Morning Edition for Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Syrian Peace Talks In Geneva Proceed Slowly

The Syrian peace talks are back in session in Geneva. U.N. mediator Lakhdar Brahimi led the first joint session of this round on Tuesday. But there are no signs of progress, as the government and opposition delegates continue to bicker over the agenda for the talks.
A decade ago, fewer than 100 rhinos were killed annually in South Africa. Last year, it was more than 1,000. Wildlife conservation groups from around the globe are gathering in London this week, hoping to find ways to slow the trade in rhino horns, elephant tusks and other illegal wildlife products.

The Full-Fat Paradox: Whole Milk May Keep Us Lean

Two recent studies add to the growing evidence that consuming dairy fat may actually fend off weight gain. Experts say it may be time to revisit the assumption that when it comes to dairy, fat free is always best.
Wearing oversized sweaters, sensible shoes and loose-fitting suits, the models on the runway this year look downright comfortable. New York Times Style Magazine editor in chief Deborah Needleman says these styles are "much more about comfort" than they have been in the past.

Mexican State Bans Baby Names Including Facebook

If you live in the Mexican state of Sonora, you may not name your next child Facebook. That's one of sixty baby names state officials banned. Other names banned included Lady Di and Circumcision.

For Would-Be NFL Players, 40 Yards Stand In Their Way

With the NFL season over, attention turns to the hopefuls who are preparing for April's draft. Over the next several weeks, athletes will highlight their skills during pro days and the annual combine, a week-long event showcasing their physical and mental tools. The focal point is the 40 yard dash, where a tenth of a second can mean all the difference.
Former U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin hosted a summit of former surgeons general at Xavier University in New Orleans to talk about curtailing the nation's top preventable cause of death: smoking. They focused on how to keep kids from getting addicted. The session comes 50 years after the landmark surgeon general's report that smoking was dangerous. But even today, obstacles remain.

CVS Stock Rises Ahead Of Lost Tobacco Sales

Less than a week after CVS announced it would no longer sell tobacco products, its stock is on the rise.
Two Americans open Fortune Cookie, a restaurant that serves Chinese-American food in Shanghai. The owners believe there is a market among expats nostalgic for their hometown takeout. A Chinese customer says Westernized Chinese food lacks the subtly of the original cuisine.

Virgin America To Go Public

Virgin America aims to go public this year after recording its first profits since it was founded 10 years ago. Barclays and Deutsche Bank will co-lead the IPO, which is slated for the second half of the year.

U.S. To Ban Commercial Trade Of Elephant Ivory

The U.S. government has announced new restrictions in the trade of African elephant ivory. Imports and exports are banned and sales are limited to antiques at least 100 years old. It's part of a broader effort to protect elephants and other animals from escalating illegal wildlife trade.
Community College leaders are in Washington lobbying for more money and a bigger role in training Americans for the workforce. In most states though, community college funding has been slashed. It's unclear if the schools can open their doors to more people or create new job-training programs.

Al Capone's Florida Villa Is Up For Sale

Al Capone made his fortune running booze during Prohibition. He bought the Palm Island estate from a member of the Anheuser-Busch brewing family in 1928.
Chris Christie continues to travel the country as head of the Republican Governors Association. He's promoting the GOP agenda and raising money for this year's elections. But compared to Christie's usual style, it's a low-key tour — absent media interviews and with very few photo ops with smiling candidates.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs cost taxpayers $32 million by overpaying for space and renting too much of it. It's just one in a long line of federal leasing problems, according to reports. Health and Human Services has been leasing a building in Maryland for 60 years that it could have owned 10 times over by now.
Carnival in Rio attracts tourists from all over the world. But there is a murky — and sometimes deadly — underbelly to the celebrations. The recent murder of a samba school official highlights the links between the glittering affair that is Carnival and the city's criminal world.

In Photos: Moroccan Motorcycle Mash-Up

Photographer Hassan Hajjaj's "Kesh Angels" share a similar name to Hell's Angels. But they're not a gang. They're Moroccan. And women. And really colorful.

Canadians: Selfish With Beer, Generous With Skis

In Sochi, the Canadians have filled an entire fridge with Molson beer but it requires a Canadian passport to open. Still, this Olympic moment: The coach of Canada's cross country ski team spotted a Russian competitor struggling with a broken ski, and promptly ran out and gave him a replacement.
The special election was held after Democratic Mayor Bob Filner resigned. He was accused by multiple women of sexual harassment.

Tennessee Volkswagen Workers Vote On UAW Membership

In Chattanooga on Wednesday, workers at Volkswagen's auto plant will vote on whether to unionize. This is billed as the most closely watched unionization vote in the South in decades.
When it comes to hiring pastors and teachers, religious organizations like churches or schools are exempt from most employment discrimination laws. But a lawsuit in Massachusetts wants to clarify how much leeway they have. For example, can they discriminate against people in same-sex marriages for non-religious jobs like gym teacher or cafeteria worker?

Snowborder Shaun White Will Leave Sochi Without A Medal

American snowboarder Shaun White had hoped to win his third consecutive gold in these games. Instead, he's going home empty-handed. Not a single member of team USA was on the podium for the snowboard halfpipe event.
It's not easy to qualify what makes a sport a sport. Commentator Frank Deford says his broadest, most inclusive definition is anything that involves competing in a physical activity.
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