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  1. two years later U.S. Considers Direct Syria Aid Fighting in Aleppo on Saturday. (Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty)

    1. U.S. Considers Direct Syria Aid

    The Obama administration is making a big move toward proving Syrian rebels with a helping hand as fighting rages with no end in sight. A proposed policy would send humanitarian assistance to Syria's opposition coalition and equipment (but no weapons) to the rebels--the first direct aid offered since civil war broke out two years ago. Secretary of State John Kerry will be discussing the proposal with allies in the Middle East and Europe this week in order to coordinate efforts. On Tuesday, Kerry told students in Germany that America hopes for a "peaceful resolution." but without cooperation from Syrian leaders, "then you need to at least provide some kind of support."

    February 26, 2013 6:30 PM

  2. IT’S OVER! Senate Finally Confirms Chuck Hagel Hagel during confirmation hearing on Jan. 31. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

    2. Senate Finally Confirms Hagel

    Senate has voted 58-41 in favor of confirming Chuck Hagel as the next secretary of Defense, ending a long, drawn-out battle between members of Congress and the White House. The Senate ended its filibuster of the Hagel nomination earlier on Tuesday, allowing the vote to go on. A number of key Republicans who had been blocking Hagel’s nomination, including John McCain, Tom Coburn, and Kelly Ayotte, voted to end the filibuster. It's likely Hagel will be confirmed by the end of the day.

    February 26, 2013 12:43 PM

  3. CEASEFIRE?! Rocket From Gaza Explodes in Israel Rocket fired from Gaza to Ashkelon, Israel, on Tuesday. (Tsafrir Abayov/AP)

    3. Rocket From Gaza Explodes in Israel

    A rocket fired from Gaza exploded in Israel on Tuesday in an apparent retaliation for the death of a Palestinian man in an Israeli jail. There were no casualties reported. West Bank militant group al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades has already claimed responsibility for the attack—the first from Gaza since the November truce, and Hamas officials said they are investigating. Meanwhile, in the West Bank, thousands protested at the funeral of Arafat Jaradat, who allegedly was tortured before his death in an Israeli jail. Israeli soldiers shot and wounded five Palestinians during a protest in Bethlehem, including a 15-year-old who is currently in critical condition.

    February 26, 2013 6:40 AM

  4. BUNGA BUNGA Italy Election Results Send Markets Tumbling Antonio Calanni/AP

    4. Markets Tumble on Italy Election

    Italy's gone rogue! In national elections on Monday, global embarrassment Silvio Berlusconi and comedian Beppe Grillo, who both ran against European-imposed austerity measures, grabbed a surprising share of the vote. Now fears are rising that the victors won’t be able to form a functional governing coalition—or keep the nation’s debt under control—sending markets tanking around the world. U.S. stocks had their worst day since November, Japan shed two percent, and the euro crisis worsened. With these results, voters in Italy are now openly in rebellion against the European Central Bank and any politicians seen to be aligned with austerity.

    February 26, 2013 8:20 AM

  5. second chances Baby Found in Walmart Bag Mayra Beltran/Houston Chronicle

    5. Baby Found in Walmart Bag

    Last week, a newborn baby was found alive in a plastic Walmart bag by an apartment complex in Houston, Texas. Chloe, as hospital staff named her, is now a week old and has been released from the hospital and into the care of a foster family. Child Protective Services says it's hoping to find the birth parents to determine the baby's medical history "'so the person who is adopting this baby can have some more genetic family medical background on the baby to be able to raise her with more knowledge or information about her." Chloe was found by a woman walking her dog in the neighborhood—a surprising discovery since a Texas law called "Safe Haven" allows anyone to drop a child off at a hospital or fire station with no legal repercussions.

    February 26, 2013 5:36 PM

  6. Good Luck With That Titanic II Sets Sail in 2016 Blue Star Line/AP

    6. Titanic II Sets Sail in 2016

    We all know what happened the last time someone tried this, right? A "sequel" to the doomed 1912 ship, the Titanic, was announced on Tuesday, with its designer claiming that the Titanic II will be the "most safe cruise ship in the world." That apparently translates into having "more than enough" lifeboats (whereas the original Titanic had only 16) and a hull made from steel composite. Australian mining billionaire Clive Palmer, who masterminded the project, wisely refused to call it "unsinkable," however. The new ship will take pains to recreate details from the original ship, including splitting passengers into three classes and barring them from moving between classes. Passengers will also be provided with early 20th century-style clothes and undergarments. See video from the New York launch event (which, appropriately, kicked off with a rendition of Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On") below.

