The Two Way

The Two-Way
3:14 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Top VA Health Official Resigns Amid Scandal Over Treatment Delays

Veterans Affairs Undersecretary Robert Petzel testifies Thursday on Capitol Hill. Petzel tendered his resignation from the VA on Friday.
Cliff Owen AP

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 5:49 pm

This post was updated at 5:45 p.m. ET.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki says he has accepted the resignation of the department's undersecretary for health, a day after both men testified before Congress about a growing controversy over delays in treatment.

"Today, I accepted the resignation of Dr. Robert Petzel, undersecretary for health in the Department of Veterans Affairs," Shinseki said in a statement cited by Reuters.

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The Two-Way
2:30 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

That Darn Cat: 'Hero' Feline Will Throw Out First Pitch At Game

An image taken from a video posted by Roger Triantafilo shows the family's cat, Tara, chasing off a dog after it bit his son, Jeremy.
YouTube

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 4:49 pm

The cat that saved a young boy from an attacking dog became an Internet star this week. Next week, we'll see how Tara the cat does on the ball field: She's been asked to throw out a ceremonial first pitch at a local minor league baseball game.

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The Two-Way
2:25 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Separatists Abandon Government Buildings In Eastern Ukraine

Workers of the Ukrainian company Metinvest clear away debris in a government building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol on Friday. Local patrols by steelworkers have forced pro-Russia separatists to retreat from the government buildings they occupied.
Evgeniy Maloletka AP

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 4:04 pm

Patrols carried out by miners and steelworkers have forced pro-Russian separatists to abandon government buildings in parts of eastern Ukraine after some regions declared independence earlier this week.

The Washington Post reports:

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The Two-Way
12:32 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

After Finding $40,000 In Thrift-Store Couch, Roommates Return Money

Lara Russo (from left), Cally Guasti and Reese Werkhoven found more than $40,000 stashed inside the couch they bought at a Salvation Army store.
Mike Groll AP

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 2:59 pm

Many of us have stories about old couches — particularly ones we had in college, or shortly after. But not many stories are like the one three roommates in New Paltz, N.Y., can now tell.

After the trio realized their beat-up couch was stuffed with more than $40,000, they decided to return the money to its rightful owner.

It all started when roommates Reese Werkhoven, Cally Guasti and Lara Russo realized that the lumps in their couch's pillows were actually envelopes stuffed with money. Just two months earlier, they'd bought the couch for $20 at a Salvation Army store.

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The Two-Way
11:16 am
Fri May 16, 2014

GM Will Pay $35 Million Fine Over Massive Safety Recall

The Chevrolet Cobalt is one of several GM models that were recalled for faulty ignition switches. The carmaker is paying a $35 million penalty.
David Zalubowski AP

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 1:11 pm

The Department of Transportation is ordering General Motors to pay a record $35 million civil penalty for its handling of a recall of more than 2 million vehicles for ignition switch problems. The government says GM violated federal safety laws.

The fine is part of a "consent decree" that's being announced Friday. The agreement also calls for GM to change how it handles review of safety issues.

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The Two-Way
9:56 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Man Charged With Arson In Connection With Calif. Wildfire

Jack Whitlang stands in front of his aunt's home, which burned to the foundation in the Escondido Fire.
Gregory Bull AP

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 8:56 pm

This post was updated at 8:45 p.m. ET

A 57-year-old man was charged with arson in one of 10 wildfires that have swept through San Diego County this week, burning more than 30 square miles and causing millions of dollars in damage.

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The Two-Way
8:32 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Russian Rocket Fails After Launch, Breaking Up Over China

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 10:54 am

With an expensive communication satellite as its payload, a Russian Proton-M rocket broke apart during its third stage last night. The unmanned rocket failed at an altitude of 100 miles — video of the launch showed it flaring across the night sky.

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The Two-Way
7:49 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Landslide Win Puts Opposition Party In Charge In India

India's next prime minister, Narendra Modi, receives a blessing from his mother at her home in the western state of Gujarat on Friday, as election results showed a resounding win for Modi's opposition party.
Ajit Solanki AP

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 4:06 pm

In a historic result, opposition leader Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist party are celebrating a resounding win in India's elections Friday, after ousting the Congress party that has long dominated politics in the world's largest democracy.

