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The Two-Way
6:56 am
Thu December 26, 2013

Japan's Abe May Have Hoped To Anger Others With Shrine Visit

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, follows a Shinto priest during his visit to the Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo on Thursday.
Franck Robichon EPA/LANDOV

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 10:01 am

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe surely knew that his visit Thursday to a Shinto shrine honoring Japan's dead from World War II would be followed by protests from China and South Korea.

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The Two-Way
1:59 pm
Wed December 25, 2013

In Christmas Message, Snowden Tells Britons 'Privacy Matters'

Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden in an address televised Wednesday on Britain's Channel 4.
Screengrab/Channel 4

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 2:14 am

Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden had a Christmas Day warning for Britons: "A child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all."

Britain's Channel 4 televised Snowden's short address as the network's "Alternative Christmas Message," an annual address delivered by a public figure that mimics the style of Queen Elizabeth's Royal Christmas Message. You can watch the full 1:43 video at Channel 4's website.

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The Two-Way
10:17 am
Wed December 25, 2013

U.S. Embassy In Kabul Hit By Indirect Fire

Afghans stand near a crater from an attack reportedly targeting the U.S. Embassy in Kabul on Wednesday.
Ahmad Nazar AP

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 2:10 am

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, was hit by indirect rocket fire Wednesday morning, officials say. NPR's Sean Carberry reports for our Newscast unit that no one was injured.

"They hit in an open area; they didn't strike any of the embassy buildings. There was no damage to embassy facilities, and there were no causalities," he said.

Embassy officials say they are investigating. Taliban insurgents claimed they fired rockets at the embassy, but they often make claims that turn out to be exaggerated or untrue.

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The Two-Way
6:24 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

Pope Francis Preaches Message Of Love At Christmas Eve Mass

Pope Francis blesses the crowd at the Christmas Eve Mass at St. Peter's Basilica, on Tuesday at the Vatican.
Filippo Monteforte AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 7:53 pm

In his first Christmas Eve Mass as pontiff, Pope Francis spoke of Jesus as an infant in keeping with the first months of his papacy that have been dedicated to the most vulnerable in society.

Speaking at St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Francis noted that the first to learn of the birth of Christ were shepherds, who were considered "among the last, the outcast."

"You are immense, and you made yourself small," he said of Jesus. "You are rich, and you made yourself poor; you are all-powerful and you made yourself vulnerable."

The Associated Press writes:

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The Two-Way
4:59 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

First-Class Postage Rate Will Rise To 49 Cents Next Month

A customer places first-class stamps on envelopes at a U.S. Post Office in San Jose, Calif. It'll cost another 3 cents to send a first-class letter starting on Jan. 26.
Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 7:56 pm

You'll soon need some 3-cent stamps to go with those 46-cent ones.

Regulators on Tuesday authorized the increase, and beginning Jan. 26, it'll cost 49 cents to send a first-class letter. Bulk rate mail, periodicals and package service rates will go up 6 percent, The Associated Press says.

Regulators rejected a request to make the price hike permanent and say instead that it will last no longer than two years, by which time the U.S. Postal Service should have recouped $2.8 billion in losses.

The AP says:

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The Two-Way
4:03 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

Teen Daughter Of New NYC Mayor Admits Drug And Alcohol Abuse

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 7:28 am

The teenage daughter of New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio released a video on Tuesday discussing her struggle with clinical depression and substance abuse.

In the nearly five-minute video, Chiara de Blasio acknowledges that she drank alcohol and smoked marijuana, but says she's now clean after being treated at an outpatient center.

"Getting sober is always a positive thing," she says, encouraging others in her situation to also get help.

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The Two-Way
1:50 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

Highway In Iceland May Be Sidetracked By Elves

New Line Cinema Reuters /Landov

Here's a sentence we didn't expect to read today:

"Elf advocates have joined forces with environmentalists to urge the Icelandic Road and Coastal Commission and local authorities to abandon a highway project building a direct route from the Alftanes peninsula, where the president has a home, to the Reykjavik suburb of Gardabaer."

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The Two-Way
11:07 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Money Seen As A Motive In Execution Of North Korea's No. 2

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

Initial suspicions focused on personal dislike and a desire to send a "don't mess with me" message.

Now there's a report from The New York Times that:

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The Two-Way
9:48 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Yes, Virginia, NORAD's 'Santa Tracker' Is On

The view Friday morning on NORAD's "Santa Tracker."
North American Aerospace Defense Command

Some critics — perhaps others would say Grinches? — don't like the North American Aerospace Defense Command's annual online "Santa Tracker."

At WBUR, author Ethan Gilsdorf writes that "real-time digital imagery of Santa and his route, or calculations of the loot he's delivered, take the imagination out of Christmas."

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