The Two Way

The Two-Way
1:45 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Pakistan Says Drones Killed Far Fewer Civilians Than Thought

A U.S. Predator drone flies over Kandahar Air Field, southern Afghanistan.
Kirsty Wigglesworth AP

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 3:12 pm

While human rights groups and other watchdogs have put the civilian death toll in the hundreds, Pakistan's Ministry of Defense announced Wednesday that just 3 percent of the deaths from U.S. drone strikes since 2008 were noncombatants.

The ministry says 317 drone strikes have killed 2,160 Islamic militants and 67 civilians in the last five years.

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The Two-Way
1:39 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Report: NSA Has Broken Into Google And Yahoo Data Centers

"The National Security Agency has secretly broken into the main communications links that connect Yahoo and Google data centers around the world," The Washington Post reported at midday Wednesday.

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The Two-Way
11:39 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Obama's 'Keep Your Health Care Plan' Pledge Fails Fact Checks

September 2010: President Obama at an event in Falls Church, Va., where he answered questions about his health care plan.
Dennis Brack/pool Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 12:30 pm

As lawmakers grill Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius about the botched startup of HealthCare.gov and other issues related to the Affordable Care Act, nonpartisan fact checkers are giving failing grades to President Obama's oft-repeated pledge to Americans that "if you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan."

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The Two-Way
8:45 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Job Growth Slowed Further In October, Survey Signals

Looking for work: The scene at a job fair earlier this month in Emeryville, Calif.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 11:21 am

Only a relatively low 130,000 jobs were added to private employers' payrolls in October and the labor market in September was even weaker than first thought, according to the latest data from the ADP National Employment Report.

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The Two-Way
8:14 am
Wed October 30, 2013

75 Years Ago, 'War Of The Worlds' Started A Panic. Or Did It?

Invader? No, it's a man dressed as one in 1988. He was in Grovers Mill, N.J., at a 50th anniversary celebration of The War of the Worlds broadcast.
Chris Lischy AP

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 11:18 am

We interrupt this blog to bring you a special bulletin:

Martians have invaded New Jersey!

OK, as far as we know that hasn't happened.

But we wanted to issue that faux alert because 75 years ago tonight, as our friend Korva Coleman pointed out on the NPR Newscast, Orson Welles and his troupe of radio actors interrupted the Columbia Broadcasting System's programming to "report" that our planet had been invaded.

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The Two-Way
7:29 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Book News: Amazon's Kindle MatchBook Is Out — Will Publishers Opt In?

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos unveils new Kindle reading devices during a 2012 news conference.
David McNew Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 10:25 am

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

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The Two-Way
6:43 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Sebelius: 'Hold Me Accountable For The Debacle'

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as she was sworn in prior to the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing Wednesday.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 4:28 pm

  • Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and Secretary Sebelius on who's responsible for 'this debacle'

(We last added to this post at 4:10 p.m. ET.)

"You deserve better. ... I apologize. ... I'm accountable to you."

That's what Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told Americans on Wednesday morning during a Congressional hearing into problems with the Obama administration's HealthCare.gov website and Republicans' concerns about the Affordable Care Act.

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The Two-Way
6:36 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

French Hostages Held In West Africa Since 2010 Win Freedom

The hostages' families, friends and activists demonstrate in Aix-en-Provence, France, in June.
Claude Paris AP

Four French hostages captured in Niger three years ago by members of an al-Qaida affiliate have been released.

France's President Francois Hollande says the men, seized in a raid on a uranium mining operation on Sept. 16, 2010, near Arlit in northern Niger, will be returning home soon.

The four men are identified as Thierry Dol, Daniel Larribe, Pierre Legrand and Marc Feret. A source close to Hollande was quoted by AFP as saying: "We can't say that they're in great health but their health is fine."

The hostages are thought to have been held in neighboring Mali.

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The Two-Way
5:56 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

Alabama Agrees To Permanently Gut Immigration Law

Parents arrive to pick up their children from a school in Montgomery, Ala. After a tough immigration law was enacted in 2011, Hispanic students began to disappear from classrooms in the state's public schools.
Dave Martin AP

Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 6:33 pm

Opponents of Alabama's strict immigration law are declaring victory Tuesday, as the state agreed not to pursue key provisions of a measure critics had called an endorsement of racial profiling. Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the state's appeal of a federal court's ruling that gutted the law.

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The Two-Way
5:39 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

WATCH: BBC News Introduces The 'Hexacopter'

The "hexacopter" in action.
BBC

Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 7:16 pm

We're not sure if it outdoes Fox News and its giant tablets, but the BBC introduced a gadget it says will "transform the way TV news looks in the future."

They call it the "hexacopter." And it's essentially a drone with six rotors that's able to flit through many places a cameraman or a helicopter could not.

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The Two-Way
5:06 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

Report Details Industry's 'Cutthroat' Fight Of Miners' Claims

My investigative reporting colleague Chris Hamby at the Center for Public Integrity has a compelling and troubling follow-up to our jointly-reported series last year on the resurgence of the deadly coal miners' disease black lung.

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The Two-Way
4:17 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

U.S. Did Not Spy On French, Spanish Citizens, Says Spy Chief

National Security Agency Director Gen. Keith Alexander is sworn on Capitol Hill on Sept. 26.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 5:31 pm

The brewing scandal over allegations that the United States spied on millions of phone calls made by Spanish and French citizens took a sharp, surprising turn Tuesday.

During congressional testimony, Gen. Keith Alexander, the director of the National Security Agency, said those reports, based on documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, were "false."

