NPR Blogs

The Two-Way
8:19 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Alcoa Will Pay $384 Million Penalty For Bahrain Bribes

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 6:05 am

In what's being called one of the largest U.S. anti-corruption settlements on record, Alcoa and an affiliate it controls have agreed to pay millions in fines and criminal and civil penalties. The companies acknowledge paying bribes to royal family members in Bahrain.

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The Two-Way
5:10 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

FBI Director 'Confused' By Reports Calling Snowden A Hero

FBI Director James Comey testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington on Nov. 14, 2013. Speaking to reporters Thursday, Comey said he's "confused" by reports that characterize NSA contractor Edward Snowden as a "whistleblower" or a "hero."
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 6:47 am

FBI Director Jim Comey says he's "confused" by reports that characterize NSA contractor Edward Snowden as a "whistleblower" or a "hero" because, he says, all three branches of America's government have approved the bulk collection of U.S. phone records, one of the most important revelations in Snowden's cascade of leaks.

"I see the government operating the way the founders intended," Comey said, "so I have trouble applying the whistleblower label to someone who basically disagrees with the way our government is structured and operates."

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The Two-Way
4:50 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Nuclear Missile Officers Reportedly Implicated In Drug Probe

Undated handout photo of the inside of the deactivated Delta Nine Launch Facility near Wall, S.D.
Anonymous AP

Two U.S. Air Force officers with authority to launch nuclear-tipped Minuteman 3 missiles, have reportedly been implicated in an illegal-narcotics investigation.

The Associated Press, citing an unnamed official, says the officers are based at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana and work for the 341st Missile Wing.

The report comes on the same day that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is scheduled to visit a similar base in Nebraska that also houses underground missile silos.

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The Two-Way
4:38 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Writer And Activist Amiri Baraka Dies At Age 79

Poet and activist Amiri Baraka, seen here during the 1972 Black Political Convention in Gary, Ind., has died at age 79.
Julian C. Wilson AP

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 7:26 pm

Amiri Baraka, the writer who was born LeRoi Jones, has died at age 79. Baraka's career spanned art and activism: He was an influential poet and an award-winning playwright who didn't shy away from social criticism and politics.

"Baraka had long struggled with diabetes, but it was not immediately clear what the cause of death was," reports the New Jersey Star-Ledger. The author and activist was a native of Newark.

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The Two-Way
4:24 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Indian Diplomat At Center Of Row With U.S. Indicted, Leaves Country

Devyani Khobragade, India's deputy consul general, at an India Studies Stony Brook University fundraiser in Long Island, N.Y., on Dec. 8. Khobragade's arrest last month on visa fraud charges sparked a diplomatic row between India and the U.S. She left the country Thursday.
Mohammed Jaffer Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 11:15 pm

This post was updated at 11:15 p.m. ET

The Associated Press reports that Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade left the United States by plane Thursday night after being ordered out of the country.

Original Post Below

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The Two-Way
3:50 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Space Music: How To Hear Solar Flares From The Moon

Live, from the moon, it's the space weather report: Data from a lunar orbiter is being used to create a music stream that reflects conditions in space. Here, an image created by NASA "visualizers" who used data from 2010 to show the moon traveling across the sun, as happens two or three times a year.
NASA/SDO/LRO/GSFC

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 6:04 pm

We've been following the coronal mass ejection that headed toward Earth after an intense solar flare was emitted from the sun earlier this week. And now NASA tells us that such events can be heard, in a sense, by tuning in to CRaTER Radio, a "sonification" project that uses data from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to generate musical sounds and stream them on the Internet.

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The Two-Way
3:06 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

NSA Says It Would Welcome Public Advocate At FISA Court

The National Security Agency headquarters building in Fort Meade, Md.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 12:45 pm

  • NSA's John Inglis on why you need a haystack
  • NSA's John Inglis compares what Edward Snowden did to arson

The National Security Agency "would welcome" the creation of a public advocate's position at the court that oversees its electronic surveillance programs, said its outgoing deputy director.

John C. "Chris" Inglis, who retires Friday after more than seven years as the NSA's No. 2, told Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep that "I would only put the caveat on there that it needs to be operationally efficient."

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The Two-Way
1:48 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Watson, IBM's 'Jeopardy!' Champ, Gets Its Own Business Division

Jeopardy! contestant Ken Jennings, who won a record 74 consecutive games, concedes to supercomputer opponent Watson in February 2011.
Seth Wenig AP

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 6:06 am

Ever wonder what happens to all those Jeopardy! champions once they leave the stage? Watson, an IBM supercomputer, got its own business division.

You might recall that Watson, named after longtime CEO Thomas J. Watson, crushed its human opponents on the popular television game show back in February 2011.

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The Two-Way
12:27 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

French Court Rules Controversial Comedian's Show Can Go Ahead

A French court has ruled that comedian Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala, seen here on May 13, 2009, can perform Thursday night in Nantes, France.
Remy de la Mauviniere AP

A French comedian whose performances authorities want to ban because of the act's perceived anti-Semitism has been given the go-ahead to perform in the city of Nantes, France.

A court ruled Thursday that Dieudonne M'bala M'bala's show Thursday night that will open his nationwide tour can go ahead. About 5,000 tickets have been sold for the performance.

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The Two-Way
11:10 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Aurora Watchers 'May Be In Luck' As Solar Flare Reaches Earth

A coronal mass ejection (CME) exploding off the surface of the sun in an image captured Tuesday by the European Space Agency and NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory.
Uncredited AP

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 5:32 pm

Update at 3:05 p.m. ET:

NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center now reports:

"The coronal mass ejection (CME), originally expected to arrive around 0800 UTC (3:00 a.m. EST) today, January 9, was observed at the ACE spacecraft just upstream of Earth at 1932 UTC (2:32 p.m. EST)."

The SWPC goes on to say that "the original forecast continues to be for G3 (Strong) Geomagnetic Storm activity on January 9 and 10."

"Aurora watchers may be in luck for tonight."

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