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10 things you need to know today: October 8, 2012
Chavez wins re-election in Venezuela, Romney will give a "major" foreign policy speech, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez speaks at the Climate Change Conference in 2009 in Copenhagen: Chavez narrowly won re-election on Sunday, beating his opponent just 54 percent to 45 percent.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez speaks at the Climate Change Conference in 2009 in Copenhagen: Chavez narrowly won re-election on Sunday, beating his opponent just 54 percent to 45 percent.
Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

1. VENEZUELA'S CHAVEZ WINS RE-ELECTION 
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who first came to power in 1999, won re-election to a six-year term in what's being seen as a "new endorsement of his socialist project." Chavez won 54 percent of the vote to his challenger Henrique Capriles' 45 percent. His victory on Sunday could extend his rule to 20 years. It was Chavez's closest race yet; Capriles, a former state governor, accused Chavez of using Venezuela's oil wealth and his control of state institutions to his personal advantage. [Associated Press]
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2. ROMNEY TO GIVE 'MAJOR' FOREIGN POLICY SPEECH
Fresh off the heels of a strong debate performance, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney will deliver what's being billed by Romney aides as a major foreign policy address. At the Virginia Military Institute on Monday, Romney will accuse President Obama of "passive" leadership in the Middle East. He'll also call for more direct intervention in Syria and blast the president for initially focusing on an anti-Islamic video as the catalyst for an attack that killed four Americans in Libya. [CBS News]
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3. LIBYAN PRIME MINISTER TO STEP DOWN
Mustafa Abu Shagour, Libya's first elected prime minister after last year's overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi, is stepping down after failing to win parliamentary approval to form a new cabinet. The country's parliament voted to throw Abu Shagour out in a no-confidence vote on Sunday. The move is being seen as the latest blow to hopes that the government could restore stability following last year's bloody civil war. [BBC]
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4. SYRIA, TURKEY EXCHANGE FIRE FOR FIFTH DAY
Turkey and Syria exchanged artillery fire for the fifth consecutive day on Sunday. Turkey was reportedly responding to a Syrian shell that landed near a grain storage facility near the town center in Akçakale. The crisis began last week after a Syrian attack killed five civilians. The latest violence is being seen as a direct challenge to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, which "accuses outside forces, including Turkey, of working with the rebels to destabilize the country." [Wall Street Journal]
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5. MENINGITIS OUTBREAK HAS SICKENED 91
At least 91 people in the U.S. have now been infected with a rare type of meningitis, after they were given contaminated steroid injections. Seven people have died. The drugs were administered starting on May 21, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. Health officials are urging anyone who has had an injection for lower back pain to watch for symptoms of meningitis, which include a stiff neck and balance problems. The contaminated drug has been traced to a single pharmacy in Massachusetts, the New England Compounding Center. The pharmacy has closed voluntarily and recalled its products. [NBC News]
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6. CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR TAKES ACTION ON GAS PRICES
California Gov. Jerry Brown took emergency action on Sunday to try to bring record gas prices down in his state. The Democrat directed the California Air Resources Board to boost the fuel supply by allowing the immediate sale and import of cheaper and more available winter-blend gasoline, which typically isn't sold until November. The move is expected to reduce the prices of gas in the state by 15 to 20 cents per gallon. The state-wide average price per gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was $4.66 on Sunday. [Los Angeles Times]
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7. SPACEX CARGO SHIP LAUNCHES 
The unmanned cargo ship SpaceX Falcon 9 was launched into space on Sunday and is headed toward the International Space Station. It's the first of a slew of supply runs under a contract with NASA. On board were 1,000 pounds of spare parts, science equipment, and even ice cream for the three station residents. The Falcon rocket, which launched from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, is expected to reach the space station on Wednesday. [Associated Press]
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8. 50-FOOT WHALE FOUND DEAD IN BOSTON HARBOR
A 50-foot, finback whale was found floating in the Boston Harbor on Sunday morning, shocking onlookers. Tony LaCasse, a spokesman for the New England Aquarium, said it's not yet clear how the animal died. Finback whales are endangered in the United States, with just 10,000 remaining. The mammoth creatures weigh, on average, 70,000 to 90,000 pounds. [Boston Globe]
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9. OBAMA JOKES ABOUT DEBATE PERFORMANCE
President Obama poked fun at his own debate performance against challenger Mitt Romney during a star-studded fundraising stop in Los Angeles on Sunday. The president said the singers in attendance, including Jon Bon Jovi, Stevie Wonder, and Katy Perry "just perform flawlessly night after night. I can't always say the same." [Yahoo News]
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10. ESQUIRE: KUNIS IS 'SEXIEST WOMAN ALIVE'
Move over, Rihanna. Actress Mila Kunis was crowned "sexiest woman alive" by Esquire magazine, dethroning the R&B princess who won the title last year. The 29-year-old Black Swan star told Esquire, "I don't think I'm a celebrity. I'm a working actress. I think there's a difference." [Esquire]

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