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10 things you need to know today: July 26, 2012
The Senate passes a tax bill, Holmes reportedly sent massacre plans to a shrink, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
Kids carry the national flag of North Korea before the match between Colombia and North Korea at the London Games on July 25: Earlier, during introductions, a video promoting the North Korean team accidentally displayed the South Korean flag.
Kids carry the national flag of North Korea before the match between Colombia and North Korea at the London Games on July 25: Earlier, during introductions, a video promoting the North Korean team accidentally displayed the South Korean flag.
Stanley Chou/Getty Images

1. DEMS' TAX PLAN PASSES IN THE SENATE
The Democrats' plan to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for the middle class (defined as families with income under $250,000) passed in the Senate Wednesday "in a sharply polarized 51-48 vote." The Senate also voted to reject a Republican plan to extend the tax cuts for all citizens, including the wealthiest Americans. The Democratic plan is not expected to pass in the Republican-controlled House — with GOP leaders in the House indicating that they have no intention of even bringing the plan to a vote — so Wednesday's votes were largely seen as election-season political posturing. The Bush tax cuts are currently to set to expire at the end of 2012. [CNN]
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2. REPORT: HOLMES SENT MASSACRE PLANS TO SHRINK 
James Holmes, the suspected killer in the Aurora, Colo., theater shooting, mailed a notebook to a psychiatrist at the University of Colorado's Medical Campus prior to Friday's massacre that left 12 dead and 58 injured. A number of media outlets, citing unnamed sources, are reporting that the notebook detailed plans for the shooting. [Denver Post]
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3. OLYMPIC OFFICIALS BLAMED FOR KOREAN FLAG GAFFE
London Olympic officials are reportedly to blame for an embarrassing flag mix-up at a woman's soccer game at a Glasgow stadium. A video introducing the North Korean team wrongly displayed the South Korean flag as the women entered before the match. The North Korean team walked off the field, and only agreed to play the match after the error was fixed. The video package reportedly came from London. [BBC News]
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4. ROMNEY MEETS WITH BRITISH LEADERS
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney meets with Prime Minister David Cameron and a number of other British leaders on Thursday, as he seeks to build international ties and project an image of leadership. Romney is on a weeklong international trip that will also include stops in Poland and Israel. [Associated Press]
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5. OBAMA SPEAKS OUT AGAINST GUN VIOLENCE
In an address to the National Urban League convention Wednesday, President Obama spoke of the need for some greater restrictions on buying guns while also calling on parents and educators to help keep young people safe by making sure that they "do not have that void inside them" that leads to senseless acts of violence. Better background checks on individuals who want to buy guns and greater restrictions for those with mental problems "shouldn't be controversial, they should be common sense," the president said. [Associated Press]
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6. ZYNGA POSTS $22.8 MILLION LOSS
Online social gaming company Zynga, creator of time-sucks like Farmville and Words With Friends, reported a $22.8 million loss for the second quarter on Wednesday. Shares of the company fell 40 percent in after-hours trading. The big loss does not bode well for Facebook, which depends heavily on Zynga for revenue and is set to post earnings Thursday. [USA Today]
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7. PENN STATE FOOTBALL COULD HAVE BEEN SHUT DOWN
A Penn State spokesperson said Wednesday that the university was confronted with the threat of a four-year ban on its football program over its handling of the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal. On Monday, the NCAA imposed a $60 million fine, a four-year ban on playing in bowl games, the forfeiture of more than 100 wins, and reduced football scholarships on the disgraced athletic program. University trustees have called the sanctions "unfortunate," but say they are better than having the program completely shut down for years. [Sports Illustrated]
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8. APPLE RELEASES MOUNTAIN LION
Apple released its latest operating system, Mountain Lion, on Wednesday. While the new OS X isn't a huge update over previous versions, commentators are noting that OS X is looking increasingly similar to Apple's iOS operating system for iPhones and iPads. [USA Today]
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9. FAR-RIGHT GREEKS CONDEMN OLYMPIAN'S EXPULSION
Greece's extreme far-right Golden Dawn party has condemned a decision by Greece's Olympic Committee to expel triple jumper Voula Papachristou over a racist tweet in which she mocked African immigrants. The 23-year-old athlete has apologized for her comments. [Associated Press]
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10. TWILIGHT STAR ADMITS TO, APOLOGIZES FOR AFFAIR
Actress Kristen Stewart, 22, has admitted to having an affair with her Snow White and the Huntsman director, Rupert Sanders, who is married, and apologized to her longtime beau and Twilight costar Robert Pattinson. "I'm deeply sorry for the hurt and embarrassment I've caused to those close to me and everyone this has affected," Stewart said in a statement to People. "This momentary indiscretion has jeopardized the most important thing in my life, the person I love and respect the most, Rob. I love him, I love him, I'm so sorry." [Boston Globe]

 

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