President Obama is expected to nominate Jack Lew as Treasury Secretary; Syrian rebels release Iranian hostages in exchange for prisoners; 57 are injured in an NYC ferry crash; the U.S. may remove all troops from Afghanistan come 2014; the National Cathedral will host same-sex weddings; and Joe Biden will meet with the NRA today. Meanwhile, “Lincoln” leads the BAFTA nominations; Kate Middleton turns 31; and Glenn Beck will relaunch his media company.
Iranians held by Syria rebels released, http://bbc.in/UAbHbH
The Free Syrian Army will release 48 Iranian hostages in exchange for 2,130 rebel prisoners being held by the Syrian government. Syrian rebels say the hostages were carrying out a mission for the Syrian government, which is closely allied with Iran. Iranian authorities admit that some of the hostages were former members of the armed forces, but claim that they were only in Syria to visit a shrine. The deal was brokered by Turkey and Qatar, which have both supported the Free Syrian Army.
Obama Said to Name Jack Lew to Replace Geithner at Treasury, http://bloom.bg/13iqM7s
President Obama is expected to nominate his chief of staff, Jack Lew, to replace Timothy Geithner as Treasury Secretary. Geithner recently announced that he plans to leave the position at the end of the month. Lew will have to hit the ground running as his next task is working with congress on the debt ceiling.
More than 50 injured after Seastreak ferry crashes into Pier 11, http://bit.ly/WteCTq
At least 57 people are reportedly injured after a ferry crashed into a pier near Wall Street early Wednesday morning. The Coast Guard, NYPD, and FDNY rushed to the scene. The extent of the injuries is not yet known.
U.S. does not rule out removing all troops from Afghanistan, http://reut.rs/XKyV5f
The White House announced Tuesday that it would consider removing all troops from Afghanistan instead of keeping the recommended 15,000 in the country. The “zero-option” is one “we would consider,” said Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes. There are currently 66,000 troops in Afghanistan with this number being gradually reduced through 2014 when the NATO combat mission ends. The amount of troops removed from the country will depend on whether or not Afghanistan becomes a place to house al Qaeda and if Afghan troops can be successfully trained for defense measures.
Amid protests, China’s communist censors say their control over media is ‘unshakable’, http://wapo.st/13e1Ajp
Anti-censorship protests in China’s region of Guangzhou have caused the government to issue an “urgent memo” stating that the Communist Party’s control over the media is “unshakable.” “The party has absolute control over the media,” the Propaganda Department insisted in the memo. The protests in Guangzhou resulted in clashes between “new leftists,” or government supporters who carried photos of Mao Zedong, and anti-censorship demonstrators. The memo also ordered that all media publications and websites “prominently republish” an editorial that reinforces the government’s censorship policies.
NATIONAL CATHEDRAL TO HOST 1ST SAME-SEX WEDDINGS, http://bit.ly/11eBPzU
The National Cathedral will become one of the first Episcopal congregations to host same-sex marriages. Same-sex marriage is legal in both Washington, DC and Maryland. “I read the Bible as seriously as fundamentalists do,” the cathedral’s dean Rev. Gary Hall said. “And my reading of the Bible leads me to want me to do this because I think it’s being faithful to the kind of community Jesus would have us be.”
Biden, NRA to meet on guns, http://bit.ly/11chICE
As leader of the White House’s newly created gun violence task force, Joe Biden will meet with the NRA Wednesday to discuss stricter gun laws. Biden’s task force has been working on significant changes to current gun laws and will send them to President Obama at the end of the month. The NRA has consistently rejected creating stricter gun laws, but said it would send a representative to the task force’s meeting “to hear what they have to say.”
Armstrong Set to Appear on Oprah Next Week, as New Allegation Surfaces, http://nyti.ms/10dyQIV
Singer Amy Winehouse died watching YouTube videos of herself after vodka binge, inquest hears, http://bit.ly/VQeE8n
Kate Middleton Turns 31: How She’s Celebrating Her Birthday, http://usm.ag/RG18XC
EE British Academy Film Awards Nominations in 2013, http://bit.ly/ZpeTJ6
Glenn Beck Relaunching The Blaze As Global Libertarian News Network, http://bit.ly/REGdnJ
Tags: al qaeda, Amy Winehouse, bafta, ben rhodes, coast guard, fdny, free syrian army, gary hall, Glenn Beck, guangzhou, jack lew, Joe Biden, Kate Middleton, Lance Armstrong, mao zedong, NRA, nypd, Oprah, President Obama, the blaze, the national cathedral, Timothy Geithner, treasury secretary, Wall Street, YouTube