The Two Way

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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The Two-Way
7:16 am
Sun December 29, 2013

Thousands Still Without Power As More Snow Due To Fall

Maine resident Jim Ridley uses a flashlight to get his mail Thursday. Thousands may be without power well into next week if snow and ice hit the state Sunday night.
Robert F. Bukaty AP

Originally published on Sun December 29, 2013 1:25 pm

A massive post-Christmas package of precipitation is headed up the East Coast today. The storm is predicted to dump snow and ice from Boston on up and promises to vex residents already a week without power since the last winter storm.

The storm is carrying drenching rain through the Carolinas, Mid-Atlantic and southern New England during the day. The downpour will reduce visibility and make travel difficult, according to Accuweather.com.

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The Two-Way
8:38 pm
Sat December 28, 2013

No Al-Qaida Link In Benghazi Attack, 'New York Times' Reports

Originally published on Sun December 29, 2013 2:56 pm

The New York Times, after a months-long investigation, says the attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, "turned up no evidence that Al Qaeda or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault."

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The Two-Way
6:40 pm
Sat December 28, 2013

Student Killed In Clashes At Egyptian University

Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood at Al-Azhar university make the four-finger Rabaa gesture as they hold tear gas canisters during clashes with riot police and residents of the area at the university's campus in Cairo on Saturday.
Reuters /Landov

An Egyptian student is dead Saturday after clashes between police and Muslim Brotherhood supporters at the country's main Islamic university.

Egyptian media reported that the violence erupted when security forces fired tear gas to disperse pro-Brotherhood students who were trying to prevent classmates from getting into buildings at the famed Al-Azhar university. Some of the buildings were set on fire. Police said 101 people were arrested.

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The Two-Way
3:25 pm
Sat December 28, 2013

Thousands Still Without Power Across North

A tree is split in half under the weight of ice and snow in Middleville, Mich. Nearly 29,000 people are still without power in Michigan — but that's down from 200,000 just days ago.
Andrew Kuhn MLIVE.COM /Landov

Thousands of homes across Michigan and New England are still without power after last week's ice storms, and New England is bracing for more snow and more possible power outages.

Nearly 29,000 people are still without power in Michigan.

Ron Likes, a spokesman for the Michigan State Police and Emergency Services, says that's down from more than 200,000.

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The Two-Way
3:14 pm
Sat December 28, 2013

Rebel Leader Skeptical Of South Sudan Cease-Fire Offer

Tens of thousands of refugees are flocking to United Nations compounds like this one in Juba, while fears fester that fighting in the capital will resume.
Tony Karumba AFP/Getty Images

A senior official in South Sudan said Saturday that government troops will attack the main rebel stronghold if rebels turn down a proposed cease-fire.

The government had offered the truce on Friday to end two weeks of ethnic violence that has killed more than a thousand people.

Those rebel forces are loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar, accused by supporters of President Salva Kiir of leading a coup attempt two weekends ago that sparked violence across the country.

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The Two-Way
8:40 am
Sat December 28, 2013

More Than 1 Million Americans Lose Unemployment Benefits

Job seekers read pamphlets as they wait in line to enter a job fair in San Jose, Calif.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 5:04 pm

About 1.3 million Americans lost their long-term unemployment benefits today. This means anyone who has been out of work and getting benefits for than six months will stop receiving their weekly check.

As The New York Times frames the story, beyond drastically curtailing a safety-net for jobless workers, allowing the benefits to expire sets up a "major political" fight for the coming new year. The paper adds:

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The Two-Way
10:49 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

Four U.S. Military Personnel Held By Libyan Government Released

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 11:23 pm

Updated 11:14 p.m. EDT

Reuters is reporting that the four American military personnel detained earlier Friday night have been released.

The Reuters report quotes an anonymous U.S. defense official.

More than two years after the fall of Moammar Gadhafi, Libya is plagued by security issues and awash heavy weapons in the hands of militias divided by tribe, ideology and region.

Original Post

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