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The Two-Way
7:28 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Book News: If Jesus Dictates A Book To You, Who Holds The Copyright?

A seagull flies over a statue of Jesus on the top of St. Peter"s Basilica in Rome.
Andreas Solaro AFP/Getty Images

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

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The Two-Way
7:59 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Minnesota's Legislature OKs Medical Marijuana

Minnesota has approved the sale and use of medical marijuana and Gov. Mark Dayton has said he will sign the legislation.

The state is poised to become the 22nd to legalize the drug for medical purposes.

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The Two-Way
6:31 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Why Jupiter's Red Spot Isn't As Great As It Used To Be

NASA images showing Jupiter's gradually shrinking Great Red Spot.
Hubble Space Telescope NASA

Originally published on Sat July 26, 2014 3:42 pm

Jupiter's Great Red Spot might be, quite literally, the perfect storm: It's a swirling, anti-cyclonic vortex that's big enough to engulf three Earths and has been raging in the atmosphere of the solar system's largest planet for at least 400 years.

Even in a backyard telescope, the Great Red Spot shows up as easily the planet's most prominent feature, sporting "a conspicuous deep red eye embedded in swirling layers of pale yellow, orange and white," as NASA describes it.

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The Two-Way
4:37 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Those California Wildfires Viewed From Space

An image shot by NASA's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Aqua satellite on Wednesday. It shows multiple wildfires in Calif. trailing smoke into the Pacific Ocean.
Lynn Jenner NASA/Goddard

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 12:12 pm

Multiple wildfires in California, fueled by strong Santa Ana winds and scorching temperatures, are so massive that they can easily be seen from space.

As NPR's Alan Greenblatt reports, the fires have affected thousands of acres and put lives and property in jeopardy.

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The Two-Way
4:08 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Gay Marriages Cleared In Arkansas, But On Hold In Idaho

Originally published on Thu May 15, 2014 5:51 pm

More legal wrangling over gay marriage in two states on Thursday:

In Arkansas, Pulaski County Judge Chris Piazza expanded the ruling he issued last week striking down a ban on gay marriage to also eliminate a separate law that prohibited clerks from issuing such marriage licenses.

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The Two-Way
3:11 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

The Turkish Mine Disaster: How Could It Happen?

Miners rest Thursday during a break in the rescue operation after a mine explosion near Soma, Turkey.
Tolga Bozoglu EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu May 15, 2014 5:08 pm

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has enraged families of the victims of the Soma mine disaster by characterizing mining accidents as "ordinary things."

In fact, the disaster appears to have ordinary causes familiar to mining experts, who note that well-known precautions exist to prevent the kind of explosion that killed so many in Turkey.

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The Two-Way
2:46 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Chinese Nationals Flee Vietnam As Unrest Intensifies

Chinese nationals stand by their belongings after crossing to Cambodia from Vietnam at the Bavet international checkpoint in Svay Rieng province, on Thursday. Hundreds of Chinese are fleeing the country as unrest escalates.
Samrang Pring Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu May 15, 2014 6:09 pm

A second day of violence in Vietnam has seen mobs singling out Chinese workers for attack, killing at least one and injuring dozens, as hundreds of Chinese nationals fled the country by land and air. A major foreign-owned steel operation was set ablaze in the country's north.

The unrest has been sparked by China's efforts to deploy an oil platform in disputed waters in the South China Sea, putting tensions on boil and spreading fear of a possible conflict between the neighboring countries that fought a brief border war in 1979.

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The Two-Way
1:11 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Wildfires In San Diego County Continue To Rage Out Of Control

Residents photograph the burning ruins of their home in Carlsbad, Calif., that was destroyed in the Poinsettia fire, one of nine wildfires that have erupted in San Diego County.
David McNew Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 15, 2014 10:26 pm

Updated at 10:20 p.m. ET.:

Authorities in San Diego County ordered additional evacuations Thursday afternoon as a wildfire began "making an extreme run," as one state fire captain said.

The Associated Press is reporting that a badly burned body found in a transient camp in Carlsbad is the first reported fatality from the wildfires. The city says it had no information about person who died.

