10 things you need to know today: October 8, 2012

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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez speaks at the Climate Change Conference in 2009 in Copenhagen: Chavez narrowly won re-election on Sunday, beating his opponent just 54 percent to 45 percent.
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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez speaks at the Climate Change Conference in 2009 in Copenhagen: Chavez narrowly won re-election on Sunday, beating his opponent just 54 percent to 45 percent.

Chavez wins re-election in Venezuela, Romney will give a major foreign policy speech, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion

1. VENEZUELA'S CHAVEZ WINS RE-ELECTION 
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who first came to power in 1999, won re-election to a six-year term in what's being seen as a "new endorsement of his socialist project." Chavez won 54 percent of the vote to his challenger Henrique Capriles' 45 percent. His victory on Sunday could extend his rule to 20 years. It was the closest race yet in a heated campaign against Capriles, a former state governor who accused Chavez of using Venezuela's oil wealth and his control of state institutions to his personal advantage. [Associated Press]
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2. ROMNEY TO GIVE MAJOR FOREIGN POLICY SPEECH
Fresh off the heels of a strong debate performance, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney will deliver what's being billed by Romney aides as a major foreign policy address. At the Virginia Military Institute on Monday, Romney will accuse President Obama of "passive" leadership in the Middle East. He'll also call on more direct intervention in Syria and blast the president for initially focusing on an anti-Islamic video as the catalyst for an attack that killed four Americans in Libya. [CBS News]
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SEE ALSO: 10 things you need to know today: October 4, 2012

3. LIBYAN PRIME MINISTER TO STEP DOWN
Mustafa Abushagur, Libya's first-elected prime minister after last year's overthrow of Muammar Gadhafi, is stepping down after failing to win parliamentary approval to form a new cabinet. The country's parliament voted to throw Abushagur out in a no-confidence vote on Sunday. The move is being seen as the latest blow to hopes that the country could restore stability following last year's bloody civil war. [BBC]
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4. SYRIA, TURKEY EXCHANGE FIRE FOR FIFTH DAY
Turkey and Syria exchanged artillery fire for the fifth consecutive day on Sunday. Turkey was reportedly responding to a Syrian shell that landed near a grain storage facility near the town center in Akçakale. The crisis began last week after a Syrian attack killed five civilians. The latest violence is being seen as a direct challenge against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime which "accuses outside forces, including Turkey of working with the rebels to destabilize the country." [Wall Street Journal]
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SEE ALSO: 10 things you need to know today: October 7, 2012

5. MENINGITIS OUTBREAK HAS SICKENED 91
At least 91 people in the U.S. have now been infected with an rare type of meningitis, after they were given contaminated steroid injections. Seven people have died. The drugs were administered starting on May 21, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. Health officials are urging anyone who has had an injection for lower back pain to watch for symptoms of meningitis, which include a stiff neck and balance problems. The contaminated drug has been traced to a single pharmacy in Massachusetts, the New England Compounding Center. The pharmacy has closed voluntarily and recalled its products. [NBC News]
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6. CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR TAKES ACTION ON GAS PRICES
California Gov. Jerry Brown took emergency action on Sunday to try to bring record gas prices down in his state. The Democrat directed the California Air Resources Board to boost the fuel supply by allowing the immediate sale and import of cheaper and more available winter-blend gasoline, which typically isn't sold until November. The move is expected to reduce the prices of gas in the state by 15 to 20 cents per gallon. The state-wide average price per gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was $4.66 on Sunday. [Los Angeles Times]
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SEE ALSO: 10 things you need to know today: October 6, 2012

7. SPACEX CARGO SHIP LAUNCHES 
Unmanned cargo ship, SpaceX Falcon 9, was launched into space on Sunday and is headed toward the International Space Station. It's the first of a slew of supply runs under a contract with NASA. On board were 1,000 pounds worth of spare parts, science equipment, and even ice cream for the three station residents. The Falcon rocket, which launched from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, is expected to reach the space station on Wednesday. [Associated Press]
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8. 50-FOOT WHALE FOUND DEAD IN BOSTON
A 50-foot, finback whale was found floating in the Boston Harbor on Sunday morning, shocking onlookers in the area. Tony LaCasse, a spokesman for the New England Aquarium, said it's not yet clear how the animal died. Finback whales are endangered in the United States, with just 10,000 remaining. The mammoth creatures weigh, on average, 70,000 to 90,000 pounds. [Boston Globe]
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SEE ALSO: 10 things you need to know today: September 26, 2012

9. OBAMA JOKES ABOUT DEBATE PERFORMANCE
President Obama poked fun at his own debate performance against challenger Mitt Romney during a star-studded fundraising stop in Los Angeles on Sunday. The president said the singers in attendance, including Jon Bon Jovi, Stevie Wonder, and Katy Perry "just perform flawlessly night after night. I can't always say the same." [Yahoo News]
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10. ESQUIRE: KUNIS IS 'SEXIEST WOMAN ALIVE'
Move over, Rihanna. Actress Mila Kunis was crowned "sexiest woman alive" by Esquire magazine, dethroning the R&B princess who won the title last year. The 29-year-old Black Swan star told Esquire, "I don't think I'm a celebrity. I'm a working actress. I think there's a difference." [Esquire]

SEE ALSO: 10 things you need to know today: September 30, 2012

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