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.