The Two Way

The Two-Way
11:29 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Gays In U.S. Olympic Delegation Will Send Message To Russia

Sept. 25: Police detain a gay rights activist in Moscow. The poster, adorned with Olympic rings, reads "Homophobia is the shame of Russia!"
Alexander Nemenov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 6:58 pm

Tennis great Billie Jean King and ice hockey medalist Caitlin Cahow are certainly qualified to be members of the U.S. delegation at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia.

One is a winner of 39 "grand slam" tennis titles and has been honored with a Presidential Medal of Freedom. The other is a two-time Olympic medal winner with Team USA.

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The Two-Way
10:17 am
Wed December 18, 2013

'Great Train Robber' Ronnie Biggs Dies; Was Famed Fugitive

Ronnie Biggs, showing off his notoriety in 1994 while he was living in Brazil.
AFP/Getty Images

He was "a petty criminal" who joined a gang responsible for one of the 20th Century's most notable heists.

Ronnie Biggs, who went to jail for his role in the U.K.'s "great train robbery" of 1963 — but was more famous for his flamboyant life during 36 years as a fugitive following his escape from prison in 1965 — died Wednesday.

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The Two-Way
9:03 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Already Down 50 Percent, Will Bitcoin Bite The Dust?

How low will they go?
Jens Kalaene DPA/LANDOV

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 10:00 am

Talk about a fall:

"Prices of virtual currency bitcoin fell 20% Wednesday and are now down more than 50% from their record high hit two weeks ago amid worries that China is moving to block the purchase and use of the currency by its citizens," The Wall Street Journal writes.

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The Two-Way
8:24 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Book News: New 'Dragon Tattoo' Novel Coming From New Author

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

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The Two-Way
7:47 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Student Is Charged In Harvard Bomb Scare

University police, FBI agents and Cambridge, Mass., officers all responded on Monday when Harvard received messages claiming that bombs had been planted in four buildings. None were found and a student has been charged in the hoax. he allegedly wanted to avoid taking a test.
Josh Reynolds AP

The initial suspicion of many — that Monday's bomb scare at Harvard University was the work of a student who wanted to avoid taking a test — may have been correct.

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The Two-Way
6:59 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Ga. Woman Claims 1 Of 2 Winning Mega Millions Tickets

Holding a dream: Customers lined up Tuesday at a shop in Tallapoosa, Ga., to buy Mega Millions tickets.
Erik S. Lesser EPA/LANDOV

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 10:19 am

Updated 5:40 p.m. ET: Georgia Woman To Get $123 Million

A Georgia woman will split the $363 million jackpot in the Mega Millions drawing with an as yet unidentified winner in California.

Georgia lottery officials on Wednesday announced that Ira Curry of Stone Mountain, Ga., purchased one of two winning tickets in Tuesday's drawing, among the largest U.S. lottery jackpots ever.

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The Two-Way
7:46 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

New Research Affirms That Milky Way Has Four Spiral Arms

An image showing the distribution of massive stars in the new study. Our location within the Galaxy is circled in black.
J. Urquhart et al. Background image by Robert Hurt of the Spitzer Science Center.

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 6:05 am

Our Milky Way galaxy has four arms instead of two, according to just published results of a 12-year study by scientists in the U.K.

The findings, published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, affirm what astronomers surmised in the 1950s but began to doubt in 2008 after seeing images from the Spitzer Space Telescope that could only confirm two spiral arms.

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The Two-Way
5:37 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

NASA Orders Spacewalks To Fix Faulty Pump On Orbiting Station

Flight Engineer Rick Mastracchio in the International Space Station's Columbus lab last month.
NASA

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 8:00 pm

NASA has decided to go ahead with a series of spacewalks to fix a broken cooling system aboard the International Space Station.

The decision was made Tuesday by station managers. They said the extra-vehicular activity should take place as soon as possible to replace a coolant pump that contains a bad valve.

The Associated Press says:

"The spacewalks are taking priority over the launch of a supply ship from Virginia. The delivery had been scheduled for this week, but is now delayed until January."

