The Two Way

The Two-Way
5:48 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Mormon Church Excommunicates Advocate For Female Priests

Kate Kelly, a Mormon and founder of Ordain Women, wipes away a tear during a vigil on Sunday in Salt Lake City. Church leaders have ruled to excommunicate her for advocating in favor of female priests.
Rick Bowmer AP

An all-male panel of Mormon leaders has found a prominent member of the group Ordain Women guilty of apostasy and ordered that she be excommunicated from the church.

On its website, Ordain Women quoted from an email that Kate Kelly received informing her of the decision by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

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The Two-Way
5:45 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Doing The Math: How The U.S. Can Advance In The World Cup

U.S. forward Clint Dempsey (8) celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during a match against Portugal at the Amazonia Arena in Manaus on Sunday.
Francisco Leong AFP/Getty Images

The "Group of Death" is living up to its name.

Going into the third and final match of group stage, all four teams — the U.S., Germany, Ghana and Portugal — still have a mathematical chance of moving on to the round of 16.

Of course, the U.S. had a prime chance at sealing the deal last night against Portugal. But, as we told you, a last-gasp goal by Portugal scuttled those plans.

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The Two-Way
4:29 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Thai Protest Leader Says He Advised Army Chief Prior To Coup

Suthep Thaugsuban waves to supporters during a mass rally in Bangkok, the same day the army declared martial law. Suthep says he acted as an adviser to the army general who subsequently seized power.
Sakchai Lalit AP

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 6:53 pm

The leader of Thailand's onetime opposition, who led mass anti-government demonstration in the run-up to last month's military coup, has acknowledged for the first time that he acted as an adviser to the army general who seized power.

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The Two-Way
3:35 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Under Attack By ISIS, Iraq Agrees To Give U.S. Troops Immunity

Iraqi Kurdish forces take position near Taza Khormato as they fight jihadist militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) positioned five kilometers away in Bashir on Monday.
Karim Sahib AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 3:44 pm

Remember last week when President Obama said he planned to send up to 300 military advisers to Iraq?

Well, the U.S. couldn't do it until the Iraqi government gave U.S. soldiers immunity from prosecution, through what's called a "diplomatic note." If those U.S. soldiers committed any crimes or had any legal troubles while advising Iraqis, the U.S. wanted to handle any prosecutions.

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The Two-Way
3:26 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Beijing: Hong Kong Democracy Referendum 'An Illegal Farce'

People vote Sunday at a polling station for an unofficial referendum on democratic reform in Hong Kong. Beijing has denounced the vote as illegal.
Kin Cheung AP

China state media have denounced an unofficial democracy referendum being held in Hong Kong that has drawn more than 700,000 voters so far, saying it is "tinged with mincing ludicrousness."

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The Two-Way
12:01 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Top Malaysian Court Upholds Ruling On Who Can Use 'Allah'

Malaysia's highest court agrees with him.
Shamshahrin Shamsudin EPA/Landov

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 2:21 pm

Malaysia's highest court has upheld a ruling by a lower court that non-Muslims cannot use the word "Allah" as a synonym for God. But the scope of Monday's decision by the Federal Court of Malaysia was unclear because the government issued a statement that said the ruling applied only to the Catholic newspaper that brought the case.

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The Two-Way
12:01 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Christian Woman Escapes Death In Sudan Over Conversion

Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, a Christian Sudanese woman sentenced to death, sits in her cell with her baby girl a day after she gave birth at a women's prison in Khartoum's twin city of Omdurman last month. A court ordered Ishag freed Monday.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 1:14 pm

A Sudanese woman who gave birth in prison after being sentenced to hang for converting to Christianity has been freed. The case of Meriam Ibrahim attracted wide concern, and criticism from Secretary of State John Kerry.

Ibrahim, 27, says she was raised an Orthodox Christian, her mother's religion, after being born to a Muslim father. In May, she was eight months pregnant when she was tried for charges that included apostasy — abandoning Islam — and marrying a Christian, Daniel Wani.

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The Two-Way
11:33 am
Mon June 23, 2014

U.S. Court Releases Obama Administration's 'Drone Memo'

In this image taken from video and released by SITE Intelligence Group, Anwar al-Awlaki speaks in a video message posted on radical websites in November, 2010.
SITE Intelligence Group AP

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 5:49 pm

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has released a long-secret memo in which the Obama administration lays out its legal reasoning for launching a drone attack on an American citizen overseas.

