It's Fat Tuesday, baby!

Mardi Gras is set to erupt in New Orleans today, an annual city ritual rooted in nearly 300 years of tradition. Carnival is not just the one day. It's a two-week event that kicks off each year with the satirical Krewe du Vieux parade and culminates on Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras.

Kerry in Ukraine for talks

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will be in Kiev today for talks aimed at easing tensions as Ukraine appealed for international help against a feared full-blown invasion by Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops taking part in military exercises in western Russia near the border with Ukraine to return to their bases, Russian news agencies reported.

DWTS cast revealed

The cast for Season 18 of Dancing with the Stars will be revealed today on Good Morning America (8:15 a.m. ET). Rumors of the newest cast have been swirling, with reports that Bruce Jenner would follow in Kim and Rob Kardashian's footsteps for a ballroom spin. Tim Tebow, Sharon Osbourne, and Full House alum Candace Cameron Bure have also been rumored as possible cast members. The season premieres March 17.

Reeva Steenkamp's mom to appear on TODAY

The mother of Reeva Steenkamp, who was shot and killed by Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius, will appear exclusively on TODAY this morning. Pistorius, who shot his girlfriend Reeva Steencamp on Valentine's Day 2013, says he thought she was a burglar when he fired at her. If convicted, the venerated athlete and a double amputee, faces life in prison. Privacy concerns interrupted the second day of the murder trial, which is expected to last about three weeks.

Obama budget marks beginning of new battle

President Obama unveils his budget request today. The White House has said the president will step back from his earlier attempt to persuade Republicans to accept a grand bargain to reduce the soaring national debt that would include entitlement changes and raising tax revenues. Instead, Obama's proposal will detail $28 billion in new domestic funding, including funding for new manufacturing hubs, job training and early childhood education that would be offset by cost savings elsewhere.

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