The Two Way

The Two-Way
2:53 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Second Reported Miracle Paves Way For Pope John Paul's Sainthood

Cardinal Stanislav Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow and former personal secretary of Pope John Paul II, prays in front of the late pope's tomb at St. Peter's Basilica in 2011, in Vatican City.
Getty Images

It's a miracle, though we're not quite sure of the details yet.

A Vatican official confirms that a committee of theologians has approved a second miracle attributed to Pope John Paul II's posthumous intercession — a sine qua non for sainthood.

Italian media say a Costa Rican woman was cured of a severe brain injury after her family prayed to the memory of the late pope. The Vatican is set to release details in the next week or so.

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The Two-Way
2:28 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Amid Turmoil, U.S. Speedskating Chief Resigns

Already on thin ice after months of turmoil and scandal, the executive director of U.S. Speedskating (USS) has resigned.

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The Two-Way
1:07 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Singapore Endures Record Smog

The sun rises over the Singapore Central Business District as smog shrouds the city-state on Thursday.
Joseph Nair AP

Face mask-clad Singaporeans enduring record-breaking smog got some more bad news from their government on Thursday: The pollution may last awhile.

The choking smog that blanketed the city-state earlier this week, generated by burning clear-cutting fires in Indonesia, has gone well beyond the "hazardous" level on the Pollutant Standards Index, hitting 371 on Wednesday before coming back down to about 250. The previous record was 226, reached in 1997.

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The Two-Way
12:05 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

He's An Impostor, The Navy Says About Cap'n Crunch

Say it ain't so, Cap'n.
Quaker Oats Company PepsiCo

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 12:53 pm

We don't know how, but we missed a major scandal brewing in the Navy for decades. It's important, so even if we're a little late to the story we still wanted to point it out: Cap'n Crunch is an impostor.

The Cap'n was unmasked on June 14 by a food blogger, who noticed the uniform he wears on cereal boxes had the stripes of a commander, not a captain. That is: A captain has four stripes on his sleeve, while a commander has three.

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The Two-Way
11:51 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Justices: Federal Funds Can't Infringe Groups' Free Speech

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 1:02 pm

The Supreme Court has struck down a law mandating that nonprofit organizations adopt a policy opposing prostitution as a condition for receiving federal funds for HIV/AIDS programs abroad, saying such a requirement violated the groups' free-speech rights.

In the 6-2 decision, Chief Justice John Roberts led the majority, with Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Clarence Thomas dissenting. Justice Elena Kagan recused herself.

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The Two-Way
11:37 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Tropical Storm Barry Makes Landfall In Eastern Mexico

Tropical Storm Barry's position as of 11 a.m. ET on Thursday, according to the National Hurricane Center.
National Hurricane Center

The National Hurricane Center says Tropical Storm Barry washed ashore just north of Veracruz, Mexico, at about 8 a.m. Central Time.

According to the latest data, Barry's top sustained winds were about 45 miles per hour as it headed inland. The storm is expected to lose strength rapidly and fall to tropical depression status by tonight. But, the Center warns, "Barry is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 3 to 5 inches, with maximum amounts of 10 inches over southern Mexico."

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The Two-Way
10:11 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Chicago Defeats Boston, Evens NHL Stanley Cup Series

The Chicago Blackhawks mob Brent Seabrook after his game-winning goal against the Boston Bruins in overtime of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday night in Boston.
Charles Krupa AP

So there was another overtime last night in the Stanley Cup series, except this time the Chicago Blackhawks outlasted the Boston Bruins, defeating them 6-5 and tying the NHL championship series.

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The Two-Way
9:46 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Weekly Jobless Claims Rise Slightly

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 11:31 am

The number of first-time claims for unemployment insurance rose by 18,000 last week, the Employment and Training Administration says. At 354,000, the number remained at a level consistent with modest job growth.

According to the agency, the four-week moving average, a less volatile indicator, rose 2,500, to 348,250.

The AP reports:

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The Two-Way
8:59 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Obama Working On Plan That Limits Power Plant Emissions

The smoke stacks at American Electric Power's Mountaineer coal power plant in New Haven, W.Va.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 11:29 am

President Obama will soon unveil a plan that will put limits on the carbon emissions of existing power plants, the administration's top energy adviser says.

The New York Times reports this is the most consequential part of a bigger plan to curb climate change. The newspaper adds:

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The Two-Way
8:12 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Watch: Stephen Colbert Drops The Act To Honor His Late Mother

Comedian Stephen Colbert.
Scott Gries Picturegroup

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 11:24 am

For almost four minutes last night, comedian Stephen Colbert dropped the act. And he delivered a beautiful, heartfelt eulogy for his late mother, Lorna Colbert.

There's not much more we can add, just watch:

Lorna Colbert was 92.

The Two-Way
8:11 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Top Stories: Supreme Court Watch; Afghan Talks Waver

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 11:26 am

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The Two-Way
7:29 am
Thu June 20, 2013

A Plaque And A Flag: U.S. Tries To Rescue Taliban Peace Talks

Guests arrive for the opening ceremony of the new Taliban political office in Doha on June 18.
Faisal Al-Timimi AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 10:40 am

How hard will peace negotiations in Afghanistan be? For the past day — and before the first official meeting — the United States has been scrambling to get all parties to the table.

The talks were scheduled to begin today in Qatar, but now they are on hold.

