The Two Way

The Two-Way
6:58 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Mexican Official Says Six Arrested In Cobalt-60 Heist

A firefighter stands next to the radiation head which contained the stolen cobalt-60.
Marco Ugarte AP

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 8:03 pm

The Associated Press is quoting a Mexican government official as saying six people in the hospital for possible radiation exposure are suspects in this week's theft of a shipment of radioactive cobalt-60.

The unnamed official tells the AP that the suspects were arrested on Thursday and were taken to the general hospital in Pachuca for observation and testing.

The news agency quotes Hidalgo state Health Minister Pedro Luis Noble as saying none are in grave condition and may be released soon.

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The Two-Way
5:11 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Religious Violence Escalates In Central African Republic

A French soldier looks out from an armored vehicle during a patrol through the streets of Bangui, on Thursday.
Sia Kambou AFP/Getty Images

France has sent troops to the Central African Republic after violence there flared between Muslim and Christian militias amid reports that the death toll from fighting had reached 280.

The Associated Press reports:

"[Mostly] Muslim armed fighters who have ruled the country since March hunted door-to-door for their enemies. Bodies lay decomposing along the roads in a capital [Bangui] too dangerous for many to collect the corpses."

Reuters says the former French colony

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The Two-Way
5:08 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

President Obama Lights National Christmas Tree

President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, daughters Sasha and Malia, applaud after lightng the National Christmas Tree at a ceremony across from the White House in Washington, on Friday.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 6:20 pm

President Obama threw the switch on the National Christmas Tree on Friday amid a constant rain that soaked many of the estimated 17,000 attendees.

"We're going to start at 5 since it's a little wet and we shouldn't start at 10," the president said before hitting the switch that lit the giant tree.

The ceremony was accompanied by celebrity performances from Mariah Carey, Aretha Franklin and others.

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The Two-Way
3:39 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Pantone's 'Orchid' Is A Purple Hue That Doesn't Seem The Same

'Radiant Orchid' is Pantone's Color of the Year for 2014.
Pantone

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 7:35 pm

An "enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones" known as Radiant Orchid is Pantone's Color of the Year for 2014, unseating the more verdantly inclined Emerald that dominated the previous 12 months.

Pantone Color Institute, which describes itself as a global authority on color, describes its latest pick as "a captivating, magical, enigmatic purple" whose "rosy undertones radiate on the skin, producing a healthy glow when worn by both men and women."

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The Two-Way
2:46 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Shanghai's Choking Smog Registers 'Beyond Index'

A building under construction is covered with haze in Shanghai on Friday. The city's pollution index is at its highest ever, officials say.
Eugene Hoshiko AP

In the latest smog-related health scare in China, officials in Shanghai on Friday ordered schoolchildren to stay indoors, halted all construction and even delayed flights in and out of the city, which has been enveloped in a thick blanket of haze, reducing visibility in places to less than 150 feet.

NPR's Frank Langfitt reports from Shanghai that the commercial capital's Air Quality Index soared above 500 for the first time ever, according to government sensors. He says officials described the readings as "beyond index" — in layman's terms, off-the-charts awful.

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The Two-Way
2:41 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Italian Court Convicts Egyptian Cleric Abducted By CIA

An Egyptian cleric abducted in 2003 in Milan, Italy, under the CIA's program of extraordinary rendition was convicted of terrorism charges Friday in Italy and sentenced in absentia to six years in prison.

The cleric, Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, now lives in Egypt and is unlikely to return to Italy to serve the sentence.

Italy had been in the process of investigating Nasr, who they suspected of terrorism, when he was snatched and transferred to Egypt via Germany. Nasr said he was tortured in Egypt.

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The Two-Way
12:57 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

U.S. Flags Lowered For Mandela, A Rare Honor For Foreign Leaders

The U.S. flag flies at half-staff over the White House in Washington, D.C., in honor of former South African President Nelson Mandela.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 3:44 pm

After the death of Nelson Mandela, President Obama ordered that U.S. flags on government buildings be flown at half-staff until Monday evening — a symbolic gesture of a nation in mourning.

