The Two Way

The Two-Way
6:23 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Potential Whitey Bulger Witness Was Poisoned

Stephen Rakes as he arrived at the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Boston on June 12 for the first day of the "Whitey" Bulger's trial.
Brian Snyder Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 7:17 pm

Police in Massachusetts arrested a man they say poisoned Stephen "Stippo" Rakes, who was a potential witness in the case against notorious Boston gangster James "Whitey" Bulger.

The important detail: The Boston Globe reports Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan said they believe William Camuti, 69, "acted alone" and they did not believe the homicide was connected to the Bulger case.

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The Two-Way
5:52 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Kerry Announces Equal Treatment For Visas Of Same-Sex Spouses

Secretary of State John Kerry delivers a policy address regarding same-sex spouses applying for U.S. visas, at the U.S. Embassy in London on Friday.
Jason Reed AP

The State Department said Friday it would begin processing visas for same-sex spouses the same as applications from married heterosexuals.

"Effective immediately, when same-sex spouses apply for a visa, the Department of State will consider that application in the same manner that it considers the application of opposite-sex spouses," Secretary of State John Kerry said.

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The Two-Way
4:50 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Supreme Court Denies California Delay On Prisoner Release

A California Department of Corrections officer looks on as inmates at Chino State Prison exercise in the yard in 2010.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday refused to grant California an extension on an order issued by the justices more than two years ago for the state to release some 10,000 inmates from its overcrowded prisons.

The high court's original May 2011 ruling held that congested conditions in the California's 33 prisons amounted to cruel and unusual punishment as defined by the Eighth Amendment. The court gave the state two years to comply with an order to free the prisoners and alleviate the overcrowding.

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The Two-Way
3:20 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

House Votes To Quash Obamacare, For The 40th Time

The chamber of the House of Representatives.
Alex Wong Getty Images

The House of Representatives voted Friday to suppress President Obama's signature legislative accomplishment for the 40th time since the law was passed in 2010.

The vote to gut the Affordable Care Act — or Obamacare — was a near-party-line 232-185 vote. And like the previous 39 times, this is a symbolic vote, because the Democratic-controlled Senate will not take up the measure.

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The Two-Way
1:02 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Ohio: 75 Police Officers Face Punishment In Deadly Car Chase

Originally published on Mon August 5, 2013 9:04 am

Dozens of police officers acted outside the rules and could be disciplined for their role in a massive car chase in Cleveland last fall, according to city leaders, after an official review of the 19-mile pursuit that resulted in two deaths. The review found that 13 officers fired 137 shots. The fleeing driver, Timothy Russell, and his passenger, Malissa Williams, were killed.

Update at 9 a.m. ET, Monday Aug. 5: 75, Not 74, Officers Involved

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The Two-Way
12:41 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

WATCH: So Cute! Baby Elephant Splashes In Kiddie Pool

A 300-pound baby playing in a pool.
YouTube

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 4:14 pm

We'll get back to the real news, soon enough. But right now, we're pausing for a moment of cute.

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The Two-Way
12:18 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Whitey Bulger Decides Not To Take The Stand

James "Whitey" Bulger, in an image released by the U.S. Marshal's Service in August 2011.
EPA /Landov

One of the most anticipated testimonies in a criminal trial will not happen: James "Whitey" Bulger, the notorious Boston gangster, decided not to testify in his own defense, today.

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The Two-Way
11:24 am
Fri August 2, 2013

State Department Issues Worldwide Travel Alert

The State Department issued a worldwide travel alert Friday, warning of potential terrorist attacks.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 6:28 pm

The U.S. State Department has issued a worldwide travel alert because of an al-Qaida threat that is particularly significant in the Middle East and North Africa.

"Current information suggests that al-Qaida and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks both in the region and beyond, and that they may focus efforts to conduct attacks in the period between now and the end of August," State said in a statement. "This Travel Alert expires on August 31, 2013."

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The Two-Way
11:21 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Giant Lion May Be King Of All Football Field Logos

At 50 yards wide, a new lion dominates the new field at Texas A&M University-Commerce's Memorial Stadium.
Lion Athletics

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 11:28 am

"That's a big ol' lion." How else to describe the new golden cat on the field at Texas A&M University-Commerce's Memorial Stadium that stretches from sideline to sideline, dominating the area between the 25-yard lines?

