The Two Way

The Two-Way
7:34 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Singing, Stomping, Stranded Explorers Prep Antarctic Helipad

Framed by ice: the MV Akademik Shokalskiy, which has been stuck in Antarctic ice since Christmas Eve.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 8:31 am

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The Two-Way
6:32 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Michael Schumacher Showing 'Surprising' Improvement

Race car driver Michael Schumacher in November 2012.
Mark Thompson Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 8:25 am

Racing car legend Michael Schumacher is not out of danger, but is showing "surprising" improvement as doctors in France continue to treat him for the severe head injury he suffered Sunday while skiing, The Associated Press reports from Grenoble.

That improvement has allowed surgeons to operate for a second time, doctors said Tuesday.

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The Two-Way
8:19 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

Brain-Dead Girl Can Stay On Life Support, Judge Orders

Family spokesman Omari Sealey makes a statement to the media regarding the condition of his niece Jahi McMath on Monday, in Oakland, Calif.
Marcio Jose Sanchez AP

A judge has extended life support for a 13-year-old girl who was declared brain dead after complications from a tonsillectomy operation earlier this month.

The order, issued by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo, grants the family's eleventh-hour appeal to keep Jahi McMath on a ventilator at least until Jan. 7. Another judge had ruled that Children's Hospital of Oakland, where McMath has been a patient since the Dec. 9 surgery, could shut off the breathing machine after 5 p.m. ET on Monday.

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The Two-Way
7:26 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

Train Derailment In North Dakota Causes Explosion, Fire

A plume of smoke rises from scene of a derailed train near Casselton, N.D., on Monday.
Michael Vosburg Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 8:53 pm

A dozen oil tanker rail cars burst into flames after two trains collided in eastern North Dakota on Monday.

No one was hurt during the derailment or fire, but thick black smoke was rolling off the wreckage after five explosions rocked the town of Casselton, about 10 miles west of Fargo.

The collision occurred after a westbound train carrying soybeans derailed, and an eastbound train hauling crude oil ran into it, Cecily Fong, the public information officer with the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services, tells Reuters.

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The Two-Way
6:41 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

Lost Images Come To Life A Century After Antarctic Expedition

Alexander Stevens, Shackleton's chief scientist, looks south from the deck of the Aurora. Hut Point Peninsula on Ross Island, Antarctica, can be seen in the background.
nzaht.org

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 8:25 pm

Conservators working to preserve artifacts from the early days of Antarctic exploration have uncovered century-old black-and-white negatives taken during Ernest Shackleton's 1914-1917 expedition but never printed.

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The Two-Way
5:58 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

The Other 'F Word': Brewer Responds To Starbucks Over Beer Name

After being told that one of his products infringed on a Starbucks trademark, brewpub owner Jeff Britton wrote the coffee company a check.
Exit 6 Brewery

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 7:51 pm

In general, getting a cease-and-desist letter from a big corporation isn't the mark of a good day. But after a brewery owner got a letter from a law firm representing Starbucks, he saw a chance to draw distinctions between the businesses — and to be funny.

The coffee company's bone of contention, Missouri brewer Jeff Britton was told in a Dec. 9 letter, was the use of the name "Frappicino" to describe a stout served at Exit 6 Brewery, a brewpub in a tidy strip mall in Cottleville, northwest of St. Louis.

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The Two-Way
4:44 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

On Evolution, A Widening Political Gap, Pew Says

A drawing of the scientific theory of evolution, which states that living things evolve over time.
Martin Wimmer iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 7:45 pm

The divide between Republicans and Democrats on their views of the scientific theory of evolution is widening, according to a new poll released by Pew's Religion & Public Life Project.

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The Two-Way
2:35 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

Official In Charge Of Creating HealthCare.gov Steps Down

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 4:28 pm

Michelle Snyder, the official who oversaw the creation of the problem-plagued HealthCare.gov website, is retiring.

In a statement on Monday, Marilyn Tavenner, the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, announced Snyder's departure from the agency, saying she had originally planned to retire at the end of 2012 but had stayed on at Tavenner's request to help "with the challenges facing CMS in 2013."

