The Two Way

The Two-Way
2:31 pm
Sat December 14, 2013

Iran Claims It Has Sent Another Monkey Into Space

The monkey Iranian authorities said was sent to space in January.
AFP/Getty Images

Iran claimed today that it had successfully sent a second monkey into space and brought it back to Earth safely.

In a statement on his official English-language site, President Hassan Rouhani said he had congratulated Iranian scientists for the "significant achievement."

"President Rouhani appreciated the Iranian scholars for dispatch of the second monkey named 'Fargam' into space and its successful return," the statement went on.

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The Two-Way
12:44 pm
Sat December 14, 2013

Mega Millions Jackpot Grows To $550 Million

A customer buys Mega Millions lottery tickets at a 7-Eleven store on Friday in Chicago, Illinois.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 14, 2013 2:28 pm

Because no one matched all six numbers on Friday, the Mega Millions jackpot jumped to $550 million for Tuesday's drawing.

It's possible that the second largest pot in the history of the Mega Millions will eventually make a run for the all-time record of $656 million, which was split by three players on March 30, 2012.

NBC News reports:

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The Two-Way
10:58 am
Sat December 14, 2013

A Year After Shooting, Bells Toll In Newtown

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama take a moment of silence in honor of the Newtown shooting victims on the one year anniversary of the tragedy.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

As a steady snow blanketed Newtown, this morning, the bells at St. Rose of Lima church tolled 26 times. After each, a name was read.

It was an intimate acknowledgment of the 20 children and six educators who were killed by a gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School one year ago today.

The town asked for privacy and decided not to have any formal remembrance services.

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, meanwhile, lit 26 candles at the Map Room of the White House. After all the votives were lit, they paused for a moment of silence.

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The Two-Way
9:55 am
Sat December 14, 2013

Rape Accusation Still Shadows Heisman Finalist

Florida State University quarterback Jameis Winston faced an accusation of rape, but the state of Florida decided not to press charges following an investigation.
Julio Cortez AP

Originally published on Sat December 14, 2013 3:22 pm

On Saturday night, there's a very good chance Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston will win the Heisman Trophy, awarded each year to the best college football player in the country.

For Winston, family, friends, teammates and Seminole fans, undoubtedly it'll be a shining moment, but a discordant note continues to run through this tale of football glory.

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The Two-Way
9:44 am
Sat December 14, 2013

IN PICTURES: Mandela's Journey Home

A military aircraft carrying the body of former South African President Nelson Mandela departs from Waterkloof military airbase for the Eastern Cape on Saturday in Pretoria, South Africa.
Oli Scarff Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 14, 2013 10:47 pm

On the final leg of 10 days of mourning, Nelson Mandela's body was flown from the seat of government in Pretoria to his ancestral hometown of Quno on Saturday.

"A guard of honor carried his casket from the hearse onto the transport plane that flew the late South African statesman home to the Eastern Cape for burial on Sunday," NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton tells our Newscast unit from Johannesburg. "The two-hour flight was preceded by a moving memorial, organized by his governing ANC Party."

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The Two-Way
8:26 am
Sat December 14, 2013

State TV: Chinese Spacecraft Makes Soft Landing On The Moon

Staff members make preparations for Chang'e-3's soft-landing on the moon at the Aerospace Control Center in Beijing, on Saturday.
Li Xin Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Sat December 14, 2013 9:01 am

A Chinese spacecraft made a soft landing on the surface of the moon on Saturday, China's state television is reporting.

Televised images showed the control room at the Aerospace Control Center in Beijing erupted into applause at about 8:10 a.m. ET. Almost immediately, the lander started to deploy its solar panels and began running a systems check.

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The Two-Way
7:10 am
Sat December 14, 2013

As Centennial, Colo., Picks Up The Pieces, Sandy Hook Marks Anniversary

A woman hugs a student at Shepherd of the Hills Church near Arapahoe High School after a school shooting on Friday in Centennial, Colorado.
Chris Schneider Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 14, 2013 11:21 am

On the first anniversary of the second deadliest school shooting in the country's history, another community thousands of miles away is trying to come to terms with its own tragedy.

As we reported, an 18-year-old student walked into Arapahoe High School on Friday in Centennial, Colo., and opened fire, injuring one student before police say he shot himself.

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The Two-Way
5:11 am
Sat December 14, 2013

Parents Say School Security Has Increased Since Newtown Massacre

Most parents of elementary school-age children say their schools boosted security following last year's massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., according to a poll from NPR in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health.

