The Two Way

The Two-Way
12:15 pm
Sun January 12, 2014

French First Lady In Hospital, Following Reports Of Hollande Affair

French president François Hollande and his companion Valerie Trierweiler.
Jacques Brinon AP

The French first lady Valerie Trierweiler has been admitted to a hospital in Paris in need of "rest," her spokesman tells Reuters.

This comes just after a French tabloid published photographs that it alleges reveal that her boyfriend, French President François Hollande, was having an affair with actress Julie Gayet.

Reuters adds:

"'She has been in hospital since Friday. She will leave tomorrow,' her spokesman Patrice Biancone told Reuters. ...

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The Two-Way
10:58 am
Sun January 12, 2014

Chemical In West Va. Water More Diluted, But Still Unsafe

Members of the Nitro Volunteer Fire Department distribute water to local residents on Saturday.
Michael Switzer AP

Originally published on Sun January 12, 2014 11:39 am

The amount of a dangerous chemical in West Virginian's tap water is more diluted, but it is still unsafe for drinking, washing or bathing.

WCHS-TV reports that Col. Greg Grant with the National Guard told reporters that they are seeing readings of methylcyclohexane methanol dip below 1 part per million, the amount that the Center for Disease Control says is safe, but those readings have spiked from time to time.

"The numbers are turning in the right direction," Grant said.

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The Two-Way
9:13 am
Sun January 12, 2014

Sam Berns, Teen Known For His Fight Against 'Aging Disease,' Dies

Sam Berns, 15, who has the very rare premature-aging disease progeria, plays the drums in his high school's marching band.
Courtesy of the Progeria Research Foundation

Originally published on Sun January 12, 2014 11:45 am

Sam Berns, the teen who became nationally known for his fight against a disease that accelerates aging, died on Friday from complications of his disorder.

As our friends at Shots explained back in September, Sam's parents, Leslie Gordon and Scott Berns, were spurred by his illness to find a cure for the disease.

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The Two-Way
8:07 am
Sun January 12, 2014

Israelis Pay Respects To Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon

Israel's President Shimon Peres stands next the coffin of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at the Knesset in Jerusalem on Sunday.
Bernat Armangue AP

Originally published on Sun January 12, 2014 11:52 am

The body of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was lying in state on Sunday outside the country's parliament.

As Haaretz reports, the Israeli public, as well as top government officials gathered at the Knesset to pay their respects.

Sharon, one of Israel's most iconic figures, died on Saturday after spending eight years in a coma.

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The Two-Way
7:49 pm
Sat January 11, 2014

Main Contractor Behind HealthCare.gov To Be Replaced By Accenture

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 8:08 am

Updated 8:50 p.m.

The main contractor behind the embattled Affordable Care Act enrollment site, which suffered major technological issues after its Oct. 1 debut, will be replaced early this year.

Accenture will replace CGI Federal, the IT contractor that built HealthCare.gov, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced Saturday. CGI Federal's contract expires on Feb. 28.

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The Two-Way
4:50 pm
Sat January 11, 2014

Neiman Marcus Notifying Customers Whose Cards Were Compromised

A Neiman Marcus in Chicago.
M. Spencer Green AP

The luxury retailer Neiman Marcus says it has begun notifying customers whose credit cards were compromised during a security breach.

The AP spoke to Ginger Reeder, spokeswoman for Dallas-based company, who would not estimate how many customers could be affected.

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The Two-Way
12:39 pm
Sat January 11, 2014

Alex Rodriguez Suspended For 2014 Season, Arbitrator Decides

New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez.
John Angelillo UPI /Landov

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 2:15 pm

Alex Rodriguez, one of baseball's biggest stars and its highest-paid player, should be suspended for the 2014 season and postseason, an independent arbitrator decided on Saturday.

Fredric Horowitz, who heard Rodriguez's appeal of Major League Baseball's 211-game suspension, upheld most of the punishment handed down by the league.

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The Two-Way
10:55 am
Sat January 11, 2014

The Other Political Scandal: New York Mayor De Blasio And 'Forkgate'

In this image taken from video and provided by New York City Hall, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio eats pizza with a fork at Goodfellas Pizza in the Staten Island on Friday.
AP

You may have been too busy still pondering New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's epic, two-hour press conference to pay any attention to the political scandal brewing just across the border in New York City.