    February 26, 2013 5:52 PM

  7. DIG OUT Central U.S. Slammed by Storm Reduced visibility on Kansas roads on Monday night. (Orlin Wagner/AP)

    7. Central U.S. Slammed by Storm

    A huge storm that slammed the Texas Panhandle on Monday and moved north on Tuesday is already being blamed for two deaths—and it’s showing no signs of stopping. In Oklahoma, one man was killed after his roof collapsed under 15 inches of snow. The storm also killed a motorist in eastern Texas, where some areas saw record accumulations of snow. Hurricane-force winds also whipped Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas, knocking out power to thousands. Fueled by a low-pressure system, the storm didn’t just dump snow: it also caused thunderstorms, and tornado watches were issued in Arkansas and Louisiana. It gets worse: up to 15 inches of snow were expected in Missouri, which was slammed by a blizzard just five days ago.

    February 26, 2013 6:35 AM

  8. Cooked Cannibal Cop’s Wife Tells All Stan Honda / AFP

    8. Cannibal Cop’s Wife Tells All

    The Cannibal Cop’s darkest fantasies were illuminated Monday as the wife of NYPD Officer Gilberto Valle—the man charged with plotting to kidnap, rape, kill, and cannibalize a series of women—took the witness stand. Kathleen Mangan-Valle revealed, for example, that she discovered a fetish website, with a photograph of a dead girl, displayed on her husband’s computer. It’s the tip of the iceberg of evidence she said she uncovered about his plans, which allegedly included wanting to rape women “in front of each other to heighten their fears,” burn some alive, and cook others on a spit. Because no women were actually harmed, prosecutors and the defense argued over whether the pure fantasizing of a crime constitutes breaking the law.

    February 26, 2013 9:45 AM

  9. Bad Boy Bobby Brown Sentenced to 55 Days in Jail Joe Giblin / AP Photos

    9. Bobby Brown Sentenced to 55 Days in Jail

    Another day, another DUI. Whitney Houston's ex-husband Bobby Brown was sentenced to 55 days in jail on Tuesday after being charged with his third DUI. Brown earned himself the charge in October after police pulled him over for erratic driving and smelled alcohol in the singer's car. Brown pled no contest to the charges and was sentenced to the jail time and 4 years of probation. Brown will also have to complete an 18-month alcohol program and 3 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings a week until he turns himself in to jail by March 20. 

    February 26, 2013 7:56 PM

  10. Princess Diaries Anne Hathaway Wants to Be Liked ADRIAN SANCHEZ-GONZALEZ / AFP

    10. Anne Hathaway Wants to Be Liked

    Sally Field famously exclaimed at the Oscars, “Right now, you like me!” But beneath Anne Hathaway’s speech on Sunday night, apparently, was a plea: “C’mon, don’t you like me yet?According to Us Weekly, the Les Misérables Best Supporting Actress winner has been more than aware of the backlash against her rambling, faux-humble awards-season acceptance speeches. As such, a “source” tells the magazine that Hathaway rehearsed her Oscar speech over and over with the explicit goal of sounding more likable. Did she accomplish her goal?

    February 26, 2013 12:46 PM

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  12. MODERNIZATION ‘Downton’ to Add Black Character Carnival Film & Television Limited 2012 for MASTERPIECE

    11. ‘Downton’ to Add Black Character

    It’s still too soon for some of us to even think about new cast members now that Sybil and Matthew are gone, but Julian Fellowes is moving on already. The show is apparently casting a black character—fueling speculation that the show will address 1920s race relations. According to the casting call, the period drama will be adding Jack Ross, a black jazz musician between the ages of 25 and 30. Fellowes said last year that he would be writing in a black or Indian character to “open up the show ethnically.” The show is also casting a new love interest for Mary Crawley, as well as a character named Sir John Bullock who "must be able to act drunk." The fourth season will begin filming in March.

    February 26, 2013 9:02 AM

  13. Now Hiring MacFarlane: Next Year’s Oscars? No. Kevin Winter / Getty Images

    12. MacFarlane: Next Year’s Oscars? No.

    Those hoping for a sequel to “We Saw Your Boobs” (“We Saw Your Butt?”) will have to go back to watching Family Guy. Seth MacFarlane announced on Twitter that, if asked, he would not return as Oscars host next year: “No way. Lotta fun to have done it, though.” Though Sunday night’s telecast earned high ratings—40.3 million viewers and up 11 percent in the crucial 18-49 demographic—most critics were not satisfied with MacFarlane’s hosting performance. (Though, are they really ever pleased with anyone’s efforts?) Either way, many pundits have already moved on and are praying to the comedy gods that Amy Poehler and Tina Fey will reprise their winning Golden Globes act at next year’s Oscar ceremony.

