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10 things you need to know today: July 20, 2013
President Obama speaks up about the George Zimmerman verdict, the SEC charges hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen, and more
"Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago."
"Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago." Win McNamee/Getty Images

1. OBAMA: 'TRAYVON MARTIN COULD HAVE BEEN ME'
President Obama made a surprise appearance on Friday afternoon in the White House briefing room to talk about the George Zimmerman case, saying that people should respect the verdict but also understand that African-Americans continue to experience racial discrimination. "Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago," Obama told reporters. [USA Today]
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2. SEC FILES CHARGES AGAINST BILLIONAIRE HEDGE FUND FOUNDER
Steven A. Cohen, founder of SAC Capital Advisors, one of the country's largest hedge funds, was hit with SEC charges on Friday related to insider trading. He is accused of failing to prevent two portfolio managers from illegal insider trading that allowed the fund to avoid losses of $275 million. [The Washington Post]
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3. ASIANA AIRLINES PASSENGER KILLED BY FIRETRUCK
Ye Meng Yuan, one of the casualties of the Asiana Airlines plane crash on July 6, actually survived the emergency landing but was killed by a firetruck that struck her at the scene of the accident, according to authorities. Two other teenage girls from China also died as a result of the crash. [Associated Press]
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4. FORMER BERLUSCONI AIDES FOUND GUILTY OF HIRING PROSTITUTES
Three former aides to Silvio Berlusconi were found guilty of procuring prostitutes for the former Italian prime minister's infamous "bunga bunga" parties. Two of them, Dario "Lele" Mora and Emilio Fede, were sentenced to seven years in prison, while a third, Nicole Minetti, was sentenced to six years. All three will remain free while they appeal the ruling. [Los Angeles Times]
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5. JUDGE REFUSES TO DROP 'AIDING THE ENEMY' CHARGE AGAINST MANNING
A military judge declined to drop the "aiding the enemy" charge against Pfc. Bradley Manning for leaking 700,000 classified documents to the website WikiLeaks in 2010. If convicted on all charges, Bradley could face life in prison without parole. [MSNBC]
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6. KERRY ANNOUNCES NEW TALKS BETWEEN ISRAEL AND PALESTINE
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced that diplomatic talks will begin "next week or so" in Washington between representatives of Israel and Palestine in hopes of reviving the long-stalled peace process. Kerry called it a "significant step forward" while speaking from Amman, Jordan. [The Guardian]
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7. WILDFIRE RAGES IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
A wildfire that has already consumed tens of thousands of acres continued to burn in the mountains near Palm Springs, Calif., on Friday, causing thousands of people to remain evacuated. The fire has destroyed several homes so far and threatens thousands more. [CBS News]
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8. NEW YORK TIMES REPORTER ORDERED TO TESTIFY AGAINST CIA SOURCE
A federal appeals court ordered James Risen, a reporter for The New York Times, to testify in the trial of a former CIA officer who gave him access to classified information. Risen has said that he would rather go to prison than testify about his sources. [The New York Times]
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9. WOMAN SENTENCED TO JAIL IN DUBAI AFTER REPORTING RAPE
Marte Deborah Dalelv, 24, was sentenced to 16 months in prison for having sex outside of marriage after reporting an alleged rape by a co-worker while visiting Dubai from Norway. The case has brought strong criticism from Norwegian officials and human rights advocates. [Associated Press]
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10. JUDGE DISMISSES SUIT BY FAULKNER HEIRS AGAINST WOODY ALLEN MOVIE
A judge dismissed a lawsuit by heirs of William Faulkner against Sony Pictures Classics that claimed that Woody Allen's 2011 film Midnight in Paris was guilty infringing on the copyright of Faulkner's 1950 novel Requiem for a Nun for paraphrasing a nine-word quote: "The past is never dead. It’s not even past." [Entertainment Weekly]

Keith Wagstaff is a staff writer at TheWeek.com covering politics and current events. He has previously written for such publications as TIME, Details, VICE, and the Village Voice.

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