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10 things you need to know today: July 31, 2012
India's massive blackout spreads, a Chinese Olympic swimmer is accused of doping, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
Ye Shiwen of China celebrates with her gold medal for the Women's 400m Individual Medley on July 28: Ye has denied allegations that she used performance-enhancing drugs to help her in a series of record-breaking swims.
Ye Shiwen of China celebrates with her gold medal for the Women's 400m Individual Medley on July 28: Ye has denied allegations that she used performance-enhancing drugs to help her in a series of record-breaking swims.
Al Bello/Getty Images

1. INDIA BLACKOUT LEAVES 600 MILLION WITHOUT POWER
In India, a massive blackout has spread in its second day, affecting more than half the country and leaving more than 600 million people without power. According to officials, the northern, northeastern, and eastern power grids have collapsed. The lack of electricity has caused chaos in New Delhi; traffic lights are out and the city's metro train system is down. The outage has also affected some 400 trains on India's national railway network. "This is a big crisis. We are working to restore power," says a ministry of power official. "Many states overdraw power, and this has caused a complete collapse in eastern and northern India." [AFP]
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2. FIGHTING CONTINUES IN SYRIAN CITY OF ALEPPO
The battle for Aleppo has pushed into its eleventh day. Activists report fighting throughout the commercial capital, and they say that regime forces are shelling several neighborhoods. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says he is worried about the effect of the shelling and heavy artillery on civilians in Aleppo and throughout the country. "I remind the parties to the conflict of their obligations under the international humanitarian law and human rights laws and urge them to exercise restraint and avoid any further bloodshed," he said Monday. [Voice of America]
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3. ROMNEY VISITS POLAND
On Tuesday, Mitt Romney visited Warsaw, where he delivered a speech praising the Polish people for opposing a government-dominated economy. Romney has made a number of blunders on his international tour, from offending Britain with remarks about its Olympic readiness to outraging Palestinians with comments made to Jewish campaign donors. [Washington Post]
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4. PETERSON TRIAL BEGINS, AFTER EIGHT YEARS
Opening statements finally begin Tuesday in the murder trial against Drew Peterson, a former Chicago-area police officer. Peterson is accused in the death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, who was found dead in her bathtub in 2004. Her death was initially ruled an accident. Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, has been missing since 2007, and he is a prime suspect in her disappearance. [CNN]
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5. CHINESE SWIMMER SUSPECTED OF DOPING
Doping allegations are swirling around Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen, who set an Olympic record Monday in the 200-meter individual medley semi-finals and broke a world record Saturday to win gold in the 400-meter individual medley. She swam the final leg of the latter race faster than the men's gold medalist, Ryan Lochte, in the same event. On Monday, John Leonard, the head of the World Swimming Association, called her performance "unbelievable" and said it was reminiscent of past instances of doping. Ye has vehemently denied that she's using performance-enhancing drugs. [CNN]
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6. U.S. EMBASSY IN OSLO EVACUATED IN BOMB SCARE
The U.S. Embassy in Norway has been evacuated and a bomb squad deployed after security personnel discovered a "suspicious object" under a nearby car on Tuesday. The surrounding area, which includes the royal palace, was also evacuated. [Associated Press]
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7. NEW YORKER WRITER RESIGNS AFTER FAKING QUOTES
Jonah Lehrer has resigned from his position as a staff writer for The New Yorker after it was revealed that he had fabricated quotes from Bob Dylan in his best-selling book Imagine: How Creativity Works. The 31-year-old writer and speaker was seen as a promising young journalistic talent. [Boston Globe]
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8. OBAMA CAMPAIGN RELEASES IPHONE APP
The Obama campaign is set to release a mobile app Tuesday that Democratic canvassers can use to download lists of potential supporters in their neighborhood and electronically record their responses. [New York Times]
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9. U.S. MEN'S GYMNASTICS TEAM FAILS TO MEDAL
After posting the top score in a "spectacular" qualifying round, the U.S. men's gymnastic team suffered a number of bobbles and wobbles in the team finals Monday night to come in fifth place. China's team won the gold, Japan took the silver, and Britain won the bronze. [Associated Press]
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10. BP POSTS SURPRISINGLY BIG LOSS
On Tuesday, BP, Britain's second-largest oil company, posted a $1.4 billion loss for the last quarter. The disappointing earnings were mainly attributed to write-downs of valuable assets, including shale gas in the U.S. [Bloomberg]

 

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