It's a tradition observed by countries around the world, one that began as early as the 17th century. Mental Floss reports:

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The Two-Way
12:49 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

World Cup 2014 Draw Is Set: U.S. Will Face Germany, Portugal, Ghana

FIFA Secretary-General Jerome Valcke shows a paper with the name of the Korea Republic as Brazilian presenter Fernanda Lima looks on during the final draw of the Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup Friday.
Christophe Simon AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 2:53 pm

The final draw of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil was announced Friday. The U.S. team will face Germany, Portugal and Ghana in Group G; host Brazil will face world No. 16 Croatia in Group A. Only the top two teams of each group advance to the next round.

The draw puts the U.S., currently ranked as the world's No. 14 team, in the same group with the world's No. 2 (Germany) and No. 5 (Portugal). Ghana is ranked 24th. The showdown with Germany has the potential to be bittersweet for Jürgen Klinsmann, the coach of the U.S. team who was a star for German World Cup teams in the 1990s.

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The Two-Way
10:57 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Paneer Pizza: Domino's Sees India Becoming Second-Largest Market

An employee rides a motorcycle to deliver Domino's pizzas in New Delhi this past May. Domino's Pizza CEO J. Patrick Doyle says India is poised to become the chain's largest market outside the U.S., on the strength of a menu tailored to Indians' tastes.
Anindito Mukherjee Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 1:40 pm

In recent years, Domino's Pizza has rapidly expanded overseas — helping it open stores at a faster clip than Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts, according to Forbes. Part of that growth is in India, which company CEO J. Patrick Doyle says is poised to supplant Britain as the chain's largest market outside the U.S.

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The Two-Way
8:56 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Eyes Turn To The Fed As Unemployment Rate Falls To 5-Year Low

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 11:41 am

(This post was updated at 10:15 a.m. ET)

The nation's unemployment rate dropped to 7 percent — the lowest mark in five years — and employers added 203,000 jobs to payrolls last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

The latest data could build anticipation that the Federal Reserve might taper its stimulus program.

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The Two-Way
8:55 am
Fri December 6, 2013

LISTEN: Two Mandela Speeches That Made History

South African National Congress President Nelson Mandela delivers an address in 1990.
Trevor Samson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 12:46 pm

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The Two-Way
7:44 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Snow, Freezing Rain Move East To Put A Chill On The Weekend

Snow and ice will hit a broad area from Texas to the Ohio Valley on Friday and Saturday, the National Weather Service says. This composite satellite image was taken at 6:15 a.m. ET Friday.
NOAA

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 8:48 pm

(This story was updated at 8:30 p.m. ET)

Wind-whipped freezing rain were moving through large parts of the nation on Friday, with the major winter storm blamed for a traffic death in Dallas and the deaths of four people from hypothermia in California.

The Associated Press says "more than a thousand flights have been canceled, football and basketball games postponed and holiday celebrations including town tree lightings and parades curtailed."

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The Two-Way
7:42 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Book News: Remembering Nelson Mandela, The Author

Nelson Mandela, pictured at a concert at London's Hyde Park in 2008. Mandela died Thursday in South Africa. He was 95.
Gareth Davies Getty Images

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

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The Two-Way
6:23 am
Fri December 6, 2013

A Mix Of Joy, Sadness: South Africans Mourn, Celebrate Mandela

A woman prays outside the house of former South African President Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg on Friday, the day after his death.
Stephane de Sakutin AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 1:20 pm

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The Two-Way
9:12 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Thai King Calls For Stability Amid Political Unrest

Anti-Government protesters shout during a celebration in Bangkok for the Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej on his 86th birthday, on Thursday.
Ed Wray Getty Images

Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej, in an address marking his 86th birthday, called on his people to do their duty "for stability, security of our nation" in an apparent reference to ongoing anti-government protests.

While avoiding a direct reference to the sometimes violent demonstrations that have rocked the capital, Bangkok, in recent weeks, the world's longest-serving monarch, said "All Thais should ... behave and perform our duties accordingly, our duty for the sake of the public, for stability, security for our nation of Thailand."

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The Two-Way
7:40 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Mandela Is Remembered On Social Media

Many social media were dominated Thursday with remembrances of Nelson Mandela and statements about his life and legacy. Here are a few selections from our staff and our audience.

What impact did Mandela have on your life? You can tell us below.

