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10 things you need to know today: December 10, 2012
Obama pitches his fiscal plan to workers, Morsi gives the Egyptian army power to arrest, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
Morsi delivers a televised statement in Cairo on Dec. 6.
Morsi delivers a televised statement in Cairo on Dec. 6. AP Photo/Nile TV

1. OBAMA TAKES HIS FISCAL-CLIFF CASE TO THE PEOPLE 
President Obama will again pitch directly to workers his proposal to avoid the looming tax hikes and spending cuts set to hit Jan. 1. After a weekend meeting with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Obama will visit a union engine plant in Michigan on Monday to explain why he wants higher taxes for the wealthy. Neither the White House nor Boehner's office gave any details about the closed-door meeting. Former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles says the two have "started to tango" and that there's "a chance to get it done." Republicans have been resistant to raising taxes on the wealthy, however, though they insist that they don't want middle-class tax increases. [NBC News]
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2. MORSI GIVES ARMY POWER TO ARREST
Ahead of a referendum on Egypt's draft constitution, scheduled for Dec. 15, President Mohamed Morsi has ordered the military to maintain security and protect state institutions. He has also given the army the power to arrest lawbreakers. After Morsi rolled back much of a Nov. 22 decree that granted him sweeping powers, opposition leaders rejected the move because Morsi did not postpone the referendum on a draft constitution drawn up mostly by Morsi's backers. The opposition has called for new protests on Tuesday. Islamist groups have said they will hold counter demonstrations, raising fears of another deadly clash, like one last week that left several people dead and hundreds injured. [BBC]
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3. CHAVEZ TO UNDERGO CANCER SURGERY
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is headed to Cuba on Monday for another round of cancer surgery, two days after he said tests showed malignant cells had appeared in the same part of the body where he has undergone operations before. In his first public acknowledgement that he might have to step down, Chavez said on Sunday that his vice president and foreign minister, Nicolas Maduro, would take over should he become incapacitated. Such a departure from office either before or after the scheduled Jan. 10 start of Chavez's new term would trigger an election within 30 days. [Reuters]

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4. MONTI TO STEP DOWN IN ITALY; BERLUSCONI TO RUN
Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti announced Saturday that he would step down from his position as soon as parliament approves next year's budget. He made the decision after former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom party withdrew their support for Monti. Berlusconi then announced that he himself would run for prime minister a sixth time out of a sense of "responsibility" for Italy. Berlusconi, who has had a long history of legal trouble and was convicted of fraud in October, will base his campaign on opposing Monti's economic policies. Italy, the fourth-largest economy in Europe, is in a recession, with unemployment at 11.1 percent. Monti has widely been praised by economists for bringing the deficit under control and implementing reforms to shore up the economy, but has lost favor with voters for increasing taxes and cutting spending. The possibility still remains that Monti could also run as a candidate, in elections expected to be held as soon as February. [BBCNew York Times]
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5. MAN KILLS FOUR, SELF AT CALIFORNIA RESERVATION 
Hector Celaya, 31, killed his daughter, his mother, and two of her brothers at the Tule River Indian Reservation in central California on Sunday morning, before being shot to death by police. Sgt. Chris Douglass of the Tulare County Sheriff's Department declined to elaborate on a motive for the shootings but said authorities "were aware" of Celaya, who was "known to use drugs." [Los Angeles Times]
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6. U.S. HOMELESS RATE HOLDS STEADY 
The Department of Housing and Urban Development released a report Monday saying that homelessness remained essentially the same from 2011 to 2012, with the number of homeless individuals decreasing slightly and the number of homeless families increasing slightly. "As encouraged as I am that overall homelessness is holding steady during this economic period, we can't be satisfied," Shaun Donovan, the housing and urban development secretary, wrote in an email. "Every number in this estimate is a person, a family, or a veteran living in our shelters or even on our streets. It's exactly why we have to redouble our efforts to find real and lasting solutions for those facing homelessness." [New York Times
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7. FED LIKELY TO SUSTAIN ITS STIMULUS PROGRAM
The Federal Reserve is widely expected to announce Wednesday that it will continue buying Treasury securities to stimulate growth in 2013. The Fed's public declaration in September that it would buy bonds until the outlook for the labor market "improved substantially" has eliminated much of the uncertainty that usually precedes such announcements. The Fed has also said that it will continue its efforts even if Republicans and Democrats are able to reach an agreement to avoid looming tax hikes and deep spending cuts scheduled to hit Jan. 1. [New York Times]
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8. RADIO HOSTS APOLOGIZE FOR MIDDLETON PRANK AFTER SUICIDE
Radio DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian, of the Australian radio show that called into Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton's hospital pretending to be Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles last week, apologized for the prank after the nurse who connected the fake call was found dead of an apparent suicide. Middleton, who was admitted to the hospital for acute morning sickness, thus revealing that she is pregnant with her and husband Prince William's first child, has been the subject of rabid attention since the news broke. Greig and Christian gave tearful public apologies in a televised interview with Australia's A Current Affair after nurse Jacintha Saldanha apparently committed suicide after the hoax went viral. The two hosts insist the joke was always on them because they assumed their accents would give them away and that they'd immediately be cut off. [Fox News]
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9. CORY BOOKER MULLING SENATE AND GOVERNORSHIP RUNS
Newark Mayor Cory Booker revealed Sunday that he is mulling a run for New Jersey governor — and for U.S. Senate. "I am absolutely considering running for governor, as well as giving other options some consideration. I'm going to be focused on that for the next week to ten days or so," he told CBS' Face The Nation. When asked specifically whether he was also considering a Senate run, he confirmed that he was. Should Booker run for governor in 2013, he would be running against Republican incumbent Chris Christie, who has seen a surge in popularity polls following his efforts to address the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in his state. [Huffington Post]
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10. LATINA SINGER JENNI RIVERA DIES IN PLANE CRASH
Mexican-American singer Jenni Rivera and six others died early Sunday when her tour jet crashed in Northern Mexico. The wreckage was found Sunday afternoon, and aviation investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the crash. Rivera, a mother of five, was famous for performing Norteña and Banda music. She also had her own reality show, I Love Jenni, on Telemundo's mun2 network, and had just signed on with ABC to star in a sitcom about "a strong, middle-class, single Latina woman working to raise a family using unique parenting skills, while struggling to run a family business and navigate her extended, co-dependent relatives — all while fighting the cultural perception that she needs a man to do it." [Reuters]

 

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