NPR Blogs

The Two-Way
7:40 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Book News: 'Salmon Fishing in the Yemen' Author Dies

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

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The Two-Way
7:10 am
Fri December 20, 2013

'Huge Win For Victims Of Sexual Assault' In Defense Budget

Tim Shaffer Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 8:11 am

"The women of the Senate who led the fight to change how the military deals with sexual assault in its ranks are hailing passage of a comprehensive defense bill that now heads to President Barack Obama for his signature," The Associated Press writes this morning.

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The Two-Way
6:33 am
Fri December 20, 2013

When Obama Takes Questions Today, What Should He Be Asked?

President Obama's most recent news conference at the White House was on Nov. 14.
Fang Zhe Xinhua/Landov

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 10:05 am

Update at 10:02 a.m. ET. News Conference Set For 2 P.M. ET:

The White House just announced that the president will hold a news conference at 2 p.m. ET.

So, we've changed our original headline from "If Obama Takes Questions ..." to "When."

Note: The president's sessions with reporters often get started a little late.

Our original post picks up the story:

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The Two-Way
8:42 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Pa. Man Wins $1 Million Picasso With $140 Raffle Ticket

Picasso's 1914 cubist drawing L'homme au Gibus, or Man in the Opera Hat, is presented at Sotheby's auction house in Paris.
Remy de la Mauviniere AP

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 1:50 pm

A Pennsylvania man who bought a raffle ticket for $140 has won the top prize — a Picasso worth $1 million.

Jeffrey Gonano, 25, entered a raffle put on by Sotheby's in Paris offering "1 Picasso for 100 Euros" as a fundraising event for the International Association to Save Tyre, an ancient Phoenician city in Lebanon.

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The Two-Way
7:55 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Update: Putin Critic Khodorkovsky Released From Prison

Former Yukos oil company CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky looks through the defendant's glass cage in a Moscow courtroom on Nov. 1, 2010.
Alexey Sazonov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 22, 2013 12:24 pm

Update at 8:30 a.m. ET, Friday. Breaking News From Reuters:

"Mikhail Khodorkovsky, once Russia's richest man, left prison on Friday after a pardon from President Vladimir Putin ended a decade in jail that many saw as the fallen oil tycoon's punishment for daring to challenge the Kremlin."

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The Two-Way
7:11 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Senators Cross Aisle To Call For New Sanctions On Iran

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 7:43 pm

A bipartisan measure defying President Obama would impose new sanctions on Iran if it breaks an interim deal to curb its nuclear program.

The "Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act" would also compel the United States to back any Israeli strike against Iran's nuclear facilities.

Reuters says:

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The Two-Way
7:04 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

New York City Extends Smoking Ban To E-Cigarettes

Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 7:30 pm

New York's City Council has approved extending the city's strict smoking ban to include electronic cigarettes, which emit a vapor.

The measure was pushed by outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg and backed by public health advocates in the city. It comes just weeks after New York became the first major city to raise the age for buying tobacco to 21.

Earlier this month, New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said that "more research is needed on electronic cigarettes," but that "waiting to act could jeopardize the progress we have made over the last few years."

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The Two-Way
5:07 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Dennis Rodman In North Korea 'To Open Doors For America'

Former U.S. basketball superstar Dennis Rodman arrives in Pyongyang on Thursday.
Kyodo/Landov

Dennis Rodman arrived in North Korea on Thursday for his third visit this year to the hard-line Stalinist country, saying he will train the country's national basketball team and see his "friend," leader Kim Jong Un.

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The Two-Way
4:13 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Dozens Hurt In Ceiling Collapse At London's Apollo Theatre

A rescue operation is underway at the Apollo Theatre in London after part of the roof collapsed during a performance, trapping people inside.
Leon Neal AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 7:17 pm

(This post was updated at 6:00 p.m. ET)

London's emergency services personnel say 88 people have been injured, several of them seriously, in the collapse of part of the ceiling at the Apollo Theatre in central London during an evening performance. Officials say there have been no fatalities.

Emergency services officials tell news agencies that seven of those are seriously hurt. The BBC quotes a spokesman for the theater as saying 720 theatergoers were in attendance at the time of the collapse.

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