The legal justification concerns the drone strike that killed Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen who the United States claims was tied to plots against the U.S. and played a key role in al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

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The Two-Way
11:07 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Chemical Weapons Watchdog Ships Last Declared Chemicals Out Of Syria

A United Nations vehicle carrying inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons leaves a hotel in Damascus last fall.
Louai Behara AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 12:00 pm

The mission to destroy Syria's chemical arsenal reached a "major landmark" on Monday, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said in a statement.

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The Two-Way
11:06 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Spineless, And Now Homeless: National Zoo Closes Animal Exhibit

A curious cuttlefish stares back at the camera from inside The Smithsonian's National Zoo Invertebrate Exhibit. The exhibit, home to dozens of small aquatic and terrestrial species without backbones, closed on Sunday.
Meghan Murphy Smithsonian's National Zoo

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 12:17 pm

Invertebrates make up about 99 percent of all species. But they're no longer being featured at the National Zoo due to budget problems. The Invertebrate Exhibit was shut down Sunday, less than a week after the closure was publicly announced.

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The Two-Way
9:58 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Netanyahu Says Israel Has Proof Hamas Is Behind Kidnapping Of Teens

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu adresses Israeli army troops on June 19.
Jim Hollander AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 11:54 am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says they "have a lot" of proof that Hamas is behind the kidnapping of three Israeli teens, which includes one dual U.S.-Israeli citizen.

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The Two-Way
8:16 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Egyptian Court Sentences Journalists To Lengthy Prison Terms

Australian journalist Peter Greste (left) of Al-Jazeera news channel and his colleagues, Egyptian-Canadian Mohamed Fadel Fahmy (center) and Egyptian Baher Mohamed, listen to the verdict inside the defendants' cage during their trial for allegedly supporting the Muslim Brotherhood.
Khaled Desouki AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 4:18 pm

Three journalists who work for the Al-Jazeera news network have been sentenced to prison terms — two lasting seven years and a third lasting 10 — by an Egyptian court. The three were accused of aiding terrorists, a term that in this case applies to the banned Muslim Brotherhood.

From Egypt's Ahram Online:

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The Two-Way
7:23 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Book News: Prominent Middle East Scholar Fouad Ajami Dies

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

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The Two-Way
7:10 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Kerry Meets With Iraqi Prime Minister In Baghdad Amid ISIS Crisis

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (right) sits with Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday. Kerry was in Baghdad to push for Iraqi unity and stability, as Sunni militants swept through western towns abandoned by security forces.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 11:48 am

As Sunni militants make gains against Iraq's Shiite-led central government, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry paid a previously unannounced visit to Baghdad to meet with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Monday.

Maliki has been criticized for not being more inclusive of Sunnis and Kurds in his government — a change the Obama administration is calling for as part of any plans for military support.

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Space
6:34 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Scientists Observe Springtime Changes On One Of Saturn's Moons

The Cassini spacecraft has been taking radar images of Titan for years now. This modified image of the Ligeia Mare, a sea on Titan's north pole, is a composite of some of those.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI/Cornell

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 2:15 pm

With its large sand dunes, rivers, big lakes and seas, Saturn's biggest moon is one of the most Earth-like planetary bodies in the solar system. But Titan is no place to call home.

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The Two-Way
6:36 pm
Sun June 22, 2014

Michelle Wie Wins U.S. Women's Open

Michelle Wie watches her tee shot on the second hole during the final round of the U.S. Women's Open golf tournament in Pinehurst, N.C., on Sunday.
Chuck Burton AP

Michelle Wie won the United State's Women's Open on Sunday at Pinehurst No. 2, her first major title of her career.

"There were moments of doubt in there, but I had a lot of people around me who never lost faith in me," Wie said. "It's just amazing."

Though only 24 years old, Wie's career has been anything but short. The golf prodigy is well known as the youngest player to qualify for a USGA amateur championship, when she did so at 10 years old. She has been a fixture on the U.S. golf scene ever since.

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The Two-Way
1:53 pm
Sun June 22, 2014

In A Stunning Finish, Portugal Ties U.S.

Clint Dempsey of the United States is challenged by Portugal's Bruno Alves (left) and Ricardo Costa during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Group G match Sunday in Brazil.
Warren Little Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 8:03 am

It was heartbreaking. It was stunning. It was the reason they call Group G the "Group of Death."

With 30 seconds left and despite astronomical odds, the United States men's national soccer team was about to qualify for the second round of the World Cup.