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The Two-Way
11:48 am
Thu May 15, 2014

FCC Gives Initial OK To New Internet Traffic Rules

Demonstrators protest outside the Federal Communications Commission Thursday. The agency voted to open new proposed rules for public comment, including a discussion of whether "paid prioritization" should be banned.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 15, 2014 5:40 pm

New rules for how Internet traffic is governed were officially unveiled and approved for public comment following a 3-2 vote Thursday by members of the Federal Communications Commission.

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The Two-Way
11:06 am
Thu May 15, 2014

'She's A Hero!' Boy Says Of Cat Who Fought Off Attacking Dog

An image taken from a video posted by Roger Triantafilo shows a dog closing in on his son Jeremy earlier this week. The family's cat fought off the dog after it bit the 4-year-old boy.
YouTube

Originally published on Thu May 15, 2014 7:15 pm

A family's story of how their cat ran off a dog that had attacked their young son is making waves far beyond Bakersfield, Calif., as the incident was captured in a dramatic video. Surveillance cameras caught the dog viciously biting Jeremy Triantafilo and dragging him — before the family cat rushes to his rescue.

"She's a hero!" 4-year-old Jeremy said of the cat, Tara, in an interview with KERO 23 TV. He said, "I love Tara a whole lot."

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The Two-Way
10:57 am
Thu May 15, 2014

VA's Shinseki 'Mad As Hell' Over Alleged Delays At Facility

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki testifies before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee on Thursday in Washington, D.C.
Cliff Owen AP

Originally published on Thu May 15, 2014 2:42 pm

Updated at 2:33 p.m. ET

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki told a Senate panel today [Thursday] that he hoped to have a preliminary report within three weeks on the problem of delayed treatment and preventable deaths at VA facilities across the nation.

His testimony came amid allegations that such conditions persisted at a VA hospital in Phoenix. Shinseki said he was "mad as hell" about the reports.

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The Two-Way
8:32 am
Thu May 15, 2014

Turkish Mine Explosion: Angry Protests As Death Toll Rises

People dig graves Thursday for miners who died in an explosion in Soma, Turkey. Anger over what's being called the deadliest industrial accident in the country's history has set off protests nationwide.
Bulent Kilic AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 15, 2014 10:42 am

The death toll in the coal mine explosion in Turkey keeps rising, and anger over the incident has spread around the country. Thousands of people staged protests after a speech from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in which he suggested such accidents are unavoidable.

Officials say at least 282 mine workers have died in the incident in the city of Soma. That figure seems certain to rise, as about 100 people are still missing. The mine explosion is already being called the deadliest industrial disaster in Turkey's history.

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The Two-Way
8:00 am
Thu May 15, 2014

Book News: Rush Limbaugh Wins Children's Book 'Author Of The Year' Award

Rush Limbaugh, pictured in 2013, was honored at the Children's Choice Book Awards for his bestselling book Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims: Time-Travel Adventures With Exceptional Americans.
Bill Pugliano Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 15, 2014 7:34 pm

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

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The Two-Way
7:09 am
Thu May 15, 2014

10,000 Gallons Of Oil Spill In LA Neighborhood

Originally published on Thu May 15, 2014 3:30 pm

Crude oil geysered high into the air in northeast Los Angeles early Thursday morning, creating a spill that fire officials say was knee-deep in some spots. The spill happened in an industrial section of Atwater Village, causing the evacuation of a nearby strip club.

Update at 8:10 a.m. ET: Oil Estimate Downgraded

After initially saying that "over 50,000" gallons of oil had spilled from a ruptured pipeline, Los Angeles Fire Department officials now say the correct figure is about 10,000 gallons.

Our original post continues:

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The Two-Way
8:59 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Two Dead Following Attacks On Anti-Government Protesters In Bangkok

An anti-government protester waves the Thai flag during a rally in Bangkok, on Wednesday.
Vincent Thian AP

Originally published on Thu May 15, 2014 1:46 pm

An attack on anti-government protesters in Thailand's capital, Bangkok, has left at least two people dead and more than 20 wounded, Thai authorities say.

The incident marks renewed violence between supporters and opponents of ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who was removed from her post last week by the country's Constitutional Court along with nine of her Cabinet ministers. Her Pheu Thai party, however, remains in power.

The Associated Press writes:

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