That description of the giant cat, which may be the largest on-field logo in America, comes from Mark Haslett of NPR member station KETR, which is based at the school in eastern Texas.

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The Two-Way
11:19 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Nepal To Clamp Down On Everest Expeditions

Mountaineers on the summit of Mount Everest in May.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 12:54 pm

The Nepalese government says it will tightly monitor next year's ascents of Mount Everest after an embarrassing high-altitude brawl in April between a European climbing team and their Sherpa guides.

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The Two-Way
10:50 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Postmaster: We Photograph Your Mail, But Not To Snoop

A 2002 photo of the San Francisco Processing and Distribution Center.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 11:32 am

The head of the U.S. Postal Service has acknowledged that every piece of domestic mail is photographed for processing and that the information is sometimes made available to law enforcement, according to The Associated Press.

In an interview with the news agency, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe says that exterior images of individual pieces of mail are snapped at some 200 processing facilities around the country primarily for sorting purposes, but that the images have been used "a couple of times" by law enforcement to trace letters in criminal cases.

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The Two-Way
8:38 am
Fri August 2, 2013

U.S. Unemployment Sinks To 7.4 Percent; 162,000 Jobs Added In July

America's unemployment rate sank to 7.4 percent in July, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says. A hiring sign is seen in a store window in Alexandria, Va.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 11:11 am

America's unemployment rate sank to 7.4 percent in July, a drop of two-tenths of a percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says in its monthly summary of the U.S. economic situation. But employers added 162,000 jobs last month, coming in below economists' expectations.

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The Two-Way
8:04 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Snowden Has Job Offers, Place To Live, Russian Lawyer Says

Edward Snowden has chosen where to live in Russia, which granted him asylum Thursday, his lawyer said. Here, Snowden is seen at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport on July 12. At left is WikiLeaks' Sarah Harrison.
Courtesy of Human Rights Watch

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 11:20 am

NSA leaker Edward Snowden, who spent more than a month at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport before being granted a one-year asylum Thursday, has picked out a place to live in Russia, his attorney there says.

Snowden is wanted on charges of espionage by the United States for leaking classified documents about secret U.S. surveillance programs. His departure from the Moscow airport ended, temporarily at least, weeks of uncertainty over his fate. He had applied to several other countries for asylum, as well.

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The Two-Way
7:19 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Book News: Battle Rages On In Amazon Vs. Overstock Price War

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 8:51 am

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

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The Two-Way
7:10 am
Fri August 2, 2013

U.S. Embassies To Close Sunday, And Possibly Beyond, For Safety

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 4:46 pm

Few details have emerged about the U.S. plan to shut down embassies that would normally be open this Sunday. A senior State Department official says that the U.S. facilities may be closed for more days, as well. The closures are being described as "precautionary steps" that are being taken "out of an abundance of caution."

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The Two-Way
6:37 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

3 Opinions On Whether Snowden Should Fight From Abroad

Edward Snowden's new refugee documents, which were shown by his lawyer.
Maxim Shemetov Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 6:57 am

Edward Snowden's father, Lonnie, had a dramatic change of heart this week: Back in June, he sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder in which he told him that if the U.S. promised not to detain or silence Edward before a trial, his son would be willing to return to the United States.

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The Two-Way
6:37 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Hawaii Homeless Initiative Would Send Some Back To Mainland

A homeless man collects cans on Waikiki Beach in 2010 in Honolulu. Under a new pilot program, some homeless people will get help from the state to reunite with relatives on the mainland.
Marco Garcia AP

Originally published on Thu August 1, 2013 7:07 pm

A new homeless initiative in Hawaii is raising some eyebrows, and the department in charge of implementing it has concerns of its own.

As part of a larger housing bill in July, the state Legislature approved $100,000 per year for a three-year pilot project that would help get some homeless people off the island and back to their families on the mainland. Participants must leave voluntarily.

