Around the world: 10 things to know Wednesday

Staff reports Updated: February 27, 2013 at 12:00 am • Published: February 27, 2013

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

1. CIAO, BENEDICT XVI

The pope waved to tens of thousands who packed St. Peter's Square today for the pontiff's final audience before he retires. VATICAN-POPE

2. HAGEL CONFIRMED AFTER BITTER SENATE FIGHT

Among his daunting challenges as defense secretary: dealing with $46 billion in budget cuts set to kick in on Friday. HAGEL

3. CONGRESSMAN PROPOSES END TO AUTOMATIC BUDGET CUTS

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith's bill would cut more than $300 billion over the next eight years and put off the sequester. BUDGET BATTLE-HOUSE LEGISLATION

4. WHO'S TO BLAME IN A DEADLY HOT AIR BALLOON CRASH

Some Egyptians said safety standards had declined amid political turmoil, others said the pilot may bear responsibility. EGYPT-BALLOON CRASH

5. US CONSIDERS DIRECT AID TO SYRIAN REBELS

The AP reports the Obama administration is considering supplying help to the Free Syria Army. KERRY

6. SLOW-MOVING STORM AIMS AT NEW ENGLAND

The heavy wet, snow as headed east after closing schools and making travel treacherous. WINTER STORM

7. NYC MAYOR HELPS ELECT JACKSON REPLACEMENT

Former Illinois legislator Robin Kelly, who favors strict gun control, was helped by Michael Bloomberg's super PAC in the race. HOUSE-JACKSON SEAT

8. WHY OFFICIALS SUSPECT MISSING BOATERS ARE A HOAX

The Coast Guard found no registration of the boat described and no one reported a family of four missing. MISSING BOATERS-SEA SEARCH

9. GETTING YOUR COMPUTER TO TALK TO YOUR COFFEE MAKER

Machine-to-machine communication, or the "Internet of Things," is getting a lot buzz at this year's wireless trade show. WIRELESS SHOW-INTERNET OF EVERYTHING

10. HOW TO EAT FAMILY-STYLE IN THE SCHOOL CAFETERIA

Philadelphia charter school students pass serving dishes around circular tables, use real plates and silverware and bypass French fries for fennel salad. FAMILY-STYLE SCHOOL LUNCHES

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