Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: March 28, 2012

Violence rages in Syria, the Supreme Court probes ObamaCare, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion

1. VIOLENCE CONTINUES IN SYRIA, DESPITE PEACE PLANSyrian government forces continued to fire heavily upon and storm opposition strongholds on Wednesday, a day after the U.N. announced that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had accepted a peace plan calling for the withdrawal of troops and weapons in advance of peace talks with the opposition. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton greeted the news of a peace plan with skepticism, saying, "we will judge Assad's sincerity and seriousness by what he does, not by what he says." [Reuters]………………………………………………………………………………

2. COURT CONSIDERS HEALTH CARE WITHOUT MANDATEAfter hearing arguments Tuesday about the constitutionality of mandating that Americans buy health insurance, the Supreme Court on Wednesday will consider if the rest of Obama's health care law can survive without the individual mandate. Many legal experts said that, based on the questions raised Tuesday, it appeared that the majority of justices were inclined to find the individual mandate unconstitutional. [CBS News/Associated Press]………………………………………………………………………………

3. GINGRICH SCALES BACK CAMPAIGN Newt Gingrich has asked his campaign manager to resign and is laying off one-third of his staff in a dramatic reorganization of his cash- and delegate-strapped campaign. A spokesman says Gingrich will now focus on social media and personally calling delegates, asking them to support him over Mitt Romney at the Republican National Convention in August. "We are not going to cede to Mitt Romney's strategy to take the party down," says a Gingrich spokesman. [Associated Press]………………………………………………………………………………

4. OPTIMISM PERSISTS DESPITE DEPRESSING HOME DATAThe data about the nation's housing market continues to be dismal, with a key index on Tuesday showing that home prices are still falling, while sales of new and existing homes have been on the decline. Still, housing experts are increasingly optimistic, seeing signs of life, including a drop in foreclosures, historically low mortgage rates, and rising confidence amongst U.S. home builders. [Washington Post]………………………………………………………………………………

5. GAS HITS $3.90 A GALLON On Wednesday, the average price of gas topped $3.90 a gallon, according to a survey from AAA. This marks the 19th consecutive day that the price of gas has risen, although it remains below the all-time high of $4.11 a gallon on July 17, 2008. Gas currently averages more that $4 a gallon in 10 states. [CNN/Money]………………………………………………………………………………

6. POPE TO MEET WITH CASTROPope Benedict XVI will wrap up his Cuba trip after a meeting with Fidel Castro on Wednesday. The pope has been trying to reinvigorate Catholicism in the communist country. At the start of his trip, which also included stops in Mexico, Benedict spoke out against Marxism, but he later softened his stance. [Associated Press]………………………………………………………………………………

7. JET BLUE PILOT HAS IN-FLIGHT BREAKDOWN Passengers on a Jet Blue flight from New York to Las Vegas had to physically restrain a captain after he began acting erratically. The captain was locked out of the cockpit by a savvy co-pilot and was walking through the cabin screaming about al Qaeda and a bomb on board. An off-duty pilot on the flight jumped in to help at the controls while other passengers wrestled the ill captain to the ground. [USA Today]………………………………………………………………………………

8. MEGA MILLIONS HITS RECORD $476 MILLION No players matched all six numbers in Tuesday's Mega Millions jackpot drawing, bringing the big prize for Friday's drawing to a record-breaking $476 million. The previous record jackpot for a U.S. lottery was $390 million, which went to two Mega Millions winners in Georgia and New Jersey in 2007. [Atlanta Journal Constitution]………………………………………………………………………………

9. BULLY TO BE RELEASED WITHOUT A RATINGThe Weinstein Co. will release Bully, a documentary about school bullying, without a rating. The Motion Picture Association of America deemed the film an "R" and refused to change it when the studio appealed for a "PG-13" classification, with the argument that a lower rating would allow the film's social message to reach more young people. [Associated Press]………………………………………………………………………………

10. GREEN COFFEE BEANS HELP WITH WEIGHT LOSSA new study has found that taking green coffee bean extract, a supplement, may be a safe, effective way to lose weight quickly. [ABC News]

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