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10 things you need to know today: November 21, 2012
Israel and Gaza fail to reach a truce, Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash resigns, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash attends the 2010 Peabody Awards: Clash resigned from Sesame Street on Nov. 20 after a second man alleged he had a sexual relationship with Clash when the accuser was a minor.
Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash attends the 2010 Peabody Awards: Clash resigned from Sesame Street on Nov. 20 after a second man alleged he had a sexual relationship with Clash when the accuser was a minor.
Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

1. NO CEASE-FIRE DEAL REACHED IN ISRAEL-GAZA CONFLICT
Efforts to negotiate a deal between Israel and Hamas-controlled Gaza continued Wednesday, after conflicting reports had surfaced Tuesday about an imminent truce. After Hamas official Ayman Taha said Tuesday that an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire in the eight-day conflict would go into effect, Israel and Egypt said the deal was still up in the air. Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netayanhu to help broker a cease-fire. From there she headed to the West Bank to meet with Mahmoud Abbas, head of the Palestinian Authority, which is estranged from the Hamas leaders of the Gaza Strip. Before heading to Cairo to consult with Egyptian officials, Clinton was to meet once more with Netanyahu. Israel's rocket attacks continued, with the Israeli Defense Forces saying they made a direct hit on militants building rockets. [New York Times]
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2. EURO SLIDES AS GREECE TALKS DEADLOCK
The euro fell a sharp 0.6 percent on Wednesday after finance ministers failed to reach an agreement that would allow them to extend aid to Greece. One main point of contention is the International Monetary Fund's insistence that eurozone creditors take a hit on their holdings of Greek debt, which Germany will not allow. The IMF also refuses to give Athens an extra two years to meet a debt target of 120 percent of GDP, the level the Fund has deemed sustainable. Officials called for another meeting on Greek's ongoing crisis next week. [Financial Times]
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3. SYRIAN OPPOSITION: $60B NEEDED TO REBUILD
Syrian National Council leader George Sabra told reporters Wednesday that if the opposition were to oust President Bashar al-Assad, it would need $60 billion to rebuild hollowed-out cities like Aleppo and Hama. "We will raise the funds through aid and loans," Sabra said. "We depend on the friends of Syria and the international community, which has an obligation toward Syria." The United Arab Emirates is willing to help Syrian rebels rebuild once the fighting ends. In addition to lost lives and destroyed towns, the country has suffered tremendously since fighting began nearly two years ago: Oil exports, which in 2010 accounted for a quarter of Syrian government revenue, have almost ended, according to an Oct. 26 report by the Economist Intelligence Unit, and gross domestic product is set to contract by 10.2 percent this year. [Bloomberg]
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4. HEWLETT-PACKARD REPORTS MASSIVE WRITE-DOWN
Struggling computer manufacturer Hewlett-Packard on Tuesday reported a massive $8.8 billion write-down stemming from its 2011 purchase of software company Autonomy for $11.1 billion. H-P alleged that Autonomy had engaged in widespread accounting fraud that artificially inflated the value of the company, a charge denied by Autonomy's former CEO, Mike Lynch. The write-down is just the latest in a series of blows to HP, which has struggled with dwindling profits as consumers increasingly use Apple computers and smartphones as their main platforms for using the internet. [Reuters]
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5. ELMO PUPPETEER RESIGNS AMID ABUSE ALLEGATIONS
Kevin Clash, the puppeteer who has provided the voice of Elmo on Sesame Street for 28 years, has resigned after a new allegation emerged that he had a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old boy, who is now 24. Clash had already been accused of having sex with a 16-year-old who is now 24. Clash and the Sesame Workshop announced his resignation, calling the matter a "distraction" from the show's purpose. "This is a sad day for Sesame Street," the Workshop said in a statement released Tuesday. The accusations from the first accuser were made public on Nov. 12, but the alleged victim later recanted. The man then reportedly took back his recantation, saying that he was coerced into announcing that he and Clash's relationship happened after he turned 18. The allegations also led Clash to reveal that he is a gay man, something he had not previously discussed publicly. [New York Times]
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6. INDIA EXECUTES MUMBAI ATTACKER
On Wednesday, India executed Mohammed Ajmal Kasab the only surviving gunman from the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai that left 160 people dead. Kasab, who is from Pakistan, was hanged at Yerwada Jail in Pune, a city southeast of Mumbai. It was the first use of capital punishment in India in eight years. Kasab was one of 10 heavily armed men who attacked landmarks around Mumbai, including high-end hotels, the city's historic Victoria Terminus train station, and the Jewish cultural center Chabad House. [CNN]
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7. EX-UBS TRADER GETS SEVEN YEARS IN JAIL
Former UBS trader Kweku Adoboli was sentenced to seven years in prison on Tuesday after he was convicted of fraud for actions that caused the Swiss bank to lose $2.3 billion. During his trial, Adoboli, 32, argued that his aim was to generate profit for the bank, but the prosecution described him as a "gambler" who sidestepped rules as he saw fit. The verdict comes more than a year after Adoboli was arrested at the London offices of UBS after confessing in an email that he faked trades for years. [New York Times]
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8. INDIANAPOLIS BLAST INVESTIGATED AS HOMICIDE
Indianapolis Homeland Security Director Gary Coons said Monday that the Nov. 10 home explosion in the city's Richmond Hill neighborhood that killed two people and destroyed several homes is now being investigated as a homicide. Coons made the announcement shortly after the funeral for the husband and wife who lived next door to the house where investigators believe the blast happened. Search warrants have been executed and officials are now looking for a white van that was seen in the subdivision on the day of the explosion. Federal authorities are offering a $10,000 reward for information in the case. [Associated Press]
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9. CORY BOOKER TO LIVE A WEEK ON FOOD STAMPS
Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark, N.J., says he and one of his Twitter followers will follow through with a plan to each live off of food stamps for at least a week. The idea stemmed from a back-and-forth Twitter conversation between Booker and a 39-year-old married mother of two from North Carolina, whose Twitter handle is @MWadeNC. Booker could not say how he will approximate the benefits or execute the idea, but said he is researching and will define the rules of the proposed plan. The average monthly food stamp benefit was $133.26 per person in New Jersey in fiscal year 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. [Associated Press]
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10. COLLEGE BASKETBALL PLAYER SCORES 138 POINTS
Jack Taylor, a guard for the Grinnell College Pioneers, scored an amazing 138 points in the Iowa NCAA Division III basketball team's blowout 179-104 win over Faith Baptist College. In his 38 minutes on the court, the 5-foot-10 Taylor took 108 shots and sunk 52 of them, including 27 of 71 attempted 3-pointers. He had zero assists. Taylor shattered the NCAA record set by Rio Grande's Bevo Francis, who scored 113 points against Hillsdale in 1954. "It felt like anything I tossed up was going in," said Taylor. [Associated Press]

 

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