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10 things you need to know today: November 6, 2012
Voters go to the polls, Sandy victims brace for another storm, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
President Obama, who voted early, will spend Election Day in Chicago, while Mitt Romney will visit Ohio and Pennsylvania after voting in Boston.
President Obama, who voted early, will spend Election Day in Chicago, while Mitt Romney will visit Ohio and Pennsylvania after voting in Boston.
John Moore/Getty Images

1. ELECTION DAY FINALLY ARRIVES
In a tradition dating back as far as 1948, the tiny New Hampshire villages of Dixville Notch and Hart's Location kicked off Election Day 2012 at midnight local time. In Dixville Notch, President Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney tied, 5 to 5, while Obama handily won the contest in Hart's Location, 23 to 9, with 1 vote going to Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson. Both places picked Obama over Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in 2008. Mitt Romney returned home to Boston to vote, but plans to visit Ohio, a key swing state, and Pennsylvania in an effort to "keep working until the polls close." President Obama, who is nearly deadlocked with Romney but holds a slight lead in key swing states, got emotional in Iowa at what was almost certainly his last campaign rally ever, win or lose. "To all of you who have lived and breathed the hard work of change," he said, "I want to thank you." [Associated Press]
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2. NORTHEAST BRACES FOR ANOTHER STORM
As government officials rush to provide temporary housing for tens of thousands of people displaced by Hurricane Sandy, a potentially dangerous storm is expected to hit the Northeast and mid-Atlantic states with another round of high winds, driving rain, and storm tides on Wednesday and Thursday. The National Weather Service says the northeaster could buffet the New York area with sustained winds up to 40 miles per hour, and gusts up to 60 mph. The storm also could bring storm tides as high as four-and-a-half feet into areas on Long Island, Staten Island, and the Jersey Shore that suffered heavy erosion in last week's superstorm. This week's harsh weather, which will also bring freezing temperatures, isn't expected to cause anything near the devastation left by Sandy, but it could compound damage already to homes, businesses, coastlines, and the electric grid. [New York Times]
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3. OFFICIALS ADJUST TO HELP STORM VICTIMS VOTE
Thousands of voters in storm-ravaged New York and New Jersey could have trouble voting on Tuesday, thanks to Hurricane Sandy. The superstorm knocked out an undetermined number of polling stations, and left tens of thousands of people unable to return to their homes. New Jersey is designating storm victims as overseas voters, so they can vote by fax or email. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said his constituents could vote at any polling place if they presented an affidavit. "We want everyone to vote," Cuomo said. "Just because you are displaced doesn't mean you should be disenfranchised." [Reuters]
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4. SYRIAN LEADER'S BROTHER ASSASSINATED
Mohammad Osama al-Laham, the brother of Syrian speaker of parliament Jihad Laham, was shot to death in his car while on his way to work in Damascus on Tuesday, as fighting between government forces and rebels surged in the capital and several other cities. The official Syrian news agency, SANA, blamed the assassination on "terrorists," a term it uses to describe all opposition fighters. The assassination came just days after the abduction and killing of Mohamed Rafeh, 30, a television star who was an outspoken supporter of the regime's deadly crackdown on its armed opponents. [New York Times]
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5. GREEKS STRIKE AHEAD OF AUSTERITY VOTE
Workers in Greece began a two-day strike on Tuesday, bringing public transportation and other services to a halt ahead of parliament's Wednesday vote on a new round of spending cuts and tax hikes. The austerity measures are expected to narrowly pass, allowing the country to get another dose of bailout money from the European Union to help Athens avoid defaulting on its government debt. Protesters, however, say the belt-tightening is only making the economy worse and putting more Greeks out of work. [Bloomberg]
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6. APPLE BREAKS SALES RECORD
Apple says it sold 3 million iPads over the weekend, breaking records for a new product launch. The company's news release, however, didn't break down how many of those were iPad minis, and how many were the new fourth-generation full-sized iPads. Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company had "practically sold out of iPad minis," and investors drove up Apple's stock price by 1.4 percent on the news. Skeptics wondered why Apple didn't say exactly how many minis — which critics say are too expensive at $329 — it sold. ExtremeTech's Sebastian Anthony suggested the company might be trying to hide what was really a "lackluster performance." [Forbes]
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7. AFGHAN MASSACRE TRIAL STARTS
Preliminary hearings began Monday in the murder trial of Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, a decorated veteran of four combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan who has been accused of sneaking out of his camp and killing Afghan villagers earlier this year. Most of the victims were women and children. The attack, which occurred in Afghanistan's Kandahar province in March, was the worst civilian slaughter blamed on an American soldier since Vietnam. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. One of Bales' comrades said that after he was taken into custody, Bales said repeatedly, "I thought I was doing the right thing." [NBC News]
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8. PUTIN FIRES DEFENSE MINISTER
Russian President Vladimir Putin has thrown out his defense minister, Anatoly Serdyukov, over a corruption scandal. Putin said he dismissed Serdyukov and replaced him with Sergei Shoigu, a former emergencies minister and loyal Putin ally, to create "conditions for an objective investigation." In six years on the job, Serdyukov modernized Russia's outdated military by cutting costs and boosting efficiency, but his reign was tainted last month when investigators raided the offices of a state-controlled military contractor under suspicion that the firm had sold government assets to private companies at a $100 million loss. [BBC]
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9. POST-SANDY PRICE-GOUGING INVESTIGATED
New York's Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is looking into more than 500 possible cases of price gouging in the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Over the weekend and on Monday, more than 300 complaints came in about stores and other vendors demanding unreasonably high prices for gasoline and other essentials, including a $10 box of matches and a $7 loaf of bread. "Our office has zero tolerance for price-gouging," Schneiderman said. [Associated Press]
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10. COMPOSER ELLIOTT CARTER DIES AT 103
Classical composer Elliott Carter died in New York Monday at age 103. Carter won two Pulitzer Prizes and the National Medal of Arts. He wasn't widely known by the public, but Carter was revered by critics and musicians. A fellow composer, the late Igor Stravinsky, said Carter's 1961 Double Concerto and his 1967 Piano Concerto were "masterpieces." Carter was known for the complexity of his pieces. The New York Times said in 2002 that his string quartets were "the most difficult music ever conceived." [BBC]

 

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