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10 things you need to know today: May 28, 2012
The U.S. honors its fallen this Memorial Day, Annan heads to Syria, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
Veteran Gerald Williams salutes during a Memorial Day ceremony at Brig. General William C. Doyle Cemetery in Wrightstown, N.J.
Veteran Gerald Williams salutes during a Memorial Day ceremony at Brig. General William C. Doyle Cemetery in Wrightstown, N.J.
AP Photo/Mel Evans

1. FALLEN TROOPS HONORED AT HOME AND ABROAD
At a Memorial Day service in Kabul Monday, top U.S commanders in Afghanistan read a letter written by a 23-year-old soldier who was killed in the country earlier this year. U.S. Marine Sgt. William Stacey had written a letter for his family that was to be read in the event of his death and offer an explanation as to what he was fighting for. "There will be a child who will live because men left the security they enjoyed in their home to come to his," Stacey, who was on his fourth deployment to Afghanistan, wrote. President Obama will honor the country's fallen warriors with a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery and a visit to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to mark the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.  [Associated Press]
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2. TROPICAL STORM BERYL MAKES LANDFALL
Just after midnight Monday, tropical storm Beryl made landfall near Jacksonville, Fla., with wind gusts of 73 mph. The storm is set to bring some six inches of rain to the region in the next few days and cause coastal flooding in parts of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. Beryl is expected, however, to weaken as it comes inland and will likely be downgraded to a tropical depression later today. [ABC News]
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3. ANNAN VISITS SYRIA AFTER MASSACRE
U.N. special envoy Kofi Annan arrived in Syria on Monday, three days after 108 people, many of them women and children, were slaughtered in Houla, a suburb of Homs. The U.N. Security Council convened Sunday and unanimously condemned the Syrian regime for its role in the massacre, noting the presence of government artillery and tank shellings. The Syrian government has denied involvement. Annan is set to meet with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and senior officials. Calling the massacre "horrific" and "atrocious," the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, said Monday that the U.S. would be prepared to take military action if all diplomatic options are exhausted. [CNN, New York Times]
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4. BLAIR DENIES BEING TOO "COZY" WITH MURDOCH
At an inquiry into British press standards launched in the wake of the News of the World phone hacking scandal, former Prime Minister Tony Blair said he had only a "working relationship" not a "cozy" one with Rupert Murdoch and his media empire. Blair is under scrutiny for maintaining a relationship that some say was "closer than was wise" with Murdoch and News International. He did admit to courting the support of Murdoch's newspapers and other media before elections. [Telegraph]
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5. CONFESSION MIGHT NOT BE ENOUGH IN PATZ CASE
Legal experts say that prosecutors may have a hard time convincing jurors beyond a reasonable doubt that Pedro Hernandez murdered 6-year-old Etan Patz 33 years ago. While the 51-year-old gave a voluntary, signed confession, there's no body and little physical evidence in the case, and false confessions are fairly common. Hernandez is being held in a psychiatric ward, and, according to his court-appointed attorney, he is schizophrenic and bipolar and has long been on medication. [Associated Press]
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6. FRANCHITTI WINS INDY 500
Dario Franchitti won his third Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, paying tribute to his late friend Dan Wheldon, who won the race last year and was later killed in an IndyCar crash in October. Franchitti is married to actress Ashley Judd. [Associated Press]
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7. FACEBOOK SAID TO BE DEVELOPING A SMARTPHONE
Anonymous sources tell The New York Times that Facebook is aiming to release its own smartphone by next year. The social networking giant is said to have poached several Apple engineers involved with the iPhone and iPad to work on the project. Facebook has reportedly attempted a smartphone twice before. [New York Times]
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8. HANEKE'S AMOUR GETS TOP CANNES PRIZE
Michael Haneke was awarded the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival on Sunday for Amour, a "powerful and understated" film about an octogenarian couple dealing with the wife's ailing health. The Austrian director was previously awarded the top prize of The White Ribbon in 2009. He is the seventh director to with the Palme twice. [Associated Press]
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9. BIEBER INVESTIGATED FOR HITTING PHOTOGRAPHER
Justin Bieber is being investigated for possible misdemeanor battery. A photographer claims the pop star struck him after he took pictures of Bieber and his girlfriend, Selena Gomez. Bieber's camp has not yet commented on the allegations. [Los Angeles Times]
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10. MEN IN BLACK 3 BEATS AVENGERS
Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones' latest brought in $55 million at the domestic box office over the weekend to take the top slot. The Avengers, which topped the box office the three previous weekends, took in $37 million, bringing its total domestic box office to $514 million. It's only the fourth movie ever to bring in more than $500 million stateside. [Associated Press]

 

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