The Two Way

The Two-Way
8:20 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Jobless Rate Ticks Up, But Job Growth Is Better Than Expected

The scene at a job fair for veterans earlier this year in Washington, D.C.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 11:14 am

This post has been updated.

The nation's unemployment rate edged up to 6.7 percent in February from 6.6 percent the month before, but employers added more jobs than expected, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday.

According to BLS, the number of jobs on public and private payrolls grew by 175,000 last month — about 25,000 more than economists had expected.

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The Two-Way
8:00 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Book News: @GSElevator Author Loses Book Deal

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 10:24 am

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

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The Two-Way
7:00 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Russian Lawmakers Welcome Separatist Steps By Crimea

Vladimir Konstantinov (in purple tie) is the speaker of Crimea's parliament. He was welcomed with flowers Friday during his meeting with Valentina Matviyenko, speaker of Russia's upper house of parliament. She is at the far right of this photo.
Yuri Kadobnov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 11:22 am

One day after President Obama condemned steps taken by Crimea's parliament to leave Ukraine and join the Russian Federation, Russian lawmakers are welcoming such a move by Crimean separatists.

"Russia's parliament gave its defiant support Friday to Crimean lawmakers who want to see their region split from Ukraine and join Russia," CNN reports from Moscow.

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The Two-Way
6:13 am
Fri March 7, 2014

U.S. Knew Of 'Imminent' Move In Crimea, Top Official Says

Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee last month.
Lauren Victoria Burke AP

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 11:39 am

Senior U.S. officials were warned of imminent Russian military action in Crimea about a week before the troop movements that have sparked a major international crisis over Ukraine, the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency tells NPR.

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The Two-Way
6:43 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Grocery Chains Safeway And Albertson's Announce Merger Deal

Private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management has offered to buy Safeway, Inc., the nation's second-largest grocery chain, for a reported $9.4 billion. Cerberus plans to merge Safeway with another grocer, Albertson's.

"Safeway has been focused on better meeting shoppers' diverse needs through local, relevant assortment, an improved price/value proposition and a great shopping experience that has driven improved sales trends," Safeway CEO Robert Edwards said in a statement. "We are excited about continuing this momentum as a combined organization."

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The Two-Way
3:43 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Senate Blocks Bill To Overhaul Military Sex Assault Prosecutions

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) pauses while speaking at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Thursday following the Senate vote on the military sexual assaults bill she sponsored.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 4:08 pm

The Senate has voted to block a bill that would have removed the authority of senior military commanders to prosecute sexual assault cases within their ranks.

On Thursday's 55-45 vote, short of the 60 necessary to move the legislation forward, the Senate set aside the Military Justice Improvement Act sponsored by New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

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The Two-Way
2:27 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

VIDEO: Dalai Lama Prays Senators Will 'Act With A Pure Mind'

The Dalai Lama delivers the opening prayer Thursday at the U.S. Senate.
C-SPAN.org

The U.S. Senate's opening prayer on Thursday was delivered by the Dalai Lama — in his words, "a simple Buddhist monk."

The Tibetan spiritual leader has been in the U.S. for several weeks and his itinerary has included a White House meeting with President Obama, over the strong objections of China. As The Associated Press puts it:

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The Two-Way
1:42 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Obama Condemns Russian 'Intervention' In Ukraine

In a news conference about the situation in Ukraine, President Obama said Thursday that the world is "well beyond the days when borders can be withdrawn over the heads of democratic leaders."
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 6:06 am

Referring to Russia's actions in Crimea as an "intervention" and saying the U.S. will continue to "mobilize the international community to condemn this violation of international law," President Obama just delivered some of his most extensive remarks to date about the crisis in Ukraine.

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The Two-Way
1:08 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Army Brigadier General Pleads Guilty To Adultery

Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair leaves the courthouse for the day Wednesday at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, N.C.
Ellen Ozier Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 2:47 pm

Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair pleaded guilty to adultery and two other charges in a court martial proceeding Thursday at Fort Bragg, N.C. He still faces the most serious charge of sexually assaulting a female captain.