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The Two-Way
5:23 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Angela Merkel Is Sworn In For Third Term As Chancellor

German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a ceremony in which German President Joachim Gauck appointed the new German government cabinet on Tuesday in Berlin, Germany.
Adam Berry Getty Images

After months of negotiations to create a grand coalition, Angela Merkel was sworn in by Parliament on Tuesday to serve a third term as chancellor.

The Los Angeles Times reports:

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The Two-Way
4:36 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Russia Throws Ukraine Financial Lifeline Amid Popular Unrest

Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) listens to Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in the Grand Kremlin Palace in Moscow, Russia, on Tuesday.
Yuri Kochetkov EPA /Landov

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 6:05 am

NPR's Corey Flintoff reports that Russia has agreed to a massive bailout package for Ukraine, a deal that could keep the country from bankruptcy next year – but the deal has outraged the political opposition which has protested closer ties with Moscow.

As we reported on Monday, the deal is aimed at keeping the cash-strapped former Soviet republic in the Russian sphere of influence.

Flintoff reports:

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The Two-Way
4:04 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Pirates Seize Captain, Engineer From Vessel Off Nigeria

Pirates have seized an oil tanker off the Nigerian coast, kidnapping its Ukrainian captain and a Greek engineer, the ship's manager and the Greek coast guard confirmed Tuesday.

The Marshall Islands-flagged MT Althea, with 18 crew aboard, was attacked late Monday about 35 miles offshore of the Niger River delta, The Associated Press reports quoting officials.

"They kidnapped the two men but did not touch the cargo (oil) or injure anyone," an official who asked not to be named told AP.

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The Two-Way
3:05 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Pope Francis Shakes Up Important Congregation For Bishops

Bishop Raymond Leo Burke.
Anonymous ASSOCIATED PRESS

Pope Francis continues to shake up the Vatican establishment. This time, in what observers are calling a major move, he reshuffled the membership of the Congregation for Bishops, one of the most important organizations in the Vatican.

In the biggest shakeup announced on Monday, Francis removed Cardinal Raymond L. Burke from the group and replaced him with another American, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C..

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The Two-Way
2:44 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Japanese Leaders Back Major Defense Buildup

In this Dec. 5, 2010 file photo released by U.S. Navy, USNS Tippecanoe, center, refuels Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Escort Flotilla ships Ikazuchi, right, and Kongo during a joint military exercise in the Pacific Ocean.
Charles Oki AP

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 4:27 pm

Japan's cabinet has approved a large defense buildup plan that includes the purchase of new drones, stealth aircraft and amphibious vehicles in what is widely viewed as a response to China's growing military might and a tense standoff over disputed islands claimed by both countries.

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The Two-Way
1:49 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Report: 6.4 Million U.S. Homes Still Have Negative Equity

A realty sign in front of a home in The Lakes neighborhood in Las Vegas. Nevada, which was hit hard by the housing bust five years ago, remains the state with the highest number of homes with negative equity.
Isaac Brekken AP

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 3:00 pm

Although most of the housing indicators have been looking up recently, there are still about 6.4 million homes with "underwater" mortgages, in which the homeowner owes the bank more than the house is worth.

According to the CoreLogic Equity Report, "nearly 6.4 million homes, or 13 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage, were still in negative equity at the end of the third quarter."

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The Two-Way
1:21 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

'Rapture' Prophet Harold Camping Dies

Harold Camping speaks during a taping of his show Open Forum in Oakland, Calif., on May 23, 2011.

Marcio Jose Sanchez AP

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 2:13 pm

Harold Camping, the radio preacher who generated headlines around the world in 2011 with his ultimately wrong predictions that the world was about to end, has died.

According to The Associated Press, Family Radio Network marketing manager Nina Romero says Camping died Sunday at his home in Alameda, Calif. He was 92.

A quick run through some of our headlines (with links) from 2011 may help refresh your memory about Camping's brush with fame:

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The Two-Way
12:49 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Microsoft Executive Will Now Run HealthCare.gov

Kurt DelBene, former president of the Microsoft Office Division, talks about Microsoft Office 365 at a news conference in San Francisco, in 2010.
Paul Sakuma AP

The Obama administration announced on Tuesday that former Microsoft executive Kurt DelBene will take over the operation of the troubled HealthCare.gov website.

