The Two Way

The Two-Way
11:52 am
Fri February 21, 2014

U.S. Official: Beijing Preparing For 'Short, Sharp' War With Japan

A ceremony is held to mark a new patrol vessel in service for China's marine surveillance in Zhoushan, east China's Zhejiang Province, last month.
Shen Lei Xinhua/Landov

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 3:21 pm

China is stepping up war games in preparation for a possible conflict with Japan over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, a tiny island chain in the East China Sea claimed by both Beijing and Tokyo, a senior U.S. Navy official says.

Captain James Fanell, deputy chief of staff intelligence and information operations for the U.S. Pacific Fleet, made the remark at a conference put on by the U.S. Naval Institute in San Diego last week.

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The Two-Way
11:46 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Protests In Venezuela Intensify, As Government Deploys Military

Venezuelan anti-government students light a fire during clashes with riot policemen in Caracas on Thursday.
Raul Arboleda AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 5:36 pm

Thousands of protesters are out on the streets across Venezuela again Friday. This time, the Venezuelan military is also out on the streets trying quash more than two weeks of protests.

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The Two-Way
11:04 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Photos: Kiev's Independence Square Before And After

Kiev's Independence Square on Thursday (Feb. 20, 2014).
Vasily Fedosenko Reuters/Landov

Hopes are high that the worst is over in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, where dozens of people died this week as security forces responded to anti-government protests. As we reported earlier, President Viktor Yanukovych and key opposition leaders have signed an agreement about forming a unity government, holding new elections and restoring the nation's 2004 constitution.

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The Two-Way
9:45 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Apple's Steve Jobs To Be Featured On U.S. Postage Stamp

Apple founder Steve Jobs, who died in 2011, is slated to be featured on a U.S. postage stamp next year.
Terry Schmitt UPI/Landov

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 10:04 am

Apple founder Steve Jobs, a man who probably did as much as anyone to set in motion the slow but steady demise of snail mail, will be featured on a U.S. postage stamp, according to a document from the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee.

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The Two-Way
9:45 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Good Work On Those 'Feeli The Finnish Reindeer' Lyrics

His antlers are so bright.
Reindeer Herders' Association (of Finland)

We asked and Two-Way readers came through.

The challenge:

Set the story of "Feeli the Finnish Reindeer" and his shiny antlers to the tune of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."

The responses in our comments thread:

Feeli the Finnish reindeer
Had antlers that didn't glow.
And drivers didn't see them
As right over them they'd mow.

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The Two-Way
8:50 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Judge Tosses Suit Alleging NYPD Illegally Spied On Muslims

Sheikh Reda Shata stands in the men's prayer room at his mosque, The Islamic Center of Monmouth County, in Middletown, N.J., in Oct. 2011. From 2002 onward, Muslims in New Jersey allege police routinely monitored their comings and goings as part of a surveillance program.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 9:45 am

A federal judge has ruled that New York City Police did not violate the rights of Muslims by putting New Jersey mosques under routine surveillance in an effort to prevent terrorism.

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The Two-Way
7:48 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Book News: Year's Oddest Title? 'Pie-ography,' 'Working Class Cats' In Running

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

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The Two-Way
7:04 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Breakthrough? Ukrainian President, Opposition Leaders Reach Deal

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych (right) and opposition leader Vitali Klitschko shake hands Friday after signing an agreement that diplomats hope will end the bloodshed in Kiev.
Tim Brakemeier EPA/Landov

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 6:52 pm

We're updating this post as the day continues.

In what could be a major move toward ending the violence in the streets of his capital, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and leaders of the anti-government opposition reached agreement Friday on a deal to hold new elections, form a unity government and restore a constitution drafted in 2004.

Some details have yet to be spelled out. But the BBC sums up the news this way:

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The Two-Way
7:19 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

USDA Tells Schools: Don't Refuse Food To Students Who Owe

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 3:29 pm

U.S. school systems should not take cafeteria lunches away from students whose parents have not paid their accounts, says the Department of Agriculture.