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The Two-Way
4:48 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

2 Students Injured, Suspected Shooter Dead At Colo. High School

Senior Jenni Meyers, center, is hugged by her sister Mary as they leave a church with their mother Julie after they were reunited after a shooting at nearby Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colo.
Brennan Linsley AP

Originally published on Sat December 14, 2013 6:04 am

A student armed with a shotgun apparently killed himself after opening fire at a Colorado high school, wounding two fellow students, police said Friday.

Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson said the armed student entered the school and said he was looking for a specific teacher, calling him by name through the hallways. Robinson said another student confronted the gunman and then was shot.

"The teacher began to understand that he was being looked at [and] exited the school," Robinson said.

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The Two-Way
4:19 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Catch The Geminid Meteor Shower Tonight

A Geminid meteor streaks across the sky early Friday near Scotland, Md.
Morgan Walker NPR

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 5:30 pm

Stargazers are in for a treat if they're willing to wake up really early Saturday morning.

The annual Geminid meteor shower peaks tonight, potentially serving up more than a hundred shooting stars per hour. The meteors will appear to emanate from the constellation Gemini (thus the name), but that's just an optical illusion. The meteors are actually remains of an asteroid whose fragments burn up in Earth's atmosphere as our planet passes through the field of debris.

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The Two-Way
3:33 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

White House: American Seized In Iran Wasn't On CIA Payroll

A photo provided by Robert Levinson's family shows the retired FBI agent in captivity in April 2011.
AP

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 6:37 pm

A day after The Associated Press reported that an ex-FBI agent who went missing in Iran nearly seven years ago was on a rogue mission for the CIA, the White House has reiterated its long-held position that Robert Levinson was not on the U.S. payroll when he disappeared.

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The Two-Way
3:07 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Officials Say Man Planned Suicide Bombing At Kansas Airport

A booking photo of Terry Lee Loewen, provided by the Sedgwick County, Kan., Clerk's Office on Friday.
AP

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 6:58 am

Authorities in Kansas have arrested a man they say was plotting to use a carload of explosives to blow up the terminal at Wichita's Mid-Continent Airport.

The suspect, identified as Terry Lee Loewen, a 58-year-old avionics technician, was arrested Friday morning at the airport, where he allegedly planned to drive a car loaded with explosives through the airport terminal, U.S. District Attorney Barry Grissom said in an afternoon news conference.

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The Two-Way
2:16 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

A Winter Storm Brings Misery, Rare Snow To Mideast

Palestinians build a snowman in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Friday.
Issam Rimawi APA /Landov

Originally published on Sun December 15, 2013 11:32 am

An early winter storm in the Mideast has blown down tents in Syrian refugee camps and flooded parts of the Gaza Strip. It has also given Jerusalem its heaviest snowfall in 50 years, and Cairo its first snow in decades.

The storm dubbed Alexa was "pushing temperatures below zero in mountainous areas and dumping snow and heavy rains. The snow has heaped another layer of misery on the already grim existence of many of the ... Syrians who have fled the civil war raging in their homeland," according to The Associated Press.

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The Two-Way
1:32 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Steubenville Officials Plead Not Guilty In Rape Case

Four adults, including the city's schools superintendent, pleaded not guilty on Friday to several charges stemming from the aftermath of the notorious rape 2012 rape of a teenage girl by high school football players in Steubenville, Ohio.

Steubenville's WTOV-TV reports that:

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The Two-Way
10:53 am
Fri December 13, 2013

For Burial, Mandela Will Return To His Beloved Boyhood Village

A mother and her son stand in their garden behind a fence at the perimeter of Nelson Mandela's property in Qunu, South Africa, as funeral preparations continue Friday. Mandela will be buried Sunday in the small, rural village that was his boyhood home.
Yannis Behrakis Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 1:29 pm

Some African leaders have lavished resources on their home villages, building palaces and outsize monuments to themselves that look entirely out of place in the poor and remote spots they came from.

Nelson Mandela adamantly rejected such extravagance, and the world will see for itself when he's buried Sunday in Qunu, a simple village set amid the lush green hills in the southeastern corner of the country. It's little changed from the days when Mandela ran barefoot in the fields and herded sheep and calves as a boy nearly a century ago.

