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10 things you need to know today: November 22, 2012
Israel and Hamas reach a truce, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. resigns, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton holds hands with senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat after meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Nov. 21.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton holds hands with senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat after meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Nov. 21.
AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed

1.ISRAEL AND HAMAS AGREE TO CEASE-FIRE
Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas on Wednesday agreed to a cease-fire, which took effect at 9 p.m. local time. The deal, brokered by the United States and Egypt, ended eight days of fighting across Israel's border with the Gaza Strip, though analysts warned that the truce could easily unravel in the coming days. "This is a critical moment for the region," said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who had been dispatched to Israel by President Obama when it became clear that the fighting could spiral out of control. Clinton said the U.S. would continue to work "with our partners across the region to consolidate this progress, improve conditions for the people of Gaza, provide security for the people of Israel." She also thanked Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, who reportedly played a critical role in finalizing the cease-fire, saying Egypt had assumed the "leadership that has long made this country a cornerstone of regional stability and peace." Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the cease-fire, though he reserved the right for Israel to re-commence hostilities if it proves necessary. [New York Times]
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2. MORTGAGE RATES FALL TO RECORD LOW
The nation's mortgage rates fell even lower this week, setting records for both 30-year and 15-year fixed-rate loans. The 30-year fell to 3.31 percent from 3.34 percent last week, according to Freddie Mac. The 15-year rate averaged 2.63 percent, compared with 2.65 percent a week ago. The current conditions mean it may make sense for current mortgage borrowers and new homebuyers to look at shorter-term loans. [CNNMoney]
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3. TURKEY REQUESTS NATO PATRIOT MISSILES
Turkey has formally requested the deployment of NATO Patriot missiles in its territory as a defensive measure against the threat of attack from Syria. The system can intercept incoming missiles and aircraft, though Ankara insists it would not be used to impose a no-fly zone. The move would bring NATO one step closer to involvement in the Syrian civil war. The alliance's secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said the alliance would discuss it "without delay" and would send an advance team to Turkey next week to explore potential sites for the system. [Guardian]
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4. FDA FAILED TO WARN MENINGITIS-LINKED FIRM
The FDA took 684 days to issue a warning letter to the New England Compounding Center in Massachusetts after uncovering serious issues at the pharmacy at the center of the deadly U.S. meningitis outbreak. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that 34 people have died and 490 have fallen ill after the pharmacy shipped thousands of fungus-tainted vials of a steroid to medical facilities throughout the U.S. The steroid was typically used to ease back pain. State and federal regulators, including the FDA, are being asked why they didn't move sooner against NECC, given the long history of concerns about the family-owned pharmacy's operations. [Reuters]
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5. REP. JESSE JACKSON RESIGNS AMID SCANDAL
Two weeks after winning re-election with 63 percent of the vote, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) has submitted his letter of resignation to House Speaker John Boehner. Jackson's resignation comes after he was recently treated for bipolar disorder at the Mayo Clinic, and as he is under FBI investigation for alleged misuse of campaign funds. Jackson had represented Illinois' second district since 1995. [CBS News]
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6. AUTONOMY FOUNDER: HP CLAIM DOESN'T ADD UP
Mike Lynch, the former CEO of Autonomy Corp., the software company acquired for $11 billion by Hewlett-Packard in 2011, said the claim by HP that more than $200 million in improperly recorded revenue led to a large part of a $9 billion write-down doesn't make sense. "It just doesn't add up," Lynch said in an interview Wednesday. "HP is looking for scapegoats, and I'm afraid I'm not going to be one of those." [Bloomberg]
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7. FEWER JOBLESS CLAIMS IN U.S. LAST WEEK
Jobless claims decreased by 41,000 to 410,000 in the week ending Nov. 17, the Labor Department reported. Fewer Americans were filing applications for unemployment benefits as some of the effects of Superstorm Sandy began to subside. Sandy is a "temporary setback for the job market," said Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody’s. Beyond the storm, "the job market is still very weak and it's going to remain that way until we get some fiscal clarity." [Los Angeles Times]
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8. JUDGE REVIVES HOSTESS LIQUIDATION
U.S. bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain said Wednesday that Hostess Brands, which produces pastries such as the Twinkie, must return to "a liquidation scenario" after talks with its bakers' union failed to avert a shutdown that will cost 18,000 people their jobs. Hostess is asking Drain for permission to close its facilities and take steps toward selling assets. Hostess reportedly has seen a "very healthy competition" for its brands. [Bloomberg]
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9. OBAMA PARDONS TWO TURKEYS
President Obama pardoned two turkeys on Wednesday, in the annual pre-Thanksgiving tradition. Cobbler, the newly designated national turkey, and his alternate, Gobbler, are getting a reprieve. Both are 19-week-old, 40-lb turkeys from Virginia. Their names were selected from submissions by elementary school students. [Associated Press]
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10. FIONA APPLE POSTPONES TOUR TO BE WITH DOG
Singer Fiona Apple has postponed a tour of South American cities to attend to her dying dog. Apple posted a photo of a handwritten letter to her Facebook page, explaining that her dog Janet suffers from Addison's disease and she has a tumor in her chest. "I just can't leave her now, please understand," Apple wrote. "If I go away again, I'm afraid she'll die and I won't have the honor of singing her to sleep, of escorting her out." Apple found Janet 13 years ago in Echo Park in Los Angeles when she was a puppy. [New York Times]

 

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