeral procession on Saturday: More than 90 people were killed in an attack on the district of Houla.
Anti-Syrian regime mourners chant as they carry the body of Khaled Shurbajy during his funeral procession on Saturday: More than 90 people were killed in an attack on the district of Houla.
AP Photo

1. SYRIA DENIES IT WAS BEHIND ATTACK THAT KILLED 90
The Syrian government denied that its troops killed more than 90 people on Saturday in Houla, an area northwest of the central city of Homs. Instead, Damascus blamed "hundreds of [unidentified] heavily-armed gunmen" for the killings, and claimed that some of the government's troops were also attacked. However, U.N. observers found spent artillery and tank shells at the site — a finding which would point toward the government's heavily-armed mechanized units. The assault was one of the bloodiest single events in Syria's 15-month-old uprising. The U.N. says 32 children under 10 were among the dead. [Associated Press]
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2. VATICAN IN CHAOS OVER LEAK SCANDAL
After sensitive Vatican documents were leaked in recent months, the Holy See launched an investigation, leading to the arrest of Paolo Gabriele, Pope Benedict XVI's butler, on Wednesday, and the ousting of Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, the president of the Vatican bank, last week. Both men were found to have secret Vatican documents in their possession. The scandal has embarrassed the Vatican when it is trying to convince the world financial community that it has shed its reputation as a scandal-plagued tax haven. But the documents allege corruption in Vatican finance as well as internal bickering over the Holy See's efforts to show more transparency. [Associated Press]
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3. NATO AIRSTRIKE KILLS EIGHT AFGHAN CIVILIANS
Afghan authorities said on Sunday that a NATO airstrike killed a family of eight in their home in eastern Afghanistan. The attack, if confirmed, could anger Afghan leaders at a time when Washington needs Kabul's cooperation in determining a blueprint for engagement after the U.S. wraps up its troop withdrawal in 2014. A NATO spokesman said the incident appears to have been precipitated by an insurgent attack on Western troops in Paktia province. Both NATO and the Afghan government will conduct investigations. [Los Angeles Times]
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4. SUSPECT IN ETAN PATZ CASE GAVE 'INTIMATE DETAILS'
According to sources, Pedro Hernandez, the man who confessed to killing 6-year-old New York city boy Etan Patz in 1979, gave detectives "intimate details" about the child's murder that only the killer could have known. Those details have not been revealed. Hernandez was charged with second-degree murder and remains under psychiatric watch. [New York Post]
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5. SANDY DAHL, THE FACE OF 9/11 FAMILIES, DIES
Sandy Dahl, 52, the wife of Captain James Dahl, who piloted United Flight 93 on Sept. 11, died Friday in Colorado of natural causes, according to the Captain Jason Dahl Scholarship Fund, the charity she founded. After her husband's death, Sandy became a public face for grieving 9/11 families and gradually became a confident public speaker. The scholarship fund helps young pilots pay for their education. [Denver Post]
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6. SUBTROPICAL STORM BERYL THREATENS SE COAST
Subtropical storm Beryl moved toward the southeast U.S. coast, where it is expected to make landfall on Sunday night. Forecasters said the system had maximum sustained winds of 50 mph and was moving in a west-southwest direction at 10 mph. [Associated Press]
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7. TEEN GUNMAN KILLS 2, WOUNDS 7 IN FINLAND
An 18-year-old gunman opened fire from a low rooftop in Helsinki, Finland, killing two people and wounding seven as they gathered outside a restaurant around 2 am on Saturday. The man, who had no criminal record, surrendered peacefully and has acknowledged the shootings, police said. [Associated Press]
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8. SPACE STATION ASTRONAUTS ENTER THE DRAGON
Astronauts at the International Space Station unsealed the SpaceX's Dragon capsule on Saturday, "literally opening the door on a new era in commercial spaceflight." It was the first time any commercial spacecraft has ever traveled to and docked at the space station. Based on the Dragon's performance during its demonstration mission, space station astronauts said it isn't hard to imagine flying in the Dragon or similar commercial vehicles. [Florida Today]
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9. BACTERIA LINKED TO IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME
A new study published in Digestive Diseases and Sciences shows a definitive link between overgrowth of bacteria in the stomach and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The study of Greek patients is the first to use the "gold standard" method of examining gut bacterial cultures to connect bacteria to the cause of a disease that affects some 30 million Americans. The researchers say their findings confirm antibiotics are a successful treatment for IBS. [Medical News Today]
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10. LADY GAGA CANCELS CONCERT AMID SECURITY FEARS
Singer Lady Gaga has canceled her sold-out show in Indonesia amid security fears after the extremist Islamic Defenders Front predicted violence if she performed, calling the singer a "devil's messenger" who wears only a "bra and panties" on stage. [AFP]

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