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10 things you need to know today: October 27, 2012
The Northeast braces for 'Frankenstorm,' Berlusconi is sentenced to prison, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
Italians celebrate the sentencing of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
Italians celebrate the sentencing of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia

1. EX-ITALIAN PM BERLUSCONI SENTENCED TO PRISON
Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was sentenced to a year in prison for tax fraud on Friday. The disgraced former leader, whose sentence was shortened from four years to one due to prison overcrowding, has been involved in a number of trials related to alleged corruption during his time in office, but until now he has avoided convictions or had cases dropped because of judicial time limits. Berlusconi is expected to appeal the verdict, which stems from a trial that focused on the purchase of rights to show U.S. films on television. He is also still on trial on charges of paying underage woman for sex and abusing his office as prime minister to try to cover it up. [Wall Street Journal, Associated Press]
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 2. OBAMA RESPONDS TO SUNUNU'S RACE COMMENT
After Mitt Romney surrogate and former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu stirred controversy by implying that former Secretary of State Colin Powell endorsed President Obama for re-election because both men are black, the president had a few words in response. "I don't think that there are many people in America who would question Gen. Powell's credibility, his patriotism, his willingness to tell it straight," the president told radio host Michael Smerconish in an interview Friday. "So any suggestion that Gen. Powell would make such a  profound statement in such an important election based on anything other than what he thought would be best for America doesn't make much sense." Sununu walked back his statements, saying that he didn't doubt that Powell's endorsement was based on his "support of the president's policies." [Washington Post]
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3. NORTHEAST BRACES FOR HURRICANE SANDY
Hurricane Sandy is barreling up the Atlantic Ocean toward America's East Coast on a collision course with an early wintry storm from the west and a frigid blast of air from the north, which forecasters warn could create a "perfect storm." Sandy has already killed dozens of people in the Caribbean, and could hit the Northeast on the day before Halloween next week as a "Frankenstorm" worse than anything the region has seen in 100 years. "It really could be an extremely significant, historic storm," says University of Miami researcher Brian McNoldy. Although there is a slight chance that the storm won't materialize, governments in the projected target zone are already getting prepared. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has directed state agencies to monitor the storm, Massachusetts' Emergency Management Agency is warning people to plan for the worst, and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is urging residents, especially those in low-lying areas, to be ready to evacuate, just in case. [The Week]
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4. IN IOWA, ROMNEY CALLS FOR 'BOLD CHANGES'
On Friday, Mitt Romney spoke in Ames, Iowa, calling for "bold changes" to revive the U.S. economy, without offering many specifics. Instead he heaped criticism on President Obama for distracting from the nation's sluggish recovery with ads and campaign rhetoric focusing on "characters on Sesame Street and silly word games to misdirected personal attacks he knows are false." Romney delivered his speech the same day the Commerce Department reported that the country's GDP had grown 2 percent from July through September. [Associated Press]
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5. NANNY SUSPECTED IN MURDER CASE IN COMA
Yoselyn Ortega, the nanny who allegedly stabbed to death two of the young children she was taking care of, is on a respirator at a New York hospital and is expected to survive what investigators believe are self-inflicted stab wounds. The news of Ortega's condition comes after Marina Krim, who had employed Ortega as a nanny, 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. Ortega has yet to be charged in the crime, which set off an outcry throughout New York City and beyond. [Wall Street Journal]
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6. CHINA BLOCKS ACCESS TO THE NEW YORK TIMES
On Friday morning, the Chinese government blocked access to the English- and Chinese-language versions of The New York Times' website, after the newspaper published a story about the wealth accumulated by Prime Minister Wen Jiabao. "Publication of the article about Mr. Wen and his family comes at a delicate time in Chinese politics, during a year in which factional rivalries and the personal lives of Chinese leaders have come into public view to a rare extent and drawn unprecedented international interest." [New York Times]
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7. SUICIDE BOMBER KILLS 40 IN AFGHANISTAN  
At least 40 people were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a mosque in northern Afghanistan, as people gathered for morning prayers on Friday. The mosque, in Maymana, the capital of Faryab province, was particularly crowded because worshippers had gathered to pray at the start of the annual Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday, a three-day celebration when families typically gather together. The northern province of Faryab is relatively peaceful. Officials say the target of the suicide attack was a provincial police officer, who survived the bombing. [Voice of America]
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8. GDP IN U.S. RISES 2 PERCENT
The Commerce Department reported Friday that the nation's gross domestic product grew by 2 percent from July through September, roughly in line with analysts' forecasts. The increase was attributed to gains in consumer spending, housing investment, and an uptick in government spending. "U.S. economic growth is slow, but not slowing," said Conference Board economist Kathy Bostjancic. [Washington Post]
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9. IPAD MINI WITH LTE SHIPPING DELAYED
According to customers who have placed orders for Apple's iPad Mini with LTE, shipments of the product will be go out on Nov. 23, later than the company initially projected. Upon releasing the new iPad Mini this week, Apple said the Mini with LTE would ship "a couple weeks" after the regular Mini went on sale on Nov. 2. Looks like people will have to wait one more week. [CNET]
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10. TIMBERLAKE APOLOGIZES FOR FRIENDS' VIDEO
Newly married singer Justin Timberlake took to his website to apologize for a video his friends created that employed homeless people in Los Angeles to pose as friends of Timberlake's congratulating him on his nuptials to actress Jessica Biel. Timberlake defended his friends as "good people" who had a momentary lapse of judgment, and added, "I don't live my life making fun of people (unless, of course, I'm making fun of myself on SNL)." [Entertainment Weekly]

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