    Watch Seth MacFarlane's most provocative Oscar jokes.

    February 26, 2013 11:37 AM

  14. INSIDE North Korea Expanding Gulags N. Korean leader Kim Jong-un in December 2012. (KNS, via AFP/Getty)

    13. North Korea Expanding Gulags

    North Korea is building up its prison complexes, according to satellite images taken by a U.S.-based firm. The notorious prison Camp 25 grew 72 percent, now housing 5,000 prisoners in conditions that are believed to be “deplorable.” The perimeter guards increased from 20 in 2003 to 43 in 2010, and the perimeter fence has been extended by 4,600 feet. Human rights group said the expansion could be due to purges by Kim Jong-un as he seeks to clean out members of his father’s administration in case they cause a threat to his power base.

    February 26, 2013 7:00 AM

  15. Just-So

    14. 50 Unpublished Kipling Poems Found

    He might have been called the "jingo imperialist" by George Orwell, but Rudyard Kipling's "If" is one of Britain's favorite poems. And now, more than 50 unpublished Kipling poems have been found by American scholar Thomas Pinney. Pinney, an emeritus professor of English at Pomona College, said he looked through family papers, the archive of a former head of the cruise ship company Cunard Line, and inside a house in Manhattan. The collection includes works written during and after World War I, which Kipling initially supported, and he helped his son John gain a commission in the Irish Guards. He regretted his decision, however, after John died at the Battle of Loos in 1915, and Kipling writes about it in "Epitaphs of the War": "If any question why we died / Tell them, because our fathers lied." The 50 poems will be included in the three-volume The Cambridge Edition of The Poems of Rudyard Kipling, out on March 31.

    February 26, 2013 11:53 AM

  16. THAT’S THE WAY LOVE GOES Janet Jackson Secretly Married Wissam al Mana and Janet Jackson on Monday in Milan. (Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty)

    15. Janet Jackson Secretly Married

    Couldn’t Prince Michael Jackson have mentioned this in his big Entertainment Tonight debut? Singer Janet Jackson married Qatari businessman Wissam Al Mana, the couple confirmed on Monday—but Emily Post would say that a gift isn’t necessary, since the wedding happened a whole year ago. United Arab Emirates media had reported the billionaire Mana, 37, and Jackson, 46, were planning a lavish ceremony—including flying in members of Jackson’s family—but the couple quashed those rumors, saying they had wed already in a “quiet, private and beautiful ceremony” last year.

    February 26, 2013 7:25 AM

  17. BROCKTON’S FINEST Rapper Lil Poopy’s Dad Probed

    16. Lil Poopy’s Dad Probed

    Fear not, Lil Poopy, haters are going to hate. Unless, as his music videos show, the 9-year-old rapper really is a cocaine cowboy, flaunting machine guns and slapping groupie behinds. Poopy’s father is being probed for child neglect after authorities caught wind of the little guy’s music video antics. “He’s just singing hooks,” the father said, adding that Poopy lives with his mother and goes to school every day. Poopy, we should note, is in French Montana’s Coke Boyz posse and has guest starred in a video with Diddy. So he’s legit. As the investigation goes on, we’d like to offer Poopy some advice (inspired by his lyrics): keep riding in the backseat, young man, because that is what bosses do.

    February 26, 2013 9:15 AM

  18. GAMBLE Gingrich Backer Sues WSJ Sheldon Adelson in Jerusalem in July 2012. (Charles Dharapak/AP

    17. Gingrich Backer Sues WSJ

    Maybe this will mean that Sheldon Adelson will get Sarah Silverman’s support now. The casino magnate—who was also a major backer to Newt Gingrich’s campaign—filed a lawsuit on Monday against a Wall Street Journal reporter for libel after being called “foul-mouthed” in a December profile. The article centered around a wrongful termination suit against Adelson, and described him as “a scrappy, foul-mouthed billionaire from working-class Dorchester, Massachusetts.” The story, written by Kate O’Keeffe, a Hong Kong–based reporter, ran in the U.S. edition and several international editions. Watch out O’Keeffe, Adelson is definitely dogged in his causes: he continued to back Gingrich long after it was obvious he could not win, and he famously pledged to spend $100 million to beat President Obama.