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The Two-Way
5:18 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

In New Video Game, China Seizes Disputed Islands From Japan

Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force escort ship Kurama leads other vessels during a fleet review amid heightened tension last year over the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands.
Itsuo Inouye AP

Originally published on Sat August 3, 2013 8:11 am

Chinese gamers may soon be able to settle by force a thorny international dispute between their government and Japan over who controls a small chain of islands in the East China Sea.

The basic platform of the newly released Glorious Mission Online was developed as a training tool for the People's Liberation Army. Game maker Giant Interactive Group (GIG) has expanded the "first-person shooter" game with a simulation of a Chinese amphibious assault on the Senkaku islands, as they are known in Tokyo, or Diaoyu, as Beijing calls them.

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The Two-Way
5:01 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Florida's Education Chief Resigns Over Grading Scandal

Florida's former Commissioner of Education Tony Bennett.
Florida Department of Education

In education circles, Tony Bennett is widely known as a hard-charging Republican reformer associated with Jeb Bush's prescriptions for fixing public schools: charter schools, private school vouchers, tying teacher pay to student test scores and grading schools on a A through F scale.

Bennett resigned from his post as Florida's education chief this morning when a controversy over the last of those things — the school grades — caught up with him.

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The Two-Way
4:21 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Former Goldman Trader Found Liable For Billion-Dollar Fraud

Former Goldman Sachs trader Fabrice Tourre walks to a federal court in Manhattan with his attorneys Thursday. A jury found Tourre liable in a massive securities fraud case.
Richard Drew AP

Originally published on Thu August 1, 2013 4:59 pm

A federal jury in New York City has found that Fabrice Tourre, the former Goldman Sachs trader who regulators say caused investors to lose $1 billion, is liable in the mortgage securities fraud case filed against him by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Regulators say Tourre, 34, a native of France who was nicknamed "Fab" in his office, packaged toxic subprime mortgages into a collateralized debt obligation that was sold to investors under the name Abacus in 2007.

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The Two-Way
3:14 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

U.S. Will Close All Embassies Sunday Over Security Concerns

Originally published on Thu August 1, 2013 6:43 pm

The United States will close all of its embassies on Sunday because of security concerns, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Thursday.

AFP reports:

" 'The Department of State has instructed certain US embassies and consulates to remain closed or to suspend operations on Sunday, August 4,' Harf told reporters.

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The Two-Way
3:05 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Italy's High Court Affirms Berlusconi's Tax Fraud Conviction

Celebrations in Rome after the Italian Supreme Court's sentencing of Italian politician Silvio Berlusconi on Thursday.
Tiziana Fabi AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 1, 2013 3:32 pm

A tax fraud conviction against ex-Premier Silvio Berlusconi has been upheld by the country's highest court in a move that could imperil a fragile coalition government.

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The Two-Way
2:59 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Unique Bike Treks Up East Coast, Powered By Solar And Pedals

In a photo taken on July 24, ELF bike owner Mark Stewart discusses the unusual vehicle during his trip from North Carolina to Massachusetts.
Valerie Bonk AP

Originally published on Thu August 1, 2013 3:30 pm

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The Two-Way
2:54 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Kerry Says U.S. Plans To Stop Drone Strikes In Pakistan

Secretary of State John Kerry speaks with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the Prime Minister's House in Islamabad on Thursday.
Aamir Qureshi AFP/Getty Images

During a television interview Thursday, Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States hopes to end drone strikes over Pakistan.

"The program will end as we have eliminated most of the threat and continue to eliminate it," Kerry told Pakistan TV. "I think the president has a very real timeline and we hope it's going to be very, very soon."

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The Two-Way
1:25 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Cleveland Kidnapper Sentenced To Life Plus 1,000 Years

Ariel Castro appears in court during the sentencing phase on Thursday in Cleveland. Castro pleaded guilty last week to 937 counts, including kidnapping, rape and aggravated murder.
Tony Dejak AP

Originally published on Thu August 1, 2013 2:58 pm

This post was updated at 1:40 p.m. ET

Michelle Knight, who was raped and tortured during more than a decade of captivity, faced her abuser, Ariel Castro, in court on Thursday, assuring him that while her hell was over, his had just begun.

"I spent 11 years in hell; now your hell is just beginning," she said, addressing Castro, who admitted to abducting Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus, and subjecting them to years of sexual and emotional abuse in his Cleveland home.

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