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The Two-Way
10:39 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Report: Mandela Interpreter Was Once Charged With Murder

Thamsanqa Jantjie, whose appearance at a memorial service for Nelson Mandela angered many in South Africa's deaf community and has led to an apology from the government. His sign language interpretation was just meaningless gestures, say those who understand that language.
Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi AP

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 12:16 pm

Update at 12:15 p.m. ET. Previously Charged With Murder?

"The South African government said Friday it is aware of reports that the bogus sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela's memorial once faced a murder charge, and said he is being investigated," The Associated Press reports from Johannesburg.

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The Two-Way
9:22 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Was North Korea's No. 2 Killed For Not Clapping Hard Enough?

Jang Song Thaek, who was North Korea's second-most powerful official, was put to death this week.
Kyodo/Landov

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 2:36 pm

  • On 'Morning Edition': NPR's Frank Langfitt talks about a high-profile execution in North Korea

As outsiders try to figure out why North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had his uncle executed this week, they're focusing on a couple things. According to NPR's Frank Langfitt:

-- There seems have been "a lot of genuine personal dislike" between Kim and Jang Song Thaek, the uncle and until this week North Korea's second most powerful man.

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The Two-Way
8:17 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Top Stories: 'Lie Of The Year,' Unlocking Cellphones Legally

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 10:12 am

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The Two-Way
7:24 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Book News: Publisher's Charity To Pay $7.7 Million Settlement In For-Profit Case

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman holds a November news conference on a settlement deal with JPMorgan Chase.
Richard Drew AP

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 7:13 am

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

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The Two-Way
7:17 am
Fri December 13, 2013

For Friday The 13th, Say It With Us: Paraskevidekatriaphobia

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 10:16 am

  • Korva Coleman helps cure Friday the 13th fears

Because we want everyone to feel safe, once again we offer this advice for how to get through another Friday the 13th:

Learn how to pronounce paraskevidekatriaphobia.

Successfully saying that super long word supposedly cures one of any Friday the 13th-related fears.

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The Two-Way
6:45 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Obama's 'You Can Keep It' Promise Is 'Lie Of The Year'

President Obama: He's been called out on one of his highest-profile promises.
Drew Angerer/pool Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 1:59 pm

President Obama's oft-repeated promise that "if you like your health care plan, you can keep it" is 2013's "lie of the year," according to the fact checkers at the Tampa Bay Times' nonpartisan PolitiFact project.

PolitiFact says that:

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The Two-Way
9:11 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Chinese Ag Scientists Charged With Stealing Patented Seeds

Two agricultural scientists from China have been accused of trying to steal patented seeds from a biopharmaceutical company in Kansas.

Separately, six men from China, including the CEO of a seed corn subsidiary of a Chinese conglomerate, were charged Thursday with conspiring to steal patented seed corn from two of the nation's leading seed developers, prosecutors said Thursday, according to The Associated Press.

It wasn't immediately clear if the arrests were related, but The AP wrote of the group of six charged:

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The Two-Way
7:57 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

American Who Disappeared In Iran Reportedly Worked For CIA

A "proof of life" photo provided to the family of ex-FBI agent Robert Levinson in April 2011.
Uncredited AP

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 6:05 am

The Associated Press reports in an investigative piece that an ex-FBI agent who disappeared in Iran in 2007 and was last seen in a "proof of life" photograph more than two years ago had been working for the CIA, despite official denials from the U.S.

Robert Levinson, who would now be 65, vanished after traveling in March 2007 to the Iranian island of Kish, described by The Associated Press as a resort "awash with tourists, smugglers and organized crime figures."

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The Two-Way
7:20 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

U.N. Report Confirms Chemical Weapons Were Used In Syria

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 6:23 am

Chemical weapons were used in Syria's civil war, according to a team of international chemical weapons experts sent to investigate claims of chemical attacks.

"The United Nations Mission concludes that chemical weapons have been used in the ongoing conflict between the parties in the Syrian Arab Republic," the inspectors say.

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The Two-Way
6:49 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

House Approves Budget Deal; Compromise Heads To Senate

House Speaker John Boehner leaves a news conference Thursday, after criticizing conservative groups that he said held too much sway in Republican politics, "pushing our members in places where they don't want to be."
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 6:05 am

The House has approved a bipartisan budget deal to cut around $23 billion from the federal deficit over 10 years while removing the threat of a possible government shutdown until 2015. A shutdown deadline had loomed for Jan. 15.

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 also sets spending levels for the 2014 and 2015 fiscal years, which its backers say will add more stability to both the U.S. economy and the government's operations.

Update at 6:35 p.m. ET: The Vote Tally

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