    February 26, 2013 7:10 AM

  19. NIGHTMARE Hot Air Balloon Crash Kills 19 Rescuer at crash site in Luxor, Egypt, on Tuesday. (Ibrahim Zayed/AP)

    18. Hot Air Balloon Crash Kills 19

    Nineteen foreign tourists were killed Tuesday when a hot-air balloon exploded and crashed in a sugar-cane field near the ancient city of Luxor. Two survived by leaping from the balloon. According to Egyptian officials, the balloon caught fire, causing the explosion and the balloon to plunge at least 1,000 feet from the sky. A Hong Kong official said nine of the passengers were residents of their city, but did not clarify if all nine were killed. French officials confirmed that French nationals were on board. An Egyptian official said the casualties also included British and Japanese tourists.

    February 26, 2013 10:15 PM

  20. RIGHT TO BARE ARMS Iran Covers Up Michelle Obama Michelle Obama at the Oscars on Sunday. (Kevin Winter/Getty)

    19. Iran Covers Up Michelle Obama

    Maybe Iran was just channeling its anger that Argo won Best Picture. Iranian state news Photoshopped sleeves onto Michelle Obama in images of the first lady at Sunday night’s Oscars. Farsi, Iran’s semi-official news agency that is affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards, wanted the first lady’s dress to conform to the country’s restrictions on showing female skin in the media. Iranian women shown on state television must be wearing a hijab, although foreign women who are not traveling to the country are allowed to be shown without the hijab but must comply with other restrictions. Given the amount of skin shown on television throughout the world, this is not the first time Iranian media have used Photoshop to make images comply with the rules.

    February 26, 2013 7:20 AM

  21. R.I.P. Ex-Surgeon General Koop Dies at 96 Andrew Sullivan/AP

    20. Ex-Surgeon General Koop Dies at 96

    C. Everett Koop, the Reagan-era surgeon general who brought both AIDS awareness and an epic beard to America, has passed away at his home in Hanover, New Hampshire, officials at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth announced Monday. Koop served as surgeon general from 1981 to 1989 and is best known for his frank, 36-page 1986 report on AIDS that discussed how the disease spreads, how it does not spread, and how people can protect themselves. An eight-page version of the report was mailed to every household in America in 1988. Koop remained head of the C. Everett Koop Institute at Dartmouth into his later years, but told reporters at a news conference in 2010 that he was "very, very deaf" and legally blind.

    February 25, 2013 5:44 PM

  22. ABOUT-FACE 75 Major GOPers Back Gay Marriage Jon Huntsman and Meg Whitman. (AFP/Getty; AP)

    21. 75 Major GOPers Back Gay Marriage

    What is going on in the Republican Party? In a major departure from the national party’s stance—and even from past statements by the candidates—at least 75 Republicans signed a legal brief on Monday that says gay people have the constitutional right to marry. The brief will be submitted to a California court this week as part of a suit against the state’s controversial Proposition 8, a 2008 ballot measure that outlawed gay marriage. Among the signatures were 2012 Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, former California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman—who campaigned for Proposition 8 during her run—and several high-profile officials from the Bush and Reagan White Houses—although prominent pro-gay-marriage Republicans Laura Bush and Dick Cheney had not signed yet.

    February 26, 2013 6:45 AM

  23. MYTHBUSTER Yahoo CEO Mayer: No More Working From Home Yahoo! headquarters in Sunnyvale, California (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)

    22. Yahoo CEO Mayer: No More Working From Home

    Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer confirmed the fears of pajama-wearing bloggers everywhere on Monday when she verified that the company is ending its work-from-home policy and ordered everyone into the office. In a memo from the human resources department, the company insisted that face-to-face interactions are necessary to create a more collaborative culture. Although studies have shown that employees are more productive when working from home, Yahoo is not the first to decide that lack of face time is not good for the company: Bank of America last year required that employees in certain roles come back to the office.

    February 26, 2013 7:55 AM

  24. NOT WORTH IT Fung Wah Pulls Buses Boarding a Fung Wah bus in Manhattan in August 2008. (Chris Hondros/Getty)

    23. U.S. Orders Fung Wah Buses to Close

    This is not a good sign for college students looking to save money over spring break. The U.S. government has ordered that the Chinatown bus operator Fung Wah cease all passenger services, after the company pulled 21 of its 28 buses this weekend. Those buses failed safety checks by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities. The utilities department said the buses had cracks in the drive axle, rear axle, engine cradle, as well as other locations. Fung Wah said it voluntarily took the buses off the road and in the meantime has been running charter buses between Boston and New York, although the number of trips has been reduced.

    February 26, 2013 1:00 PM