10 things you need to know today: May 4, 2012

The Week

A Chinese dissident is offered a U.S. fellowship, Romney surges in swing states, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion

1. CHINA MAY ALLOW ACTIVIST TO STUDY ABROAD
In a possible, face-saving solution to the diplomatic firestorm over dissident Chen Guangcheng, Chinese officials say Chen, who was offered a fellowship by a university in the U.S., may be allowed to study abroad. After escaping house arrest and seeking refuge in the U.S. embassy, Chen agreed to leave the embassy Wednesday under an agreement that he would be relocated to a safe area with his family. The next day, Chen had a change of heart, saying he had been pressured to leave the embassy and feared for the his and his family's safety, if they remained in China. At present, he is in a guarded Beijing hospital, where U.S. officials haven not been allowed to see him. [Associated Press]
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2. ROMNEY GAINING GROUND IN SWING STATES
According to a new Quinnipiac University poll, Mitt Romney has gained ground in Florida and Ohio, and is now in a virtual tie with President Obama in those all-important swing states. However, Obama has widened his lead in Pennsylvania. [CNN]
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SEE ALSO: 10 things you need to know today: May 2, 2012

3. MARKETS DOWN AHEAD OF JOBS REPORT
Global stocks are down Friday in anticipation of the April jobs report and the release of a survey suggesting Europe's economy is shrinking at an increasingly fast pace. Economists estimate that the U.S. economy added 170,000 jobs last month; just 120,000 jobs were added to the economy in March. [New York Times]
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4. POLLS PREDICT HOLLANDE WIN IN FRENCH ELECTION
Ahead of Sunday's presidential run-off election in France, final polls show an increasingly tight race but have socialist candidate Francois Hollande prevailing over incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy. "Victory is within our grasp!" Hollande told supporters in Toulouse Thursday night. [Associated Press]
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SEE ALSO: Nicolas Sarkozy's nemesis: Who is Francois Hollande?

5. FACEBOOK IPO TARGETS $96 BILLION VALUE
Facebook is targeting an initial stock price of $28 to $36 for its initial public offering, scheduled for May 18. That could value the company as high as $96 billion, which would be a record for the debut of an American company. At present, United Parcel Service holds the record for the largest valuation of an American company at the time of an IPO; it was valued at $60.2 billion when it went public in 1999. [Wall Street Journal]
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6. JUNIOR SEAU'S DEATH RULED A SUICIDE
The death of former NFL linebacker Junior Seau has been ruled a suicide by the San Diego County Coroner. Bennet Omalu, the forensic pathologist who first noted repeated brain trauma as a factor in the deaths of some professional football players, assisted in the autopsy. It is expected to take several weeks to determine if Seau suffered from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a neurologic disorder found in those who have had repeated head trauma; CTE can cause erratic behavior, emotional issues, and dementia. [ABC News, ESPN]
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SEE ALSO: Liberian strongman Charles Taylor's war crimes conviction: What now?

7. SUICIDE BOMBER KILLS 20 IN PAKISTAN
Early Friday, a Taliban suicide bombing in a Pakistani market killed 20 people, five of them local security officials. The attack came just a day after the U.S. released 17 letters, many of them concerning bombings targeting civilians, seized from Osama bin Laden's compound. [Associated Press]
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8. CDC OKAYS HELMETS IN TORNADOES
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a tacit endorsement of wearing helmets in tornadoes, releasing a statement Thursday saying that "we have long made the recommendation that people try to protect their heads" but "looking for a helmet in the few seconds before a tornado hits may delay you getting safely to shelter." Those who die in tornadoes often suffer head injuries, and experts have recently started advising people to wear helmets. [USA Today]
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SEE ALSO: 10 things you need to know today: April 25, 2012

9. SAMSUNG UNVEILS NEW IPHONE RIVAL
South Korean gadget manufacturer Samsung unveiled their highly anticipated Galaxy S3 in London on Thursday. The new flagship smartphone is thinner and lighter than the iPhone but has a larger 4.8-inch display, as well as voice control and recognition, eye tracking, and an 8-megapixel camera. It's being called "the best Android smartphone yet" and "possibly the best smartphone, period." [Fox News]
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10. DEMI MOORE CHANGES TWITTER NAME
Following her November divorce from husband Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore has changed her Twitter handle from @mrskutcher to @justdemi. Moore took a break from the micro-blogging site after the highly publicized split but recently resurfaced. [Entertainment Weekly]

SEE ALSO: 10 things you need to know today: May 1, 2012

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