DelBene will take over for Jeff Zients, who was appointed by President Obama to rescue the site after it launched with crippling problems. Zients, who Obama had turned to in the past to fix sticky issues, had made it clear that he was not going to stay on the job past December.

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The Two-Way
12:06 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Costs Of Shutdown And Health Website Highlight 'Wastebook'

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., issues his Wastebook each year.
Coburn.Senate.gov

Older Two-Way readers will remember the monthly Golden Fleece Awards from former Sen. William Proxmire, D-Wis., who spotlighted ways the federal government was wasting money.

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., has picked up that mantle in recent years with his annual Wastebook.

On Tuesday, Coburn released his 2013 edition, where he points to:

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The Two-Way
12:00 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Paul Walker, Boston Bombing Among Top 2013 Google Searches

Actor Paul Walker in 2009.
Joel Ryan AP

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 12:43 pm

What did people search for in 2013? Google released its annual tally of the stories people around the world were most interested in.

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The Two-Way
11:55 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Mega Millions Jackpot Swells To $636 Million

A woman picks her Mega Millions lottery numbers at a shop in New York's Penn Station on Tuesday. The Mega Millions jackpot soared to $636 million on Monday, still short of the $656 million U.S. record set in a March 2012 drawing.
Richard Drew AP

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 12:55 pm

Update at 12:43 p.m.

The Mega Millions jackpot is now the second-highest lottery jackpot in U.S. history: It swelled to about $636 million, on the back of strong ticket sales ahead of the drawing at 11 p.m. Tuesday.

On Monday, lottery officials estimated that the jackpot had risen to $586 million. And there could be a Christmas miracle: The jackpot could reach a seemingly impossible $1 billion if no one wins by Dec. 24. That would shatter the record of $656 million, set in a March 2012 Mega Millions drawing.

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The Two-Way
10:41 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation Names New CEO

Susan Desmond-Hellmann, the chancellor of the University of California, San Francisco, will be next chief executive officer of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the largest philanthropic organizations in the world with a $40 billion endowment.

The AP reports that the foundation has been looking for a CEO since Jeff Raikes announced his retirement in September.

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The Two-Way
10:06 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Many Steps, Many Countries To Get Chemicals Out Of Syria

Norwegian marines patrol the waters around the Norwegian frigate HNOMS Helge Ingstad, which was docked in Cyprus over the weekend. The frigate, and the Danish warship HDMS Esbern Snare, will escort Danish and Norwegian cargo ships transporting Syria's most dangerous chemical weapons.
Pavlos Vrionides AP
  • On 'Morning Edition': Tom Goldman explains how chemicals will be removed from Syria

With the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons expected to on Tuesday unveil its final plan for how to rid Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime of its chemical weapons, NPR's Tom Bowman has looked at how the deadly ingredients will be removed even as Syria's civil war continues to rage.

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The Two-Way
9:56 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Six U.S. Soldiers Reported Killed In Afghan Crash

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 11:11 am

The crash of a military aircraft Tuesday in Afghanistan killed six members of the International Security Assistance Force who were on board, military officials say, and NPR's Tom Bowman has been told by military sources in a position to know that all six were Americans.

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The Two-Way
9:53 am
Tue December 17, 2013

India-U.S. Row Over Diplomat's Arrest In New York Escalates

Indian workers remove Tuesday a barricade that had been erected as a safety measure outside the main entrance of U.S. Embassy in New Delhi. The move follows the arrest of an Indian diplomat in New York.
Saurabh Das AP

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 8:03 am

Updated at 4:55 p.m. ET

At issue is the arrest last week of Devyani Khobragade, India's deputy consul general in New York.

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The Two-Way
9:27 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Florida School Named After KKK Grand Wizard Will Get New Name

Confederate general Nathan B. Forrest.
Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 1:53 pm

After decades of blistering debate about the balance between honoring Southern history and glorifying slavery and white supremacy, the Duval County School Board in Jacksonville, Fla., voted unanimously on Monday to rename Nathan B. Forrest High School.

Forrest is a polarizing figure from the Civil War era. Forrest was considered a succesful and fearless general, but it was also Forrest and his men who, after overpowering Union forces in Fort Pillow, near Memphis, went on to execute black soldiers after they had surrendered.

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