Here's the video that got the city's brand new, populist mayor into his first controversy on Friday:

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The Two-Way
10:12 am
Sat January 11, 2014

Hundreds Of Thousands Still Without Water In W. Va.

Shelves at Krogers remain empty after running out of water in Kanawha City a neighborhood of Charleston on Friday.
Tom Hindman Getty Images

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 3:59 pm

(This post was last updated at 4 p.m. ET.)

For the third day in a row, hundreds of thousands of West Virginians are unable to drink, cook or wash with the water in their homes.

During a press conference, West Virginia American Water President Jeff McIntyre, who oversees the states largest water treatment plant, said it could be days before the water is safe for use.

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The Two-Way
7:52 am
Sat January 11, 2014

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon Dies At 85

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2001.
Philippe Desmazes AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 2:21 pm

Ariel Sharon, the former prime minister of Israel, has died, Shlomo Noy, the director of the Sheba Medical Center, where Sharon was being treated, said during a televised press conference.

The AP reports that during earlier statements, Sharon's son Gilad Sharon said, "He has gone. He went when he decided to go."

Haaretz reports that Sharon died Saturday after spending eight years in a coma.

He was 85.

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The Two-Way
10:00 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Former Reagan White House Spokesman Larry Speakes Dies

Larry Speakes, left, and President Ronald Reagan in a 1984 appearance on the White House South Lawn.
Ira Schwarz AP

Larry Speaks, who became the White House spokesman after President Ronald Reagan and Press Secretary James Brady were shot in a 1981 assassination attempt, died Friday. He was 74.

Speakes, who had Alzheimer's disease, died at his home in Cleveland, Miss.

The New York Times reports:

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The Two-Way
8:47 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Neiman Marcus Says Hackers Stole Credit Card Data

Upscale retailer Neiman Marcus isn't yet saying how many customers might be at risk, but it is confirming that a breach of credit card data took place. The company says it learned of "potentially unauthorized payment card activity" before Christmas. The company says it is working with federal investigators, and a forensics team is trying to determine the size of the breach.

The digital security expert Brian Krebs wrote about the stolen credit card data today:

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The Two-Way
7:58 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

$1.35 Billion In Losses Reported By Nevada's Major Casinos

Large casinos in Nevada are continuing their losing streak, reporting more than a billion dollars in losses for the most recent fiscal year. Here, a view of Paris Las Vegas, a hotel and casino located on the Las Vegas Strip.
John Gurzinski AFP/Getty Images

Nevada's big casinos are on a losing streak. For the fifth straight year, the state's largest casinos are reporting net losses – in this case, a total of $1.35 billion in the most recent fiscal year. That's the news from a report released by the Nevada Gaming Control Board Friday, which focuses on casinos that gross at least $1 million in gaming revenue.

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The Two-Way
6:28 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

N.J. Bridge Scandal: New Emails And Documents Are Released

Newly released documents depict officials discussing the controversial September closure of several lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge from Fort Lee, N.J. Here, the New Jersey side of the bridge, which leads to New York City, is seen Thursday.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

A New Jersey State Assembly committee released a trove of documents Friday that shed more light on the bridge lane-closure scandal that is embroiling Republican Gov. Chris Christie's administration. The panel is seeking details on what's seen as an act of political retribution, which targeted the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, N.J. It obtained the documents under a subpoena.

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The Two-Way
5:09 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Dying Stars Write Their Own Swan Songs

This composite image shows new details of the aftermath of a massive star that exploded and was visible from Earth over 1,000 years ago.
Chandra X-ray Observatory Center NASA

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 7:48 pm

Alicia Soderberg studies the death of stars. Often, these final moments come as violent explosions known as supernovae. They're spectacular events, but catching one as it unfolds can be tricky.

"You have to be in the right place at the right time, and often we're not," says the professor in Harvard's astronomy department. "So all you can do is do a stellar autopsy and go back and try to pick up the pieces and try to figure out what happened."

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The Two-Way
1:11 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Same-Sex Couples In Utah Made Eligible For Federal Benefits

Chris Serrano, left, and Clifton Webb embrace after being married on Dec. 20 in the Salt Lake County Clerk's Office in Salt Lake City.
Kim Raff AP

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 3:35 pm

"Attorney General Eric Holder announced Friday that the federal government will recognize the 900-plus same-sex marriages that took place in Utah during the two weeks when such unions were legal," NPR's Nina Totenberg writes for us.

