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10 things to know for Thursday

By The Associated Press

This article was published February 28, 2013 at 7:04 a.m.

Your daily look at late-breaking news, coming events and the stories that will be talked about today:

1. BENEDICT’S LAST DAY AS POPE

The pope met with cardinals one by one today and was to fly to the papal retreat and into retirement by 2 p.m.

2. WHAT HAPPENS NEXT IN SEARCH FOR SUCCESSOR

A conclave of cardinals will meet in secrecy and choose a new pope. Smoke from the Sistine Chapel will let the outside world know.

3. CONGRESS STAGES HAIL-MARY SHOWDOWN ON BUDGET CUTS

But lawmakers believe votes today to avert $85 billion in budget cuts by Friday are doomed.

4. WHAT AID THE U.S. PLANS FOR SYRIA REBELS

The Obama administration says it will provide the Syrian opposition with an additional $60 million in assistance.

5. MEDICARE FUNDED SUBSTANDARD NURSING HOMES

A government report today says about $5.1 billion was paid for patients to stay in nursing facilities that didn’t meet quality-of-care rules.

6. TOUGH FIRST DAY AHEAD FOR LEW

The budget expert will start as Treasury secretary a day before huge automatic government cuts are to take effect.

7. IN SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH. AND IN SPACE.

A tycoon plans to send a married couple on a privately built spaceship on a slingshot voyage around Mars.

8. WHAT FOOD SUPPLY IS THREATENED IN JAPAN

The country consumes about 80 percent of the world’s Bluefin tuna, and stocks have plummeted by about three-quarters over the past 15 years.

9. VEGAS CASINOS FOLD ON POKER ROOMS

Eight rooms have closed in the past two years, as a crackdown on Internet gambling weakens the game’s appeal.

10. A HANDS-FREE SMART DEVICE FOR YOUR WRIST

Smart watches can display texts, e-mail, scan Twitter and also tell time.

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