Your look at the five biggest and most buzz-worthy stories of the morning.
1. California Fire Burns in Dry Windy Week, Arid Year
Firefighters had largely tamed a tower of flame and smoke that obscured the sun and drove thousands from their homes in the foothill suburbs northeast of Los Angeles, but a week of dangerously windy wildfire conditions and a year of historic dryness meant that this blaze and inevitable ones to come remained a major threat.
2. Michelle Obama Turns 50
First Lady Michelle Obama turns 50 today – and the president has planned a weekend White House party to celebrate.
3. Budget-Deal Vote Brings Rare Truce in Fiscal Wars
A declining U.S. budget deficit, still-accommodative Federal Reserve and a small-bore budget deal negotiated last month — given final approval Thursday in Congress — are helping to temper partisan rhetoric in the short term as attention in Washington shifts to the approaching midterm elections.
4. Russell Johnson, 'Gilligan' Professor, Has Died
Actor Russell Johnson, who became known to generations of TV fans as "The Professor," the fix-it man who kept his fellow "Gilligan's Island" castaways supplied with gadgets, has died. He was 89.
5. 'Gravity,' '12 Years' Win Big at Critics' Choice
"Gravity" soared with a record-setting seven Critics' Choice Awards, but "12 Years a Slave" was named best picture.