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The Two-Way
1:57 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

Al-Qaida's Receipts: From 60-Cent Cake To A $6,800 Workshop

This receipt for groceries, which includes prices paid for tomatoes, onions, charcoal, meat and a light bulb, was retrieved from a building occupied by al-Qaida's North African branch in Timbuktu, Mali.
AP

The Associated Press has posted images of more than 100 receipts believed to have been left behind by al-Qaida operatives in Timbuktu, Mali, that show how "the extremists assiduously tracked their cash flow, recording purchases as small as a single light bulb."

According to the wire service:

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The Two-Way
1:21 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

Report Details NSA's Alleged High-Tech Tricks For Snaring Data

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 3:52 pm

Intercepted packages. Custom-made cables that steal data. Towers that mimic a commercial cellphone network. Those are a few of the tricks used by elite units of the National Security Agency to monitor potential threats, according to Germany's Der Spiegel. The magazine published those revelations Sunday and Monday, detailing what it calls a catalog of the NSA's high-tech spying products and methods.

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The Two-Way
12:24 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

Test Sites Chosen For Commercial Drone Testing

The Federal Aviation Administration's map showing the locations of the six "unmanned aircraft systems" test sites it has chosen.
FAA.gov

The Federal Aviation Administration on Monday unveiled the names of the six applicants who have been granted the right to test the commercial uses of "unmanned aircraft systems" — drones.

The FAA's approvals were highly sought after because the test sites are expected to bring high-tech jobs and investments to the states where they're located. The six winners are:

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The Two-Way
11:37 am
Mon December 30, 2013

VIDEO: Volcano Erupts In El Salvador, Ash And Gas Soar

The Chaparrastique volcano in eastern El Salvador erupted on Sunday.
Hector Garay/Telenoticias 21 AFP/Getty Images

The first eruption of eastern El Salvador's Chaparrastique volcano in 37 years sent ash and gas soaring as much as six miles into the air on Sunday and led authorities to evacuate thousands of people from their homes.

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The Two-Way
11:19 am
Mon December 30, 2013

Billionaire Philanthropist, GOP Donor Harold Simmons Dies

Harold Simmons stands by the Dallas courthouse entrance in October 1997. Simmons, the Texas billionaire, philanthropist and GOP donor, died Saturday in Dallas. He was 82.
Flor Cordero Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 2:49 pm

Harold Simmons, the Texas billionaire, philanthropist and GOP donor, has died. He was 82.

The Dallas Morning News says Simmons died late Saturday at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. His wife, Annette, told the newspaper that Simmons was "very sick for the last two weeks" and was in Baylor's intensive care unit. The family spent Christmas at the hospital, she said.

Here's more from the Morning News:

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The Two-Way
10:04 am
Mon December 30, 2013

NFL Firings Begin: Browns, Redskins, Others Ax Coaches

He's out: Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan on Sunday during the team's loss to the New York Giants. He was fired on Monday.
Jeff Zelevansky Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 12:20 pm

Coaches' heads are beginning to roll in the National Football League, now that the 2013 regular season is over.

NFL.com reports that:

-- Cleveland Browns coach Rod Chudzinski has lost his job after just one season with the club. The Browns finished with a 4-12 record.

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The Two-Way
8:56 am
Mon December 30, 2013

Third Icebreaker Fails To Reach Stranded Ship In Antarctic

Nowhere to go: A view from the MV Akademik Shokalskiy, which is trapped in thick Antarctic ice 1,500 nautical miles south of Hobart, Australia.
Andrew Peacock/Australasian Antarctic Expedition/Footloose Fotography AP

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 2:17 pm

"Bad news: Aurora couldn't get through. Tried twice. Low visibility & heavy ice. Returning to open water. Try again tomorrow?"

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The Two-Way
7:56 am
Mon December 30, 2013

Doctors Unsure Whether Michael Schumacher Will Survive

Race car driver Michael Schumacher in November 2012.
Mark Thompson Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 8:42 am

One of the world's most famous and highest-paid athletes, Formula One racer Michael Schumacher, is in a medically induced coma at a hospital in Grenoble, France. Doctors there are treating him for a critical head injury suffered over the weekend when the German driver fell and hit his head while skiing.

