The Two Way

The Two-Way
5:39 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Obama Signs Trillion-Dollar Federal Spending Bill

President Obama signed the $1.1 trillion spending bill into law Friday afternoon, enacting more than 1,500 pages of legislation that received broad support in the House and Senate earlier this week. The expansive bill ensures the U.S. government won't face a potential shutdown until at least October.

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The Two-Way
5:15 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Chemical Company In West Virginia Water Crisis Files For Bankruptcy

Freedom Industries, which has been blamed for a chemical spill that left thousands of people without water, has filed for bankruptcy. The company's facility on Barlow St. is seen here on the banks of the Elk River in Charleston, West Virginia.
Tom Hindman Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 7:40 pm

Freedom Industries, the West Virginia company that's been blamed for a chemical spill that left around 300,000 people without water for days, has filed for bankruptcy. The chemical used in cleaning coal leaked into the Elk River and into the public water system.

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The Two-Way
3:29 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Pope Benedict Reportedly Defrocked Hundreds Of Priests For Abuse

Pope Benedict XVI, seen here in London in 2010, defrocked nearly 400 priests from 2011-2012 for abusing children, according to a document from the Holy See that was obtained by the AP.
Peter Nicholls AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 7:13 pm

In a period of just over two years, Pope Benedict XVI defrocked nearly 400 priests for molesting children, according to the AP, which says it obtained a document representing a rare collection of such data.

As of Friday afternoon, NPR hasn't independently confirmed the AP's information, not having seen the document. Here's a bit of context from NPR's Sylvia Poggioli in Rome:

"If confirmed, the number of nearly 400 marks a sharp increase over the 170 priests removed in 2008 and 2009, when the Vatican first provided details on the number of defrocked priests.

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The Two-Way
2:44 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

What's Inside This Mystery House In North Carolina?

A close look at this house at 3215 Wade Ave. in Raleigh, N.C., suggests not all is as it seems. There isn't a driveway, for instance, and there's no walkway to the front door.
Eric Mennel WUNC

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 5:17 pm

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The Two-Way
2:26 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Gen. Dempsey: Better To Get Others To Solve Their Own Problems

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, talking to U.S. military personnel in Tokyo last April.
Kyodo/Landov
  • Gen. Martin Dempsey on the situation in Iraq
  • Gen. Martin Dempsey on the looming budget crisis
  • Gen. Martin Dempsey on his 'sacred obligation' to the troops

On Morning Edition, NPR's Tom Bowman profiled Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Dempsey, as Tom reported, says the U.S. public, and even its leaders, know little about how military power can be used. The disconnect is most glaring when comes to this: What can the U.S. military achieve in places like Iraq, Afghanistan or Syria?

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The Two-Way
1:38 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Water's Back On For Just About Everyone In West Virginia

The do-not-use advisory has been lifted for nearly all water users in the nine counties of West Virginia where a chemical spill last week left about 300,000 people unable to use what was coming out of their taps.

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The Two-Way
12:39 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

India Unveils Handgun For Women After Much-Publicized Rapes

Indians participated in a candlelight vigil last month to mark the anniversary of the death of a young woman who was gang raped and murdered in New Delhi. Indian media dubbed the woman "Nirbhaya," or fearless. Now, after other high-profile rapes in the country, India has unveiled a handgun for women.
Tsering Topgyal AP

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 2:43 pm

There's been a steady stream of stories over the past year about the rapes of women in India. Now, Indian officials have unveiled a gun they say women can use to protect themselves.

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The Two-Way
12:38 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Wells Fargo, Fifth Third, U.S. Bank To End Payday Loan Program

Originally published on Sat January 18, 2014 8:09 am

Wells Fargo & Co., Fifth Third Bank and U.S. Bank said Friday that they will stop offering "deposit advances," a kind of payday loan that had come under fire by federal regulators last year.

With about $1.5 trillion in assets, Wells Fargo was the largest bank offering the costly, low-dollar loans. Regions Bank announced an end to deposit advances earlier this week.

