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10 things you need to know today: September 4, 2012
The Democratic convention starts its engines, Assad refuses to talk with rebels, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
First Lady Michelle Obama does a soundcheck at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Sept. 3: On Sept. 4, she'll deliver a nationally televised address.
First Lady Michelle Obama does a soundcheck at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Sept. 3: On Sept. 4, she'll deliver a nationally televised address.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

1. DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION KICKS OFF
The Democratic National Convention will begin in Charlotte, N.C., on Tuesday, as the Left tries to rally enthusiasm around President Obama, "who carries the power and burden of the incumbency." First Lady Michelle Obama will deliver what is likely the night's most anticipated speech. She'll take the stage in the 10 p.m. EST hour, after Julian Castro, the mayor of San Antonio and Latino rising star, gives the keynote. On Wednesday, Democrats will officially renominate Obama and Vice President Joe Biden with a roll call, and former President Bill Clinton will speak. On Thursday, the last night of the convention, Obama will address the crowd. [Associated Press]
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2. HEZBOLLAH: IRAN MIGHT ATTACK U.S. BASES
Iran may attack U.S. bases in the Middle East if Israel strikes Tehran's nuclear facilities — even if America played no role in such an attack, according to the leader of Lebanon's Iranian-backed militant group Hezbollah. The group's Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah declared:  "A decision has been taken to respond and the response will be very great. The response will not be just inside the Israeli entity —American bases in the whole region could be Iranian targets. If Israel targets Iran, America bears responsibility." [Reuters]
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3. SYRIA: WE'RE NOT INTERESTED IN TALKING
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime said it's not interested in talking with rebels until they're beaten, the latest sign that Assad is willing to let many more die to reassert his control in the unraveling country. "There will be no dialogue with the opposition prior to the Syrian army's imposition of security and stability in all parts of the country," Information Minister Omran al-Zoebi told reporters on Monday. The harsh rhetoric comes a day after activist groups said 5,000 people were killed in August, the deadliest month in the 18-month-old civil war.  [Associated Press]
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4. OBAMA MEETS WITH ISAAC FLOOD VICTIMS
President Obama visited Hurricane-damaged Louisiana on Monday, promising that the federal government would do everything it could to help victims get back on the right track. Tens of thousands in Louisiana and thousands more in Mississippi are without power following last week's Category 1 hurricane. "What I pledge to these folks is to make sure at the federal level we're getting on the case very quickly" to figure out "what exactly happened here … and make sure it doesn't happen again," he said in New Orleans. [Los Angeles Times]
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5. PISTORIUS APOLOGIZES FOR PARALYMPIC COMPLAINT
Oscar Pistorius, the "blade runner" sprinter who competes on high-tech artificial legs, was once the golden boy of the Paralympic Games. But now, he has apologized for an outburst about a rival's blades after a shocking loss in London's 200-meter final. The 25-year-old South African complained that Brazil's Alan Oliveira's blades were too long. "I want to apologize for the timing of my comments but I do believe that there is an issue here,"  said Pistorius, who last month became the first double amputee to run in the Olympics. [Reuters]
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6. GREEN MILE ACTOR MICHAEL CLARKE DUNCAN DIES
Michael Clarke Duncan, the actor nominated for an Oscar for his role as a gentle giant on death row in 'The Green Mile,' has died in Los Angeles. The 54-year-old was being treated for a heart attack, his fiancée, Omarosa Manigault, said in a statement. The 6-foot-4, former body guard "suffered a myocardial infarction on July 13 and never fully recovered," the statement said. The actor also had memorable roles in 'Armageddon,' 'Planet of the Apes,' and 'Kung Fu Panda.' [NBC News]  

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7.  CLOSING ARGUMENTS TO START IN PETERSON TRIAL
Attorneys will begin to deliver closing arguments at Drew Peterson's trial on Tuesday in Illinois, where jurors are deciding if the state proved that the former cop murdered his third wife, Kathleen Savio. The 40-year-old's death was initially ruled as an accident. It was only after Peterson's fourth wife, 23-year-old Stacey Peterson, went missing five years ago that Savio's body was exhumed and reclassified as a homicide. Peterson is a suspect in Stacey's disappearance too, but has not been charged. If convicted, Peterson faces up to 60 years behind bars. [Chicago Sun-Times]
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8. STUDY: ORGANIC FOOD ISN'T HEALTHIER
It may be time to stop buying expensive carrots. According to a new study by Stanford University and the VA Palo Alto Health Care System, organic foods don't contain any more nutrients or vitamins than food grown with pesticides. One bright spot, however: The study showed that organic foods may "live up to their billing of lowering exposure to pesticide residue and antibiotic-resistant bacteria." [Reuters]
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9. GREEN DAY FRONTMAN RUSHED TO HOSPITAL
Punk band Green Day was forced to cancel a concert in Bologna, Italy, after lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong was rushed to a hospital. Armstrong's fellow bandmates, Mike Dirnt and Tre Cool, posted a video message on YouTube saying they were "beyond devastated" and would reschedule the concert. The cause of Armstrong's hospitalization is not yet clear. [NBC News]
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10. SURVEY: TOOTH FAIRY BRINGS AVERAGE OF $3
Hail to the tooth fairy. Children discovered an average of $3 per tooth under their pillows this year, up 15 percent from the year before, according to a new survey from Visa. Some received up to $20 per tooth. "It's a good time to be a kid with a loose tooth," says Jason Alderman, Visa's senior director of global financial education. [USA Today]

 

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