That means those couples "will be eligible for all federal benefits," NPR's Carrie Johnson adds.

In a statement, Holder says that:

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The Two-Way
12:06 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Gates Says His Points About Obama Have Been Mischaracterized

Robert Gates waves and President Obama claps at the then-defense secretary's farewell ceremony in June 2011.
Jason Reed Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 2:08 pm

  • On 'Morning Edition': Steve Inskeep and David Greene discuss NPR's interview with Robert Gates

Reports this week about former Defense Secretary Robert Gates' new book have implied that he thinks President Obama approved a 2009 troop surge in Afghanistan "believing the strategy would fail," as NPR's Steve Inskeep said on Friday's Morning Edition.

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The Two-Way
11:54 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Central African Republic's President Resigns At Regional Summit

Central African Republic's interim President Michel Djotodia sits during a conference in Bangui in this Dec. 8 file photo. Djotodia resigned Friday after a two-day summit in neighboring Chad.
Herve Serefio Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 1:17 pm

Central African Republic's interim president resigned Friday under pressure from fellow leaders at a regional summit to end the violence in his country.

Michel Djotodia and Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye resigned at the regional meeting in Chad.

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The Two-Way
11:08 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Franklin McCain, One Of 'Greensboro Four,' Dies

(From left) Joseph McNeil and Franklin McCain, two of the Greensboro Four who the day before had sat at the "whites only" counter of a Woolworth store, came back on Feb. 2, 1960, with two others — Billy Smith and Clarence Henderson.
Jack Moebes/Greensboro News & Record

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 2:08 pm

Franklin McCain, one of the "Greensboro Four" who in 1960 sat down at a whites-only lunch counter in North Carolina and launched a sit-in movement that would soon spread to cities across the nation, has died.

North Carolina A&T State University said Friday morning that McCain died Thursday "after a brief illness at Moses Cone Hospital in Greensboro."

Our colleagues at WUNC report that McCain had just turned 73. Other news outlets are reporting he was 71.

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The Two-Way
8:42 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Top Stories: Mixed Employment Report; West Virginia Water Crisis

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 10:02 am

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The Two-Way
8:28 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Target Says 70 Million Individuals' Data May Have Been Stolen

Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 9:52 am

The size of the data breach at Target Co. stores late last year took a sharp rise Friday when the retailer said it now estimates that up to 70 million individuals may have had information that includes their "names, mailing addresses, phone numbers or email addresses" stolen.

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The Two-Way
8:15 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Economy Adds Only 74,000 Jobs In December; Jobless Rate At 6.7 Percent

Sign of the times? A "help wanted" sign in the window of a Philadelphia business last year.
Matt Rourke AP

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 2:08 pm

  • On 'Morning Edition': NPR's Yuki Noguchi and David Greene preview the jobs report
We'll be posting updates after the report's 8:30 a.m. ET release.

There were only 74,000 jobs added to public and private payrolls in December, but the unemployment rate fell to a 5-year low 6.7 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday morning.

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The Two-Way
7:53 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Book News: Will Your Book Sell? There's An Algorithm For That

The study "reveals an intriguing and unexpected observation on the connection between readability and the literary success — that they correlate into the opposite directions."
Oli Scarff Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 8:38 am

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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The Two-Way
7:17 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Chemical Leak Causes Water Emergency In West Virginia; Plant Shut Down

In Charleston, W.Va., the shelves of this Kroger supermarket had been nearly stripped of bottled water on Thursday. Residents rushed to buy water after a chemical spill led officials to warn that they not use what's coming out of their taps.
Tyler Evert AP

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 7:13 pm

More than 100,000 customers of one water company in West Virginia have been warned not to drink, cook or wash with the water coming from their taps because of chemicals that seeped into the Elk River near Charleston on Thursday.

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The Two-Way
9:32 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Sportswriter Who Let Readers Fill Out Hall Of Fame Ballot Is Banned

After it was revealed that he used his Baseball Hall of Fame voter ballot to pass along the suggestions of readers of the sports site Deadspin, Dan Le Batard has been stripped of his membership in the Baseball Writers Association of America. He is also banned from all future Hall of Fame votes.

Le Batard is a columnist for The Miami Herald who is also on ESPN radio and TV. He said Thursday that he worked with Deadspin to turn his ballot over to sports fans for many reasons, emphasizing a need for reform in Hall of Fame voting.

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