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something happened and our staging db has removed many tables, need to know what happened and when. we are using MySQL audit table doesn't seem to record anything

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The MySQL binary log will record all queries that affect any rows - but will only do you any good if it's enabled.

Look for a log-bin setting in your my.cnf.

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it is enabled, how can we read it? – learner Aug 31 '11 at 0:55
@learner If no path is specified in the option's configuration, then the files should be in the data location, probably /var/lib/mysql. – Shane Madden Aug 31 '11 at 1:02

If binary log is enabled, it can be read with mysqlbinlog:

shell> mysqlbinlog /var/lib/mysql/mysqld-bin.000084
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