February 5th, 2014
10:43 AM ET

Northeast Getting Blasted With Snow

For the second time in three days, the Northeast is getting socked with a pile of heavy, wet snow - a foot or more of it in many places.

Boston's morning rush hour is expected to be a mess as the winter system moved in overnight.

"This storm may have a major impact on the Wednesday morning commute," the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency said. "Heavy snow will continue to fall through the commute, with rates of up to 1 inch per hour possible."

Snowfall will taper off during the afternoon, according to the National Weather Service. Accumulations of 8 to 12 inches will be the norm. And more than a foot of snow is predicted through Wednesday for much of Upper New York state, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

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February 5th, 2014
10:40 AM ET

Red Hot Chili Peppers on Super Bowl Performance: Yep, We Faked It

Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea just gave it away, confirming what everyone already suspected.

The rock group's halftime performance at Super Bowl XLVIII was pre-recorded. The band's guitars were not plugged in.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers performed Sunday night alongside Bruno Mars.

"When we were asked by the NFL and Bruno to play our song Give It Away at the Super Bowl, it was made clear to us that the vocals would be live, but the bass, drums, and guitar would be pre-recorded.

"I understand the NFL's stance on this, given they only have a few minutes to set up the stage, there a zillion things that could go wrong and ruin the sound for the folks watching in the stadium and the t.v. viewers. There was not any room for argument on this, the NFL does not want to risk their show being botched by bad sound, period," Flea wrote Tuesday on the band's website.

He said that he and his bandmates - Anthony Kiedis, Josh Klinghoffer and Chad Smith - thought long and hard about doing the show given those conditions.

"We decided that, with Anthony singing live, that we could still bring the spirit and freedom of what we do into the performance, and of course we played every note in the recording specially for the gig. I met and spoke with Bruno, who was a beautiful dude, a real talented musician, and we worked out something that seemed like it would be fun," Flea wrote.

He said the band was not trying to trick anyone.

The bassist continued: "For the actual performance, Josh, Chad, and I were playing along with the pre recorded track so there was no need to plug in our guitars, so we did not.

"Could we have plugged them in and avoided bumming people out who have expressed disappointment that the instrumental track was pre recorded? Of course easily we could have and this would be a non-issue. We thought it better to not pretend. It seemed like the realest thing to do in the circumstance.

"I am grateful to the NFL for having us. And I am grateful to Bruno, who is a super talented young man for inviting us to be a part of his gig. I would do it all the same way again."

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February 5th, 2014
10:38 AM ET

CVS to Stop Selling Tobacco

Want to pick up a pack of cigarettes with your prescription refill? A major U.S. pharmacy chain is breaking that habit.

CVS Caremark announced Wednesday that it will stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products at its CVS/pharmacy stores by October 1 of this year.

The retailer said the move makes CVS/pharmacy the first chain of national pharmacies to take tobacco products off the shelves.

"Ending the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS/pharmacy is the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health," Larry J. Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Caremark, said in a statement. "Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose."

CVS Caremark is the largest pharmacy in the United States based on total prescription revenue, according to the company. It operates more than 7,600 CVS/pharmacy stores nationwide, in addition to more than 800 MinuteClinics, which are medical clinics within the pharmacy locations.

Health-oriented organizations and even President Barack Obama praised the move.

"As one of the largest retailers and pharmacies in America, CVS Caremark sets a powerful example, and today's decision will help advance my administration's efforts to reduce tobacco-related deaths, cancer, and heart disease, as well as bring down health care costs - ultimately saving lives and protecting untold numbers of families from pain and heartbreak for years to come," Obama said in a statement Wednesday.

"This is an important, bold public health decision by a major retail pharmacy to act on the long understood reality that blending providing health care and providing cigarettes just doesn't match," said Dr. Richard Wender, chief cancer control officer at the American Cancer Society.

"We need an all-hands-on-deck effort to take tobacco products out of the hands of America's young generation, and to help those who are addicted to quit," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement. "Today's CVS Caremark announcement helps bring our country closer to achieving a tobacco-free generation. I hope others will follow their lead."

Stopping cigarette sales comes at a price. CVS Caremark estimates it will take an annual loss of $2 billion from tobacco shoppers.

The company has enjoyed growing revenues in recent years, boosted by its pharmacy services business and prescription drug sales.

CVS Caremark hasn't reported its year-end results yet, but it took in nearly $94 billion in revenues in the first nine months of 2013, up slightly from the same period in 2012, according to its most recent earnings report.

In 2012, CVS Caremark reported $123.1 billion in revenues, a 15% jump from $107.1 billion the previous year.

"We commend CVS for putting public health ahead of their bottom line and recognizing the need for pharmacies to focus on supporting health and wellness instead of contributing to disease and death caused by tobacco use," the American Medical Association said in a statement.

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February 5th, 2014
06:04 AM ET

"Morning Minute" with Michaela Pereira – February 5, 2014

Need to get today's top stories on-the-go? Watch Michaela Pereira's morning minute now!

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