1) Schools will get an infusion of cash, families with kids will get a $350 tax rebate (though not until next year) and minimum wage workers will see their compensation rise to $9 an hour over the next three years. Those are the highlights of New York State's budget, which was passed by the State Senate and is expected to pass the Assembly this week ahead of the April 1 deadline.
2) Buffering … buffering … buffering. Subscribers to services like Netflix and Hulu have been seeing a lot more of the dreaded buffering message lately, thanks to a cyberwar between hackers and a spam-fighting group. Why should you care? Aside from interrupting your movies, the cyberattacks have become so all-encompassing that they're threatening the basic infrastructure of the internet. If the cyberwar continues to escalate, experts warn millions of Internet users could be cut off from essential services like email and online banking.
3) Moviegoers will get an early taste of the summer blockbuster season on Thursday as "GI Joe: Retaliation" opens in theaters. The Knicks got a preview with a private screening earlier this week, and although the movie didn't exactly earn a ringing endorsement from critics, that didn't stop the first "GI Joe" movie, which banked an impressive $302 million in 2009. Paramount Pictures is wagering on a similar turnout for the sequel, which is based on Hasbro's long-running line of action figures.
4) In "Game of Thrones," you win or you die. Or you wait online for an hour to take your photo atop the iconic Iron Throne from HBO's hit show. With the premiere of the third season just days away, the free "Game of Thrones" exhibit opens in Manhattan on Thursday. Fans who stop by will get close-up looks at costumes, "artifacts" and weapons from the show's first two seasons. The exhibit, at 3 W. 57th St., runs until April 3.
5) Gun control supporters are struggling to win over moderate congressional Democrats in their drive to push expanded background checks for firearms purchasers through the Senate next month. On Thursday, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will detail his ideas on the issue with members of the media.