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10 things you need to know today: July 5, 2012
Romney calls the ObamaCare mandate a tax, Mexico holds an election recount, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
Mitt Romney now says he agrees with the Supreme Court's decision that the individual mandate outlined under the President Obama's Affordable Care Act, does in fact amount to a tax.
Mitt Romney now says he agrees with the Supreme Court's decision that the individual mandate outlined under the President Obama's Affordable Care Act, does in fact amount to a tax.
REUTERS/Benjamin Myers

1. ROMNEY MAKES U-TURN ON HEALTH MANDATE AS TAX
In an interview with CBS News on Wednesday, Mitt Romney declared President Obama's health mandate a tax, saying "the Supreme Court is the highest court in the nation, and it said that it's a tax, so it's a tax." The comment has drawn criticism given that Romney's chief spokesman and senior strategist said earlier in the week that Romney did not think that the mandate should be considered a tax. His new stance also more closely aligns him with the dominant Republican viewpoint on health care. It could open him up to further criticism in the run-up to November, given that as governor of Massachusetts Romney oversaw a health care plan that required nearly every resident to get health insurance or pay a penalty. [New York Times]
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2. PAKISTAN REOPENS NATO SUPPLY LINES
A Pakistani official says the first NATO truck carrying supplies to troops in Afghanistan crossed Pakistan's border Thursday after a seven-month-long closure of supply routes. Pakistan closed the routes in response to an American drone strike in November that left 24 Pakistani troops dead. The blockade forced the U.S. to make longer, more costly trips through the former Soviet Union. After months of negotiations, Pakistan reopened the supply routes this week after Hillary Clinton apologized for the November deaths. The U.S. could save hundreds of millions of dollars thanks to the route's reopening. [Associated Press]
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3. MEXICO TO RECOUNT PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION VOTES
In Mexico, election authorities say they will recount votes cast in Sunday's presidential elections. The recount will affect more than half of the 143,132 polling stations. Enrique Pena Nieto of the old guard PRI party had been declared the winner, but authorities have found inconsistencies in the cast ballots, and some people have even alleged that Nieto bought votes. The second place winner, leftist Manuel Lopez Obrador, is leading the charge for the recount. [BBC News]
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4. JAPAN: NUCLEAR CRISIS WAS MAN-MADE
Japan's nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daichi power plant after the earthquake and tsunami of 2011 was a "man-made disaster," according to an "unusually frank" report commissioned by the national parliament. The Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission report, which was released Thursday, says the nuclear industry's regulation and promotion are handled by the same government agency, making for a conflict of interest and lax regulation. It also alleges negligence on the part of the operators, in addition to the government and regulators, and blames Japanese culture and its "reflexive obedience" and "reluctance to question authority" for the crisis. [CNN]
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5. BRITS ARREST SIX SUSPECTED TERRORISTS
Six people were arrested in London early Thursday after British police raided a residence near Olympic Park as part of an anti-terror operation. Scotland Yard says the operation isn't related to the the upcoming games. Reportedly, all the suspects are British Muslims. [Associated Press]
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6. S. KOREA TO RESUME WHALING FOR RESEARCH
Officials say that South Korea plans to start hunting whales again. While the stated purpose of the whaling is research, environmental groups fear the plans may really just be a cover for commercial whaling, which was banned in 1986. Exceptions have been made that allow Japan, Iceland, and Norway to do some whaling, as well as indigenous groups in various countries. [Associated Press]
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7. APPLE TO REPORTEDLY RELEASE SMALLER TABLET
Apple's component suppliers in China tell The Wall Street Journal that they are prepping to produce a tablet with a significantly smaller screen than the current iPad's 9.7-inch display. Kindle tablets and the new mini-tablet from Google have 7-inch screens. [Wall Street Journal]
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8. SPIDER-MAN BREAKS BOX-OFFICE RECORD
The Amazing Spider-Man opened Tuesday, taking in $35 million at the box office on its first day, setting a new record for the biggest Tuesday opening. Sony's comic book reboot stars Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. Transformers, which opened to $27.8 million on July 3, 2007, previously held the record. [Wall Street Journal]
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9. FEDERER, DJOKOVIC TO FACE OFF IN SEMIFINALS
After easy quarterfinal victories, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are set to face off in the semifinals at Wimbledon on Friday. It will be the first time that the No. 3 and No. 1 seed, respectively, have played against each other at Wimbledon, and the their first meeting on grass. In the other semifinal, Britain's Andy Murray will face off against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in a bid to become the first British man since 1938 to reach the Wimbledon singles final. [New York Times]
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10. CHESTNUT WINS SIXTH HOT DOG-EATING CONTEST
Joey Chestnut downed 68 dogs in 10 minutes Wednesday to win Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest for the sixth year in a row. Sonya "Black Widow" Thomas downed 45 dogs to win's the women's event. [Associated Press]

 

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