The agency is responding to a January incident in which a Utah elementary school served students food but threw it away when their accounts were found to have a negative balance.

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The Two-Way
7:13 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Author Of Snowden Book: 'Secret Reader' Deleted Paragraphs

Luke Harding, the Guardian's Moscow-based correspondent.
Ivan Sekretarev AP

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 6:07 am

In the British newspaper The Guardian, today, there is a curiosity we can't help but note.

Correspondent Luke Harding makes an allegation that belongs in a spy novel. Harding writes that as he wrote The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man strange things happened.

We'll let you read the whole piece, but we'll leave you with two key paragraphs:

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The Two-Way
5:41 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Men Who Vandalized Egyptian Pyramid To Prove Theory Face Charges

Domique Goerlitz shown in one of the pyramid's chambers in this screen grab from their video, which has apparently been removed.
YouTube

Two self-styled amateur archeologists from Germany, who filmed themselves scraping off pieces of Egypt's Great Pyramid in hopes of proving that the ancient wonder was built by people from the legendary city of Atlantis, are now facing possible criminal charges in their home country.

During a trip to Egypt in April 2013, Dominque Goerlitz and Stephan Erdmann, along with a German filmmaker, were granted access to parts of the Great Pyramid at Giza that are normally off-limits to the public. They smuggled their samples back to Germany with plans to produce a documentary.

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The Two-Way
5:14 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Who's Your Buddy? It's Canada, Americans Say

U.S. and Canadian fans attend the women's hockey gold medal game in Sochi Thursday. A recent Gallup poll finds that Americans see Canada in the most favorable light, compared to other countries.
Bruce Bennett Getty Images

America's favorite foreign country is its neighbor to the north, according to a new Gallup World Affairs poll. The research firm says Americans' opinions of several countries have shifted. Russia has slipped, for instance. And so has North Korea – the country is now alone in the "least favorable" category.

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The Two-Way
3:30 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Oregon Won't Defend State's Ban On Gay Marriage

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 4:17 pm

Saying the state's ban on gay marriage could not withstand a federal constitutional challenge, Oregon's attorney general said they will no longer defend the ban in court.

The Oregonian reports that Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum made the announcement in a brief filed in U.S. District Court in Eugene, where the voter-approved 2004 amendment is being challenged.

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The Two-Way
3:09 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Two Men Will Serve Jail Time For Beating Giants Fan

Marvin Norwood during preliminary proceedings in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Irfan Khan AP

Two men, who pleaded guilty to beating a Giants fan at a Dodger Stadium in 2011, will serve time in jail, a judge in Los Angeles decided on Thursday.

Reuters reports:

"Louie Sanchez, 31, who attacked [Bryan] Stow from behind and knocked him to the ground, pleaded guilty in court on Thursday to a charge of mayhem and was sentenced to eight years in prison, the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office said in a statement.

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The Two-Way
2:18 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Automated Landing System, Crew Fatigue, Eyed In UPS Plane Crash

A field north of the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport where UPS flight 1354 crashed on August 16, 2013.
Joe Songer AL.COM/Landov

The crew of a United Parcel Service Airbus A300 freighter that crashed during an early morning landing at Birmingham, Ala. were forced to make a "non-precision approach" when a computerized landing system became overloaded, investigators told the NTSB on Thursday.

The plane crashed short of Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport in Birmingham, Ala., killing both the pilot and co-pilot.

The New York Times says:

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The Two-Way
1:57 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

These Reindeer Really Do Shine, And It's For Their Own Good

His antlers are so bright.
Reindeer Herders' Association (of Finland)

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 10:23 am

Feeli the Finnish reindeer,

Had some very shiny horns ...

OK, we'll stop there.

Here's the news:

"Herders in Lapland are spraying their reindeer with reflective paint to help drivers see them in the dark," the BBC writes.

