Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:
1. THE POST-CHAVEZ ERA: Vice President Nicolas Maduro became Venezuela's interim president and will run as the governing party candidate in elections in a month.
2. DOW'S RECORD HIGH DOESN'T IMPRESS WALL STREET: Memories of the financial meltdown are too fresh and the economy is too uncertain to celebrate after Tuesday's closing at 14,253.77.
3. SNOWSTORM PUMMELS MIDWEST, HEADING FOR D.C.: After pummeling the nation's midsection with heavy snow, a late-winter storm made its way Wednesday to the nation's capital, where residents braced for the possibility of power outages.
4. TSA OKs SMALL KNIVES ON PLANES: Airline passengers shrugged at the change, which also will allow souvenir baseball bats, golf clubs and sports equipment.
5. WHERE BUDGET CUTS MIGHT HURT THE MOST: Beltway suburbs around Washington, D.C., will likely lose out with furloughs of federal employees and cuts to the civilian military.
6. HOW MUCH MONEY THE U.S. SPENT IN IRAQ: More than $60 billion on reconstruction grants to help the country get back on its feet — about $15 million a day.
7. THE COMET THAT GOT THIS CLOSE TO EARTH: Pan-STARRS passed within 100 million miles of Earth, its closest approach ever, and was seen in the Northern Hemisphere.
8. SYRIAN REFUGEES HIT MILESTONE: The number of people who have fled the war-ravaged country for Lebanon, Jordan and other nations hit 1 million.
9. AN UNEXPECTED LOSS FROM SUPERSTORM SANDY: Thousands of lab mice used in experiments drowned when a New York University hospital basement flooded.
10. FOX TO ESPN: LET'S GET READY TO RUMBLE: Fox is challenging ESPN with a 24-hour sports cable network called Fox Sports 1, set to launch in August.
5 THINGS TO KNOW TODAY IN FLORIDA
1. BAN ON TEXTING-WHILE-DRIVING BACK IN LEGISLATURE: A statewide texting-while-driving ban that has eluded passage for several years is again moving through the Florida Legislature. The Senate Communications committee meets Wednesday to consider the bill (SB 52). Opponents have long likened it to needless government intrusion, but supporters say the measure will save lives.
2. SENATE PASSES ETHICS LEGISLATION ON OPENING DAY: As expected, the Florida Senate passed a pair of ethics bills on the opening day of the 2013 legislative session. The fast-tracked measures each passed on a 40-0 vote Tuesday. There was no debate on either issue.
3. FRANCE RECOGNIZES 11 WWII VETERANS IN FLORIDA: Eleven World War II veterans will be recognized in Florida for fighting alongside France during the war. The French Consulate will award the insignia of "Knight in the National Order of the Legion of Honor" to the U.S. veterans during a ceremony on Wednesday morning at the Boynton Beach Bicentennial Park.
4. MIAMI CUSTOMS SEIZES $4M IN POT AT PORT: U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents have seized a shipment of marijuana worth an estimated $4 million at Miami's seaport. Authorities said Tuesday more than two tons of marijuana was intercepted in a shipping container from South America. The pot was in 40 bags inside the container.
5. CHAVEZ DEATH: VENEZUELANS IN U.S. HOPEFUL OF CHANGE: Many Venezuelans living in the U.S. celebrated and expressed optimism Tuesday that change would come to their homeland after the death of populist President Hugo Chavez. Venezuelans watched on TV in suburban Miami as their country's vice president announced the 58-year-old leftist head of the oil-rich Latin American nation had died. Many in Florida's large Venezuelan community are stridently anti-Chavez.
■ TODAY AND EVERY DAY: Click here for links to recent arrest reports and mug shots in Collier and Lee counties.