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10 things you need to know today: July 27, 2012
Romney's London Olympics gaffe stings, Facebook shares plummet, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
Facebook shares fell 18 percent Thursday after the social network posted a net loss of $157 million for the second quarter, down from a net income of $240 million for the same quarter last year.
Facebook shares fell 18 percent Thursday after the social network posted a net loss of $157 million for the second quarter, down from a net income of $240 million for the same quarter last year.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

1. ROMNEY OFFENDS IN LONDON
Mitt Romney's overseas trip is off to an awkward start. His meetings with British Prime Minister David Cameron and other top officials Thursday were overshadowed by comments he made earlier in the week about London's Olympic preparations. In an NBC interview, the GOP candidate called security staffing issues "disconcerting," and said of the games: "It's hard to know just how well it will turn out." Romney spent Thursday quelling anger over the comments while British politicians skewered him. "Of course it's easier to hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere," Cameron said, a remark taken as referring to the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, which Romney organized. [Bloomberg]
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2. FACEBOOK SHARES PLUMMET AFTER EARNINGS NEWS
Facebook shares fell 18 percent Thursday as investors reacted to the social network's first financial report. It showed revenue of $1.18 billion for the second quarter, up 32 percent and exceeding Wall Street's expectations. But despite growing revenue, Facebook posted a net loss of $157 million for the quarter, down from a net profit of $240 million during the same period last year. Much of the loss was due to stock compensation. [New York Times]
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3. SYRIAN REBELS READY FOR BATTLE IN ALEPPO
Syrian rebels are amassing more troops and setting up medical clinics in Aleppo to prepare for more fighting with regime forces in Syria's commercial hub. Protesters have taken to the Aleppo streets in support of the rebels as government forces shell the city from helicopters. At least 200 people were killed across Syria on Thursday. Forty-eight of the deaths were in Aleppo, marking the first time the city has led the number of deaths since the uprising began in Marxh 2011. [CNN]
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4. LONDON READIES FOR OLYMPIC OPENING CEREMONY
The 2012 Games kick off in London Friday with an elaborate opening ceremony. Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours) has created a three-hour spectacle showcasing Britain's beautiful countryside, history, and pop culture contributions. [Reuters]
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5. POWERFUL STORMS HIT NORTHEAST
A woman in Pennsylvania and a man in New York were killed Thursday as severe weather struck the Northeast. The storms caused extensive power outages for some 200,000 people. The National Weather Service had also received reports of possible tornadoes touching down in Elmira, N.Y., and in Brookville, Pa. [CNN]
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6. LADY GAGA SET TO STAR IN RODRIGUEZ FILM
Director Robert Rodriguez (Sin City) announced on Twitter that Lady Gaga will star in his next film. She'll play La Chameleon in the action film Machete Kills. It will be the pop star's first big acting role. [BBC News]
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7. NEW AIDS RESEARCH FOCUSES ON AGING 
According to government estimates, by the end of 2020, more than half of Americans with the HIV virus will be over 50. At the International AIDS Conference this week, a number of studies focused on how health issues common to seniors, like heart disease and brittle bones, tend to affect HIV-positive people earlier than seniors who are HIV-negative. [Associated Press]
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8. TAMPA STRIP CLUBS PREPARING FOR RNC CONVENTION
Tampa, Fla., is readying for August's Republican National Convention, and The New York Times reports that the city's well-known strip clubs will be rolling out their welcome mats. According to an informal survey conducted by a strip club trade association, Republicans in town for conventions tend to spend about three times as much as their Democratic counterparts at clubs. [New York Times]
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9. STEWART'S AFFAIR MAY AFFECT TWILIGHT BOX OFFICE
Commentators and entertainment industry insiders are speculating as to whether Kristen Stewart's affair will damage the box office for the final Twilight film, which is due out in November. Stewart apologized earlier this week for cheating on her Twilight star and longtime beau Robert Pattinson. In The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 the pair plays a married vampire couple with a child. [The Wrap]
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10. KATHERINE JACKSON MEETS WITH ATTORNEY
Katherine Jackson's attorney, Perry Sanders Jr., says his client is "fine" after meeting with her for the first time in days amid escalating family drama. A relative reported Jackson missing over the weekend after she hadn't been in contact with her grandchildren for more than a week, but other family members followed with conflicting statements, and an altercation ensued in front of her home. A judge has temporarily suspended Katherine's guardianship of her son Michael's three children. Sanders says he will release a statement Friday detailing his conversations with Jackson. [Associated Press]

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