Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: May 18, 2012

New evidence complicates the Trayvon Martin case, Facebook shares start trading, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion

1. NEW EVIDENCE IN TRAYVON MARTIN CASE A 'MIXED BAG'On Thursday, prosecutors in the Trayvon Martin case released what the Associated Press called a "mixed bag" of evidence — hundreds of pages of eyewitness accounts and photos that both lend credence to and contradict George Zimmerman's claims that he shot Martin in self-defense. According to the files, the two men were in a heated and violent fight leading up to the shooting, and Zimmerman sustained injuries to his face and the back of his head. But the investigator who called for Zimmerman's arrest said that the altercation was "completely avoidable" and that nothing would have happened had Zimmerman remained in his car. An autopsy found trace amounts of THC, a key element in marijuana, in Martin's body. [Associated Press]………………………………………………………………………………

2. FACEBOOK PRICES IPO AT $38 A SHAREToday's the big day: Facebook shares will begin trading Friday morning on the Nasdaq. The tech titan has priced its shares at $38 apiece, valuing the company at $104 billion, the biggest valuation ever for a U.S. company at the time of its IPO. It will be the 23rd largest company in the U.S. by stock market capitalization, ahead of Cisco Systems and Amazon.com, but it ranks 909th in terms of annual revenue. [Wall Street Journal………………………………………………………………………………

3. MARKETS DOWN AS EURO ZONE CRISIS ESCALATES Key indexes were down Friday in Madrid, Rome, Frankfurt, London, Paris, and Tokyo amid growing concern over Europe's money troubles. Greece's debt has been downgraded because of mounting fears that it will be forced to leave the euro, while Moody's downgraded 16 Spanish banks Thursday. Analysts say that Spain could be reaching a critical point and may need to appeal to the European Union for a bailout. On Friday, the euro hit a five-month low against the dollar. [Washington Post]………………………………………………………………………………

4. COPS ARREST HIGHWAY SHOOTING SUSPECT Mississippi authorities have arrested a suspect in two fatal shootings along lonely highway stretches. The suspect, James D. Willie, 28, will be charged Friday. Despite earlier suspicions, police say he was not posing as a police officer in the attacks. [CBS/Associated Press]………………………………………………………………………………

5. NETANYAHU DOUBTS IRAN WILL END NUKE PROGRAM Speaking after a meeting in Prague, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he sees "no evidence whatsoever that Iran is serious about ending its nuclear program." Iran claims that its nuclear program is merely for energy production, but Israel and the West think Iran is still working to develop nuclear weapons. [Associated Press]………………………………………………………………………………

6. FANS REMEMBER SINGER DONNA SUMMER  Writers, fans, and contemporaries are remembering and eulogizing the Queen of Disco, who passed away early Thursday at the age of 63 after battling lung cancer. President Obama mourned the loss, saying "her voice was unforgettable, and the music industry has lost a legend far too soon." Summer's hits included the Grammy-winning "Hot Stuff" and "She Works Hard for the Money." [Associated Press]………………………………………………………………………………

7. HEWLETT-PACKARD TO CUT 30,000 JOBS Hewlett-Packard reportedly plans to slash upwards of 30,000 jobs next week, as CEO Meg Whitman looks to save money on the payroll and spend more on developing new products and creating a more efficient sales force. While HP continues to be successful in the low-margin personal computer realm, it's struggled to keep up with new trends in tech, like smartphones, tablets, and cloud computing. [New York Times]………………………………………………………………………………

8. CORONER SAYS KENNEDY DIED OF HANGINGThe Westchester County Medical Examiner's office says that Mary Kennedy, the estranged wife of Robert Kennedy Jr., died from asphyxiation due to hanging, as had already been assumed. An anonymous source familiar with the investigation says that authorities believe she hanged herself. Kennedy, 52, was found dead in her home on Wednesday. She had struggled with substance abuse in recent years. [Associated Press]………………………………………………………………………………

9. JURY BEGINS DELIBERATIONS IN EDWARDS TRIAL After almost four weeks of testimony, jury deliberations in the John Edwards corruption trial are set to begin Friday. Edwards is facing six criminal charges over a scheme to use $1 million from campaign donors to cover-up his affair with Rielle Hunter during his 2008 presidential campaign. If convicted of all the charges, he could be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison and be fined as much as $1.5 million. [Associated Press]………………………………………………………………………………

10. ROMNEY RELEASES FIRST GENERAL ELECTION AD The Romney campaign released its first ad for the general election Friday. Called "Day One," the 30-second spot focuses on "what a Romney presidency will be like." According to the ad, it would include immediate approval of the Keystone pipeline, job creation, tax cuts, and his own brand of health-care reform. [ABC News]

Recommended

Initial German exit polls show startlingly close race
German election.
neck-and-neck

Initial German exit polls show startlingly close race

Good riddance, Angela Merkel
Angela Merkel.
Samuel Goldman

Good riddance, Angela Merkel

China may have just 'strengthened its bargaining position' through 'hostage diplomacy'
Meng Wanzhou.
a win for beijing?

China may have just 'strengthened its bargaining position' through 'hostage diplomacy'

Taliban foot soldiers warned against taking selfies with leaders because of security concerns
Taliban fighters.
put the phones away

Taliban foot soldiers warned against taking selfies with leaders because of security concerns

Most Popular

Jimmy Fallon and Nicole Kidman almost make it through interview without awkwardness
Jimmy Fallon and Nicole Kidman
Last Night on Late Night

Jimmy Fallon and Nicole Kidman almost make it through interview without awkwardness

Democrats are governing like Republicans
A donkey.
Picture of W. James Antle IIIW. James Antle III

Democrats are governing like Republicans

7 cartoons about America's vaccine fights
Editorial Cartoon.
Feature

7 cartoons about America's vaccine fights