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The Two-Way
12:15 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Niger Extradites Moammar Gadhafi's Son To Libya

Saadi Gadhafi, son of Moammar Gadhafi, looks on inside a prison in Tripoli in this handout after his extradition from Niger on Thursday.
HANDOUT Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 2:06 pm

One of Moammar Gadhafi's sons has arrived in the Libyan capital for the first time since the 2011 revolution that toppled his father after Niger, where he'd long been under house arrest, finally agreed to extradite him.

Saadi Gadhafi, 40 — the former head of Libya's soccer federation who was notorious for a playboy lifestyle during his father's regime — fled to Niger after his father was deposed and summarily executed three years ago.

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The Two-Way
12:04 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Claims And Counterclaims Fly As CIA And Senate Exchange Fire

The seal of the CIA at the agency's headquarters in Virginia.
Greg E. Mathieson Sr. MAI/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 1:59 pm

The Central Intelligence Agency and one of the congressional panels that oversees its work, the Senate Intelligence Committee, are in what looks to be an increasingly bitter battle over just who's been behaving improperly.

McClatchyDC and The New York Times have been rolling out stories this week about claims that the CIA may have been monitoring the work of the committee's staffers in recent years and that some of those congressional aides may have left CIA headquarters with classified documents that shouldn't leave that secure facility.

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The Two-Way
11:35 am
Thu March 6, 2014

U.S. Anchor For Russian TV Quits, Says Network 'Whitewashes' Crimea

A screenshot of RT anchor Liz Wahl during her final broadcast with the network.
RT/Daily Beast

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 6:11 pm

An American host for the Kremlin-backed Russia Today television has quit on air, announcing from the channel's Washington, D.C., anchor desk that she doesn't want to be "part of a network ... that whitewashes the actions of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin."

Liz Wahl announced her resignation on Wednesday, saying Moscow's intervention in Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula is wrong and that she feels "very lucky to have grown up in the United States."

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The Two-Way
10:39 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Layoffs Slow And Weekly Jobless Claims Dip

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 1:36 pm

The last two bits of economic news before Friday's much-anticipated jobs report are both at least modestly positive:

-- There were 323,000 first-time claims filed for jobless benefits last week, down 26,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration says. Claims touched a three-month low.

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The Two-Way
9:02 am
Thu March 6, 2014

UPDATE: Massachusetts Bans 'Upskirt' Photos

The groping of women and snapping of upskirt photos is a problem on mass transit systems around the world. East Japan Railway is among those systems that have created women-only cars to deal with the problem.
Yuriko Nakao Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 2:29 pm

Update at 11:50 a.m. ET, March 7: Governor Signs New Ban:

"Two days after the state's highest court sparked outrage when it ruled that state law allows people to take such photos, Governor Deval Patrick signed a bill today to ban the practice, known as 'upskirting,' " the Boston Globe writes.

So the controversy we first posted about Thursday has led to quick action.

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The Two-Way
7:45 am
Thu March 6, 2014

'We Are Ready To Protect Our Country,' Ukrainian Leader Says

Demonstrators carried a Russian flag during a rally this week in the western Crimean city of Yevpatoria.
Genya Savilov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 1:25 pm

We're updating this post as the day continues.

While conceding that his nation can't come close to the military power of Russia, the interim prime minister of Ukraine said Thursday that "we are ready to protect our country" if Russia does not stop its "military aggression" in Crimea.

Arseniy Yatsenyuk told reporters in Brussels, Belgium, that the presence of Russian forces in that autonomous region of his nation "is unacceptable in the 21st century."

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The Two-Way
7:30 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Book News: George Saunders Wins The Story Prize

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

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The Two-Way
10:22 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Facebook Moves To Restrict Posts About Gun Sales

Facebook is planning to roll out new restrictions on posts about gun sales on its social networking site and on Instagram.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 5:01 pm

This post was updated at 10:30 a.m. ET on March 6.

