The Two Way

The Two-Way
1:30 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

N.J. Lt. Gov. Denies Strong-Arming Mayor Over Sandy Relief Funds

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie joins Lt. Gov. and Secretary of State Kim Guadagno (right) at a statewide prayer service in Newark marking the one-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, in October.
Eric Thayer AP

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 6:34 pm

New Jersey's Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno is firing back at Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, who says Superstorm Sandy recovery funds to her city were held up when she refused to sign off on a politically connected real estate deal.

Zimmer said over the weekend that during a mall opening event in May, Guadagno pulled her aside to say she needed to "move forward" on the real estate deal or "we are not going to be able to help you."

Zimmer says she asked the state for $100 million in aid. She received around $142,000.

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The Two-Way
11:40 am
Mon January 20, 2014

U.S., EU Lift Some Iran Sanctions After Assurances On Uranium

An IAEA team checks the enrichment process inside the uranium enrichment plant Natanz in central Iran on Monday.
Kazem Ghane EPA/Landov

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 4:46 pm

This post was updated at 11:40 a.m. ET.

The United States and European Union say they will lift some sanctions against Iran after reports from international inspectors that Tehran has suspended high-level enrichment of uranium under an interim pact to scale back its nuclear program.

The Associated Press reports:

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The Two-Way
10:41 am
Mon January 20, 2014

U.N. Rescinds Offer For Iran To Take Part In Syrian Peace Talks

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses the media during a news conference at U.N. headquarters in New York on Sunday.
Jason Szenes EPA/Landov

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 6:06 am

This post was updated at 4:35 p.m. ET.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has withdrawn an invitation to Iran to participate in Syrian peace talks after groups opposing President Bashar Assad's regime threatened a boycott of the discussions if Tehran got a seat at the table.

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The Two-Way
9:11 am
Mon January 20, 2014

American Held In North Korea Asks U.S. To Secure His Release

American missionary Kenneth Bae leaves after speaking to reporters at Pyongyang Friendship Hospital on Monday.
Kim Kwang Hyon AP

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 4:38 pm

American missionary Kenneth Bae, who's been held for more than a year in North Korea following his arrest and trial on espionage charges, spoke to reporters for Western media on Monday, calling for the U.S. government to help win his freedom.

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The Two-Way
7:21 am
Mon January 20, 2014

Book News: Amazon Wants To Ship Products Before You Even Buy Them

An employee prepares an order at Amazon's fulfillment center in San Bernardino, Calif.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 1:34 pm

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

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The Two-Way
6:23 pm
Sun January 19, 2014

United Nations Invites Iran To First Day Of Syrian Peace Negotiations

Originally published on Sun January 19, 2014 8:32 pm

Update at 8:27 p.m. EST State From U.S. Department of State:

State Department spokesman Jen Psaki said in a statement Sunday that Iran's invitation must be rescinded unless Iran makes "explicit and public support for the full implementation of the Geneva communique including the establishment of a transitional governing body by mutual consent with full executive authorities."

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The Two-Way
4:02 pm
Sun January 19, 2014

Obama: Marijuana Is Not 'More Dangerous Than Alcohol'

President Barack Obama.
Getty Images

The New Yorker has just dropped an extensive profile of President Obama by David Remnick, who wrote a major book on the president published in 2011.

It's nuanced and touches on issues like gay marriage and Israel and Palestine. But Obama also drops this bombshell about marijuana: "I don't think it is more dangerous than alcohol."

Obama goes on to add more nuance to the statement. Here's the context for the statement:

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The Two-Way
2:13 pm
Sun January 19, 2014

House Intelligence Chairman Implies Snowden Had Help From Russians

Edward Snowden.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun January 19, 2014 4:06 pm

Rep. Mike Rogers made some strong allegations against former NSA contractor Edward Snowden on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday.

Rogers, a Republican from Michigan, implied that Snowden received helped from Russia's security service both to steal the highly classified documents and then to travel to Russia, where he received temporary asylum.

