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10 things you need to know today: December 9, 2012
Egypt's Morsi rolls back his power decree, Marquez knocks out Pacquiao, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
Manny Pacquiao lays face down on the mat after being knocked out in the sixth round by Juan Manuel Marquez on Dec. 8.
Manny Pacquiao lays face down on the mat after being knocked out in the sixth round by Juan Manuel Marquez on Dec. 8. Al Bello/Getty Images

1. MORSI ROLLS BACK POWER DECREE, BUT MOVES FORWARD WITH REFERENDUM 
In a midnight news conference on Saturday, Egypt's prime minister said President Mohamed Morsi was offering concessions to opponents that he had previously dismissed. Morsi rescinded most of his Nov. 22 decree, which made his decisions immune from judicial review and drew the ire of tens of thousands of protesters. The president did not, however, give in to the demand that a constitutional referendum scheduled for Dec. 15 be postponed. Morsi did offer a convoluted arrangement for the opposing sides to negotiate constitutional amendments this week that would be added to the charter after the vote. The moves offered little hope of fully resolving the standoff, in part because opposition leaders had already ruled out any rushed attempt at a compromise in the few days left before the referendum. [New York Times]
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2. SAME-SEX COUPLES IN WASHINGTON BEGIN MARRYING
Same-sex couples began reciting wedding vows in Washington on Sunday, the first day they were allowed to do so since the state's gay marriage law passed. Hundreds of couples picked up their marriage licenses as early as 12:01 a.m. Thursday, but because of the state's three-day waiting period, the earliest weddings could take place was just after midnight, early Sunday morning. Some courthouses opened at midnight to begin the ceremonies to join the couples in marriage. [Associated Press]
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3. MANDELA ADMITTED TO HOSPITAL FOR TESTS
Former South African President Nelson Mandela was admitted to the hospital Saturday for testing. The 94-year-old anti-apartheid icon was "comfortable and in good care" as of Sunday, said a spokesman, but no specific details were given about the kind of tests Mandela is undergoing. Mandela, who spent 27 years in prison for fighting racist white rule, became South Africa's first black president in 1994 and served one five-year term. [Guardian]
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4. OBAMA TO ACCEPT CORPORATE FUNDS FOR INAUGURATION
President Obama's inaugural committee has decided to accept unlimited corporate donations to help fund Obama's second inauguration, reversing a decision from four years ago. The move drew criticism for a president who has vowed to limit the influence of outside money on Washington. The committee is still barring lobbyists and political action committees from donating. They are also establishing a system for vetting the corporate donations, and won't accept money from corporations that accepted stimulus funding and haven't paid the money back, for example. Since Jan. 20 — the day the 20th amendment of the Constitution says a president's term begins — is a Sunday, Obama will be sworn in during a small private service. The next day there will be a public swearing in, the inaugural address, a parade, and a series of official Inaugural balls. [Boston Globe]
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5. MARQUEZ KNOCKS OUT PACQUIAO
Mexican fighter Juan Manuel Marquez knocked out Filipino boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao during the sixth round of their matchup in Las Vegas on Saturday. It was the first time in Pacquiao's 17-year career that he has ever been knocked out. The fight was also the first real loss for Pacquiao in seven years. He technically lost a close decision to Timothy Bradley in his last fight in June, but most ringside observers believed he had won it fairly convincingly. [CBS News]
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6. NORTH KOREA MULLS DELAYING ROCKET LAUNCH
According to North Korea's state news agency, Pyongyang is considering delaying the controversial launch of a long-range rocket that was slated for lift-off as early as this week. Scientists have been pushing forward with final preparations for the launch from a west coast site. It's unclear whether diplomatic pressure from the international community or technical glitches prompted the potential delay. Pyongyang has called the launch a peaceful bid to send an observational satellite into space, its second attempt this year. [Fox News]
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7. DRUG PROVES EFFECTIVE IN CURBING CHRONIC LEUKEMIA 
According to a follow-up of a pivotal drug trial, an experimental leukemia drug, ponatinib, from Ariad Pharmaceuticals, eliminated the cancer from the bone marrow of nearly half of patients with the chronic form of the disease who had stopped responding to other drugs. The trial involved 444 patients, including 267 with chronic myeloid leukemia who had previously been treated with older drugs, and also showed that 56 percent of chronic patients achieved the study's goal of a "major response," meaning the disease had nearly disappeared from the bone marrow. The FDA is slated to decide whether to approve the drug by March 27. [Reuters]
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8. APPLE, GOOGLE TEAM UP IN KODAK PATENTS BID
Apple and Google have reportedly joined forces to offer $500 million to buy Eastman Kodak's patents out of bankruptcy. The two companies, competing for dominance of the smartphone market, have partnered after leading two separate groups this summer to buy some of Kodak's 1,100 imaging patents. The move would allow the competitors to eliminate the potential for patent infringement litigation. The patents for sale relate to the capture, manipulation, and sharing of digital images. Kodak is selling them to fund a turnaround after seeking Chapter 11 protection in January. [Bloomberg]
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9. CHARLIE CRIST BECOMES A DEMOCRAT
Charlie Crist, the former Republican governor of Florida, has officially switched his party affiliation to Democrat, three months after speaking at the Democratic National Convention. Crist made the announcement Saturday, tweeting out a photo of himself holding a Florida voting registration form. The former governor reportedly signed the papers switching his party affiliation from independent to Democrat at a White House holiday party. "What changed is the leadership of the Republican Party," Crist said on Friday. "As I said at the convention, I didn't leave the Republican Party, it left me." [ABC News]
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10. MANZIEL WINS HEISMAN TROPHY
Texas A&M quarterback Johnny "Football" Manziel was awarded the Heisman trophy on Saturday night, becoming the first freshman to ever win the award. Manziel broke the single-season SEC record with 4,600 total yards, "and seemingly just as many 'You cannot be serious plays.'" [Chicago Tribune]

 

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