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10 things you need to know today: May 31, 2012
Seattle mourns shooting victims, Syrian rebels issue an ultimatum, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
Mourners add to a memorial of beer, candles, and flowers in front of Cafe Racer in Seattle, where a gunman, Ian L. Stawicki, shot five people earlier that morning, four of whom died.
Mourners add to a memorial of beer, candles, and flowers in front of Cafe Racer in Seattle, where a gunman, Ian L. Stawicki, shot five people earlier that morning, four of whom died.
David Ryder/Zuma Press/CORBIS

1. SEATTLE SHOOTER KILLS FIVE, AND HIMSELF
In Seattle Wednesday, a man opened fire in a coffee shop in the city's University District, killing four. The same man is believed to have shot and killed another woman a few miles away less than an hour later in an apparent carjacking incident. After being pursued for five hours by police, the suspect shot himself in the head. Another shooting victim is in the hospital in critical condition, and is not expected to live. Wednesday's violence brings Seattle's year-to-date homicide total to 19. The city has a relatively small population of just 600,000 and had 20 homicides in total for all of 2011. [CNN]
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2. SYRIAN REBELS SET FRIDAY DEADLINE FOR CEASEFIRE
Syrian rebels say President Bashar al-Assad's regime has until noon on Friday to abide by Kofi Annan's peace plan or they will take "courageous actions." The Free Syrian Army's ultimatum preceded a call from U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for the regime to follow Annan's peace plan, which it has violated almost daily since it went into effect on April 12. [Voice of America]
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3. BEDOUINS KIDNAP TWO U.S. TOURISTS IN EGYPT
Early Thursday, two American tourists in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula were snatched from their car by armed Bedouins as they traveled to a resort on the Red Sea. Officials say the kidnapping may be to protest a Bedouin tribesman being arrested earlier this week on suspicion of trafficking drugs. There have been a number of abductions in Sinai recently, with Bedouins snatching tourists in order to get authorities to release their detained relatives or to meet other demands. Negotiations are under way for the release of the two Americans. [Associated Press]
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4. SPACEX CAPSULE HEADS HOME
International Space Station astronauts cut the SpaceX Dragon capsule loose early Thursday. The Dragon is set to splash down in the Pacific midday Thursday after a six-hour journey home, capping off the first commercial supply ship's historic flight. [Associated Press]
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5. POLICE SUSPECT PORN ACTOR OF MAILING BODY PARTS
Authorities in Canada are trying to track down 29-year-old porn actor Luka Rocco Magnotta, aka Eric Clinton Newman. In a bizarre case, Magnotta is suspected of dismembering an acquaintance and mailing his severed foot, head, hand, and torso to different locations in Ottawa. Police say they have found a video online of Magnotta committing the brutal murder, and dried blood stains throughout his apartment. [CNN]
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6. POLLS: OBAMA, ROMNEY DEADLOCKED IN KEY STATES
A fresh round of NBC-Marist polls show that President Obama and Mitt Romney are deadlocked in three key battleground states: Iowa, Colorado, and Nevada. Obama won all three states in 2008, and George W. Bush did the same in 2004. [MSNBC]
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7. NYC CONSIDERS BANNING BIG SODAS
In an effort to fight obesity, New York City is proposing a ban on the sale of large sodas and other sugary beverages. The ban would place a 16-ounce limit on the size of such drinks sold at restaurants, movie theaters, and sporting events but not in grocery stores or convenience markets. It would be the first such ban in the country. The city's mayor, Michael Bloomberg, says he "thinks it's what the public wants the mayor to do." [USA Today]
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8. ISRAEL RETURNS REMAINS OF 91 PALESTINIANS
On Thursday, the Israeli government began returning the bodies of 91 Palestinians killed in attacks against Israelis over the past 40 years. The move is considered a humanitarian gesture. An Israeli government spokesman calls it a "confidence-building measure to help get the peace process back on track." [CNN]
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9. YOUNGEST SPELLER OUT IN NATIONAL BEE
Six-year-old Lori Anne Madison, the youngest competitor in the history of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, was eliminated in the second round of competition on Wednesday. Madison correctly spelled "dirigible" in the first round but was felled by "ingluvies" in the second. [Washington Post]
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10. STUDY: ELDERLY PEOPLE DO SMELL DIFFERENT
Researchers have confirmed something many have long suspected: Elderly people have a distinct odor. But the study found that when taken out of context, "old people smell" was not unpleasant. [ABC News]

 

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