His prognosis?

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The Two-Way
6:58 am
Mon December 30, 2013

'Blood On The Snow' After Second Suicide Blast In Russia

A woman wiped away tears Monday in Volgograd, Russia, after the second suicide bombing in that city in the past two days.
Denis Tyrin AP

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 3:42 pm

  • From the NPR Newscast: Second attack in Volgograd
  • On 'Morning Edition': NPR's Corey Flintoff reports about the bombings in Volgograd

There's shock in the southern Russian city of Volgograd after what appears to have been the second suicide bombing in two days.

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The Two-Way
4:50 pm
Sun December 29, 2013

Air Evacuation Is Being Considered For Antarctic Passengers

Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy is trapped in thick Antarctic ice, 1,500 nautical miles south of Hobart, Australia.
Andrew Peacock AP

The crew and expedition leaders aboard the MV Akademik Shokalskiy are considering an air evacuation of the passengers on board the ship, which is stuck in Antarctic ice.

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The Two-Way
3:28 pm
Sun December 29, 2013

French High Court OKs 75 Percent Tax For Top Earners

French President François Hollande.
Lionel Bonaventure AFP/Getty Images

Employers paying French citizens more than 1 million euros a year ($1.37 million) will have to pay a 75 percent tax for the next two years, France's top constitutional court ruled on Sunday.

As Bloomberg reports, the millionaire tax was a campaign promise from French President François Hollande. Bloomberg adds:

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The Two-Way
2:35 pm
Sun December 29, 2013

Lebanese Ambassador To U.S. Remembered As A Voice For Moderation

A Lebanese woman chants slogans against Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, during the funeral of Mohamad Chatah, a senior aide to former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who was assassinated on Friday by a car bomb.
Bilal Hussein AP

After the former Lebanese ambassador to the United States was killed on Friday, analysts wondered if it was a sign that the war in Syria is spreading to Lebanon. NPR's Rima Marrouch attended Mohamad Chatah's funeral in Beirut Sunday and sent us this report.

Amidst tight security, the former Lebanese Ambassador to the United States Mohamad Chatah was laid to rest today in Beirut.

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The Two-Way
12:11 pm
Sun December 29, 2013

GOP Leaders Reject Report That Benghazi Wasn't Linked To Al-Qaida

An armed man waves his rifle as buildings and cars are engulfed in flames after being set on fire inside the U.S. Consulate compound in Benghazi late on Sept. 11.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 29, 2013 2:05 pm

The chair of the House Intelligence Committee is casting doubt on a New York Times report that found the attack on the American mission in Benghazi, Libya, was not perpetrated by al-Qaida or any other international terrorist group.

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The Two-Way
10:03 am
Sun December 29, 2013

Enrollment Through Federal Health Market Surges In December

Alicia Martinez tries to sign up for a health care plan at a Miami Enrollment Assistance Center on Dec. 20, in Miami, Fla.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 29, 2013 1:49 pm

The White House released new figures on Sunday that show a surge in the number of Americans who have signed up for health insurance through the federal marketplace.

According to a blog post by Marilynn Tavenner, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services administrator, 1.1 million Americans have signed up for coverage since the marketplace opened in October.

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The Two-Way
8:58 am
Sun December 29, 2013

At Least One Rocket Fired From Lebanon Hits Israel

Originally published on Sun December 29, 2013 2:10 pm

Putting a dent in a cease-fire that has lasted for seven years, at least one rocket fired from Lebanon landed in Israel on Sunday. The rocket did not cause any damage and the Israeli military responded with artillery fire.

The New York Times reports:

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The Two-Way
8:00 am
Sun December 29, 2013

Blast At Russian Train Station Leaves At Least 15 Dead

Russian firefighters and security personnel inspect the damage at a train station following a suicide attack in the Volga River city of Volgograd, Russia.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 29, 2013 10:32 pm

At least 15 people were killed on Sunday when a suspected female suicide bomber detonated an explosive device inside a train station in Volgograd, Russia.

Russia Today, a government-funded, English-language news outlet, reports that authorities are treating the incident as a terrorist attack. RT adds:

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