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10 things you need to know today: August 22, 2012
Syria says that Assad could resign, Akin refuses to step down in Missouri, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
The regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has killed thousands in its crackdown on a pro-democracy uprising that began nearly two years ago.
The regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has killed thousands in its crackdown on a pro-democracy uprising that began nearly two years ago.
AP Photo/Hassan Ammar

1. SYRIA: IT'S POSSIBLE ASSAD COULD RESIGN
Qadri Jamil, Syria's deputy prime minister, said the government is prepared to discuss embattled President Bashar al-Assad's resignation. Jamil, who made the remarks during a stop in Moscow, insisted, however, that Assad stepping down cannot be a condition for engaging in peace talks.  Assad's bloody crackdown on opposition forces has devolved into an all-out civil war, and many Syria watchers believe the embattled president's days are numbered. Jamil's remarks come as President Obama says he'd be willing to use military force to intervene in the country should Syria use biological or chemical weapons. [BBC]
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2. AKIN REFUSES TO QUIT
Todd Akin, the Republican Senate candidate under fire for his controversial remarks about rape, plans to stay in the Missouri Senate race. His decision comes as leaders of the Republican establishment — including presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney — have called on the Missourian to drop out. Akin let the initial deadline to drop out on Tuesday pass. He could still take his name off the ballot by Sept. 25, though doing so would require a court order. The strict social conservative created an uproar this week after suggesting in an interview that a woman's body could somehow prevent pregnancy in the cases of "legitimate rape." [Reuters]
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3. U.S. DEATH TOLL TOPS 2,000 IN AFGHANISTAN
The number of U.S. deaths in Afghanistan has hit 2,000, according to a New York Times analysis. The grim statistic comes after a nearly 11-year war. More than half of the deaths occurred in the past 27 months, an increase attributed to President Obama sending thousands of extra troops into the country to rev up the U.S.-led NATO mission against insurgents. The troops are set to withdraw by 2014. In addition to Afghanistan, the statistic includes deaths in Pakistan and other countries where American forces are involved with the war. [New York Times]
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4. THOUSANDS MOURN ETHIOPIAN PRIME MINISTER
Thousands of devastated Ethiopians came to the capital Addis Ababa to mourn the loss of their prime minister, Meles Zenawi. The 57-year-old died on Monday following a bout with a long illness. Zenawi was largely regarded as an ally to the West against Islamic radicalism. Government officials said Deputy Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn will take over power in the interim. [Reuters]
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5. POLL: OBAMA HOLDS 4-POINT NATIONAL LEAD
Paul Ryan may have fired up the Republican base since Mitt Romney announced Ryan as his running mate, but a new poll suggests that Mitt's veep pick hasn't exactly been a game-changer. According to a NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey, Obama holds a four-point lead nationally, 48 percent to 44 percent. The numbers are nearly unchanged since July, when Obama held a six-point lead. [NBC]
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6. HUNDREDS OF HACKING VICTIMS TO BE NAMED
Prosecutors involved in the phone hacking scandal that has disgraced Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. will reveal the names of up to 600 victims in the next few weeks. Approximately 200 names have already been made public, including A-listers like Jude Law, Paul McCartney, and Sienna Miller. More celebs are expected to be on the list. [The Independent]
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7. POLICE ARREST SUSPECT OVER OBAMA THREATS
Authorities have arrested a Washington state man who allegedly made email threats against President Obama. When cops came to his door Tuesday, Anton Calouri was armed with a shotgun. The 31-year-old made references to explosives, which resulted in federal agents calling a bomb squad. Nothing was found. Calouri will appear in court on Wednesday afternoon. [Associated Press
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8. AMERICANS WASTE 40 PERCENT OF THEIR FOOD
Americans throw out nearly every other bite of food, according to a new study by the Natural Resources Defense Council. The study revealed that Americans waste 40 percent of the country's annual supply, which totals $165 billion of uneaten provisions. Since the 1970s, the percentage of uneaten food has jumped 50 percent, and is 10 times more than it is for those living in Southeast Asia. [Los Angeles Times]
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9. NAKED PHOTOS OF PRINCE HARRY SURFACE
The Clarence House is confirming that photographs of Prince Harry running around a Las Vegas hotel room without clothes are indeed the naked truth. The embarrassing photos, obtained by TMZ, were posted after the young royal attended a party at the MGM Grand on Friday and participated in a game of strip billiards. The Clarence House told AFP the Sin City snaps were genuine but would not comment further. [AFP, TMZ]
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10. NEW LEBRON NIKE SNEAKERS COST $315
Just do it? LeBron James' new Nike basketball sneakers will sell for a jaw-dropping $315. The athletic company is set to debut the shoe, the LeBron X, later this year. The sneakers feature motion sensors that supposedly measure how high players jump. The Miami Heat star wore a version of the shoe during Team USA's recent gold-medal win against Spain at the Olympics. [Wall Street Journal]

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