The Two Way

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

It's not rare for new vehicle owners to be proud of their purchase. And some even travel to the factory to pick up their new ride and drive it home. That's what Mark Stewart did — but his new vehicle is an ELF hybrid bike, and his ride home will take hundreds of miles to complete.

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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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The Two-Way
1:22 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Huge Explosion In Homs Leaves Scores Wounded

A Syrian man rides his motorbike past the Sunni Grand mosque on Thursday in the city of Qusayr, in Syria's central Homs province.
Joseph Eid AFP/Getty Images

A huge blast hit a weapons depot in the Syrian city of Homs on Thursday. Video of the blast has been posted to YouTube. It shows an explosion, followed by a plume of smoke rising hundreds of feet into the air.

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The Two-Way
1:13 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Calls Election 'A Huge Farce'

A Zimbabwean woman casts her ballot at a polling station in Domboshava, 37 miles north of Harare, on Wednesday.
Alexander Joe AFP/Getty Images

A day after Zimbabweans turned out heavily to vote in national elections, the main challenger to longtime President Robert Mugabe is calling the balloting "a sham election that does not reflect the will of the people."

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change, ticked off a list of alleged problems, including thousands of citizens who he says were thrown off voter rolls, voters being moved to different polling stations, an excess of printed ballots, and voters being forced to accept "assistance" when casting ballots.

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The Two-Way
1:09 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Uruguay Gives Initial OK To State-Controlled Marijuana Industry

Young backers of a bill to legalize the production and trade of marijuana in Uruguay wait outside the Parliament building as lawmakers debate the bill Wednesday.
AFP/Getty Images

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

Uruguay is poised to create a state-licensed marijuana industry, after the country's lower house of Congress passed a controversial bill late Wednesday detailing how the government would regulate marijuana — from its production and import to marketing and distribution. The move would be a first.

NPR's South America correspondent Lourdes Garcia-Navarro tells our Newscast unit that the landmark bill now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to sail through.

Lourdes reports:

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The Two-Way
1:06 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Queen's Speech For WWIII: British Must 'Prepare To Survive'

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (second left) stands with West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl (left), U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Britain's Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at London's Buckingham Palace on June 10, 1984.
AP

Originally published on Thu August 1, 2013 4:04 pm

At the height of the Cold War, a broadcast prepared for Britain's Queen Elizabeth II to deliver in the event of a nuclear conflict urged her subjects to be brave and stand firm in the face of destruction, and for the survivors to pick up the pieces and rebuild.

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The Two-Way
12:09 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Weekly Jobless Claims Drop; Mortgage Rates Edge Up

New claims for unemployment benefits fell to 326,000 in the week that ended July 27 — the lowest level for initial jobless claims in more than five years, according to the Labor Department.

Employment data for the month of July is due to be released Friday. But for now, the weekly jobless claims numbers are being hailed as another sign that the U.S. economy is gaining strength.

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The Two-Way
11:00 am
Thu August 1, 2013

S&P 500 Index Passes 1,700 Mark For First Time

A chart shows the growth in the Standard & Poor's 500 index of large-capitalization U.S. stocks. The index passed the 1,700 mark for the first time Thursday.
S&P 500

Originally published on Thu August 1, 2013 1:06 pm

The Standard & Poor's 500 index, the benchmark of America's largest corporations, surpassed 1,700 points for the first time in early trading Thursday. The rise is being tied to a drop in weekly jobless claims, as well as assurances from central banks in the U.S. and Europe that they would continue to bolster their economies.

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The Two-Way
10:33 am
Thu August 1, 2013

Beset San Diego Mayor Says He Didn't Get Harassment Training

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner announced at a news conference last week that he intended to seek professional help for sexual harassment issues.
Bill Wechter Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 1, 2013 3:41 pm

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, accused by at least eight women of sexually harassing them, never received a mandated training course on sexual harassment from the city, according to his attorney.

Harvey Berger says the city failed to meet its legal requirement and therefore should foot the mayor's legal bills. Filner and the city of San Diego are being sued by the mayor's former communications director, Irene McCormack Jackson.

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The Two-Way
8:18 am
Thu August 1, 2013

U.S. 'Extremely Disappointed' At Russia's Asylum For Snowden

NSA leaker Edward Snowden has been granted temporary asylum in Russia. He left Moscow's airport Thursday for the first time in more than a month.
Tatyana Lokshina AP

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 4:31 pm

This post was last updated at 2 p.m. ET

The White House says it is "extremely disappointed" in Russia's decision to grant a temporary one-year asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

Snowden left Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport on Thursday after spending more than a month holed up in its transit center. Anatoly Kucherena, a Russian lawyer who has been advising the former U.S. intelligence contractor, told Russian media that Snowden's whereabouts are being kept secret for security reasons.

The Obama administration's displeasure was clear:

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The Two-Way
7:41 am
Thu August 1, 2013

Book News: The Smell Of Chocolate Boosts Book Sales, Study Says

Originally published on Thu August 1, 2013 7:58 am

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

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The Two-Way
8:52 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Sold! First Parcels Auctioned For Future Offshore Wind Farms

The offshore wind farm in the North Sea near Borkum, Germany, is nearly complete. The Riffgat facility, seen here on June 23, includes 30 turbines, each with a generating capacity of 3.6 megawatts.
David Hecker Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 6:01 pm

A Rhode Island company was the highest bidder in the federal government's first-ever auction for the right to build an offshore wind farm.

After 11 rounds, Deepwater Wind outbid two other companies for two patches of ocean off the coasts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The winning bid was $3.8 million.

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The Two-Way
7:30 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

House Votes To Cut Student Loan Rate, Sends Bill To Obama

Originally published on Wed July 31, 2013 8:08 pm

The Republican-controlled House on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a bipartisan bill to cut the cost of borrowing for federal student loans, sending the measure to President Obama for his signature.

The bill, which had easily passed the Democratic-controlled Senate last week, would retroactively cut higher rates — which on July 1 had jumped to at least 6.8 percent.

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The Two-Way
7:00 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

NSA Chief To Hackers: Analysts Don't Abuse Their Power

U.S. Army Gen. Keith Alexander, commander of the U.S. Cyber Command, director of the National Security Agency (NSA), testifies during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, on Wednesday.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 31, 2013 7:01 pm

The director of the National Security Agency faced a tough crowd at the premier yearly gathering of hackers in Las Vegas on Wednesday.

Army Gen. Keith Alexander gave the keynote address at the Black Hat USA convention on the same day the British newspaper The Guardian published more details on a top-secret program that collects vast amount of data transmitted over the Internet.

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The Two-Way
5:04 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Reports: Major League Baseball Warns Players Union Of Suspensions

Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees in the dugout of the team's minor league affiliate Charleston River Dogs during a July 2 game in Charleston, S.C.
Streeter Lecka Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 31, 2013 7:31 pm

According to several news reports, Major League Baseball has given the players union a list of those facing suspensions because of doping.

In truth, this is another pit stop in the long march toward what is rumored to be the suspension of some of baseball's A-listers. Of course, the biggest target is rumored to be Alex Rodriguez.

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