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The Two-Way
11:40 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Obama Calls For Limits On NSA's Collection Of Phone Data

President Obama speaks about the National Security Agency and intelligence agencies surveillance techniques during a speech Friday at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 2:20 pm

  • LISTEN: President Obama's national security address

(This post was most recently updated at 1:30 p.m. ET.)

Saying that "critics are right to point out that without proper safeguards, this type of program could be used to yield more information about our private lives," President Obama said Friday that he wants the National Security Agency to stop holding on to massive amounts of "metadata" about the phone calls and electronic communications of millions of people around the world.

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The Two-Way
10:40 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Struck Down

Before the voter ID law was put on hold, this Penndot Drivers License Center in Butler, Pa., displayed signs promoting the requirement for voters to show an acceptable photo ID at the polls.
Keith Srakocic AP

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 5:17 pm

Ruling that "voting laws are designed to assure a free and fair election" and that Pennsylvania's "Voter ID Law does not further this goal," a state judge on Friday struck down that controversial statute.

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard McGinley's ruling is posted here.

The Associated Press writes that:

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The Two-Way
10:12 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Fair Or Foul? Baseball Expands Use Of Instant Replay

Upon further review ... Boston Red Sox baserunner Jonny Gomes, right, would still be safe at home during last fall's World Series.
Rhona Wise EPA/Landov

After balking for years, Major League Baseball is dramatically expanding its use of instant replay in the hope that blown calls will be corrected by umpires in a New York City studio who will be able to review them from multiple angles.

MLB.com writes that:

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The Two-Way
8:28 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Japanese Soldier Who Fought On For 29 Years After WWII Dies

Hiroo Onoda, who wouldn't surrender for nearly three decades and continued to battle with villagers in the Philippines, in March 1974 after he was convinced to give up.
Kyodo /Landov

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 11:14 am

Hiroo Onoda, a Japanese intelligence officer who for 29 years after the end of World War II continued to hide, fight and kill in the jungles of the Philippines because he did not believe the war was over, has died.

Japan's Asahi Shimbun says Onoda died Thursday in a Tokyo hospital where he was being treated for pneumonia. He was 91. The newspaper sums up the story of Onoda's post-war years this way:

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The Two-Way
7:30 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Obama Expected To Say NSA Should Not Hold 'Metadata'

Nicolas Armer DPA/LANDOV

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 9:51 am

President Obama is expected to announce Friday morning that he is "ordering a transition that will significantly change the handling of what is known as the telephone 'metadata' " that the National Security Agency collects, officials are telling Reuters and NPR.

The wire service, which broke the story, writes that:

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The Two-Way
7:16 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Book News: Hilary Mantel's New Book Reportedly Will Star Margaret Thatcher

Hilary Mantel accepted the award for Costa Book Of The Year in January 2013 in London.
Stuart Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 8:37 am

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

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The Two-Way
7:45 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

'Google Glass Driver' Is Cleared In San Diego Court

Cecilia Abadie wears her Google Glass as she talks with her attorney outside traffic court in December. A California Highway Patrol officer gave Abadie two citations in October; she was cleared of both infractions Thursday.
Lenny Ignelzi AP

Cecilia Abadie, the motorist who was cited for allegedly speeding — and driving while wearing Google Glass — has won her day in court, after a San Diego traffic commissioner ruled there was no proof Abadie had the device's screen on while she drove.

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The Two-Way
7:07 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Gilligan's 'The Professor' Has Died; Russell Johnson Was 89

Actor Russell Johnson, the Professor on Gilligan's Island, has died at age 89. He's seen here at far left seated next to Bob Denver, along with fellow cast members from left, Jim Backus, Natalie Schafer, Tina Louise, Alan Hale Jr., and Dawn Wells.
CBS /Landov

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 8:09 pm

Russell Johnson, the actor whose job it was to be the voice of reason and calm on an island of shipwrecked ninnies, has died at age 89, according to reports. Johnson's role as the Professor on the 1960s comedy Gilligan's Island endeared him to audiences who watched him build radios and generators from things like coconuts and palm branches.

