Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, and the end of all the revelry and gluttony of Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras.

Indian Christians offer prayers during an Ash Wednesday mass at a Catholic church in Hyderabad, India, Wednesday. (Mahesh Kumar A/AP)

Christians around the world celebrated the day by getting their foreheads marked with ashes, a sign of solemn repentance. The Post’s Election 2012 blog reports that the ashes may also be on display, quite literally, at Wednesday’s CNN GOP debate.

More of your need-to-know morning links below:

Reports from Syria of the morning:

Two western journalists were killed in Syria in a mortar strike Wednesday. In what may have been her last report, Marie Colvin, an American correspondent for the Sunday Times, said the bloodshed in Syria was “absolutely sickening.”(BBC)

A Syrian citizen journalist also died in Homs, from shrapnel wounds. Rami Ahmad Sayed had posted hundreds of videos of the violence in Syria to his YouTube channel syriapioneer. The last video is of Sayed himself. (Los Angeles Times)

Discoveries by NASA of the morning:

“Waterworld” superplanet discovered by NASA’s Hubble spacecraft. The exoplanet is 2.7 times the diameter of Earth, and could have exotic phenomena including “hot ice.” (Discover Magazine)

Fastest cosmic hurricane discovered, which NASA clocked in at an incredible 20 million MPH winds. The hurricane blows off of a stellar-mass black hole. (International Business Times)

Resignation news of the morning:

Kevin Rudd has resigned while on a trip to the U.S. The Australian foreign minister said he no longer had the support of the prime minister, calling their disagreement a “soap opera.” Rudd had dropped the F-bomb in a video posted to YouTube just days before. (Sydney Morning Herald, YouTube)