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10 things you need to know today: September 29, 2012
Tim Cook apologizes for Apple Maps, Fox airs a suicide on live TV, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
Apple CEO Tim Cook suggests that "while we're improving Maps, you can try alternatives by downloading map apps from the App Store like Bing, MapQuest and Waze."
Apple CEO Tim Cook suggests that "while we're improving Maps, you can try alternatives by downloading map apps from the App Store like Bing, MapQuest and Waze."
AP Photo/Paul Sakuma

1. TIM COOK APOLOGIZES FOR APPLE MAPS
In an open letter posted to Apple's website, CEO Tim Cook apologized Friday for the company's frequently criticized Maps app, which replaced Google Maps in the latest update to iOS 6. The chief executive said Apple was "extremely sorry" for the frustrations the buggy application has caused customers, and that the company is doing "everything [it] can to make Maps better." In a rare concession by Apple, Cook even recommended iOS users try third-party competitors, including Bing, MapQuest, Waze, Google, or Nokia's web-based mapping services. "Everything we do at Apple is aimed at making our products the best in the world," said Cook. "We know that you expect that from us, and we will keep working non-stop until Maps lives up to the same incredibly high standard." [The Week]
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2. SPANISH BANKS NEED 60 BILLION EUROS
Spain's 14 biggest banks may need as much as 60 billion euros in capital to remain solvent, according to an independent analysis released on Friday. The results of the so-called "stress test" fell within investor expectations, and pave the way for the European Union to release emergency loans to Spanish banks. Weakness in Spain's banking sector has only exacerbated fiscal problems in the country, which is currently struggling with a massive debt burden that has made its borrowing costs perilously expensive. The Spanish government this week unveiled tough new austerity measures to close the hole in its budget deficit, which sparked protests across the country. [The New York Times]
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3. FOX APOLOGIZES FOR LIVE SUICIDE
On Friday, Fox News anchor Shepard Smith apologized for broadcasting live footage of a car chase that ended in the driver committing suicide. Fox News had assiduously covered the chase, but the coverage took a dark turn when the driver peeled down a dirt road, got out of the car, and then held what appeared to be a gun to his head. Smith could be heard telling his producers to cut away, but it was too late. "I personally apologize to you that that happened," Smith later told viewers. "It's not time-appropriate, it's insensitive, it was just wrong and that won’t happen again on my watch." The footage was subsequently spread widely around the internet. [Washington Post]
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4. POLL: BUSH MORE POPULAR THAN ROMNEY
George W. Bush has slowly crept back into favor with the public, according to a Bloomberg News National Poll. The poll, released Friday, shows that the 43rd president has a higher favorability rating than Mitt Romney, with Bush polling at 46 percent favorable and 49 percent unfavorable, compared to the Republican presidential hopeful's 43 percent favorable and 50 percent unfavorable. [Bloomberg]
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5. BOFA TO PAY $2.43 BILLION IN MERRILL LYNCH SUIT
Bank of America has agreed to pay $2.43 billion to settle a class-action lawsuit filed in 2009 by investors who said that BofA made misleading statements about its financial health, as well as that of Merrill Lynch, when BofA acquired the investment firm in 2008. Bank of America still denies the allegations, but the company's chief executive, Brian Moynihan, said in a statement that "resolving this litigation removes uncertainty and risk and is in the best interests of our shareholders." The settlement could deal a $1.6 billion blow to BofA ahead of the Oct. 17 release of its third-quarter earnings. [Los Angeles Times]
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6. CHINA COMMUNIST PARTY EXPELS DISGRACED LEADER
China's Communist Party has expelled former official Bo Xilai for "taking huge bribes, for abuses related to the murder investigation against his wife, and for engaging in improper sexual relations with other women," according to state media. The party's national congress will also convene Nov. 8 to begin a "once-a-decade" leadership change to install a new generation of top officials. "Internal differences over how to handle the Bo case are widely believed to have delayed an announcement on when the leadership change would begin." [Wall Street Journal]
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7. HOLMES MAY HAVE THREATENED PROFESSOR 
According to court documents released Friday, prosecutors in the case against James Holmes, who is suspected of killing 12 people at a July screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colo., say Holmes threatened a professor at the University of Colorado before the shootings — allegedly forcing officials to ban him from campus. The statement conflicts with the university's claim that Holmes was denied access to the school because he had withdrawn from his PhD program. The name of the professor who was threatened was blacked out in the documents. Holmes faces 152 charges for the shooting, which also left 58 injured. [Associated Press]
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8. STUDY: CHARTER SCHOOLS HELP PUBLIC SCHOOLS
A new study from the Brookings Institution finds that charter schools and public schools don't necessarily have to view each other as competitors because public schools can learn valuable lessons from charters. Applying best practices from charter schools — such as extending time at school, implementing small-group tutoring, and creating a culture of high expectations — yielded "promising" results when applied in Houston and Denver pilot programs. [Christian Science Monitor]
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9. REVERED MOTORSPORTS BROADCASTER DIES 
Legendary motorsports commentator Chris Economaki died Friday at the age of 91. A fixture for decades at NASCAR events, Economaki was known as "The Dean of American Motorsports." "The passing of Chris Economaki is a tough loss for me on both a personal and professional level, having known Chris throughout my life," said NASCAR chairman Brian France. "He was indeed, 'The Dean.'" [ESPN]
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10. NYC PLANS WORLD'S TALLEST FERRIS WHEEL
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced plans for a Ferris wheel that would tower over the Staten Island waterfront at 625 feet tall. The wheel would stand 84 feet above the current world record holder, the Singapore Flyer, and would be able to carry 1,440 people at once. Construction is expected to begin in two years, with a goal of opening the ride by 2015. [The New York Times]

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