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The Two-Way
4:03 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

Texas Asks Court To Reinstate Abortion Restrictions

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott delivers comments at the 43rd Annual National Right To Life Convention on Thursday.
Tony Gutierrez AP

Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 4:12 pm

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has asked a federal appeals court judge to grant an emergency ruling allowing the state to enforce an anti-abortion law struck down by a lower court on Monday.

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The Two-Way
4:02 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

'We Hurt A Lot Of People,' Westboro Pastor's Granddaughter Says

Megan Phelps-Roper, granddaughter of Westboro Baptist Church leader Fred Phelps, is seen during her days with the church. Now alienated from their family, Phelps-Roper and her sister, Grace, speak to religious and cultural groups.
Jennifer Hack MCT/Landov

Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 6:25 pm

Nearly a year after breaking with the Westboro Baptist Church, two of Pastor Fred Phelps' granddaughters are enjoying a new freedom. But as they tell a Canadian newspaper, they also want to extend empathy to those they hurt in the name of a cause championed by the man they call "Gramps."

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The Two-Way
3:38 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

U.N. Condemns U.S. Embargo Of Cuba, Again

Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 5:02 pm

In a U.N. vote that has become something of a tradition, only one country agreed with the United States that its embargo of Cuba should continue. The final count in the General Assembly vote was 188-2.

NPR's Michele Kelemen reports for our Newscast unit:

"For the 22nd year in a row, the U.N. General Assembly approved a mainly symbolic resolution that condemns the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba. This year's tally was 188-2, with three abstentions. Only Israel sided with the U.S. this time.

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The Two-Way
3:01 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

Two Kenyan Soldiers Jailed For Looting During Mall Siege

Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 3:38 pm

Two Kenyan soldiers have been fired and jailed after they allegedly looted stores while they were supposed to be trying to a control a terrorist attack at a Nairobi mall last month, the Kenyan Army said on Tuesday.

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The Two-Way
2:57 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

Woman On Bridge Of Costa Concordia Says She Was Captain's Lover

Moldovan Domnica Cemortan, who was spotted with the Costa Concordia's captain, Francesco Schettino, during the spectacular crash of his cruise ship in 2012, during a break in Schettino's trial in July.
Tiziana Fabi AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 3:40 pm

A Moldovan dancer who was on the bridge of the ill-fated Costa Concordia on the night that it crashed and sank nearly two years ago has admitted in court that she and the captain were lovers, after having repeatedly denied the rumors in public.

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The Two-Way
2:30 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

Meet The Mom Who Shamed A Pumpkin Thief

The sign to shame a pumpkin thief (with a rather mild expletive digitally hidden).
Eric Fidler Flickr

A photo of a Washington, D.C., mom's message to a pumpkin thief is resonating with many.

"To the person who stole my son's pumpkin," wrote Becky Reina. "Thank you for the life lesson. This will teach him that sometimes people are mean for no reason and you have to just brush it off.

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The Two-Way
1:01 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

Jesse Jackson Jr. Begins Prison Term Several Days Early

Former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois leaves federal court in August after being sentenced to 30 months in prison. Jackson reported to prison in North Carolina several days before the Nov. 1 deadline.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 1:26 pm

Former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. has begun his prison sentence, resolving a brief period of confusion over his status. It seems that Jackson tried to turn himself in to federal prison officials Monday — but he was four days early. The official deadline for his surrender for a 30-month prison term had been set for Friday.

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The Two-Way
12:55 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

Obama Aide Apologizes For HealthCare.gov's Troubled Launch

Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, during her testimony Tuesday on Capitol Hill.
Shawn Thew EPA/LANDOV
  • Medicare chief Marilyn Tavenner apologizes for problems with HealthCare.gov
  • Medicare chief Marilyn Tavenner says progress has been made

The first of two days worth of hearings about the problems plaguing HealthCare.gov got going Tuesday with an apology for the botched rollout from Marilyn Tavenner — administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. As It's All Politics noted earlier, she heads the agency "that oversaw the ill-fated website project."

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The Two-Way
12:20 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

WATCH: Surfers Ride Towering Waves In Portugal

Brazilian surfer Carlos Burle rides a big wave at the Praia do Norte, north beach, at the fishing village of Nazaré in Portugal's Atlantic coast on Monday.
Miguel Barreira AP

Here we go again: As a massive storm brings hurricane force winds through Western Europe, surfers in Nazaré, Portugal were taking advantage of monster waves, triggering rumors of record-breaking rides.

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The Two-Way
11:29 am
Tue October 29, 2013

READ: Bipartisan Bill To End NSA's Domestic Bulk Collection

Bipartisan concern on Capitol Hill about data from Americans' phone and Internet records being vacuumed up by the National Security Agency has led to an unusual alliance involving a prominent House Republican and a veteran Senate Democrat.

NPR's Larry Abramson writes that:

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The Two-Way
11:10 am
Tue October 29, 2013

Police Seek Suspects In Tiananmen Car Crash

A police officer stands on an avenue outside Tiananmen Square in Beijing, on Tuesday.
Ed Jones AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 3:14 pm

On Monday, a car crashed into Beijing's Tiananmen Square. The Guardian reports that police said the vehicle "burst into flames" after crashing into a guardrail, leaving five dead and 38 people injured.

As you might expect, the square — the site of China's 1989 pro-democracy protests — is full of security, so it wasn't long before authorities clamped down on coverage.

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The Two-Way
10:15 am
Tue October 29, 2013

Consumer Confidence Fell Sharply This Month; Shutdown Blamed

A "For Sale" sign outside a home in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago on Monday.
Scott Olson Getty Images

The 16-day partial shutdown of the federal government and the wrangling in Washington over the nation's finances combined to shake consumers' confidence sharply in October, the private Conference Board reported Tuesday morning.

Its widely watched consumer confidence index dropped to 71.2 from 80.2 in September.

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