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10 things you need to know today: November 12, 2012
Lawmakers demand a Petraeus inquiry, Obama plans a public appeal for a debt deal, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
President Obama discusses the looming fiscal cliff on Nov. 9 from the White House.
President Obama discusses the looming fiscal cliff on Nov. 9 from the White House.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

1. LAWMAKERS DEMAND ANSWERS ON PETRAEUS SCANDAL
Leading lawmakers are calling for an investigation into the FBI's handling of the sex scandal that led to the resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chair of the Senate intelligence committee, said Sunday that nobody on Capitol Hill knew federal law-enforcement officials were investigating Petraeus, and his sudden departure hit "like a lightning bolt" on Friday. "This is something that could have had an effect on national security," Feinstein said. "I think we should have been told." The FBI reportedly uncovered evidence of the affair between the former four-star general and Paula Broadwell, a former Army officer who wrote a Petraeus biography, over the summer while investigating a complaint from a woman who said she had received harassing emails from Broadwell. Law-enforcement sources on Sunday identified the woman who allegedly made the claim as Jill Kelley, 37, a friend of Petraeus and his wife, Holly. [Washington Post]
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2. OBAMA TO APPEAL FOR SUPPORT ON DEBT DEAL
President Obama is gearing up for a public campaign to rally support for a bipartisan deficit-reduction deal to avert the so-called fiscal cliff. The president is meeting with labor leaders on Tuesday and business leaders on Wednesday ahead of Friday talks at the White House with congressional Republicans and Democrats. Obama stayed close to home during closed-door meetings over the debt limit in 2011, but the process got bogged down in partisan bickering. This time, Obama is coming out of a re-election victory that he says gave him a mandate to forge a deficit-reduction agreement mixing spending cuts with tax increases for the wealthiest Americans, and the president plans to travel outside Washington to firm up backing for his proposal to avert the looming $600 billion in automatic tax hikes and spending cuts. [New York Times]
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3. OBAMA THANKS VETERANS
President Obama marked Veterans Day on Sunday by laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. Obama noted that this is the first Veterans Day in a decade when no American soldiers are fighting in Iraq and pledged the federal government's support for the million-plus members of the military who will be returning to civilian life over the next few years in the wake of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. "Our heroes are coming home," Obama said. "No one who fights for this country overseas should ever have to fight for a job, or a roof over their head, or the care that they have earned when they come home." [Reuters]
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4. GREECE PASSES AUSTERITY BUDGET
The Greek parliament on Sunday approved a 2013 budget packed with spending cuts and tax hikes, hoping the lean spending plan will help secure more international bailout money so Greece can avoid defaulting on its debts. The bill passed by a safe margin, as all three parties in Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' coalition supported it. Last week, a separate package of austerity measures was approved by a tighter margin after some of Samaras' allies abstained. The country's major unions staged a two-day general strike leading up to that vote, with workers protesting that the government's belt-tightening was only destroying Greece's economy. Eurozone finance ministers are meeting in Brussels to discuss whether the moves justify the release of more bailout money. [Reuters]
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5. U.S. POISED TO BE WORLD'S BIGGEST OIL PRODUCER
The U.S. is on track to overtake Saudi Arabia to become the world's largest oil producer in the next decade, as America taps into vast supplies of crude extracted through new technology including hydraulic fracturing of underground rock formations, the International Energy Agency reported on Monday. U.S. production is projected to surpass Saudi Arabia's for five years, beginning around 2020. Currently, Saudi Arabia pumps 9.8 million barrels a day, compared with 6.7 million for the U.S. The U.S. imports about 20 percent of its energy needs now, but when production peaks it will be nearly energy independent — and possibly a net exporter of crude oil, the IEA said. [Bloomberg]
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6. CUOMO ASKS FOR $30 BILLION IN RELIEF
New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo reportedly wants the federal government to send $30 billion in disaster aid for New York City and other areas battered by Hurricane Sandy. More than 10 percent of the money — $3.5 billion — would be earmarked for repairing bridges, tunnels, and subway lines. Another $1.6 billion would go toward rebuilding homes, including apartment buildings, damaged or destroyed by the superstorm. Cuomo said Sandy caused a total of about $50 billion in damage in the region, just over a third as much damage as Hurricane Katrina left behind on the Gulf Coast in 2005. [New York Times]
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7. SYRIA OPPOSITION CHOOSES LEADER
Syria's new opposition coalition on Sunday elected moderate cleric Maath al-Khatib as its leader. The group also chose a businessman, Riad Seif, and a well-known female activist, Suhair al-Attasi, to serve as vice presidents. Arab League foreign ministers are meeting Monday to discuss their next move after meeting with peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi. The U.S. State Department said late Sunday that it was looking forward to supporting the united opposition as it moves "toward the end of [President Bashar] al-Assad's bloody rule." [Voice of America]
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8. BBC SCANDAL FALLOUT BROADENS
The turmoil at the BBC spread on Monday, as BBC director of news Helen Boaden and her deputy Steve Mitchell were asked to step aside pending an internal review of  the handling of the scandal surrounding decades-old accusations of child sex abuse by a late BBC host, Jimmy Savile. The news came two days after BBC director general George Entwistle resigned. In addition to the furor surrounding the Savile case, which allegedly involved the abuse of hundreds of young people, some on BBC property, Entwistle had been under under fire for allowing a false report on the BBC program Newsnight to air on Nov. 2. During the broadcast, a former Conservative Party politician was wrongly implicated in a pedophile scandal involving a children's home in Wales. Entwistle said the report reflected "unacceptable journalistic standards." [BBC News]
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9. LAKERS HIRE D'ANTONI
The Los Angeles Lakers have hired former Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni to replace head coach Mike Brown, who was fired last week just one month into his second season after a disappointing 1-4 start. The 16-time NBA champions signed D'Antoni — known for his up-tempo offense — to a three-year contract, with a team option for a fourth season, after negotiations broke down with former Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who has led 11 NBA championship teams. [New York Daily News]
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10. SKYFALL BREAKS RECORD
Skyfall, the new blockbuster James Bond thriller, brought in $87.8 million at the box office over the weekend, smashing the record for the most lucrative debut in the Bond series' 23-film history. The previous record was set by Quantum of Solace, which hauled in $67.5 million over its first three days. Skyfall has been getting high scores from critics. With Thanksgiving weekend — a big one for movie fans — coming up, it's expected to become the first Bond film to bring in more than $200 million in U.S. ticket sales. [Entertainment Weekly]

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