Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: August 27, 2012

Tropical Storm Isaac hits Florida, hundreds are found dead in Syria, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion

1. ISAAC HITS FLA., 3 STATES DECLARE EMERGENCYTropical Storm Isaac drenched parts of South Florida on Sunday night and is becoming even stronger. Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana have all declared a state of emergency as forecasters predict the storm could turn into a Category 1 or Category 2 hurricane along the Gulf Coast. Isaac is expected to make landfall there by Tuesday night. Luckily, the storm wasn't detrimental to Tampa, where the Republican National Convention is being held. Because of the storm, the convention was delayed and will begin in earnest on Tuesday. [Associated Press]………………………………………………………………………………

2. SYRIA ACCUSED OF MASSACRE, HUNDREDS EXECUTEDSyrian President Bashar al-Assad and his army are being accused by activists of massacring hundreds of people over the weekend. About 320 dead bodies, including women and children, were found in homes in Daraya, southwest of the country's capital. Many had been killed execution style. This disturbing revelation comes as Assad tries to reassert control over a country plagued by a 17-month civil war. [New York Times]………………………………………………………………………………

3. STRONG EARTHQUAKE HITS EL SALVADOR COASTA 7.4-magnitude earthquake hit the coast of Central America on Sunday night. A 5.4-magnitude aftershock followed an hour later, sparking a tsunami warning for El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Panama, and Mexico. The warning was later withdrawn, and there have been no reports of any serious damage or injuries. [AFP]………………………………………………………………………………

4. TALIBAN BEHEADS 17 PARTYGOERS IN AFGHANISTANSeventeen civilians, including two women, were found beheaded in southern Afghanistan on Monday. Officials said the Taliban carried out the bloody attack on the civilians for taking part in a "mixed-sex" music party. The bodies were found in a house near the Musa Qala district. "The victims threw a late-night dance and music party when the Taliban attacked," said district governor Nimatullah, who goes by just one name. [Reuters]………………………………………………………………………………

5. POLL: TO SAVE SOCIAL SECURITY, RAISE TAXESThe majority of Americans are willing to shell out more money to Uncle Sam if it means securing Social Security benefits for the future. According to a new Associated Press-GFK poll, 53 percent of Americans said they preferred a tax hike versus a reduction in benefits, while 36 percent said they would cut benefits instead. In addition, a majority — 53 percent — said they would be in favor of raising the retirement age instead of trimming monthly payments, while 35 percent said they preferred shrinking monthly payments. [Associated Press]………………………………………………………………………………

6. ALL EMPIRE STATE VICTIMS SHOT BY COPSAll nine bystanders injured during a confrontation between police and a gunman outside of the Empire State Building last week were shot by police. The NYPD fired 16 rounds at Jeffrey Johnson on Friday, after he allegedly shot and killed a former co-worker. Three passersby were hit directly by bullets, while six others were hit by fragments. None of the injuries were life-threatening. [CNN]………………………………………………………………………………

7. TWO PUSSY RIOT MEMBERS FLEE RUSSIATwo members of Russian punk band Pussy Riot have fled their country to avoid prosecution after three of their bandmates were sentenced to two years behind bars for staging a protest against President Vladimir Putin. "In regard to the pursuit, two of our members have successfully fled the country! They are recruiting foreign feminists to prepare new actions!" the group's Twitter account read. It is not clear where the two went. The women's harsh sentence sparked an international outcry over free speech. [The Guardian]………………………………………………………………………………

8. SAMSUNG STOCK PLUMMETS AFTER APPLE RULINGSamsung Electronic's share price plunged nearly 7.5 percent on overseas markets on Monday, following Apple's big patent win against the Korean electronics behemoth. Friday's verdict, delivered by a U.S. federal jury, awarded more than $1 billion in damages to Apple for Samsung's infringements of the iPhone and iPad's design. The plummet on the Korea Stock Exchange is the largest single-day drop since the start of the global economic downturn four years ago. [Wall Street Journal]………………………………………………………………………………

9. IPAD MINI TO BE RELEASED IN OCTOBERJust in time for the holidays: The much-hyped iPad Mini will be unveiled in October, following the September launch of the iPhone 5. Apple has not yet confirmed the iPad Mini release, but the launch date first reported by All Things D has since been corroborated by multiple sources. The more petite iPad is set to have a 7.85-inch display and be cheaper than the current device. [All Things D, ABC News]………………………………………………………………………………

10. ANTI-OBAMA DOCUMENTARY RAKES IN CASHA new documentary skewering President Obama is a hit, grossing $6.3 million as it ran in theaters nationwide over the weekend. The film, 2016: Obama's America, by conservatives Dinesh D'Souza and John Sullivan, is the most lucrative conservative documentary ever, and is the top earning documentary of the year, excluding nature films. [Hollywood Reporter]

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