Facebook said Wednesday that it will limit minors' access to pages and posts that offer firearms for sale, along with other measures intended to curtail illegal gun trafficking.

"This is something we've been working on for a while," says Facebook spokesman Matt Steinfeld. "We want to balance the interests of people who come here to express themselves while promoting an environment that is safe and respectful."

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The Two-Way
6:15 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Bin Laden's Brother-In-Law Goes On Trial In Manhattan

In this courtroom drawing, Osama bin Laden's son-in-law, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, center, listens to a translator, in U.S. federal court on Wednesday in New York.
Elizabeth Williams AP

Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, the son-in-law of Osama bin Laden who prosecutors say became a mouthpiece for al-Qaida in the days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, faced a jury for the first time on Wednesday in a Manhattan federal courtroom.

On the first day of the trial, jurors were shown a photo that prosecutors said was Abu Ghaith, a Kuwaiti, sitting side-by-side with Osama bin Laden the day after the devastating attacks on the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon.

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The Two-Way
4:33 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

India Sets Date For What Will Be World's Largest Vote

A wholesale shop in New Delhi was selling various Indian national and regional political party flags and campaign materials ahead of elections in India, the world's largest democracy.
Prakash Singh AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 6:02 pm

India announced Wednesday that national elections for the lower house of Parliament will be staggered over nine separate days and begin April 7.

The voting to elect the 543-seat body will occur in stages to accommodate the scale of voters in what is expected to be the world's largest democratic exercise.

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The Two-Way
3:52 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Optional Essay And Other Changes Coming To The SAT

They'll need new prep books.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 7:43 pm

  • NPR's Claudio Sanchez Discusses The College Board Announcement On 'All Things Considered'

The essay is optional. Scores will return to 1,600. And there will be no penalties if you answer something incorrectly. Those are the big takeaways from the SAT changes announced Wednesday.

The College Board said the revisions, the first updates to the college entrance exam since 2005, will take effect in 2016.

Other changes announced: Certain vocabulary words will be dropped in favor of those more commonly used in school and at work, and test-takers will have the option to take the SAT on a computer.

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The Two-Way
2:55 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Israel Says It's Seized Iranian Arms Shipment Bound For Gaza

Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) say the video shows an Iranian shipment bound for Gaza.
Israeli Defense Forces

The Israeli military claims to have seized a ship carrying advanced Iranian-made weaponry bound for Gaza.

The Israel Defense Forces "intercepted an attempt to smuggle an Iranian shipment of advanced weaponry intended for terrorist organizations operating in the Gaza Strip. The operation took place in the early hours of Wednesday morning," the IDF said in a statement on its website.

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The Two-Way
1:13 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Putin Reportedly Joins List Of Nobel Peace Prize Nominees

Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Alexey Nikolsky AFP/Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin is among the 278 nominees for a 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, according to Peace Research Institute Oslo, an institution that closely tracks the Nobel committee's work.

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The Two-Way
1:10 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Senate Blocks Obama's Nominee For Civil Rights Job

Debo Adegbile, shown at the U.S. Supreme Court in 2009 when he was an attorney with the Legal Defense and Educational Fund of the NAACP.
Alex Brandon AP

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 4:54 pm

Eight Senate Democrats, including Majority Leader Harry Reid, joined Republicans in a vote to block President Obama's nomination of Debo Adegbile to head the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.

The Washington Post writes:

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The Two-Way
12:35 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

China To Boost Defense Spending Amid Regional Tensions

Delegates from China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) march from Tiananmen Square to the Great Hall of the People to attend sessions of National People's Congress and Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference Tuesday in Beijing.
Ng Han Guan AP

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 1:42 pm

China said Wednesday that it plans to increase defense outlays by more than 12 percent, to nearly $132 billion, this year in the face of what a top military official described as increasingly severe security challenges for Beijing.

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