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The Two-Way
1:52 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

5 Things To Know About Venezuela's Protest Leader

Leopoldo López, an ardent opponent of Venezuela's socialist government facing an arrest warrant after President Nicolas Maduro ordered his arrest on charges of homicide and inciting violence, kisses his wife Lilian Tintori, before turning himself in to authorities on Tuesday.
Leo Ramirez AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 6:07 am

If you've been following the crisis in Venezuela only peripherally, the name Leopoldo López must've come as a surprise.

During a major protest on Tuesday, he turned himself in to authorities in dramatic fashion. This picture of him saying goodbye to his wife cemented his place as the face of the opposition to the government of Nicolas Maduro:

It meant that López has, for now, replaced Henrique Capriles, who ran against Hugo Chávez and Maduro in presidential elections, as the symbolic head of the opposition.

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The Two-Way
12:37 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

3 Al-Jazeera Journalists In Egypt Plead Not Guilty To Terrorist Links

Journalists hold placards as they demonstrate across the street from Egypt's embassy in central London, on Wednesday.
Lefteris Pitarakis AP

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 2:44 pm

Three journalists working for Qatar-based network Al-Jazeera English who are on trial in Egypt for their alleged links to the Muslim Brotherhood have pleaded not guilty on Thursday. The trio were denied bail and their trial was adjourned until March 5.

Australian Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohammed, wearing white prison outfits, appeared in metal cages, according to Reuters, which says several others identified as al-Jazeera journalists are being tried in absentia.

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The Two-Way
11:43 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Data Breach At University Of Maryland Exposes 309,000 Records

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 12:35 pm

The University of Maryland said one of its databases was the "victim of a sophisticated computer security attack" that exposed the personal information of more than 300,000 faculty, staff, students and others who were issued an ID at their College Park and Shady Grove campuses.

"I am truly sorry," Wallace D. Loh, the university president said in a statement. "Computer and data security are a very high priority of our University."

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The Two-Way
10:52 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Nebraska To Appeal Ruling That Blocks Keystone Pipeline In State

TransCanada President and CEO Russ Girling comments on the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline route through Nebraska during a January 2013 news conference in Calgary, Alberta.
Todd Korol Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 11:43 am

The company in charge of the Keystone XL extension said Thursday that it is considering its next move now that a Nebraska judge has struck down a law that allowed the pipeline to be routed through that state.

"We are disappointed and disagree with the decision of the Nebraska district court and will now analyze the judgment and decide what next steps may be taken," TransCanada Corp. said in a statement. "Nebraska's attorney general has filed an appeal."

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The Two-Way
10:12 am
Thu February 20, 2014

VIDEO: Pussy Riot Defies Ban On Sochi Protests, Skewers Putin

As members of the punk protest group Pussy Riot recorded a song and video in Sochi this week, a uniformed Cossack used a whip to try to stop them. The attack ended up being part of the band's video.
Morry Gash AP

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 1:29 pm

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The Two-Way
9:20 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Korean Families, Long Separated By War, Meet In Border Town

South Korean Park Yang-gon (left) and his North Korean brother Park Yang Soo get emotional as they meet Thursday during the Separated Family Reunion Meeting at Diamond Mountain resort in North Korea.
Park Hae-soo AP

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 2:16 pm

Some 80 elderly South Koreans, long cut off from family members by the Korean War, arrived in North Korea on Thursday for a brief reunion with loved ones they have not seen in decades.

About 180 North Koreans were meeting with 82 elderly South Koreans and 58 of their family members who had traveled by bus to the North Korean resort of Mount Kumgang, or Diamond Mountain. The meetings between family members will take place Feb. 20-25.

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The Two-Way
9:06 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Dip In Weekly Jobless Claims Seen As Sign Of Better Times Ahead

As the weather warms, will more signs such as this pop up? Economists say the latest data on claims for unemployment benefits may signal that better times are ahead.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 10:37 am

There were only 3,000 fewer first-time claims filed for jobless benefits last week, but the slight decline is being seen as another sign that the nation's labor market will gain some strength once spring arrives.

The Employment and Training Administration said Thursday that 336,000 applications were submitted last week, versus 339,000 the week before.

That means the pace of claims is still running about where it's been since late 2011.

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