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10 things you need to know today: July 16, 2012
Hillary Clinton visits Israel, Microsoft sells its stake in MSNBC.com, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signs a book Monday during her Jerusalem meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signs a book Monday during her Jerusalem meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres.

 Matty Stern/U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv via Getty Images

1. NORTH KOREA DISMISSES MILITARY LEADER
North Korea announced Monday that it had dismissed its military leader, General Ri Yong Ho, who had controlled a 1.2 million-member army. In its brief statement, the government said Ri, 69, was being relieved of his duties because of an illness. Analysts cast doubt on that reasoning, and speculation has arisen about whether Ri and  Kim Jong Un were at odds with one another, or whether Ri had been found to be plotting a coup. Analysts note that Ri's removal was ordered after a rare Sunday meeting, and that Ri had made several appearances this month looking healthy. The move marks the highest-profile leadership change since Kim came to power last December. [Washington Post]

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2. COMCAST BUYS MICROSOFT'S STAKE IN MSNBC.COM
Comcast, NBC's parent company, has officially purchased MSNBC.com in its entirety, after Microsoft pulled out of the 16-year-old joint venture. Microsoft reportedly plans to build its own online news service. The MSNBC website, which has already been rebranded as NBCNews.com, will move its headquarters from Microsoft's campus in Washington to NBC's home in New York. [Associated Press]
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3. CLINTON VISITS ISRAEL TO DISCUSS IRAN, SYRIA
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Israel for talks on Iran, Syria, Egypt, and the Middle East peace process. Over the weekend, Clinton had been in Egypt to talk with newly minted President Mohamed Morsi about his plans to abide by all international agreements Egypt has made, including a peace treaty with Israel. Clinton met with Israeli President Shimon Peres on Monday, and will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well. [BBC]
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4. AFRICAN UNION CHOOSES FIRST FEMALE LEADER
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, South Africa's home affairs minister, has been named the leader of the African Union, making her the group's first female leader. The election of Dlamini-Zuma, 63, a former wife of South African President Jacob Zuma, ended months of bitter deadlock at the African Union. [Guardian]
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5. ANNAN TO MEET RUSSIAN LEADERS ON SYRIA
U.N. peace envoy Kofi Annan will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday to discuss escalating violence in Syria, which, the Red Cross has declared, is officially in a civil war. While Russia has agreed to stop selling arms to Syria, it has been steadfast against a U.N. Security Council draft resolution that would put more pressure on the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Meanwhile, Syrian opposition fighters in Damascus reported the fiercest fighting yet inside the capital. [CNN, Reuters]
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6. REPORT: IPAD MINI IS COMING
In a new report, The New York Times says that Apple is developing a new tablet with a 7.85-inch screen that "is likely to sell for significantly less than the latest $499 iPad, with its 9.7-inch display, according to several people with knowledge of the project." Apple did not comment on the claim, but several new tablets, including Google's Nexus 7 and Amazon's Kindle Fire, are smaller and less expensive than Apple's iPad, leading many to believe the company is trying to remain competitive in the market with a smaller version of its popular tablet. [New York Times]
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7. CHANGES IN GAIT COULD SIGNAL ALZHEIMER'S
Researchers at the Alzheimer's Association's International Conference in Vancouver say that changes in a person's walking could be an early sign of cognitive decline, and an indication that more advanced testing could be necessary. The findings are the first to link a physical symptom to the disease, which up until now required doctors to begin a diagnosis by focusing on cognition and administering lengthy neurological tests. [USA Today]
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8. FLOODING IN SOUTHERN JAPAN LEAVES 28 DEAD 
Torrential rain that began Thursday in southwest Japan has left 28 people dead and thousands of homes and roads damaged. The military has airlifted food to stranded residents, as hundreds of landslides were still being reported. [Associated Press]
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9. NEWLY SIGNED KNICK JASON KIDD ARRESTED
Jason Kidd, the veteran NBA point guard who just signed with the New York Knicks, was arrested over the weekend in Southhampton, N.Y., on a charge of driving while intoxicated, after he allegedly crashed his car into a telephone pole. Meanwhile, the Knicks are also dealing with a P.R. disaster as they try to bring Jeremy Lin back to the team, after he agreed in principle to a three-year offer from the Houston Rockets. (The Knicks can still match the offer.) [The Record]
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10. OSCAR-WINNING ACTRESS CELESTE HOLM DIES
Celeste Holm, who gained huge fame after starring in Oklahoma! on Broadway, died at the age of 95 on Sunday. Holm, who also won an Oscar for her role in Gentleman's Agreement, had been hospitalized two weeks ago for dehydratrion. Though she was a big name in the 1940s, her final years had been filled with financial difficulty. [Associated Press]

 

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