The Two-Way
6:23 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

World Reflects On The Life Of Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela with South African President F.W. de Klerk in May 1990. Mandela died Thursday at 95.
Denis Farrell AP

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 8:18 am

Nelson Mandela, who became an icon of the struggle for racial equality during a decades-long struggle against South Africa's apartheid system, is being remembered across the globe on Thursday following his death at age 95.

Mandela died after a prolonged lung infection, which had been a recurring problem for him since his days as a prisoner of conscience on South Africa's Robben Island. He served 27 years at the notorious jail.

"He is now resting. He is now at peace," South African President Jacob Zuma said in an address to the nation.

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The Two-Way
4:30 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Illinois Governor Signs Pension Rescue Plan

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 6:52 pm

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has signed into law a sweeping overhaul in the state's underfunded pension system that's aimed at closing a $100 billion shortfall.

As we reported earlier this week, the legislation is almost certain to face legal obstacles from public employee unions that oppose it.

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The Two-Way
3:51 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

White House: President Briefly Lived With Kenyan-Born Uncle

Onyango Obama, President Obama's Kenyan-born uncle, arrives at U.S. Immigration Court in Boston on Tuesday for a deportation hearing.
Steven Senne AP

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 7:08 pm

The White House has acknowledged that as a student at Harvard Law School in the 1980s, the president briefly lived with his Kenyan-born uncle, after it first denied the two had ever met.

Earlier this week, Onyango Obama, 69, faced a deportation that resulted from a 2011 drunken-driving arrest. At the hearing, which he won, the judge asked about his family, and Onyango replied that he had a nephew named Barack Obama, adding, "He's the president of the United States."

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The Two-Way
3:44 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Some Stranded Whales In Fla. Moving Out To Sea

A dead pilot whale lies near the beach in a remote area of Florida's Everglades National Park, on Wednesday.
Lynne Sladky AP

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 3:49 pm

Wildlife officials in southwest Florida who are struggling to save dozens of beached pilot whales say there's hope that at least some of the animals might escape after they spotted at least 20 of them swimming in deeper water.

The Associated Press reports:

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The Two-Way
2:32 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Cuteness Alert: Christmas Cats TV Is Streaming Live

A still image taken from Christmas Cat TV, which features an eight-hour streaming video of a "cat lady" and an elf hanging out with cats — some of them in holiday sweaters.
Christmas Cat TV

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 6:27 am

If you love cats and adore Christmas, do we ever have the website for you. It takes the concept of "reality TV" in new directions — eight solid hours a day of streaming video of cats in a holiday setting.

The scene you'll find at Christmas Cats TV is a unique one. A woman sits in a den that includes a Christmas tree, a hearth and some presents — and a whole lot of cats, some of which have been cajoled into wearing Christmas sweaters.

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The Two-Way
2:29 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Prosecutor: No Charges Against FSU Quarterback Jameis Winston

Jameis Winston of the Florida State Seminoles attempts a pass during the game against the Florida Gators on Nov. 30.
Sam Greenwood Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 3:14 pm

Florida State University quarterback Jameis Winston, considered a Heisman Trophy front-runner, will not be charged with rape, the state attorney, Willie Meggs, announced Thursday after an investigation into the allegations.

Freshman Winston, who led his team to the national polls, has been facing allegations that he assaulted a female FSU student in December 2012, prior to his college career.

Winston's attorney, Tim Jansen of Tallahassee, has contended that his client had consensual sex with the woman.

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The Two-Way
12:32 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

American Teacher Is Killed While Jogging In Benghazi, Libya

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 2:42 pm

An American chemistry teacher who spent more than a year teaching at an international school in Libya, was shot and killed Thursday in Benghazi.

The U.S. State Department identified the slain teacher as Ronald Thomas Smith II. He was 33 years old.

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The Two-Way
11:36 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Obama Tells Government To Ramp Up Its Renewable Energy Use

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 1:44 pm

This post was updated at 1:30 p.m. ET

President Obama says the U.S. government "must lead by example" when it comes to safeguarding the environment, so he's ordering federal agencies to use more clean energy.

Under a presidential memorandum out Thursday, each agency would have until 2020 to get 20 percent of its electricity from renewable supplies.

"Government agencies currently get less than 10 percent of their electricity from renewable sources such as solar and wind," NPR's Richard Harris reports. He adds that:

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