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10 things you need to know today: August 4, 2012
The U.N. condemns security council over Syria, Phelps wins his 17th gold medal, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
In his last race in London and perhaps his Olympic career, Michael Phelps earned himself another gold medal.
In his last race in London and perhaps his Olympic career, Michael Phelps earned himself another gold medal.
Al Bello/Getty Images

1. U.N. CONDEMNS SECURITY COUNCIL IN SYRIA CRISIS
As fighting continues throughout Syria, the United Nations voted overwhelmingly on Friday to condemn its own security council for its failure to stop the ongoing violence in the country. Although the vote is purely symbolic, it comes a day after the resignation of U.N. envoy Kofi Annan, whose actions were seen as an admission of the failure of his six-point peace plan. As expected, Syrian ally Russia was one of the 12 nations that opposed the resolution. [Reuters]
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2. PHELPS WINS GOLD IN FINAL SOLO RACE
The most decorated Olympian ever added another medal to his collection in the 100-meter butterfly. The win brings Phelps to a grand total of 17 gold medals, and 21 career medals overall, and Phelps is the only man to win a gold medal in an individual swimming event at three straight Olympics. [Washington Post]
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3. ROMNEY SLAMS REID ON TAX ACCUSATIONS
Mitt Romney lashed out at Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D, Nev.) on Friday, after Reid claimed that an unidentified investor in Bain Capital, Romney's former company, informed him that Romney did not pay taxes over a 10-year period. Romney challenged Reid to prove his claim, telling him to "put up or shut up," and asserted that he pays "a lot of taxes" every year. Unfazed, Reid went to the floor of the Senate to call on Romney to release more than two years of tax returns, which Romney has refused to do. "The word's out that he hasn't paid any taxes for 10 years," Reid said. "Let him prove he has paid taxes." Reid has been criticized by liberals and conservatives alike for failing to back his claims with any concrete evidence. [The Guardian]
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4. DOW SURGES TO THREE-MONTH HIGH
The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Friday soared to a three-month high, after the Labor Department reported that the economy added a better-than-expected 163,000 jobs in July. The Dow climbed 217.29 points, or 1.7 percent, to close at 13,096.17, while the S&P 500 rose 25.99 points, or 1.9 percent, to end the week at 2,967.90. [Wall Street Journal]
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5. REPORT: MORE IN MILITARY USED PROSTITUTES
A new investigation by the U.S. military finds that up to 12 service members brought prostitutes to their hotel in Colombia before President Obama's arrival for an April summit. To date, nine men have been reprimanded, but none have been charged. The investigation also says that the hotel staff complained to U.S. officials that military members had females in their rooms late into the night, a violation of the hotel's policy. [Associated Press]
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6. CHINA SLAMS CLINTON OVER WARNING TO AFRICA
Chinese state news agency Xinhua lashed out at U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton after she warned African leaders against cooperating with foreign nations that want to exploit the continent's resources. The comments came during Clinton's 11-day trip across sub-Saharan Africa, and were "regarded by some as being directed at China, which has emerged as Africa's main trading partner in recent years." Washington has recently grown concerned that China's increased interest in Africa — Beijing recently pledged $20 billion to African governments — is coming at the expense of the continent's poorer nations. Xinhua called Clinton's words "vicious" and "rude," and accused her of being "ignorant of the facts on the ground." [Voice of America]
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7. NASA TO USE $1.1B TO SEND ASTRONAUTS TO SPACE
NASA has signed $1.1 billion worth of agreements with three private spaceflight companies to launch American astronauts into space in the next five years. The three companies include Space X, the Boeing Company, and the Sierra Nevada Corporation. NASA retired its 30-year space shuttle program last year, and is currently dependent on Russian spacecraft to ferry Americans to the International Space Station. [Christian Science Monitor]
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8. BLOWN TIRE MAY HAVE CAUSED ILLINOIS BUS CRASH
A Megabus crash in Illinois that left one woman dead and injured 38 other passengers on Thursday was likely caused by a blown tire. Federal officials are working with local authorities to see if there are any safety implications in the accident. The crash occurred in Litchfield, Ill., about 55 miles from St. Louis. The bus was made by a Belgian company in 2011, and "had passed a full preventative maintenance check within the past week," the company, Megabus, said in a statement. [Los Angeles Times]
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9. ANTARCTICA USED TO BE A RAINFOREST
A 2010 study of sediment cores drilled from the ocean floor off Antarctica's east coast found that a rainforest grew on the frozen continent 52 million years ago, scientists revealed in the journal Nature this week. The drilling turned up fossil pollens that came from a "near tropical" forest that covered Antarctica in the Eocene period. Kevin Welsh, who traveled on the expedition, said CO2 levels in Antarctica are such that ice there could completely recede again "by the end of the century." [AFP]
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10. ELECTRONIC ARTS SUES ZYNGA OVER COPYRIGHT
Electronic Arts (EA), the video game giant behind diversions like The Sims and Madden NFL is suing social gaming service Zynga, the creator of Farmville and Words with Friends, claiming copyright infringement. EA says in a press release that Zynga's new Facebook game The Ville, a virtual reality game where you can "build the home of your dreams," copies the elements of its own Facebook game The Sims Social. Zynga's game was launched just last month, while EA's has been available for more than a year. Zynga promised to defend itself against the allegations saying that EA "clearly demonstrates a lack of understanding of basic copyright principles." [CNET]

 

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