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10 things you need to know today: October 26, 2012
Violence threatens Syria's hours-old truce, Hurricane Sandy heads to the U.S., and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
Hurricane Sandy left 21 people dead in the Caribbean before it began making its way to the northeastern United States.
Hurricane Sandy left 21 people dead in the Caribbean before it began making its way to the northeastern United States.
NOAA via Getty Images

1. OBAMA, ROMNEY BATTLE FOR OHIO
President Obama and Mitt Romney stumped for votes Thursday night in the crucial swing state of Ohio, where Obama is clinging to a narrow lead despite his GOP rival's recent surge in the polls. Obama intensified his attempts to link Romney to the controversial statements on rape made by Senate candidate Richard Mourdock, whom Romney has endorsed. The president also stepped up his attacks on Romney as a flip-flopper (he used saltier language in a Rolling Stone interview). Romney, seizing the theme of Obama's 2008 campaign, declared himself to be the candidate of "hope and change" this year. "We need to take America back, and I need Ohio," Romney said. "And Ohio's going to set the course for the nation." [New York Daily News, Reuters]
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2. VIOLENCE DISRUPTS SYRIAN TRUCE
The Syrian army fired tank blasts in a Damascus suburb early Friday and Islamist rebels attacked a military base in the country's north, violating a four-day cease-fire for the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday hours after it began. The level of the violence, however, dropped considerably as the truce, brokered by United Nations-Arab League mediator Lakhdar Brahimi, began Friday. The regime of President Bashar al-Assad has promised to hold its fire but warned it would retaliate against "terrorists." Islamist militants have rejected the deal, and the U.N. has no way to monitor or enforce it. [Reuters]
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3. FISCAL CLIFF ALREADY KILLING JOBS
The double whammy of tax hikes and spending cuts scheduled to hit at year's end, known as the "fiscal cliff," has already wiped out a million jobs, according to a report scheduled to be released Friday by the National Association of Manufacturers. The group says the economy will be hit far harder if Congress fails to act before the deadline, which will trigger $400 billion in tax hikes and $100 billion in automatic cuts to defense and social spending. That, the report says, would destroy nearly 6 million jobs through 2014 and send unemployment to almost 12 percent. [Washington Post]
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4. 'FRANKENSTORM' CLOSES IN ON NORTHEAST
Hurricane Sandy lashed the Bahamas overnight after leaving 21 people dead in the Caribbean, and barreled toward the northeastern U.S. It's expected to hit New Jersey and New York just before Halloween, with an early wintry storm heading in from the west and a blast of Arctic air coming down from Canada just when the moon becomes full, creating a rare "Frankenstorm" with high winds, extreme tides, and a mix of heavy rain and even snow. Damage is expected to exceed $1 billion. Forecasters are saying New York and New Jersey could get the worst of it, with nasty conditions possible as far inland as Ohio. "It's looking like a very serious storm that could be historic," said Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the forecasting service Weather Underground. [Associated Press]
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5. NANNY HELD AFTER TWO KIDS FOUND DEAD
A Manhattan woman, Marina Krim, returned to her luxury apartment to find two of her young children, ages 2 and 6, lying dead in a bathtub, with stab wounds all over their bodies. The family's nanny, Yoselyn Ortega, 50, had slit her own wrists and throat, but survived. Ortega, in critical condition, was in police custody but had not been charged as of late Thursday. Karen Krim, the children's paternal grandmother — mother of CNBC executive Kevin Krim, who is their father — said the parents decided to hire a nanny when the 2-year-old, Leo, was born, and were extra careful, even spending nine days with Ortega's family in the Dominican Republic beforehand. "How could she do something like that?" the grandmother said. "The children were angels." [New York Post]
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6. TALIBAN CLAIMS AFGHAN INSIDER ATTACK
The Taliban on Friday claimed responsibility for the Thursday shooting deaths of two U.S. service members in what may have been the latest in a string of deadly insider attacks in Afghanistan. The troops were killed during a patrol when an Afghan man — either a police officer or an insurgent who wore a uniform to get close — opened fire, then escaped. Also on Friday, a suicide bomber killed at least 40 people at a mosque in northern Afghanistan at the start of the Eid al-Adha holiday. [CBS News, Reuters]
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7. APPLE AND AMAZON SCARE INVESTORS
Apple got a 24-percent bump in quarterly profits on Thursday, but the stellar numbers fell short of what investors had expected. The company's iPad sales of 14 million also disappointed. Online retail juggernaut Amazon posted a larger loss than analysts expected, despite impressive sales, in its third-quarter earnings report released late Thursday. The double-barreled bad news weighed on stocks from Asia to Europe early Friday, and dampened the early mood in the U.S., too. "We might be able to cope with one big name disappointment at the moment," said IG market analyst Chris Beauchamp, "but having both Apple and Amazon fail to live up to expectations is apparently more than investors can bear." [Associated Press]
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8. POLICE OFFICER ACCUSED OF CANNIBAL PLOT
A New York City police officer was arrested Thursday and accused of plotting to kidnap, rape, cook, and eat women he tracked down using a confidential law-enforcement database. Prosecutors say Gilberto Valle, a six-year veteran of the force, spelled out his plans in "gruesome" detail in online fetish chat rooms and emails, once saying that his oven was "big enough to fit one of these girls if I folded their legs," and that he planned to "cook her over low heat, keep her alive as long as possible." Defense attorney Julia Gatto scoffed at the charges, saying Valle's boasts were just "sexual fantasies." "There is no actual crossing the line from fantasy to reality," Gatto said. [New York Times]
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9. GIANTS GO UP 2-0 IN SERIES
The San Francisco Giants took a two-to-nothing lead in the World Series on Thursday, beating the favored Detroit Tigers 2-0. Much of the credit goes to pitcher Madison Bumgarner, who shut down the Tigers for seven innings. It was a lowly bunt by Gregor Blanco in the seventh inning that put the Giants in position to score and take the lead on a bases-loaded double play. The teams meet again for game three on Saturday in Detroit. "It definitely feels a whole lot better than having our backs against the wall," Bumgarner said. "But you can't relax. We've got to keep pushing." [Associated Press]
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10. ROLLING STONES PLAY TINY WARM-UP GIG
As promised, the Rolling Stones gave a warm-up performance for an intimate crowd of 700 in a Paris nightclub on Thursday, as they prepare for sold-out mega-concerts in London and New York. "It was crazy, the audience went mad," one concertgoer said. The lucky few who got to see the show paid just 15 euros ($19) to get in; tickets for the Stones' two performances in London in late November cost 375 British pounds ($600). As the crowd cheered wildly, Mick Jagger, frontman for the aging rock legends, said, "I can't believe we're all still standing up — you'd think by now one or two of us would be sitting down, but we're not." [Telegraph]

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