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The Two-Way
8:26 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Leading Shiite Cleric Says Iraq Needs A New Government

Iraqi Shiites perform the Friday prayer in the shrine city of Karbala in central Iraq. Iraq's top Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, called for the country's next government to be "effective" and avoid past mistakes, in an implicit criticism of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
Mohammed Sawaf AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 1:19 pm

As Iraq struggles to cope with rapid advances by the Sunni militant group ISIS, the religious leader of the nation's Shiites says it's time for an "effective" government to take over.

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani's comments Friday add to criticisms of embattled Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

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The Two-Way
7:42 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Book News: Salman Rushdie Wins PEN/Pinter Prize For 'Unflinching' Gaze

Author Salman Rushdie, seen in January 2013, was also lauded by the judges for "his countless private acts of kindness."
Rajanish Kakade AP

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

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The Two-Way
7:20 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Married Same-Sex Couples To Receive More Federal Benefits

The Obama administration is set to announce expanded federal benefits for same-sex spouses, no matter what state they live in. On Thursday, demonstrators supporting same-sex marriage marched in front of the Supreme Court.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 5:31 pm

This post was updated at 5:20 p.m. ET.

The Family Medical Leave Act's benefits will be extend to married same-sex couples in all of the U.S., under a White House announced today. The change comes as the Obama administration alters federal policies to fit the Supreme Court's repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act last June.

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The Two-Way
3:38 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Scientists Keep A Careful Eye On The World Cup Ball

A close up of the Brazuca ball in NASA's Ames Fluid Mechanics Laboratory. Smoke highlighted by lasers visualizes air flow around the ball.
NASA's Ames Research Center

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 8:45 am

While many millions are enjoying the drama of the World Cup, a handful of scientists are keeping their eyes very closely on the ball.

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The Two-Way
7:51 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

CDC Says Dozens Of Workers Could Have Been Exposed To Anthrax

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 8:14 pm

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta says that as many as 75 of its workers may have been accidentally exposed to live anthrax bacteria this month because of a safety problem at one of its labs.

Member station WABE's Michell Eloy reports from Atlanta that the CDC says the possible exposure "occurred after researchers at a high-security lab failed to follow the correct procedure to deactivate the bacteria."

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The Two-Way
7:10 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Songwriter Gerry Goffin, With Hits In The 60s And 70s, Dies At 75

Lyricist Gerry Goffin, who along with Carole King authored such Top 40 hits as "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" and "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," has died at age 75.

NPR's Neda Ulaby says Goffin died this morning in Los Angeles. She says "as soon as Gary Goffin met Carole King in 1958 they started co-writing songs. She played the piano while he scribbled down lyrics."

Their first hit was for the Shirelles. They also wrote music for artists ranging from James Taylor to the Byrds.

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The Two-Way
5:54 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Largest U.S. Presbyterian Denomination OKs Marrying Gay Couples

The Rev. Paul Mowry leads a Sunday service at Sausalito Presbyterian Church in Sausalito, Calif. Mowry was one of the church's first openly gay pastors.
Noah Berger Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 7:01 pm

The nation's largest Presbyterian denomination has voted to allow its pastors to perform same-sex marriages in states where such unions are legal.

The top legislative body of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted at its 221st General Assembly in Detroit to change the way it defines Christian marriage in its constitution from "a man and a woman" to "two people."

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The Two-Way
5:18 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Injured German Cave Researcher Rescued After 2-Week Ordeal

Rescuers near the entrance to the Riesending cave at Untersberg mountain near Marktschellenberg, Germany, on Thursday. A seriously injured cave researcher was hauled out after spending two weeks underground.
Nicolas Arner DPA/Landov

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 8:53 am

An injured German cave explorer, who spent two weeks trapped underground in the Alps, has reached the surface after an operation involving hundreds of rescuers workers.

Johann Westhauser, 52, a researcher who was taking measurements of Germany's deepest cave system, hit his head during a fall more than 3,000 feet down. As we reported last week, it took one of the injured man's two companions 12 hours just to get outside and get help.

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The Two-Way
4:35 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Indians Caught In Middle Of Iraq's Worsening Crisis

Relatives hold up photographs of Indian workers who have been kidnapped in Iraq.
Adnan Abidi Reuters/Landov

The kidnapping of 40 Indian construction workers in Iraq by suspected militants has rapidly become the first foreign policy test for India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, barely a month after he assumed office.

The workers are believed to have been captured by militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) when the jihadist group overran the northern Iraqi city of Mosul this past week.

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