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The Two-Way
4:30 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Illinois Governor Signs Pension Rescue Plan

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 6:52 pm

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has signed into law a sweeping overhaul in the state's underfunded pension system that's aimed at closing a $100 billion shortfall.

As we reported earlier this week, the legislation is almost certain to face legal obstacles from public employee unions that oppose it.

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The Two-Way
3:51 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

White House: President Briefly Lived With Kenyan-Born Uncle

Onyango Obama, President Obama's Kenyan-born uncle, arrives at U.S. Immigration Court in Boston on Tuesday for a deportation hearing.
Steven Senne AP

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 7:08 pm

The White House has acknowledged that as a student at Harvard Law School in the 1980s, the president briefly lived with his Kenyan-born uncle, after it first denied the two had ever met.

Earlier this week, Onyango Obama, 69, faced a deportation that resulted from a 2011 drunken-driving arrest. At the hearing, which he won, the judge asked about his family, and Onyango replied that he had a nephew named Barack Obama, adding, "He's the president of the United States."

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The Two-Way
2:50 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Cuteness Alert: Christmas Cats TV Is Streaming Live

A still image taken from Christmas Cat TV, which features an eight-hour streaming video of a "cat lady" and an elf hanging out with cats — some of them in holiday sweaters.
Christmas Cat TV

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 6:27 am

If you love cats and adore Christmas, do we ever have the website for you. It takes the concept of "reality TV" in new directions — eight solid hours a day of streaming video of cats in a holiday setting.

The scene you'll find at Christmas Cats TV is a unique one. A woman sits in a den that includes a Christmas tree, a hearth and some presents — and a whole lot of cats, some of which have been cajoled into wearing Christmas sweaters.

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The Two-Way
2:48 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Some Stranded Whales In Fla. Moving Out To Sea

A dead pilot whale lies near the beach in a remote area of Florida's Everglades National Park, on Wednesday.
Lynne Sladky AP

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 3:49 pm

Wildlife officials in southwest Florida who are struggling to save dozens of beached pilot whales say there's hope that at least some of the animals might escape after they spotted at least 20 of them swimming in deeper water.

The Associated Press reports:

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The Two-Way
2:29 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Prosecutor: No Charges Against FSU Quarterback Jameis Winston

Jameis Winston of the Florida State Seminoles attempts a pass during the game against the Florida Gators on Nov. 30.
Sam Greenwood Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 3:14 pm

Florida State University quarterback Jameis Winston, considered a Heisman Trophy front-runner, will not be charged with rape, the state attorney, Willie Meggs, announced Thursday after an investigation into the allegations.

Freshman Winston, who led his team to the national polls, has been facing allegations that he assaulted a female FSU student in December 2012, prior to his college career.

Winston's attorney, Tim Jansen of Tallahassee, has contended that his client had consensual sex with the woman.

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The Two-Way
12:32 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

American Teacher Is Killed While Jogging In Benghazi, Libya

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 2:42 pm

An American chemistry teacher who spent more than a year teaching at an international school in Libya, was shot and killed Thursday in Benghazi.

The U.S. State Department identified the slain teacher as Ronald Thomas Smith II. He was 33 years old.

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The Two-Way
11:36 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Obama Tells Government To Ramp Up Its Renewable Energy Use

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 1:44 pm

This post was updated at 1:30 p.m. ET

President Obama says the U.S. government "must lead by example" when it comes to safeguarding the environment, so he's ordering federal agencies to use more clean energy.

Under a presidential memorandum out Thursday, each agency would have until 2020 to get 20 percent of its electricity from renewable supplies.

"Government agencies currently get less than 10 percent of their electricity from renewable sources such as solar and wind," NPR's Richard Harris reports. He adds that:

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The Two-Way
10:37 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Ford Hopes New Mustang Will Get The World's Motor Running

The new 2015 Ford Mustang was unveiled Thursday. The car's new design includes features that are geared toward global markets.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 12:19 pm

Ford unveiled its new Mustang on Thursday, in a splashy event that was undermined a bit by leaked photos that showed the new model's design. And the Mustang will be sold around the globe for the first time since the car was introduced nearly 50 years ago.

From Michigan Radio, Tracy Samilton filed this report for our Newscast unit:

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The Two-Way
9:47 am
Thu December 5, 2013

U.S. Economy Grew At 3.6 Percent In Third Quarter; Jobless Claims Dip

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 11:23 am

The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 3.6 percent in the third quarter, according to data released Thursday by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. That's a rise from the second quarter, when the real gross domestic product tallied a 2.5 percent gain.

The pace of growth is the fastest since the first quarter of 2012, which clocked in at 3.7 percent.

Thursday's release is the "second" estimate for the third quarter, following up on data released in November that put the GDP's increase at 2.8 percent.

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The Two-Way
9:36 am
Thu December 5, 2013

China Bans Bitcoin Trading By Banks

Chinese banks cannot trade in Bitcoins, the digital currency that doesn't recognize international boundaries, China's top regulators said Thursday.
Rick Bowmer AP

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 12:03 pm

China says banks in the country are no longer allowed to trade in Bitcoin, the digital currency whose value has sharply risen this year. Chinese citizens, however, are not forbidden from using the currency.

The Bitcoin exchange rate took a hit following Thursday's news from China's central bank.

From Shanghai, NPR's Frank Langfitt filed this report for our Newscast unit:

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