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10 things you need to know today: August 29, 2012
Hurricane Isaac makes landfall, Iran admits to helping the Syrian regime, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
Sea water surges onto the beach in Waveland, Miss., ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Isaac. The Category 1 storm made landfall in Louisiana early on Wednesday. 
Sea water surges onto the beach in Waveland, Miss., ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Isaac. The Category 1 storm made landfall in Louisiana early on Wednesday. 
John Moore/Getty Images

1. HURRICANE ISAAC ROARS OVER 18 MILES OF LEVEES 
Hurricane Isaac made its second landfall in southeastern Louisiana on Wednesday morning, topping an 18-mile stretch of levees and sending a surge of up to 12 feet of water into residents' homes. Emergency officials in Plaquemines Parish said they were trying to rescue some people stranded on top of the levee. Approximately 380,000 people across Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi are without power. Forecasters said Isaac will weaken before moving inland, with anywhere from seven to 20 inches of rain expected in Louisiana. [ABC News]
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2. ANN ROMNEY, CHRISTIE KICK OFF GOP CONVENTION 
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Mitt Romney's wife, Ann, kicked the Republican National Convention's first night into full gear on Tuesday. The potential First Lady tried to battle the perception that her husband is buttoned-up and out-of-touch, while the never-restrained Christie argued that Romney has the guts to do what's right for America. Ann described her husband as "warm and loving," adding that "Mitt doesn't like to talk about how he has helped others because he sees it as a privilege, not a political talking point." [Yahoo News]
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3. REPORT: IRANIAN TROOPS AIDING SYRIAN REGIME
Leaders of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard Corps., said the country is sending commanders and soldiers to Syria to support President Bashar al-Assad. It's the first acknowledgement by Iran's military of its role in Syria's grueling civil war. "Today we are involved in fighting every aspect of a war, a military one in Syria and a cultural one as well," declared Iranian Gen. Salar Abnoush. [Wall Street Journal]
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4. YOSEMITE: 1,700 MAY BE EXPOSED TO RODENT ILLNESS
Yosemite National Park officials are warning that up to 1,700 visitors may have been exposed to a potentially fatal rodent-borne illness while staying at the renowned California park. Two tourists who were staying at the popular camping area Curry Village have died from the rare respiratory disease, called hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. Park officials are encouraging visitors who stayed in Curry Village to be aware of flu-like symptoms. The virus, carried by infected mice, kills more than one-third of those infected. [Reuters]
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5. RED CROSS STOPS MOST PAKISTAN AID
The Red Cross will halt most of its aid programs in Pakistan because of deteriorating security, illustrated by the recent beheading of a British staff doctor that was blamed on the Taliban. The independent agency, which rarely suspends operations, said it would remain in the country but "on a reduced scale." Jacques de Maio, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross operations in South Asia, said "all relief and protection activities are being stopped. All projects of rehabilitation, economic projects, have been terminated." He added: "We have closed a number of offices. We are also terminating all visits to detainees in Pakistan." [Reuters
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6. POLL: ABORTION VIEWS NOT A DEAL-BREAKER 
Abortion rights have been in the national spotlight all year, as lawmakers debated Planned Parenthood, federal rules on subsidized birth control, and most recently, Todd Akin's preposterous claim that rape victims rarely get pregnant. But a new CBS poll shows that candidates' abortion views are not a be-all, end-all issue for voters. Up to 57 percent of registered voters said they'd be willing to vote for a candidate who disagreed with them on abortion, while 34 percent said they would not cast their ballot for a candidate who disagreed with them. Women are more likely than men to say they would not vote for a candidate who disagreed with them on abortion: 38 percent of women, compared to 29 percent of men. [CBS News]
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7. TURKEY FARM WORKER PLEADS GUILTY TO ABUSE
A former North Carolina Butterball turkey farm worker has pleaded guilty to abusing the animals after he was caught on video kicking, dragging, and hitting the birds. Brian Douglas, who worked at the Shannon Butterball Farm in Hoke County, will spend 30 days behind bars, and was ordered to pay $550 in fines for his abuse, which took place last year. Six other workers have also been charged in the case. [Associated Press]
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8. ASSAD: MY MILITARY NEEDS 'MORE TIME' TO WIN
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is insisting that his military will eventually win the civil war that's raging in his country, and that he just "needs more time." Assad's declaration comes as his military stepped up its attacks against rebels, with hundreds of people found dead the Damascus suburb of Daraya over the weekend. Assad said the idea of creating humanitarian buffer zones was "unrealistic" and that his government is fighting "a battle both regionally and internationally." [BBC]
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9. GYM DISPUTES GABBY DOUGLAS' RACISM CLAIMS  
Members of Gabby Douglas' former gym in Virginia Beach are hitting back at the gold-medal-winning gymnast's claims that she was racially bullied while she trained in her hometown. The teen recently detailed the alleged abuse at Excalibur Gymnastics to Oprah Winfrey, at one point saying a teammate once demanded she do something because she was their "slave." Former Coach Dena Walker said she was "shocked" by the claim, while the CEO of the gym flat-out denied it. "Is Gabrielle a credible person just because she is an Olympic champion? She is not giving any names or dates, leading us to believe that the accusation is fake," said gym CEO Gustavo Moure. [USA Today
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10. CURIOSITY BEAMS WILL.I.AM. SONG FROM MARS   
NASA's Curiosity rover has transmitted its first-ever song from Mars, appropriately a number by will.i.am. that was written to celebrate the robot's successful landing on the Red Planet. The song, "Reach for the Stars," was broadcast to children at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. The audio was uploaded to the rover, which was stationed near the equator of Mars. It was played back via radio waves, in a journey of approximately 700 million miles. It's the first music ever broadcast from another planet. [Associated Press]

 

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