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The Two-Way
9:43 am
Sat December 21, 2013

Four U.S. Service Members Injured In South Sudan

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 2:42 pm

This post was last updated at 11:50 a.m. ET.

Three U.S. military aircraft running evacuation flights out of South Sudan were fired upon on Saturday, leaving four service members injured, a spokesman for U.S. Africa Command said.

United States Africa Command says all four service members have been treated and are in stable condition.

The three CV-22 Ospreys were fired on while flying out of Bor, which NPR's Gregory Warner reports is not under government control.

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The Two-Way
8:09 am
Sat December 21, 2013

Utah Seeks Emergency Stay Of Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Chris Serrano, left, and Clifton Webb kiss after being married, as people wait in line to get licenses outside of the marriage division of the Salt Lake County Clerk's Office in Salt Lake City on Friday.
Kim Raff AP

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 2:34 pm

Officials in Utah are asking for an emergency stay of a federal court ruling that found the state's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional.

Reporting from Salt Lake City, NPR's Howard Berkes filed this report for our Newscast unit:

"Within minutes of the federal court decision, the Salt Lake County Clerk's office was inundated with gay couples seeking marriage licenses.

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The Two-Way
8:19 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Police Recover Heroin Packets Stamped 'Obamacare'

Police in Massachusetts on Friday pulled over a suspicious automobile and after conducting a search, recovered more than a thousand small packets of heroin stamped "Obamacare" and "Kurt Cobain."

Four people were arrested after the traffic stop in Northampton in which 1,250 of the packets were found.

Police say the car driver committed several violations, prompting the stop. He was later found to be unlicensed.

The Associated Press says a state police dog found the contraband:

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The Two-Way
7:03 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Man Who Shot Reagan Allowed Longer Stays Out Of Mental Hospital

In a Nov. 18, 2003 file photo, John Hinckley Jr. arrives at U.S. District Court in Washington.
Evan Vucci AP

John Hinckley Jr., the man who tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan in 1981, has been granted more time outside the mental hospital where he's been confined for almost three decades.

U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman ordered that Hinckley be allowed to visit his mother's home in Williamsburg, Va., for up to 17 days at a time, tacking a week on to the 10-day visits that were already permitted away from St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington, D.C.

Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity after he shot Reagan and three others on March 30, 1981.

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The Two-Way
6:23 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Astronauts Ready For Marathon Spacewalks

NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy performs a spacewalk in May to inspect and replace a pump controller box on the International Space Station. On Saturday, two astronauts will perform the first in a series of similar spacewalks to fix a broken cooling line on the ISS.
AP

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 6:46 pm

NASA astronauts will be heading out to conduct critical repairs on the International Space Station early Saturday morning. The 6 1/2-hour spacewalk, the first in a series, will replace a faulty piece of cooling equipment.

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The Two-Way
5:07 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Federal Court Strikes Down Utah's Gay Marriage Ban

Derek Kitchen (left) and his partner, Moudi Sbeity, talk with the media outside Frank E. Moss United States Courthouse earlier this month, where a challenge to Utah's same-sex marriage ban by three gay couples was decided on Friday.
Rick Bowmer AP

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 7:03 pm

A federal judge has struck down Utah's ban on same-sex marriage, saying it's unconstitutional.

The 53-page ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby says a 2004 ban passed by the state's voters violates the due process clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The Associated Press says:

"Attorneys for the state argued that Utah's law promotes the state's interest in 'responsible procreation' and the 'optimal mode of child-rearing.'

"The lawsuit was brought by three gay and lesbian couples in Utah.

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The Two-Way
4:28 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Gov. Christie Signs New Jersey 'DREAM Act' Into Law

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at a news conference Thursday.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 7:52 pm

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill on Friday that will give some students who are in the U.S. illegally a break on their tuition.

Christie inked New Jersey's version of the DREAM Act, which the Republican governor supported in his last re-election bid.

The state's Legislature passed the bill after a compromise that dropped a provision that would also have allowed students in the country illegally to be eligible for state financial aid if they qualified under income guidelines, according to The Associated Press.

The AP reports:

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The Two-Way
2:09 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

President Orders Review Of Sexual Assault In Military

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey brief reporters at the Pentagon in Washington, on Thursday.
Charles Dharapak AP

President Obama has ordered a one-year review of the military's response to sexual assault within the ranks, saying his administration has "an urgent obligation" to respond to the problem.

"If I do not see the kind of progress I expect, then we will consider additional reforms that may be required to eliminate this crime from our military ranks," the president said in a statement on Friday.

As Reuters says:

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The Two-Way
1:42 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Obama On Health Care Rollout: 'We Screwed It Up'

Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 5:46 pm

President Obama, in his final news conference of the year, sought to put the best face on a difficult first year of his second term.

Speaking a few hours before he heads to Hawaii for a two-week vacation, Obama is meeting with reporters at the White House.

He touted the improving economy, saying 2 million jobs had been added in 2013, with the unemployment rate now at its lowest level in five years.

"2014 can be a breakthrough year," he said.

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The Two-Way
12:22 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Yellen Nomination To Fed Clears Hurdle; Confirmation Likely

Janet Yellen, who is poised to move from the No. 2 to the No. 1 post at the Federal Reserve.
Alex Wong Getty Images

By a vote of 59-34 the Senate on Friday moved the nomination of Janet Yellen to be the next chairman of the Federal Reserve past a key procedural hurdle.

The vote invoked "cloture" — effectively preventing Republicans from filibustering President Obama's nominee.

Next up for Yellen's nomination: A confirmation vote, set for Jan. 6. With the Democratic caucus controlling 55 of the Senate's 100 seats, she's expected to get a majority and then become the first woman to head the central bank.

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