Good morning: 15+ things to know for Thursday

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

1. OBAMA TURNS TO BUDGET EXPERT FOR CABINET PICK: Chief of staff Jack Lew would become Treasury Secretary as the administration braces for Republican battles over national debt.

2. WHITE HOUSE REACHES OUT TO GUN OWNERS: Vice President Joe Biden meets with sportsmen and the National Rifle Association as he develops Obama's gun control plan.

3. THE MOST DANGEROUS NATION: A study says more Americans die of violent deaths than in any other wealthy country in the world.

4. INDIA GANG RAPE SUSPECTS GO TO COURT: A lawyer says police beat the five men charged with the assault and killing of a young woman aboard a moving bus.

5. INAUGURATION SEATS FOR THE HIGHEST BIDDER: Tickets for Obama's swearing-in are being peddled on eBay and Craigslist for up to $2,000 apiece.

6. TROOP DEPLOYMENT KEY TO U.S.-AFGHANISTAN TALKS: How many soldiers are needed to protect diplomats will be a likely topic as Hillary Rodham Clinton meets with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

7. PASSENGERS THROWN FROM FERRY IN NYC CRASH: At least 70 people were hurt when the Seastreak Wall Street slammed into a lower Manhattan dock.

8. WILL IT BE THE DOG, THE SHOE OR THE THIMBLE: Hasbro is holding a Facebook contest to eliminate one of the eight Monopoly player tokens and introduce another one.

9. STEROIDS CAST A LONG SHADOW: For only the second time in four decades, no player is selected for baseball's Hall of Fame.

10. WHO'S ON THE LIST FOR HOLLYWOOD'S BIGGEST NIGHT: "Lincoln," ''Zero Dark Thirty" and "Les Miserables" are all favorites to become multiple Oscar nominees at 8:38 a.m.

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5 THINGS TO KNOW TODAY IN FLORIDA

1. SEX TRAFFICKER GETS LIFE IN PRISON: Van Lawson Williams, a convicted Florida sex trafficker who recruited runaway teenagers to work as prostitutes, has been sentenced to life in federal prison.

2. BROWARD CONSIDERS NAME CHANGE TO FORT LAUDERDALE: Some tourism officials are suggesting that Broward County change its name to Fort Lauderdale County to capitalize on the international fame of its largest city. A panel is set to discuss the topic Thursday morning.

3. SALAZAR EXPECTED AT FLORIDA EVERGLADES CONFERENCE: Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is expected to join Everglades activists, elected officials and business leaders to discuss state and federal restoration projects. The three-day Everglades Coalition Conference opens Thursday in Coral Gables.

4. FLORIDA SCHOOLS 6TH IN EDUCATION WEEK RANKINGS: Florida's public schools are sixth in Education Week's annual rankings this year after falling out of the top 10 last year. Florida dropped from fifth to 11th last year largely due to weaker student performance and spending cuts.

5. FORMER MIAMI MAYOR NAMED DORAL CITY MANAGER: Doral city commissioners unanimously agreed to hire former Miami Mayor Joe Carolla as city manager on Wednesday night. Carolla, who lost a reelection bid for mayor in 2001, will earn $144,000 a year.

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TODAY AND EVERY DAY: Click here for links to recent arrest reports and mug shots in Collier and Lee counties.

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