But just like that, Portugal's superstar Cristiano Ronaldo crossed to Silvestre Varela, who headed it into the net, tying it, 2-2, marking the final play of the game.

This means everyone in the group of death has a mathematical chance at advancing.

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The Two-Way
12:33 pm
Sun June 22, 2014

The Rockies' Very Bad Day: When A Wild Pitch Clears The Bases

Starting pitcher Christian Friedrich and catcher Michael McKenry of the Colorado Rockies collect themselves after they allowed three runs to score on a wild pitch.
Doug Pensinger Getty Images

We usually point out great plays on this blog.

But during last night's Colorado Rockies vs. Milwaukee Brewers game, the play turned so messy, it is remarkable.

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The Two-Way
11:02 am
Sun June 22, 2014

Quebec Police Capture 3 Inmates Who Escaped Using Helicopter

Denis Lefebvre, 53, is one of the three inmates who escaped using a helicopter.
Sûreté du Québec

Originally published on Sun June 22, 2014 12:29 pm

After a little more than two weeks on the lam, the three prisoners who escaped from a Quebec prison are back in custody, the Sûreté du Québec said in a tweet.

CTV News reports the three men, charged with murder and drug trafficking, were captured at a luxury condo in Montreal. The network reports:

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The Two-Way
9:38 am
Sun June 22, 2014

Video: Caught In Crossfire As ISIS Claims More Iraqi Cities

An Iraqi federal policeman standing on top an armored vehicle secures a checkpoint in Baghdad, Iraq, on Sunday.
Karim Kadim AP

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 7:36 am

The latest news from Iraq is almost a repeat of what's been happening for the past couple of weeks: The militant Sunni group, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, continues its march, while the Iraqi military and Shiite militias put up a fight.

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The Two-Way
8:21 am
Sun June 22, 2014

In Cairo, Kerry Says U.S. Is Not Responsible For Iraq's Current Crisis

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry talk before a meeting at the Presidential Palace on Sunday in Cairo.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 7:36 am

(This post was last updated at 12:52 p.m. ET. to include Kerry's comments.)

Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Cairo on Sunday and met with the country's newest president, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.

NPR's Jackie Northam, who is traveling with Kerry, reports officials said Kerry would address the government's heavy-handed tactics against political opponents, mass trials and death sentences, as well as broader security questions.

A lot of the focus of the trip, however, was on Iraq.

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The Two-Way
7:27 am
Sun June 22, 2014

U.S. Vs. Portugal: 'Now Is The Moment' To Show American Mettle

United States' goalkeeper Tim Howard works out during a training session. "We're going to do our best to bottle him up," Howard said of Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo.
Julio Cortez AP

Originally published on Sun June 22, 2014 10:17 am

The World Cup round of 16 in Brazil is taking shape.

Already in: Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica and the Netherlands. The big question: Will the United States join that distinguished list today?

The U.S. soccer team has a tough matchup against Portugal. Win, and the Americans are in. Lose or tie, and the road gets a lot tougher with next Thursday's game against Germany.

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The Two-Way
4:43 pm
Sat June 21, 2014

In Mob Stronghold, Pope Says Mobsters Are Excommunicated

Pope Francis delivers his homily as he celebrates mass in Sibari, in the southern Italian region of Calabria on Saturday.
Vincenzo Pinto AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun June 22, 2014 12:31 pm

Pope Francis traveled to the heart of a mafia stronghold in Italy on Saturday and told mobsters that they are not part of the church.

"Those who go down the evil path, as the Mafiosi do, are not in communion with God," he warned them during an open-air mass. "They are excommunicated."

As USA Today reports, Francis made the trip after ignoring worries about his health and safety. The paper adds:

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The Two-Way
2:50 pm
Sat June 21, 2014

In Iraq, ISIS Advances, Shiite Cleric Issues Warning

An Iraqi Shiite militiaman, a follower of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, jumps to break a placard with the name of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) during a parade, in the northern oil rich province of Kirkuk, Iraq, on Saturday.
Hussein Malla AP

Originally published on Sun June 22, 2014 12:34 pm

Just how complicated a place is Iraq for the United States? Take a look at these two developments from today:

-- Fighters with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a militant Sunni group, continued its march, seizing two cities.

-- Meanwhile, a Shiite cleric in Baghdad issued a warning to the United States. Nassir al-Saedi said if the "occupier" came back, "we will be ready for you."

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