Good morning! 15+ things to know for Wednesday

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

1. JUDGE OKS RECORD $4B PENALTY FOR GULF SPILL: Oil giant BP PLC pleaded guilty to manslaughter charges for the deaths of 11 rig workers.

2. NRA, GIFFORDS HUSBAND TO DEBATE GUNS: A Senate committee is holding Congress' first hearing on gun control since the Newtown shootings.

3. DREAMLINER BATTERIES HAD TROUBLE BEFORE: The NTSB asked Boeing Co. for a history of the lithium-ion batteries after a Japan airline said it replaced them multiple times.

4. WHAT CAUSED THE BRAZIL NIGHTCLUB FIRE: Flammable foam on the ceiling, just one exit and no sprinkler systems helped fuel the blaze that killed over 230 people.

5. KERRY BREEZES TO CONFIRMATION AS SEC'Y OF STATE: Even Republicans praise him as Clinton's ideal successor.

6. ANOTHER KOREAN ROCKET LAUNCH: South Korea said it successfully put a satellite in space weeks after archrival North Korea surprised the world with its own launch.

7. 'SYRIA IS BEING DESTROYED BIT BY BIT': International envoy Lakhdar Brahimi called for international help with a compromise as the U.N. chief asked for up to $1.5 billion in refugee aid.

8. WHY NEW ORLEANS POLICE ARE NERVOUS: The city has to be secure for 150,000 Super Bowl visitors and the thousands of revelers flooding in to celebrate Mardi Gras.

9. WHAT'S NEW ABOUT THE NEW BLACKBERRY: The Blackberry 10 debuting today is faster and lets users keep their work and personal identities separate on the same phone.

10. A-ROD SNARED IN DOPING SCANDAL: A Miami newspaper says records show the three-time AL MVP used a now-defunct clinic to buy performance-enhancing drugs.



1. DEPUTIES FATALLY SHOOT BURGLARY SUSPECT: Authorities say a man breaking into a Pensacola self-storage business was killed by deputies. The Escambia County Sheriff's Office reports that 49-year-old Paul Thayer pulled a gun Sunday night and fired at the deputies. The deputies returned fire, killing Thayer.

2. ENVIRONMENTALISTS TO SUE ON RATTLESNAKE PROTECTION: Environmentalists are launching a lawsuit aimed at speeding up federal action on a request to give endangered species protection to the eastern diamondback rattlesnake. The Tucson, Ariz.-based Center for Biological Diversity and others filed a formal notice of intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Tuesday.

3. FLORIDA TAX FRAUDSTER FACES 351-YEAR PRISON SENTENCE: A South Florida woman convicted in an identity theft and tax fraud ring faces a potential maximum prison sentence of 351 years behind bars. Trial testimony showed that 36-year-old Alci Bonannee of Fort Lauderdale was the leader of a ring that filed some 2,000 fraudulent tax returns over a two-year period.

4. SANFORD MAKES JOB OFFER FOR NEW POLICE CHIEF: The police agency that first investigated Trayvon Martin's death may soon have a new chief. Sanford's city manager on Tuesday made a job offer to the deputy police chief in Elgin, Ill. City officials are now waiting to see if Cecil Smith accepts the offer for the job that comes with a $110,000 salary.

5. VERO BEACH MOTEL GETS NEW LIFE AS HOMELESS SHELTER: A landmark Vero Beach motel is finding new life as a homeless shelter. The 20-room Citrus Motel was foreclosed on and purchased in December for $360,000. Its buyers are in the midst of renovating the property and hope to reopen it in April as Camp Haven.


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

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