Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: April 26, 2012

France calls for military intervention in Syria, Rick Perry endorses Mitt Romney, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion

1. FRANCE THREATENS MILITARY INTERVENTION IN SYRIA In a statement Wednesday, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said the United Nations should consider military force if its peace plan completely collapses. Since the ceasefire began on April 12, the Syrian regime has failed to remove troops from cities and continued its attacks in opposition areas. Activists say government forces killed at least 29 civilians on Wednesday, with a massive blast in the city of Hama killing at least 16 people. Syrian state media said rebels were to blame for the explosion. [Associated Press]………………………………………………………………………………

2. SUPREME COURT IS SYMPATHETIC TO ARIZONA LAW After hearing arguments on Wednesday, high court justices seemed to favor Arizona's notoriously tough immigration law. The state's SB 1070 statute gives state and local law enforcement the authority to question the legal status of anyone they stop so long as there is "reasonable suspicion" that they are not a legal citizen. The Obama administration has opposed the law on the grounds that the responsibility to dictate who is and isn't legally in the country should lie with federal authorities. [San Francisco Chronicle]………………………………………………………………………………

3. RICK PERRY ENDORSES MITT ROMNEY The Texas governor and former GOP presidential candidate threw his support behind the presumed nominee on Wednesday, saying "today I join the many conservative Republicans across the nation in endorsing Mitt Romney for president and pledge to him, my constituents, and the Republican Party that I will continue to work hard to help defeat President Obama." Perry ended his campaign in January and initially tossed his support to Newt Gingrich, who will reportedly be leaving the race next week. [Reuters]………………………………………………………………………………

4. CONNECTICUT ABOLISHES THE DEATH PENALTY Connecticut became the 17th state to do away with the death penalty on Wednesday, with Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) signing a bill into law to ban the practice. In November, California voters will decide whether to abolish capital punishment in the Golden State. [CNN]………………………………………………………………………………

5. PAKISTAN CONVICTS PRIME MINISTER OF CONTEMPT On Thursday, Pakistan's Supreme Court found Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani guilty of contempt. The case centered around Gilani's refusal to heed the court's order to write a letter to Swiss authorities asking to reopen a corruption investigation against President Asif Ali Zardari. The verdict was considered largely symbolic, as the Supreme Court tries to demonstrate that it can and will root out corruption. [New York Times]………………………………………………………………………………

6. SENATE PASSES POSTAL SERVICE REFORM BILL The Senate passed a sweeping, bipartisan plan to save the failing U.S. Postal Service on Wednesday. The bill cuts workers' compensation benefits and proposes a shift from door-to-door to curbside delivery, while dictating that the Postal Service not cut Saturday delivery or slow down the delivery of first-class mail. The bill also calls for the Postal Service to be allowed to borrow $11 billion from the Treasury. Rival postal service legislation is pending in the House; Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), a key player in postal service reform, released a statement Wednesday calling the Senate bill "wholly unacceptable." [CNNMoney]………………………………………………………………………………

7. ANALYSTS: NORTH KOREA MISSILES ARE SLOPPY FAKES Analysts say that the missiles North Korea proudly paraded about earlier this month, before a controversial launch that ended in failure, were shoddy fakes. "There is no doubt that these missiles were mock-ups," say Markus Schiller and Robert Schmucker with Schmucker Technologie in Germany. "It remains unknown if they were designed this way to confuse foreign analysts, or if the designers simply did some sloppy work." [Associated Press]………………………………………………………………………………

8. 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF L.A. RIOTS APPROACHESIt will be 20 years ago this weekend that riots erupted in Los Angeles after a jury acquitted four police officers accused of beating Rodney King, despite video evidence showing the one Hispanic and three white officers attacking the black motorist. The debate over how race relations have, or haven't, improved in the U.S. will likely dominate the news cycle on the anniversary. During the infamous riots, 53 people were killed and thousands were injured, making the riots among the most deadly in the country's history. [U.S. News]………………………………………………………………………………

9. NUMBER OF BIRACIAL BABIES SOARINGAccording to a new census data analysis, the number of biracial births has greatly increased in the past decade. In the year before the 2010 Census, more than 7 percent of babies born in the U.S. were biracial, up from some 5 percent 10 years earlier. "The number of babies born to white and Asian couples and black and white couples nearly doubled." [Washington Post]………………………………………………………………………………

10. DOCTORS TRANSPLANT SAME KIDNEY TWICE  A kidney that failed in one transplant patient and was then salvaged and given to another patient weeks later would appear to be the first-ever case of a "hand-me-down" transplant organ. When 27-year-old Ray Fearing received his sister's kidney last June, it started to fail within days. Doctors made the unorthodox decision to remove the kidney and give it to another patient, Erwin Gomez, 67. Gomez met Fearing and his sister for the first time Wednesday. [MSNBC]

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