Johnson reportedly died of natural causes today at his home in Bainbridge Island, Wash.

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The Two-Way
7:00 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

With Senate's OK, $1.1 Trillion Spending Bill Heads To Obama

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 7:44 pm

A massive $1.1 trillion spending bill has gained Senate approval, allowing Congress to send a wide-ranging bill to President Obama for his signature. The massive bill will prevent any gaps in government funding as well as take some of the sting out of automatic spending cuts.

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The Two-Way
5:11 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

5 Changes To The NSA You Might Hear In Obama's Speech

Protesters in Hanover, Germany, hold placards amid hundreds of demonstrators protesting the surveillance programs of the U.S. National Security Agency in July.
Peter Steffen EPA/Landov

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 2:34 pm

A committee tasked by the White House with reviewing U.S. electronic surveillance has come up with 46 proposed changes to National Security Agency spying practices. Here are arguments for and against five recommendations that President Obama may take up in a speech announcing policy changes Friday:


Limit Access To Bulk Telephone Data

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The Two-Way
5:10 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

NSA Reportedly Collected Millions Of Phone Texts Every Day

The NSA used a program codenamed Dishfire to collect text messages worldwide that were then used to extract location and financial data, according to The Guardian. Here, women use their cellphones in Los Angeles earlier this month.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

As recently as 2011, the National Security Agency was collecting almost 200 million text messages each day, according to a new story by The Guardian that cites documents from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The texts were used to develop financial and location data, the newspaper says.

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The Two-Way
4:06 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

3 Arrested In Southern California Fire

A wildfire burns in the hills just north of the San Gabriel Valley community of Glendora, Calif., on Thursday.
Nick Ut AP

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 6:10 am

This post was last updated at 9 p.m. ET.

Authorities have arrested three men on charges of recklessly starting a fire that has swept through more than 1,700 acres in Southern California's San Gabriel Mountains, about 25 miles northeast of Los Angeles. It is currently 30 percent contained. Authorities say they have ordered people evacuated from 1,000 homes.

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The Two-Way
3:35 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

In Search For Habitable Planets, Why Stop At 'Earth-Like'?

Kepler-22b, seen in this artist's rendering, is a planet a bit larger than Earth that orbits in the habitable zone of its star. Some researchers think there might be "superhabitable" worlds that may not resemble Earth.
NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 12:19 pm

In their hunt for potentially habitable planets around distant stars, scientists have been so focused on finding Earth-like planets that they're ignoring the possibility that other kinds of planets might be even friendlier to life, a new report says.

So-called superhabitable worlds wouldn't necessarily look like Earth but would nonetheless have conditions that are more suitable for life to emerge and evolve, according to the study published this month in the journal Astrobiology.

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The Two-Way
3:19 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

First Union Vote At An Amazon Warehouse In The U.S. Fails

An Amazon.com employee stocks products along one of the many miles of aisles at an Amazon.com Fulfillment Center in Phoenix last month.
Ross D. Franklin AP

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 6:07 am

Employees at an Amazon.com facility have decided against forming a labor union. The vote last night was the first of its kind in Amazon's history.

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The Two-Way
2:44 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

In London, The Case Of The Purloined Water Lily

One of the world's rarest flowers has been stolen, Britain's Kew Gardens announced this week. The water lily Nymphaea thermarum is seen here in 2010.
Andrew McRobb AP

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The Two-Way
2:28 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

New Drug Combination Takes 24 Minutes To Execute Ohio Killer

Dennis McGuire was executed Thursday.
Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction AP

The state of Ohio on Thursday conducted its first execution since running out of the lethal injection drug pentobarbital.

Reporter Alan Johnson from The Columbus Dispatch was among those who watched as convicted killer and rapist Dennis McGuire was put to death. Here is some of Johnson's description of what happened:

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