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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

On the Next Episode of The Lead

How many terrorists have actually been taken out in the latest round of airstrikes?

How many terrorists have actually been taken out in the latest round of airstrikes?

world lead

February 5th, 2014
06:05 PM ET

Airlines warned about possible toothpaste bombs ahead of Olympics

(CNN) - The United States is advising airlines with direct flights to Russia to be aware of the possibility that explosive materials could be concealed in toothpaste or cosmetic tubes, according to a law enforcement source.

The source emphasized on Wednesday that there was no known threat to the United States, but the notice to U.S. and international carriers is based on new intelligence information ahead of the start of the Olympics in Sochi this week.

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world lead

February 5th, 2014
05:58 PM ET

Analysis on Sochi security: There's always going to be risk in large crowds

(CNN) - Security at the Sochi Olympics has been a big issue. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry told CNN that Americans travelling to the Olympics can be as safe as expected at a very large sporting event, which happens to be taking place near a war where there are many terrorist threats.

"There's always going to be risk attached to large crowds, regardless of whether the Olympics are in Sochi or in Atlanta, as we sadly remember," The New York Times' Mark Landler said.

"The difference here is the proximity of Sochi to the Caucasus, which is a sort of a hotbed of Islamic militancy and a place where in a number of these Caucasus republics they're actually fighting a low-grade civil war," said Landler.

Many counterterrorism experts said it would be more likely that a terrorist attack would take place somewhere adjacent to the Sochi Olympics, maybe 100 – 250 miles away, said Landler.

"It would certainly rattle everybody and throw a pretty long shadow over the Game," said Landler.

"This is part of a bigger issue. I think there's a resurgence also of al Qaeda. I mean, the United States hasn't paid that much attention to those kind of extremists because they haven't targeted us, which of course al Aaeda did," said former State Department Middle East specialist Michele Dunne.

"What's gone on in Syria or elsewhere in the Middle East, in Egypt, for example, we're seeing a real resurgence of Islamic extremism and of groups affiliated to al Qaeda, and that could pose a danger to Americans as well," said Dunne.

For more of this discussion, click on the video above.

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money lead

February 5th, 2014
05:38 PM ET

Investment analyst: CVS dropping cigarettes is 'a very slippery slope'

(CNN) – CVS Caremark announced Wednesday it will stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products at its CVS/pharmacy stores by October 1.

The store is marketing the decision on social media, tweeting: "RT (retweet) if you will join us in our commitment to go tobacco-free, #cvsquits."

But the move could open the door for health advocates to push CVS to stop selling candy and junk food.

"This is a very slippery slope for any company," said RBC Capital Markets Consumer Analyst Nik Modi, who does research analysis of tobacco products for the investment bank. Modi says tobacco companies' profits are not affected by decisions like CVS's.
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Obama, Kerry: Sochi Olympics are safe, but ...

world lead

February 5th, 2014
05:20 PM ET

Obama, Kerry: Sochi Olympics are safe, but ...

(CNN) - The United States is advising airlines with direct flights to Russia to be aware of the possibility that explosive materials could be concealed in toothpaste or cosmetic tubes, according to a law enforcement source.

The source emphasized that there was no known threat to the United States, but the notice to U.S. and international carriers is based on new intelligence information ahead of the start of the Olympics in Sochi this week.

In an exclusive interview with CNN last Thursday, President Barack Obama expressed concerns over the safety at Sochi.

"I believe that Sochi is safe and that there are always some risks in these large international gatherings. I'm always going to feel even better if it's inside the United States because then we have full control over what happens.

"The Russian authorities understand the stakes here. They understand that there are potential threats that are out there. And we are coordinating with them," Obama told CNN.

Over at the State Department, Secretary John Kerry told CNN in an exclusive interview Wednesday that the Games will be safe, up to a point.

"We're not telling people not to go. I think it will be as safe as you can make any large public event, in a place where, obviously, we all know there have been some threats of late," Kerry said.

"We feel that everything has been done that can be done to try to guarantee people's safety and security. And we ask people, we simply alert them that – as we would anywhere where they're in a large public space where there are threats that ... are sort of out there floating around – just take precautions. Be careful. Think about where you are, just as we did, always, in America post-9/11," said Kerry.

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world lead

February 5th, 2014
02:15 PM ET

Kerry: France put 'on notice' about violating Iran sanctions

For more of our exclusive interview with Secretary of State John Kerry, watch "The Lead with Jake Tapper" on CNN at 4 p.m. ET.

Washington (CNN) – The nuclear deal struck in November between the world powers, collectively known as the P5+1, and Iran calls for Tehran to limit its nuclear activities in return for a relaxation of sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy.

But Iranian officials say the deal is not that big a deal, that they could undo what they have agreed to do within one day.

President Hassan Rouhani told the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that Iran is open for business. Indeed, France and Turkey have sent trade missions looking to do more business in the country.

But Kerry insists the U.S. has not been played, “not even by a close margin.”

“Iran is not open for business. And Iran knows it's not open for business,” said Kerry.
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