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The Two-Way
7:19 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Book News: Alice Munro, Author Of Pensive Short Stories, May Retire

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

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The Two-Way
6:40 am
Thu June 20, 2013

SCOTUS Watch: High Court Could Decide Four Major Cases

Members of the media wait for court rulings in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building on Monday.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 10:44 am

Update at 10:20 a.m. ET. No Big Decisions:

The Supreme Court did not hand down any of the big opinions we were waiting for. That means that as its 2012 term comes to a close, we are still waiting for major decisions on gay marriage, affirmative action and voting rights.

The Court will hand down decisions again on Monday at 10 a.m. ET. We'll be here.

But, lest you think it didn't make any news today, it did hand down three opinions:

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The Two-Way
6:30 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Microsoft Responds To Fan Outcry, Changes Xbox One Policies

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 7:16 pm

Fans spoke, and apparently Microsoft listened.

In a reversal of the company's previous position, Microsoft announced Wednesday that its forthcoming Xbox One gaming console would no longer require a regular Internet connection and would not restrict used or shared games.

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The Two-Way
6:14 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Federal Agents Accuse Two Of Plotting Deadly X-Ray Weapon

Two men in upstate New York have been arrested for planning to build a "radiation particle weapon" that could be mounted on a vehicle and used to target people, according to a report by the Albany Times-Union Wednesday. The men allegedly planned to sell the device to either the Ku Klux Klan or Jewish groups.

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The Two-Way
5:48 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

A Day After Making List, One Of FBI's Most Wanted Caught

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 6:11 pm

Just a day after being added to the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list, a former University of Southern California professor was arrested in the Mexican beach resort of Playa del Carmen.

Reporting for our Newscast unit, NPR's Carrie Kahn says 64-year-old Walter Lee Williams had been pursued by the FBI since 2011.

She says the indictment against Williams alleges he used his position as a professor of gender and sexuality studies to travel internationally and prey on underage boys.

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The Two-Way
5:07 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Pitchman Who 'Guaranteed' Our Look Fired By Men's Warehouse

George Zimmer founded the Men's Wearhouse clothing store in 1973. The company announced Wednesday that he'd been fired.
Thomas J. Gibbons Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 8:04 pm

He might like the way you look, but may no longer be able to guarantee you will.

Men's Wearhouse Inc. announced Wednesday that George Zimmer, founder and executive chairman of the company, has been fired.

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The Two-Way
4:51 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Snowden Reportedly In 'Informal' Asylum Talks With Iceland

Edward Snowden, the man commonly called "the NSA leaker" for his role in publishing documents that exposed a secret U.S. surveillance program, would reportedly not receive special treatment from the United Nations if he applies for asylum. The AP says Snowden is in "informal talks" with Iceland about applying for asylum there.

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The Two-Way
3:18 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Tropical Storm Barry Heads Toward Mexico, Forecasters Say

Tropical Storm Barry, the second named storm of the 2013 hurricane season, is expected to hit Mexico's southeastern coast.
NOAA

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 8:58 pm

The National Hurricane Center has issued coastal warnings in the Gulf of Mexico regarding Tropical Storm Barry. The second named storm of the 2013 hurricane season, Barry is currently in the southwest corner of the gulf; it is expected to make landfall in Mexico Thursday morning.

The center says an Air Force reconnaissance aircraft determined Wednesday that the storm, formerly called Tropical Depression Two, had strengthened. Barry is currently about 75 miles east-northeast of Veracruz, Mexico.

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The Two-Way
2:58 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Wanna Be A Rock Star? NASA Needs Help Tracking Asteroids

Actor Bruce Willis appears on the surface of an asteroid in a scene from the movie Armageddon.
Frank Masi AP

It won't be quite like Bruce Willis in Armageddon, but maybe you'll feel just as much a hero.

The White House and NASA are seeking the public's help in hunting for asteroids that could someday smash into Earth. They're also looking for a perfect space rock to capture so that astronauts could go there and study it.

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The Two-Way
2:53 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Fed Leaves Interest Rates And Bond Purchase Plan Untouched

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Wednesday that a fall in the unemployment rate would not automatically trigger a rise in interest rates. He spoke to the media after the central bank issued a policy update.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 3:57 pm

The Federal Reserve will continue its program of purchasing $85 billion in securities and will leave the target interest rate for federal funds untouched to support the U.S. economy, the U.S. central bank said in a policy update issued Wednesday afternoon.

Here's a summary of the state of the U.S. economy from the Fed, which concluded two days of meetings today:

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The Two-Way
2:05 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Country Singer Slim Whitman, Known For His Yodel, Dies

Slim Whitman arriving at Heathrow Airport in 1976.
Evening Standard Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 10:18 pm

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The Two-Way
1:38 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

"Suffering On A Huge Scale": World Refugee Numbers Swell

Afghan refugee children collect items of use from a pile of garbage on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan.
Muhammed Muheisen AP

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 2:24 pm

The United Nations Refugee Commission says more than 45.2 million people were in "situations of displacement" around the world as of last year — the most since 1994.

A report from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says there were 15.4 million refugees in other countries, 937,000 people seeking political asylum and 28.8 million people forced out of their homes but still inside their own countries.

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The Two-Way
1:15 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

FBI Director Says Agency Is Using Drones Over The U.S.

A Predator drone
General Atomics Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 4:55 pm

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is using drones on United States soil for surveillance purposes, the agency's director, Robert Mueller, told a Senate committee today.

"Our footprint is very small, and we have very few and of limited use, and we're exploring not only the use but also the necessary guidelines for that use," said Mueller , answering a question from Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.

Mueller, who was testifying in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said they were used in a "very, very minimal way and very seldom."

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