NBC News reports:

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The Two-Way
11:52 am
Sun January 19, 2014

At Least 10 Arrested In Calif. During Officer Acquittals Protest

At least 10 demonstrators were arrested on Saturday in Fullerton, Calif., after a protest over two officers acquitted in the death of a homeless man turned violent.

The Los Angeles Times reports that most of the arrests came after a television news videographer was attacked and police issued an order ending the rally. The paper adds:

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The Two-Way
10:42 am
Sun January 19, 2014

Syria Denies Reports Of President Assad's Defiant Comments

Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Louai Beshara AFP/Getty Images

The Syrian government says a report by Russian media that said President Bashar Assad is not willing to step aside are "not accurate."

Reuters reports that state media said that the Russian news service Interfax "did not conduct an interview" with Assad.

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The Two-Way
10:18 am
Sun January 19, 2014

Former NBA Star Dennis Rodman Checks Into Alcohol Rehab

Former NBA basketball player Dennis Rodman waits to check in for his flight to North Korea after his arrival at Beijing's international airport on Monday.
Wang Zhao AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun January 19, 2014 10:19 am

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman has checked into an alcohol rehabilitation center in the east coast, his agent tells CNN.

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The Two-Way
8:13 am
Sun January 19, 2014

Dozens Injured By Blast At Anti-Government Rally In Thailand

Police examine the scene of an explosion at a anti-government protest site on Sunday in Bangkok, Thailand.
Ed Wray Getty Images

At least 28 people were injured when a blast went off during an anti-government rally in Bangkok, Thailand on Sunday.

The Wall Street Journal reports the attack raises fear that the political crisis in the country is worsening. The paper adds:

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The Two-Way
4:58 pm
Sat January 18, 2014

Hoboken Mayor Says Christie Administration Held Sandy Aid 'Hostage'

Originally published on Sun January 19, 2014 10:06 am

The mayor of Hoboken, N.J., says the administration of Gov. Chris Christie told her if she did not back a local development deal, her city would not receive the aid she asked for to rebuild after Super Storm Sandy.

Dawn Zimmer, a Democrat, made the comments about the Republican administration in an interview with MSNBC on Saturday.

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The Two-Way
3:32 pm
Sat January 18, 2014

Watch: The Metrodome Roof Deflates In 35 Minutes

Fans cheer on Dec. 29, during the last NFL football game ever played at the Metrodome in Minneapolis.
Ann Heisenfelt AP

The roof of the Metrodome in Minneapolis was deflated one last time this morning.

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The Two-Way
1:51 pm
Sat January 18, 2014

Missouri Bill Would Add Firing Squad As Death Penalty Option

This is the execution room at the Potosi Correctional Center in Potosi, Miss., as it looked on Jan. 17, 1990. Death by lethal injection was the method used at the prison.
AP

Originally published on Sat January 18, 2014 3:28 pm

A bill introduced in the Missouri Statehouse adds a firing squad as an option for carrying out the death penalty in the state.

The bill would give the state another option besides lethal gas and lethal injection, which has run into speed bumps because pharmaceutical companies have halted the sale of one of the drugs used in those executions.

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The Two-Way
12:41 pm
Sat January 18, 2014

Syrian Coalition Votes To Attend Geneva Peace Talks

Originally published on Sat January 18, 2014 3:16 pm

The Western-backed umbrella group of Syrian rebels has voted to attend peace talks with the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad in the Swiss city of Montreux.

The National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces made the announcement on Twitter on Saturday after a vote held in Istanbul, Turkey.

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The Two-Way
12:01 pm
Sat January 18, 2014

Dissenters Pushed Aside, Egyptian Voters Approve New Constitution

A boy looks at Egypt's security forces as they try to disperse supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi in Cairo on Friday.
Aly Hazzaa AP

Originally published on Sat January 18, 2014 3:02 pm

Almost all Egyptians who turned out to vote last week approved a new constitution, Egypt's Supreme Electoral Committee said on Saturday, according to the state-owned newspaper Al Ahram.

