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Hot Topics: Anti-American Riots Continue, Space Travel Goes Private and Romney Releases a Tax Return

Things are a little tense on planet Earth. What's your take?

Anti-U.S. riots continue in the Middle East, and experts and politicians are still sorting out the main causes. 

According to USA Today, the Obama administration is at odds with critics over whether the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Libya were carefully planned terror attacks or violence that arose from spontaneous riots protesting an anti-Islamic film made in the U.S.

Fifteen Pakistanis died Friday during protests over the anti-Islamic film. The demonstrations have been small, according to CNN, but growing in intensity. (Watch the video above for an idea of the level of intensity.)

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Here in the U.S., presidential campaigns carry on. Mitt Romney released his 2011 tax returns, showing that he paid nearly $1.9 million in taxes on nearly $14 million in income. He also donated about 30 percent to charity. He says he won't be releasing any more.

Here are the documents if you want to check them out yourself.

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The Space Shuttle Endeavor went into retirement on Friday. With Neil Armstrong's recent passing, it really feels like the end of an era. The shuttle's final destination is Los Angeles, where the public will be able to view it. All NASA shuttles are now permanently retired.

If you've always wanted to become an astronaut, or just travel to space, fear not. That's a private sector thing now. Companies like SpaceX and Virgin Galactic are hiring astronauts and building their own shuttles. They look a lot cooler than NASA's. Back in May, SpaceX sent their own privately built spacecraft to the International Space Station.

Virgin Galactic will start making trips to space available to us Earthlings in about a year. Founder Richard Branson actually wants to set up a colony on Mars.

So it seems the era of space exploration is really just beginning.

What's your take on these developments? Tell us in the comments.

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