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KNOW IT ALL: Wednesday’s Top Stories at NBC News

Image: TOPSHOTS-US-WEATHER-SNOW

A woman walks along the National Mall in Washington on Tuesday as snow falls during a storm. SAUL LOEB / AFP - Getty Images

Good morning, and happy Wednesday. Here are six of the top stories we are following this morning at NBC News:

1. Peace talks begin seeking to end Syria’s civil war

A U.N.-sponsored peace conference kicked off Wednesday in Switzerland to find a political solution to ending the bloodshed in Syria. Included in the talks is U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who said Syrian President Bashar Assad can’t be part of a new government. Read more in NEWS.

2. Winter storm moves out, leaving cold snap in its wake

It’s a nightmare commute for millions along the East Coast after a major storm dumped about a foot of snow in some parts Tuesday. The winter misery canceled flights and closed schools for the day, as a brutal cold will stay parked through the Midwest and Northeast. Read more in NEWS.

3. Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and wife deny federal corruption charges

McDonnell, who left office this month, said he and wife Maureen have been “falsely and wrongfully accused” for allegedly accepting gifts meant to curry favor when he was in office. According to the indictment, the gifts include a New York City shopping spree, a loan and help paying for their daughter’s wedding. Read more in POLITICS.

Former governor charged with accepting illegal gifts 2:16

4. Pentagon planning to relax rules for soldiers' religious wear

The Department of Defense will announce changes allowing soldiers to request the right to maintain certain religious garb and look, including turbans and beards, as long as it doesn't interfere with their duties. NBC News obtained an early draft of the rule changes. Read more in NEWS.

5. Another embarrassing video surfaces of scandal-scarred Toronto mayor

Mayor Rob Ford, who admitted last fall to smoking crack cocaine in a “drunken stupor,” is seen in a new video speaking in a Jamaican accent and rambling. He later told reporters he had been drinking “a little bit.” “What I do in my personal life with my personal friends, that’s up to me,” he said. Read more in POLITICS.

New video emerges of slurring Toronto mayor 0:44

6. China’s latest export is a foul byproduct for the U.S.

Air pollution from Chinese factories is blowing over the Pacific Ocean and affecting the West Coast, according to researchers at the University of California, Irvine. And it’s all thanks to the consumer goods China produces that are bought in America. Read more in BUSINESS.

... What's trending today?

The Norwegian curling team that captured silver at the Vancouver Olympics is back, and so are their crazy pants.

The team took to New York on Tuesday to show off their snazzy suits for Sochi, and again, the Internet flat out loves it.

Members of  Norway's Men's Olympic Curling Team wear their new Sochi 2014 suits as they pose in New York on Tuesday.
Members of Norway's Men's Olympic Curling Team wear their new Sochi 2014 suits as they pose in New York City. Cassie Kovacevich / Loudmouth Golf via AP