Morning Edition for Thursday, February 6, 2014

Reining In Health Care Costs Key To Trimming Deficit

The Congressional Budget Office said this year's deficit is likely to be about a third the size it was in 2009 when the Great Recession bottomed out. A better economy is the main reason for the improving deficit but moderating health care costs help.

Ready Or Not, Olympic Events Begin In Sochi

Competition at the Winter Olympics gets underway on Thursday. Some of the events taking place are in figure skating, freestyle skiing and snowboard. The Sochi Games officially open on Friday, and the first medals will be awarded this weekend.
Smokers are shrugging off the announcement that CVS will stop selling tobacco products. The company announced the move on Wednesday as part of a strategy to promote healthy choices. But more than half of cigarettes are sold at gas stations, so the company's decision is unlikely to have much of an impact on access to tobacco.
New research shows a big part of the woolly mammoth's diet was made up of tiny flowers rather than grass. When the flowers disappeared, the mammoths did, too.

Subway To Remove Chemical In Its Bread

The popular blog FoodBabe.com has exposed the fact that a chemical bleaching agent found in Subway's bread is also used in shoe rubber and yoga mats.

David Beckham Wants Miami To Embrace Soccer

Soccer star David Beckham is bringing a Major League Soccer team to Miami. He made the announcement on Wednesday in downtown Miami, not far from a site he and his partners are looking at for a stadium. Miami, however, is a city where Major League Soccer has tried — and failed-- before.

Democrats Worry About Losing Senate Majority

On Wednesday, President Obama spoke to Senate Democrats at their annual retreat. Since the debacle of HealthCare.gov last fall, Democrats have been running scared headed into the 2014 elections. With 21 Democrats facing the voters — compared to 15 Republicans — the party's majority standing is at risk.
It's been almost eight months since the Supreme Court effectively stuck down Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. That section required places with a history of discrimination to get their local voting laws cleared by the federal government. When the Supreme Court ruled, it said people could file lawsuits if they felt disenfranchised. But it hasn't quite worked out that way.

Twitter Shares Drop After Earnings Report

The social media company announced its first earnings report since becoming a publicly traded company. Shares dropped about 17 percent after the company reported a sharp decline in new users.
Wall Street's currency markets are under scrutiny. New York's top financial regulator is looking at whether traders at some of the street's biggest firms shared information with each other in a bid to manipulate exchange rates.

Amtrak Fights Big Oil For Use Of The Rails

Because of an influx of trains hauling crude oil and other freight across the Northern Plains, Amtrak is facing problems with unreliability, long delays, lost revenue and stranded passengers. An advocacy group wants the government to intervene.

U.S. Olympians Are Without Their Greek Yogurt

Chobani, a Team USA sponsor, has decorated its containers of Greek yogurt in honor of the Olympics. But shipments of Chobani haven't made it to Sochi. Russian officials say the company failed to complete the necessary paperwork to allow the yogurt to enter the country.
Members of the Russian performance-protest-collective called Pussy Riot are speaking out against the Russian government and inhumane prison conditions. In 2012, three of the group's members were imprisoned for staging a raucous anti-Putin protest in a Russian Orthodox cathedral in Moscow. They have since been released, and are using their voices to attract people to their cause.
Two members of the Russian protest group Pussy Riot made their first appearance in the United States Wednesday night. Nadya Tolokonnikova and Masha Alyokhina appeared at a concert in New York sponsored by Amnesty International. David Greene talks to them about how they are getting their message out.

Hagel Concerned By Ethical Lapses In Armed Forces

Scandals seem to be popping up almost weekly in the military: Air Force missile officers cheating on exams. Army officers getting kickbacks. Navy instructors sharing test results. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered some reviews of the nuclear force, and asked for an update on ethics teaching at military schools.
As New Year's celebrations in China grow increasingly commercialized, many city dwellers are seeking a return to tradition. Some head to an ancient town outside Beijing where poor but ingenious blacksmiths created their own fireworks. But even centuries-old customs aren't immune to change.

Airline Loses Jamaican Bobsled Team's Belongings

The airline lost their luggage as well as their equipment. The team is staying upbeat. One member, Winston Watts said, "We have a lot of friends here. I'm sure people will lend us what we need."

1 Show Left For Jay Leno's 'Tonight Show'

After 22 years, Jay Leno will host his last Tonight Show Thursday night. The 63-year-old comedian is leaving at the top of the ratings. Thirty-nine-year-old Jimmy Fallon will takeover as host on Feb. 17.
The man says he was one of 17 kidnapped by a cartel and forced to build drug-smuggling tunnels. Now he might be in prison for the rest of his life.

Eightball, MJG And Rap From Memphis 20 Years On

From the birthplace of Stax and Sun Records, and the site of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination, the pair of rapper-producers snatched soul music and put it to work for a new generation.
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