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10 things you need to know today: July 15, 2012
The Red Cross says Syria is now in civil war, Oprah sits down with the Romneys, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
Oprah Winfrey interviewed Mitt Romney and his wife Ann on Friday for a piece that will appear in O, The Oprah Magazine.
Oprah Winfrey interviewed Mitt Romney and his wife Ann on Friday for a piece that will appear in O, The Oprah Magazine.
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

1. RED CROSS: SYRIA NOW IN FULL-BLOWN CIVIL WAR
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said Sunday that it considers Syria to be in a full-blown civil war, meaning that international humanitarian laws now apply throughout the country. The law gives parties to a conflict the right to use "appropriate force" to achieve their goals, and also gives them a reference point from which to determine how much and what type of force to use. The assessment could also create a basis for war crimes prosecutions, especially if civilians are attacked or detainees are abused or killed. Meanwhile, the Syrian government denied Sunday that it had used tanks and helicopters to attack the village of Tremseh in the Hama province on Thursday. Activists reported mass civilian killings in the town, but a government spokesman said two civilians were killed. U.N. observers are in Tremseh investigating the event. [Christian Science Monitor, Voice of America]
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2. OPRAH WINFREY INTERVIEWS THE ROMNEYS
Reports over the weekend confirmed that Oprah Winfrey interviewed Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his wife Ann at their New Hampshire home on Friday. The interview is set to be published in O, The Oprah Magazine. Winfrey is one of President Obama's highest-profile supporters, having stumped for him in 2007, and raising money for his campaign. Earlier this year she said she would not be returning to the trail for Obama because she is busy working on her OWN network. [CBS News]
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3. AFGHAN SUICIDE BOMB KILLS PROMINENT MP
A well-known Afghan lawmaker, Ahmad Khan Samangani, was killed along with 20 other people at his daughter's wedding in the northern province of Samangan following a suicide attack. The bomber posed as a guest and hugged Samangani before detonating his explosives, which also injured 40 people. The Taliban has denied responsibility for the assault. President Hamid Karzai appointed a team to investigate the killings. [BBC]
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4. RIM LIABLE FOR $147M IN PATENT CASE
A federal jury has ordered BlackBerry manufacturer Research in Motion (RIM) to pay $147.2 million in damages to Mformation Technologies Inc for patent infringement. Mformation, of Edison, N.J., sued RIM in October 2008, alleging that it had infringed on an invention for remotely managing wireless devices. Mformation's software allows companies to access employee cell phones for upgrades, to change passwords, or to wipe data from stolen phones. [USA Today]
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5. GROUP RECOMMENDS ANNUAL PTSD TESTS FOR TROOPS
The Institute of Medicine has recommended that military service members be screened every year for post-traumatic stress disorder, and that the government conduct more research to find out how well various treatments are working. Of the 2.6 million service members deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, an estimated 13 to 20 percent have symptoms of PTSD, but barely more than half of those affected are ever treated. [Associated Press]
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6. RETAILERS WIN $7.25B CREDIT CARD FEE SUIT
A settlement, on behalf of 7 million retailers, requires Visa, Mastercard, and 13 of the country's biggest banks to pay $7.25 billion to settle accusations by retailers that the banks engaged in price-fixing on credit-card transaction fees. The case could be the largest antitrust class-action settlement in U.S. history, and is expected to alter the price structure around credit cards. The banks are expected to appeal. [Knight Ridder/Tribune]
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7. SPACE WORKERS STRUGGLE TO FIND WORK
A year after NASA ended the Space Shuttle program, thousands of Kennedy Space Center workers in Florida are struggling to find jobs. More than 7,400 people lost their jobs in the shutdown. Some of the former NASA employees who have been able to find work have gone to South Carolina to build airplanes, or have taken lower-paying, lower-skilled jobs in Florida to avoid relocation. [Associated Press]
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8. BEAUTY PRODUCTS MAY UP DIABETES RISK 
A new study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives suggests that chemicals in beauty and personal care products may boost women's risk of diabetes. After testing the urine of 2,350 women, researchers found that elevated levels of phthalates — hormone-disrupting chemicals found in soaps, nail polishes, hair sprays, moisturizers, and perfumes — are associated with an increased risk of developing diabetes. Scientists warned that the study did not prove a direct cause-and-effect relationship, but did call this "an important first step in exploring the connection between phthalates and diabetes." [Health Day]
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9. SAGE STALLONE DEATH LIKELY AN ACCIDENT
A lawyer for Sage Stallone, one of actor Sylvester Stallone's sons, says that his client likely died of an accidental overdose. The 36-year-old's body was found in his Los Angeles home on Friday just days before he was to marry his longtime girlfriend. No suicide note was found near Sage's body, and his attorney said there was "no indication that there was anything wrong in [Sage's] life." [Daily News]
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10. VIDEO SPOTS HARD-TO-FIND SNOW LEOPARD DEN
A video has surfaced of two snow leopards with their cubs in a den in Mongolia, a finding that's an important step in learning more about the reproductive behavior and the young of the endangered species. Snow leopard dens are difficult to find because of the animals' secretive, elusive nature and the difficult, mountainous terrain in which they live. [MSNBC]

 

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