5 things you need to know for your new day
Every weekday morning around 6, we'll hit the top five stories of the day, clue you in on a few other buzzy items, and let you know about some of the must-watch stories.
1. FLORIDA PROPANE FIRE
Like bombs going off:
When the propane tank cylinders began exploding at the central Florida refilling plant late Monday night, authorities braced for the worst. And for hours, it looked as if their fears were well founded. There were 53,000 20-pound cylinders of propane at the plant -- more than a million pounds in all. Loud blasts, one after another, sent huge plumes of fire into the night sky. One resident said it sounded like "bombs were going off." And even though the damage was massive, fortunately no one died. Now, the focus will be on what caused the blasts.
2. POPE FRANCIS ON GAYS
A new direction, in tone:
Pope Francis is quite different from his predecessor. He's not about changing doctrine. Instead, he's changing perceptions about the Catholic Church. Take, for example, what he said about gays during his flight home from a Brazil trip.
"When I meet a gay person, I have to distinguish between their being gay and being part of a lobby. If they accept the Lord and have good will, who am I to judge them? They shouldn't be marginalized."
The reaction was interesting. Some thought it was a groundbreaking reversal by the head of the Catholic Church. But it was more a change of tone, not substance. But many homosexuals who feel the church is judgmental may see this as a new spirit of welcoming and acceptance.
3. BRADLEY MANNING VERDICT
High noon for Manning:
Set the alarm for 1 o'clock in the afternoon (that's 13:00 hours). That's when Bradley Manning learns his fate: Is he a whistle-blower, or a traitor who betrayed his country? The Army private, who leaked hundreds of thousands of documents to WikiLeaks, faces 22 charges. And he could spend the rest of his life in prison.
4. ANTHONY WEINER SCANDAL
Weiner not #winning:
It's not like he was looking for Eliot Spitzer's endorsement, but Anthony Weiner's fading campaign took a bit of a blow when the former governor told MSNBC that Weiner should not be mayor of New York.
The Clintons are steamed too. More importantly, a poll that once had Weiner winning the race shows he's now in fourth place. Most New Yorkers say he should forget about being mayor. But Weiner says he's going the distance.
5. SAN DIEGO MAYOR CONTROVERSY
Can you help a mayor out?
The San Diego mayor who's being sued for sexual harassment wants the city to cover his legal expenses. So his lawyer sent a letter to the city council -- the same one that's asked him to quit his post. We don't know if the council greeted the news with a collective "huh?" But it will meet behind closed doors tonight to figure out how to proceed.
Those are your five biggies for the day. Here are a couple of others that are brewing and have the Internet buzzing.
Let me explain this v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y:
Reza Aslan says he feels bad for Foxnews.com anchor Lauren Green. Surely you've seen his painful interview with her where she asks -- over and over again -- how a Muslim can write about the founder of Christianity, and he answers her purposely, listing his credentials.
Aslan, an author and religious scholar, tells CNN's Piers Morgan that he understands that people often feel that academics are attacking their faith when they write about religion. But he says he's not. He also says he didn't even write about Christianity because he wrote about Jesus, who was a Jew, as a historical figure. Let the controversy continue.
Who wants to be a baby daddy?
Oh, to be on a game show and win a new car. Or a trip to Paris. Or maybe a stack of cash. How about an abandoned kid? That's what two surprised couples won recently on a game show in Pakistan. It just so happens it's sweeps time, but the host of the show swears it's not a publicity stunt.
50 shades of red:
Can you say awkward? London's fire department says more and more lovers are calling these days because they can't get out of their handcuffs. You can probably blame it on the effect of popular best-selling erotic novel "Fifty Shades of Grey." In the last three years, fire crews have been called out 79 times on such calls. The book is also pretty popular with inmates at Guantanamo, a U.S. congressman says. Jim Moran says he was told it's requested even more often than the Quran. Really?
Cup of Joe camera:
The last thing you'd want as a weary traveler would be to try to figure out how to work some coffee machine at the airport that had no buttons, no coin slot. For the love of all things caffeinated, come on! There was such a machine in a South African airport, and the secret was it worked through facial recognition. If a person yawned ... free cup of coffee. If they scowled? Guess they were denied.
Son's final goodbyes:
NPR host Scott Simon used Twitter to share his heartbreak during his mother's final days. It began with the occasional update from the hospital ICU and ended Monday night with her final transition, and with Simon asking "When did I stop holding her hand?" The updates are carefully and artfully worded, and the response from Twitter users has been mostly positive.
There you go. All you need to know to get an early start to your morning.
Copyright 2013 by CNN NewSource. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Former police chief arrested on child porn charges
Quick squall coats area with fresh snow--more coming on Sat.
Police probe death of student injured during fraternity ritual
Game officials look for help in locating deer with container stuck on head
Crane collapse injures 2 workers at Carpenter Technology
Plainfield police chief fired
Airline surprises passengers with Christmas gifts
Experts show how you can save money on heating bills
Robbers on the loose after violent attack in Muhlenberg Township
Police investigate thefts of holiday packages from front porches