A drawing provided by Inspiration Mars shows an artist’s conception of a spacecraft envisioned by the private group, which wants to send a married couple on a mission to fly by the red planet and zip back home, beginning in 2018. The nonprofit “Inspiration Mars” will get initial money from multimillionaire Dennis Tito, the first space tourist. Outsiders put the price tag at more than $1 billion. The mission, announced Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, would last more than 16 months. (AP Photo/Inspiration Mars)
Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming 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 last 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, email, scan Twitter and also tell time.
© 2013 The Associated Press.