NPR Blogs

The Two-Way
4:37 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

The NSA's Quantum Code-Breaking Research Is No Secret

The National Security Agency headquarters at Fort Meade, Md. The agency has been trying to build a quantum computer, The Washington Post reports — but that news doesn't surprise experts in the field.
Saul Loeb Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 8:43 pm

So the world's most clandestine spy agency is working on something called a quantum computer, The Washington Post tells us. It's based on rules Einstein himself described as "spooky," and it can crack almost any code. That's got to be top-secret stuff, right?

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The Two-Way
4:06 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Obama Administration Moves To Alter Gun-Buying Rules

President Obama speaks in April after the Senate rejected a bill that would expand background checks on guns. The White House is seeking to clarify rules that bar firearm possession due to mental health problems.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 6:58 pm

Federal agencies are proposing new rules for handling gun buyers' background checks, in changes the Obama administration says will "keep guns out of potentially dangerous hands." The changes include a clarification of rules barring firearm possession due to mental health problems.

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The Two-Way
2:41 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Couples Urge Sotomayor To Deny Utah's Bid To Block Gay Marriage

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 2:48 pm

Attorneys for same-sex couples say Utah officials who want to block gay marriages "cannot meet their burden" of showing either an error by a lower court or serious damage if the ceremonies continue, according to papers filed with the Supreme Court Friday. The filing urges the court to deny a request to halt the unions in Utah.

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The Two-Way
2:32 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Everyone Poops, But Dogs Do It With Magnetism

Can a pup get a little privacy, please?
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 8:10 am

Dog owners have all been there when walking their canine companions.

Fido sniffs the ground and maybe turns around a few times. He searches. "No, not that patch," he seems to say. "Maybe this one. ... Or over here. ... Umm, maybe not."

Then, finally, he gets into position to ... well, let's just say leave that deposit that you'll have to pick up.

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The Two-Way
1:13 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Did Kim Jong Un Feed His Uncle To 120 Dogs? Be Skeptical

Before their split: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, and his uncle, Jang Song Thaek, in February 2012. Earlier this month, Jang was executed.
Kyodo/Landov

If you've done much Web surfing today you've probably come across a headline such as this one from NBC News:

"Kim Jong Un's executed uncle was eaten alive by 120 hungry dogs: report."

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The Two-Way
1:03 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Ford Tops Resurgent U.S. Car Industry, 2013 Sales Results Show

Ford says it sold the most F-series trucks since 2006. Here, a 2014 F-150 goes through quality control on the assembly line at Ford's Dearborn Truck Plant.
Bill Pugliano Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 1:58 pm

Ford and GM are calling 2013 the best year for U.S. auto sales in at least five years. On Friday, they reported double-digit annual gains, while Chrysler reported an increase of 9 percent for its strongest year since 2007.

The new sales figures reflect a continuing turnaround from the struggles that led to a federal bailout in recent years. Here are highlights from each company's report:

Ford

  • Retail sales were up 14 percent in 2013, as Ford sold 2,493,918 vehicles.
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The Two-Way
11:17 am
Fri January 3, 2014

Nuns' Objection To Health Care Law Is Unwarranted, Justice Dept. Says

At the center of the debate: prescription contraceptives.
Tim Matsui Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 4:20 pm

The Obama administration has asked the Supreme Court not to extend a temporary injunction given to a group of Colorado nuns who want to be exempt from some rules in the new health care law. The rules relate to the requirement that most employers provide health insurance that includes coverage of birth control costs.

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The Two-Way
10:55 am
Fri January 3, 2014

4 Killed As Cambodian Police Fire At Striking Garment Workers

A worker throws a petrol bomb after clashes broke out during a protest Friday near Phnom Penh, Cambodia. At least four people were killed when police opened fire at the workers.
Samrang Pring Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 2:08 pm

Cambodian police killed at least four people Friday near the capital, Phnom Penh, when they opened fire on protesting garment workers who want the country's minimum wage doubled.

The Associated Press reports:

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The Two-Way
8:56 am
Fri January 3, 2014

One Of The Rescue Ships In Antarctic May Now Be Stuck, Too

The Xue Long in the much warmer waters of Taiwan in 2009.
AP

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 10:32 am

One day after helping to rescue 52 people from a ship stuck in Antarctic ice, a Chinese icebreaker is in danger of also being stranded for a while.

Australia's Maritime Safety Authority says the crew of the Xue Long sent out an alert Friday saying their ship may not be able "to move through heavy ice in the area."

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The Two-Way
8:19 am
Fri January 3, 2014

In Israel, Ariel Sharon's Family Gathers At His Bedside

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2001.
Philippe Desmazes AFP/Getty Images

Doctors in Israel say that former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's "already critical medical condition is deteriorating further as key bodily organs continue to decline," The Associated Press writes.

Dr. Zeev Rotstein, director of Tel Hashomer hospital near Tel Aviv, told reporters that members of the 85-year-old Sharon's family are by his bedside, the AP adds.

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