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10 things you need to know today: September 15, 2012
Obama honors Americans slain in Libya, Wisconsin's anti-union law is struck down, and more in our roundup of stories that are making news and driving opinion
On Sept. 14, President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attend the Transfer of Remains Ceremony for the late Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans killed in Libya.
On Sept. 14, President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attend the Transfer of Remains Ceremony for the late Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans killed in Libya.
Molly Riley-Pool/Getty Images

1. ANTI-U.S. PROTESTS SPREAD BEYOND MIDDLE EAST
Anti-American anger, initially sparked by an anti-Islam video that painted the Prophet Mohammed as an immoral sexual deviant, has spread to nearly 20 countries, many of them outside the Middle East. "The anger," says Rick Gladstone at The New York Times, "stretched from North Africa to South Asia and Indonesia and in some cases was surprisingly destructive. In Tunis, an American-run school that was untouched during the revolution nearly two years ago was completely ransacked. In eastern Afghanistan, protesters burned an effigy of President Obama, who had made an outreach to Muslims a thematic pillar of his first year in office." Two more U.S. Embassies were breached on Friday (in Sudan and Tunisia), and Germany and Britain also saw their diplomatic properties in Sudan targeted. The U.S. has sent Marines to protect embassies in Yemen and Sudan. "The broadening of the protests appeared to reflect a pent-up resentment of Western powers in general," not just outrage related to the film clip. [The New York Times]

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2. OBAMA ATTENDS CEREMONY FOR SLAIN AMERICANS
President Obama on Friday attended a ceremony at Joint Base Andrews to commemorate the return of the bodies of four Americans killed in the recent violence in Libya, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens. "Their sacrifice will never be forgotten," Obama said. "We will bring to justice those who took them from us." The three other victims were: Sean Smith, a State Department employee; Tyrone Woods, a former Navy SEAL assigned to provide security to State Department personnel; and Glen Doherty, another former SEAL. [The Washington Post]
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3. CHICAGO REACHES TENTATIVE DEAL WITH TEACHERS
On Friday, Chicago officials and the city's teacher's union said they had created an outline for an agreement that would resolve a five-day strike that had closed schools for 350,000 kids. Robert Bloch, a lawyer for the union, said he was "hopeful" that the two sides could finalize a new labor contract by Sunday, allowing schools to open the following day. David J. Vitale, president of the Chicago board of education, said, "The heavy lifting is over and the framework is in place." The strike is considered a huge test for Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who angered teachers by proposing that their evaluations be more heavily determined by students' standardized test scores. [The New York Times]
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4. ROMNEY DEFINES MIDDLE INCOME AS $250,000
Mitt Romney on Friday said he considered those making between $200,000 and $250,000 as falling in the middle-income category, a potentially embarrassing gaffe for the multimillionaire candidate, who has been criticized for failing to connect with ordinary voters. (The median household income in the U.S. is $50,000.) Romney's cutoff is significant because President Obama has proposed allowing Bush-era tax cuts expire for those making $250,000 or more. [The Wall Street Journal]
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5. JUDGE STRIKES DOWN WISCONSIN'S ANTI-UNION LAW
On Friday, Wisconsin judge Juan Colas struck down a controversial state law championed by Gov. Scott Walker (pictured) that had effectively ended collective bargaining for public employees, ruling that the law violated both the state and U.S. Constitution. In February 2011, the law led to a wave of protests and a heated public showdown between a group of Democratic senators and Gov. Walker before eventually passing in the Republican-controlled Legislature. The controversy subsequently triggered a recall election, which Walker ultimately survived. Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie said he is confident Judge Colas' decision will be overturned on appeal. [AP]
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6. APPLE STOCK HITS RECORD HIGH
Apple's stock hit a record high of $696 on Friday in the wake of the much-anticipated iPhone 5 announcement. Pre-sales for the taller, faster, and thinner iPhone, which was unveiled earlier this week, sold out within one hour, and analysts are predicting that the phone will be a major success. "Clearly, iPhone 5 fever is in full swing," Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White told Reuters. [Reuters]
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7. REPUBLICANS SHUDDER OVER MITT'S LIVE! INTERVIEW
Apparently, Mitt Romney likes Jersey Shore. I'm "kind of a Snooki fan," Romney said during a Friday taping of Live! with Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan. (The segment will air Tuesday.) In an apparent attempt to "show his softer side to women voters — a group with which he is struggling to connect" — Romney said of Snooki: "Look how tiny she's gotten. She's lost weight. She's energetic. Just her spark-plug personality is kind of fun." Another seemingly odd moment: Questioned about what he wears to bed, the Republican Party's nominee for president said, "I hear the best answer is as little as possible." Predictably, critics immediately pounced on these seemingly odd comments. Coming "at a moment of international crisis, when U.S. embassies in the Middle East were being beset by anti-American protests, the television interview brought shudders from some Republicans," say Karen Tumulty and Philip Rucker at The Washington Post. These Republicans reportedly "fear the Romney campaign is running aground in its final stretch." [The Washington Post]
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8. TEXAS, N.D. CAMPUSES RE-OPEN AFTER BOMB SCARES
The University of Texas at Austin and North Dakota State University re-opened their campuses on Friday evening after issuing evacuation order earlier that morning due to telephoned bomb threats. No explosives have been found on either campus, and officials are investigating if the incidents are related. [CNN]
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9. WILLIAM AND KATE WILL SUE OVER TOPLESS PHOTOS
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will take legal action against Closer, the French tabloid that published grainy photos of Kate Middleton sunbathing topless while vacationing in France with Prince William. "Their Royal Highnesses had every expectation of privacy in the remote house. It is unthinkable that anyone should take such photographs, let alone publish them," a St. James's Palace Official said in a statement. The scandal comes as the royal family tries to move on from naked photos that recently surfaced of Prince Harry partying in Las Vegas. [BBC News]
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10. THE MASTER EARNS RAVE REVIEWS
Director Paul Thomas Anderson's (Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood) latest film, The Master, starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix, and Amy Adams, is already wowing critics and drawing controversy. The film, which opened in limited release this weekend, has prompted outcries from the Scientology community, as the main character, played by Hoffman, bears more than a passing resemblance to the Scientology movement's founder, L. Ron Hubbard. But despite the controversy, critics have already called the film "a bold, challenging, and brilliantly acted drama" and "altogether amazing." [CBS News]

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