The newspaper reports that 38.6 percent of registered voters went to the polls and 98.1 percent of them voted in favor of the new constitution in the first vote since Mohammed Morsi was toppled in a 2013 coup.

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The Two-Way
12:00 pm
Sat January 18, 2014

India Reels Over Sudden Death Of Official's Wife

Shashi Tharoor listens to his wife Sunanda Pushkar at their wedding reception in New Delhi, India in 2010.
AP

Originally published on Sat January 18, 2014 4:21 pm

India is reeling after the death of Sunanda Pushkar, the wife of government minister Shashi Tharoor. As NPR's Julie McCarthy reports from New Delhi, Tharoor, who was a United Nations official for years, and his wife had been at the center of a social media scandal that grabbed national headlines.

Julie filed this report for our Newscast unit:

"Tharoor, the flamboyant diplomat turned politician, found his wife Pushkar dead in a room at a luxury hotel in Delhi.

"The cause of death is under investigation.

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The Two-Way
9:36 am
Sat January 18, 2014

UPDATED: Student In Philadelphia School Shooting Surrenders

Originally published on Sat January 18, 2014 4:12 pm

Update at 4:10 p.m. ET. Student Surrenders:

A 17-year-old suspected in a shooting that injured two students at a Philadelphia school has turned himself over to police.

Philly.com reports:

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The Two-Way
8:17 am
Sat January 18, 2014

Ukraine's President Approves Anti-Protest Law

Originally published on Sat January 18, 2014 2:43 pm

After weeks of demonstrations, Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych signed into law new regulations which he hopes will curb anti-government protests.

The Washington Post calls the new laws "draconian," prohibiting "almost any protest." The paper adds:

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The Two-Way
4:05 am
Sat January 18, 2014

IMF, U.N. Staff Among 21 Killed In Kabul Restaurant Attack

Afghanistan security forces help an injured man from the scene of the attack, where at least 21 — mostly foreigners — were killed.
Massoud Hossaini AP

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 1:19 pm

A suicide attack at a Kabul restaurant popular with foreign nationals killed at least 21 people on Friday, including the country director for the International Monetary Fund and four United Nations employees.

The attacker exploded a bomb at the restaurant gates, clearing the way for two gunmen to enter and start shooting indiscriminately, reports NPR's Sean Carberry. Afghan security forces killed the gunmen in a shootout.

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The Two-Way
8:29 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

California's Governor Declares Drought State Of Emergency

Gov. Jerry Brown holds a chart showing California's average precipitation as he declares a drought state of emergency for the state Friday. Brown asked residents to voluntarily reduce water usage by 20 percent.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Saying that his state must take steps to plan for prolonged water shortages, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency over an extended drought Friday. California faces "water shortfalls in the driest year in recorded state history," according to the governor's office.

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The Two-Way
7:07 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Federal Judge Says N.C. Ultrasound Abortion Law Is Illegal

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 7:16 pm

A controversial North Carolina law requiring women who want to have an abortion to undergo an ultrasound scan is illegal, according to a federal judge's ruling issued Friday. The state's law required that the women have a medical professional tell them what the image depicts. It also said the women should "listen to the heartbeat of the unborn child."

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The Two-Way
6:26 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Supreme Court To Decide If Warrant Needed To Search Cellphone

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide if police can seize and look through a suspect's cellphone without getting a warrant. This photo shows women in Los Angeles using smartphones on Jan. 7.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court is delving into the technology-versus-privacy debate, agreeing to hear two cases that test whether police making an arrest may search cellphones without a warrant.

The court's announcement Friday that it would take the cases came just hours after President Obama outlined his proposals to address government retention of citizen phone data as part of his speech outlining reforms at the National Security Agency.

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