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10 things to know for Wednesday

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

1. OBAMA'S SECOND TERM OFF TO A BUMPY START

The scandal ensnaring two U.S. generals is unfolding at a critical time in the Afghan war — and just as the White House was hoping for a smooth transition.

2. THE WOMAN IN THE EYE OF THE STORM

Florida socialite Jill Kelley won the title of "honorary ambassador" for hosting parties for military brass.

3. WHY SOME DEMOCRATS WANT TO DRIVE OVER THE 'FISCAL CLIFF'

Lawmakers believe allowing steep tax hikes and spending cuts will give them more leverage later on in bargaining with Republicans.

4. ACCUSER OF ELMO PUPPETEER RECANTS

First he alleged teen sex. Now he says the relationship was adult and consensual.

5. HOW SYRIAN OPPOSITION HOPES TO STAY IN THE GAME

The selection of a moderate cleric as the group's leader is an attempt to counter the growing influence of Islamic extremists in the rebellion against Assad.

6. A BID FOR THE DEATH PENALTY IN AFGHAN MASSACRE

Army prosecutors say Staff Sgt. Robert Bales committed "heinous and despicable crimes" in the predawn rampage that killed 16 villagers.

7. WHY CLIMATE CHANGE IS A HOT TOPIC AGAIN

The government needs money. That's revving up talk of a carbon tax on those who use fossil fuels, which produce greenhouse gases.

8. OBAMA'S BIRTH CONTROL RULE A NON-STARTER

The head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops says the church won't offer health insurance covering birth control.

9. HOW TO GET A VIRTUALLY FREE COLLEGE EDUCATION

An agreement between an online educator and the American Council on Education opens the possibility.

10. A BAUBLE BRINGS BIG BUCKS

The 76.02-carat Archduke Joseph Diamond is auctioned in Geneva for the world-record price of nearly $21.5 million.