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5 things you need to know for your new day


Holly Yan and Dorrine Mendoza


(CNN) -- The White House goes into overdrive, a carnival ride ends in chaos, and a prank goes horribly wrong.

It's Monday, and here are the "5 Things to Know for Your New Day."

Every weekday morning, we'll hit the top five stories of the day and clue you in on a few other buzzy items.


Mission impossible?

The White House goes into overdrive this week to make its case for a Syria strike. The president will make the rounds at no fewer than six TV networks, including CNN, today before he takes his hard sell to the American public tomorrow in a prime-time speech. And, it is a hard sell. The number of lawmakers who say they're against a strike just went up -- after they met with constituents over the weekend. (They return to work today.)

And a new CNN poll out this morning finds that even though eight in 10 Americans believe the Syrian regime gassed its own people, the majority is against military intervention -- even if Congress approves it!

So what does Syrian President Bashar al-Assad think of all this? He spoke to PBS' Charlie Rose, and he denied, denied, denied that his regime used poison gas on civilians last month. But we'll have to wait to find out more until Rose's interview airs tonight.

On more thing: In this debate of "should we, shouldn't we attack," we sometimes lose sight of how awfully the average Syrian is faring. CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta has a heart-wrenching report from a refugee camp along the Syria-Lebanon border.


Confession is good for the soul ...

But will it make any difference in court? Last week, Matthew Cordle posted a powerful video online, where he talked about how, after a night of drinking, he struck and killed another man.

That video's been watched more than a million times. His lawyer says he'll probably be indicted today on a homicide charge. If convicted, the 22-year-old could get two to eight years in prison. The ex-wife of the victim says she believes Cordle is genuinely remorseful. The prosecutor says the video's not going to sway him to ask for a lighter sentence.


"Injured kids everywhere"

That's how one witness described the scene at the Norwalk Oyster Festival in Connecticut yesterday. A swing ride suddenly lost power and sent kids to the ground.

"You heard a whole bunch of screaming," the witness told affiliate News 12 Connecticut. Eighteen people, mostly kids, were hurt. The incident, of course, raises the question once again: Are carnival rides safe? Yes, says one amusement park expert.

In most states, there's federal oversight for carnivals that move from place to place. There's no such oversight for parks such as Six Flags or Disney World.


A life gone too soon

Premila Lal thought it'd be funny to surprise her friend by jumping out of a closet. But the joke went horribly wrong when the startled friend grabbed a gun and shot her.

Lal, who was a track phenom at her Colorado high school, died an hour later. So far, the friend's not been charged. The teen's death was "unintended and extremely tragic," police said in a statement.


Well, this is awkward

Prince Andrew was born in Buckingham Palace. He has his offices there. He spends quite a bit of time there. Tell that to the two officers who mistook him for an intruder while he was strolling through the palace garden.

This is how the police department, in its usual understated way, described the incident: The officers approached him to "verify his identity" and the "man was satisfactorily identified."

But the British press reacted with predictable excitement. "For a tense half a minute the Queen's 53-year-old son was in danger of being shot dead by officers paid to protect him and his family," The Express exclaimed breathlessly.

Yeah, that didn't really happen, police said.

Those are your five biggies for the day. Here's one more that has the Internet buzzing:

-- Dictators can be great dads:

Dennis Rodman may not have brought imprisoned American Kenneth Bae back with him from North Korea, but he did emerge with some tidbits about the secretive country's ruler: The man who sits atop one of the world's most repressive regimes is a "good dad," says D-Rod.

He also let slip Kim Jong Un's baby girl's name: Jue Ae. The Worm's apparently got more to say. He's scheduled a news conference for this morning

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