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10 things you need to know today: November 17, 2012
Fighting intensifies in Gaza, police foil a mass shooting plot, and more in our roundup of stories that are making news and driving opinion
Israeli soldiers throw tear gas at Palestinians protesting military operations against the Gaza strip, in the village of Beit Omar on the West Bank on Nov. 16.
Israeli soldiers throw tear gas at Palestinians protesting military operations against the Gaza strip, in the village of Beit Omar on the West Bank on Nov. 16.
AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukh

1. ISRAEL ESCALATES AIR STRIKES ON GAZA
On Saturday morning, Israel bombarded the Gaza Strip with nearly 200 air strikes, reportedly widening its targets to include the prime minister's headquarters, a police compound, smuggling tunnels, a soccer stadium, and Hamas cabinet headquarters. Hamas reportedly continued to retaliate with rocket strikes of its own on Israel, including a rocket strike Friday aimed at Jerusalem. Gaza officials say Israel's Saturday strikes left 10 people dead. Meanwhile, Israeli troops are amassing on the border with Gaza, and as many as 75,000 reservists have been called up, raising the possibility that a ground invasion is imminent. [CBS News]

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2. PETRAEUS TESTIFIES ON BENGHAZI
David Petraeus, who last week resigned as head of the CIA over an extramarital affair, on Friday attended a closed-door congressional hearing to discuss the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. According to Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, Petraeus contradicted his previous testimony in which he asserted that the attack had stemmed principally from an anti-American riot. In Friday's testimony, he said the attack was led by militant extremists. The Obama administration has been heavily criticized by Republicans for initially ascribing the violence at the consulate to the riot, which it later admitted was incorrect. [Associated Press]
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3. LAWMAKERS EXPRESS OPTIMISM ON FISCAL CLIFF
Congressional leaders emerged from budget talks with President Obama on Friday expressing optimism that Congress would reach a deal to prevent the U.S. from running off the so-called fiscal cliff, a package of deep spending cuts and tax hikes that are set to take effect at the end of the year. "It was good," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). "I feel confident that a solution may be in sight." In a rare show of bipartisanship, her remarks were echoed by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). Obama has demanded that any deal allow the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy to expire, and it remains to been seen whether GOP lawmakers are willing to go along. [The New York Times]
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4. HOSTESS LIQUIDATION COULD ATTRACT HIGH DEMAND
After Hostess, the maker of Twinkies and other iconic baked treats such as Ding Dongs and Wonder Bread, announced its intention to liquidate the company on Friday, hungry buyers are reportedly preparing to bid on the legendary brands. "Can you imagine what Twinkies will go for? Jiminy!" said a person who did not want to be identified because his company is planning a bid. "These are 100-year-old brands. They have to be worth a lot." Hostess plans to liquidate upon receiving court approval. [Reuters]
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5. ALLEGED TWILIGHT MASS SHOOTING PLOT FOILED
Police in Bolivar, Mo., say they have foiled a suspected plot by a 20-year-old man to conduct a mass shooting this weekend at either a screening of the new Twilight movie or a Walmart. Police arrested Blaec Lammers, accusing him of purchasing assault rifles and more than 400 rounds of ammunition. Lammers was allegedly attempting to mimic the July mass shooting at a screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colo., that killed 12 people. [USA Today]
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6. ANDROID CONTINUES SMARTPHONE DOMINATION
A new report from Gartner Inc. found that 72.4 percent of smartphones sold in this year's third quarter run on Google's Android operating system, up from 52.5 percent the previous quarter. The drastic increase can in part be attributed to Samsung's burgeoning popularity in the smartphone game — the company sold 55 million smartphones running on Android's operating system in the third quarter. Meanwhile, Apple, once the king of the smartphone world, saw its market share slip from 15 percent in 2011 to 13.9 percent in 2012. [Los Angeles Times]
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7. IKEA APOLOGIZES FOR USING FORCED LABOR
Affordable-furniture giant Ikea publicly apologized for using East German prisoners more than two decades ago to manufacture its furniture. "We deeply regret that this could happen," said an Ikea manager. "The use of political prisoners for manufacturing was at no point accepted by IKEA. [...] At the time we didn't have the well-developed control system that we have today and we clearly did too little to prevent such production methods." The company had enlisted auditor Ernst & Young to investigate the allegations after a Swedish documentary exposed the practice in June. [Associated Press]
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8. WALMART WORKERS PLAN BLACK FRIDAY PROTESTS
Walmart employees around the country are planning to band together to rally against their employer on Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year. While workers at America's largest retailer are not unionized, they're still coming together to bring attention to the arguably unreasonable hours and unsafe working conditions they claim they are subjected to. Meanwhile, a Walmart spokesperson called the planned strikes "just another exaggerated publicity campaign aimed at generating headlines to mislead." [NBC]
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9. TRAIN HITS EGYPTIAN SCHOOL BUS, KILLING DOZENS
At least 47 people are dead in Egypt after a train smashed into a school bus carrying kindergartners on Saturday. The bus was carrying more than 50 children, all between the ages of 4 and 6, near al-Mandara village in southern Egypt. [CBS News]

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10. CAFFEINE COMING TO CRACKER JACKS
Frito-Lay, the company that makes the nostalgic caramel-corn Cracker Jacks, confirmed on Friday that it plans to introduce a coffee-flavored line of snacks by the end of the year. According to a Frito-Lay spokesperson, the "Cracker Jack'd" line will feature snack mixes, popcorn clusters and "Power Bites" containing caffeine, but emphasized that the caffeinated items will only be marketed to adults. [USA Today]

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