10 things you need to know today: July 3, 2012

The Week

Widespread torture is reported in Syria, Barclays CEO Bob Diamond steps down, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion

1. REPORT: SYRIAN REGIME RUNNING "TORTURE CHAMBERS"
On Tuesday, Human Rights Watch published a report detailing what one researcher called a "network of torture chambers that the authorities are using to intimidate and punish people who dare to oppose the government." The report notes 27 detention centers across Syria where people are systemically tortured. Victims, some of them children, give accounts of being beaten, electrocuted, having nails pulled out with pliers, and other excruciating methods. Opposition activists say upwards of 223 people have been killed in the last two days, and report that a growing number of Assad's forces are defecting, with more than 258 people — among them members of government forces and their families — said to have fled Monday. [CNN]
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2. BARCLAYS CEO QUITS OVER SCANDAL
Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond resigned Tuesday, the latest mishap in an inter-bank rate-fixing scandal being investigated by British and U.S. authorities. Chairman Marcus Agius says he will lead the search for Diamond's replacement. Agius announced his resignation over the same scandal on Monday, but says he will wait until his replacement is found before stepping down. [Associated Press]
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SEE ALSO: 10 things you need to know today: June 22, 2012

3. 1.8 MILLION PEOPLE STILL WITHOUT POWER
Nearly 2 million people in 11 states are still without power as the blistering heatwave continues. The National Weather Service issued heat advisory warnings Tuesday for parts of Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota, and Nebraska. [CNN]
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4. TWO MEN DIE FIGHTING COLORADO WILDFIRES
Military officials and victims' families report that two men died Sunday when a U.S. Air Force plane fighting a fire near Edgemont, South Dakota crashed Sunday night. Two other crew members were critically injured and remain in the hospital. [CNN]
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SEE ALSO: 10 things you need to know today: June 19, 2012

5. U.S. FLEXES MILITARY MUSCLE IN PERSIAN GULF
The U.S. has added "significant military reinforcements" to the Persian Gulf in an effort to send a clear message to Iran that it is prepared should tensions over Iran's nuclear program escalate. Meanwhile, Iran's Revolutionary Guard reportedly test-fired several ballistic missiles on Tuesday. The acting commander of the guards said the test-firing was in response to the U.S. and Israel refusing to rule out military strikes should diplomatic talks over Iran's nuclear program fail. [New York Times]
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6. DRUG GIANT TO PAY $3 BILLION FINE
In the largest healthcare-fraud settlement in U.S. history, British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline has agreed to plead guilty and pay $3 billion in fines for not reporting safety information about a popular diabetes drug, Avandia, and marketing its leading antidepressants, Wellbutrin and Paxil, for unapproved uses. The fine also involves six other drugs that were improperly marketed. [New York Times]
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SEE ALSO: 10 things you need to know today: June 29, 2012

7. ASSAD REGRETS SHOOTING DOWN TURKISH PLANE
According a to a Turkish newspaper, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says he regrets having his forces shoot down a Turkish military jet in late June, and doesn't want the incident to lead to an "armed conflict" with Turkey. Immediately following the incident, Assad defended the move saying the plane was in Syrian airspace and his forces were acting in self-defense. [New York Times]
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8. CNN'S ANDERSON COOPER COMES OUT
CNN anchor Anderson Cooper publicly came out as gay Monday in an email message to the Daily Beast's Andrew Sullivan. Cooper wrote that he had previously shied away from the topic in an effort "to maintain some level of privacy in my life," but he's recently been reminded "that... the tide of history only advances when people make themselves fully visible." [CNN]
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SEE ALSO: 10 things you need to know today: June 21, 2012

9. TARMOH GIVES UP 100-METERS OLYMPIC SPOT
Jeneba Tarmoh decided Monday to withdraw from a run-off race for the final Olympic spot in the 100 meters. Tarmoh was to face-off against her training partner Allyson Felix to break an unprecedented third-place tie. Tarmoh was initially declared the third-place winner in the June 23 race and took a victory lap, but she was later told that the race had been ruled a dead heat. [Associated Press]
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10. TORRES FAILS TO MAKE OLYMPIC TEAM
Dara Torres, a 45-year-old mom and five-time Olympian, finished fourth in the 50-meter freestyle at the Olympic trials Monday night, just nine-hundredths of a second shy of making a record sixth U.S. swim team. A 12-time medal winner, Torres first competed in the Los Angeles Games in 1984, and was the first American to swim in five Olympics and the oldest female swimmer to ever compete at the games. [Associated Press]

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