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The Two-Way
1:21 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

In Response To Dwindling Applications, Peace Corps Makes Big Changes

In this 2011 photo, more than 100 Peace Corps volunteers are sworn in before heading to villages in southern Cambodia.
Heng Sinith AP

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 1:49 pm

In a bid to shore up sagging numbers, the Peace Corps on Tuesday announced significant changes to its application process.

Sixty-page forms that used to take more than eight hours to fill out have now been shortened and streamlined and can be completed online in less than an hour, Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said on NPR's Here and Now.

The number of people who actually complete the application process has fallen by more than a third from its peak in 2009.

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The Two-Way
12:23 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Plan To Make 6 States Out Of California May Head To Ballot

An image from the Six Californias website shows the proposed borders of its plan to slice the state into areas that the plan's backers say would be more manageable.
Six Californias

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 1:01 pm

Backers of a plan to cut California into six states say they now have enough signatures from supporters to get their proposal on a general-election ballot in the state. The plan would create new states with names like Jefferson, Silicon Valley and South California.

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The Two-Way
11:36 am
Tue July 15, 2014

In Worst Attack In Years, 89 Afghans Killed By Suicide Bomber

Afghan doctors assist civilians wounded by a suicide bomber in Paktika province on Tuesday.
Uncredited AP

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 2:37 pm

At least 89 people were killed Tuesday by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan. It was the deadliest attack on civilians in that country for several years.

The attack occurred near a busy market and mosque in Urgun, a town in the eastern province of Paktika. In addition to the dead, 42 people were injured, according to the Defense Ministry.

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The Two-Way
10:47 am
Tue July 15, 2014

NPR News Executive Leaves For Job At The Atlantic

Margaret Low Smith is leaving her post as NPR News' senior vice president to become president of AtlanticLIVE.
Stephen Voss NPR

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 12:14 pm

Margaret Low Smith, a longtime NPR executive who has served as senior vice president for news for three years, is leaving the company to become the president of The Atlantic's live events business.

"Her departure will be felt as profoundly as any in recent memory," NPR Chief Content Officer Kinsey Wilson wrote in a memo to staff Tuesday.

He added that Smith's final day at NPR will be at the end of July. She joined the company in 1982 as an overnight production assistant on Morning Edition.

Wilson added that:

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The Two-Way
9:39 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Kerry Cites Progress In Iran Nuclear Talks But Says Gaps Remain

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 12:14 pm

Update at 11:59 p.m. ET

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is returning to Washington today to brief President Obama on talks with Iran about its nuclear program, and about the possible need to extend negotiations past a July 20 deadline.

NPR's Peter Kenyon, who is reporting on the talks from Vienna, says that with just five days to go, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was showing some flexibility with Kerry and the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany.

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The Two-Way
8:06 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Tobacco Giant Reynolds American To Buy Lorillard In $27B Deal

Cigarette maker Reynolds American, which makes Camel, said it's buying Lorillard Inc. for $27 billion.
Keith Srakocic AP

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 11:41 am

Cigarette giant Reynolds American announced Tuesday that it's buying rival Lorillard in a $27 billion deal that unites two of the country's biggest tobacco companies.

The acquisition creates a giant to rival Philip Morris USA, which is owned by Altria Group Inc., the No. 1 tobacco company in the country. Altria's Marlboro brand dominates the U.S. cigarette market.

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The Two-Way
7:58 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Moscow Metro Train Derails, Causing Deaths And Many Injuries

An injured man who was on a subway train that derailed Tuesday in Moscow talks on his phone after being treated by paramedics.
Dmitry Serebryakov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 2:03 pm

This post was updated at 2 p.m. ET.

At least two subway cars jumped off their tracks in a tunnel in Moscow's metro system during morning rush hour today, injuring more than 160 people, some of them severely, and killing at least 21 others, emergency officials say.

The derailment was reportedly due to an electrical problem. Reports of the number of dead and wounded often fluctuate in situations like this; we'll be updating this post as necessary.

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The Two-Way
7:47 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Book News: Pakistani Civil Servant Who Published Debut Novel At 79 Dies

Novelist Jamil Ahmad. His wife, Helga, is in the background.
Jim Wildman NPR

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 8:40 am

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

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The Two-Way
6:56 am
Tue July 15, 2014

After Peace Deal's Failure, Israel To 'Expand And Intensify' Campaign

An Israeli soldier stands on a military vehicle near Gaza early Tuesday, when a cease-fire was meant to take effect. The deal hasn't been embraced by all of Hamas.
Ariel Schalit AP

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 6:26 am

This post was updated at 5:30 p.m. ET.

A day that dawned with hopes for a fragile peace is closing with hostilities between Israel and the Palestinians appearing to intensify.

Early Tuesday, Israel had accepted the terms of a cease-fire proposed by Egypt, but Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, continued firing rockets.

A Hamas spokesman complained to NPR's Ari Shapiro that Egypt's current government is hostile to the group and its proposal didn't deal at all with Palestinian demands.

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