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10 things you need to know today: July 20, 2012
A gunman kills 12 at a Colorado theater, Microsoft reports its first quarterly loss, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
During an early morning screening of The Dark Knight Rises in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater on July 20, a masked gunman opened fire, killing 14 people and wounding 50.
During an early morning screening of The Dark Knight Rises in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater on July 20, a masked gunman opened fire, killing 14 people and wounding 50.
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1. POLICE ARREST SUSPECTED COLORADO THEATER SHOOTER
At least 12 people are dead and 50 wounded after a masked male gunman opened fire at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., at an early Friday morning showing of The Dark Knight Rises. The gunman, whom the FBI identified as 24-year-old James Holmes, has been taken into custody. At first, some at the multiplex thought the gunshots were part of the film. Witnesses say the gunman used some sort of device to release gas or smoke before opening fire. The suspect is said to have been heavily armed and wearing a bulletproof vest. Dozens of victims are being treated at area hospitals. [CNN, Associated Press]
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2. SYRIAN SECURITY CHIEF DIES OF BOMBING WOUNDS
Syrian state media reports that Gen. Hisham Ikhtiyar has died from wounds suffered in Wednesday's bombing at the national security headquarters. He's the fourth member of President Bashar al-Assad's inner circle to have died from the bombing. The deputy defense minister, defense minister, and a former defense minister were also killed. [Associated Press]
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3. ROMNEY ATTACKS OBAMA FOR BUSINESS COMMENT
In a new television ad, Mitt Romney assails President Obama over a comment he made at a campaign stop in Virginia last week. The president told a crowd that "somebody else" helped create their businesses as he talked about the role of the government in helping the economy. The new Romney ad features a business owner talking about how he and his father worked hard to build their business. [Associated Press]
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4. MICROSOFT REPORTS FIRST QUARTERLY LOSS
Microsoft has reported a quarterly net loss of $492 million, down from a net income of $5.87 billion from the same period a year ago. It's the computing giant's first loss since it went public in 1986. Overall revenue was up slightly, but a $6.2 billion write-down of an "ill-fated acquisition" of an online advertising business called aQuantive pulled the company into the red. Revenue from Microsoft Windows was down 13 percent from the same period a year ago. [New York Times]
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5. TIGER WOODS HAS STRONG BRITISH OPEN START
Tiger Woods hit a three-under-par 67 on Thursday in the opening round of the British Open, putting him just three shots behind leader Adam Scott. Woods is said to have demonstrated a cool confidence on the range and impressive putting as he goes for his first major title since 2008's U.S. Open. He has had three wins on the tour so far this year, stirring hope and speculation that he might finally be returning to his pre-divorce form. [Reuters]
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6. PRIVATE STUDENT LOAN DEBT HITS $150 BILLION
A new report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau notes that Americans now have some $150 billion in private student loan debt. While private loans make up just a fraction of total outstanding student loan debt in the U.S. — which hit $1 trillion last year — they can be especially problematic for borrowers as they usually have higher interest rates and fewer protections than federal loans. Lenders are said to have been "aggressive" in their pursuit of students before the economic crisis, and often gave them loans beyond what they needed or could afford. [CNN Money]
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7. YAHOO PAYING MAYER $70 MILLION
According to a regulatory filing, Yahoo's new chief executive, Marissa Mayer, is getting a compensation package valued at upward of $70 million over five years. Her annual salary is $1 million, but she'll also receive an annual bonus of up to $2 million, $42 million in stock options, and $14 million in "make-whole restricted options" for forfeiting Google compensation. If some stock grants are included in the calculations, Mayer could end up making as much a $100 million over five years. [Reuters]
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8. CHINA OFFERS AFRICA $20 BILLION IN LOANS
In a speech Thursday, Chinese President Hu Jintao pledged that China would play a "positive and constructive role in African affairs," and offered $20 billion in new loans to the continent. China has distinguished itself from Western nations by aiding Africa's economic development without conditions involving government reform or human rights. [Bloomberg]
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9. WHOOPING COUGH CASES NEARING EPIDEMIC LEVELS
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the number of whooping cough cases is increasing at an epidemic rate. So far this year, close to 18,000 cases have been reported, twice as many as were reported at the same time last year. At this rate, the country is headed for the worst year for whooping cough since 1959, when there were 40,000 reported cases. Officials say the steep rise may signal an issue with the effectiveness of the cough's vaccine. [Associated Press]
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10. MORGAN FREEMAN GIVES $1 MILLION TO OBAMA PAC
The Oscar-winning actor has donated $1 million to Priorities USA Action, a super PAC that supports President Obama. Freeman said, "President Obama has done a remarkable job in terrible circumstances... I for one am proud to lend my voice — and support — to those who defend him." [Los Angeles Times]

 

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