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The Two-Way
11:47 am
Sat October 12, 2013

Grand Canyon And Other National Parks Reopen, On States' Dime

Tourists stop on the roadside near Mount Rushmore, after their visit was canceled due to the government shutdown. South Dakota and other states have reached an agreement to fund operations to reopen the parks.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Thanks to agreements between the Department of the Interior and several states, a dozen popular national parks are open again, at least temporarily. The parks range from the Statue of Liberty to the Grand Canyon; the states are paying to keep them open for up to 10 days.

State officials say it's particularly important to have the parks open during the Columbus Day holiday weekend. National Park Service employees began opening some facilities Friday; others will reopen today or Monday.

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The Two-Way
9:46 am
Sat October 12, 2013

Kerry And Karzai Meet To Discuss U.S. Presence In Afghanistan

Ahead of an expected — and repeatedly delayed — news conference, an Afghan worker leaves the area where Secretary of State John Kerry and Afghan President Hamid Karzai were expected to speak Saturday in Kabul.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 12, 2013 11:12 am

The U.S. desire to maintain a military presence in Afghanistan is the subject of talks today in Kabul, where Secretary of State John Kerry is in prolonged discussions with President Hamid Karzai. Most of the U.S. troops would continue training Afghan forces, while another contingent works against terrorist groups.

As for how many Americans would be posted to Afghanistan, NPR's Sean Carberry says a precise number hasn't emerged, but he adds that "through conversations and comments by military officials, the range is about 5,000 to 10,000."

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The Two-Way
8:50 am
Sat October 12, 2013

Cyclone Phailin Hits India With 120 MPH Winds; Thousands Flee

A man covers himself with a plastic sheet as a shield as he walks to a safer place near Gopalpur in eastern India Saturday. Hundreds of thousands of people living along India's eastern coastline took shelter from the massive powerful cyclone Phailin.
Biswaranjan Rout AP

Originally published on Sat October 12, 2013 3:35 pm

Cyclone Phailin has struck India's east coast in the Bay of Bengal, where more than 500,000 people have evacuated from vulnerable areas along the coast. Phailin reportedly packed sustained winds of more than 120 mph when the eye of the storm hit; strong winds will likely persist for hours to come.

Update at 3:15 p.m. ET:

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The Two-Way
6:27 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Migrant Boats Capsize Off Italy And Near Egypt

An Italian student holds a paper boat reading "How many tombs without names in Lampedusa, No to Bossi Fini" in reference to the recent tragedy near Lampedusa island where at least hundreds of immigrants drowned and the Bossi-Fini anti-immigration law.
Filippo Monteforte AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 7:59 pm

Two separate incidents left dozens of migrants dead, when their boats capsized on Friday.

First, a boat capsized off the Coast of Egypt and 12 migrants died and 116 were rescued. Then, 27 migrants died and 221 were rescued after a boat capsized off the coast of Italy.

Of course, this comes about a week after a similar incident left 339 dead because of a capsized boat near Italy.

The BBC reports on the Egypt accident:

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The Two-Way
4:59 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Peter Higgs Learned About His Nobel From A Former Neighbor

British physicist Peter Higgs.
Fabrice Coffrini AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 6:07 pm

The notoriously shy Peter Higgs learned that he had been awarded the Nobel Prize in physics on Tuesday from a former neighbor.

In a press conference on Friday, the British theoretical physicist said he had tried to skip town on Tuesday, but instead ended up at a restaurant to have beer and soup. The Nobel Prize Committee in Stockholm tried to call Higgs shortly before they made the announcement, but Higgs does not have a cellphone.

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The Two-Way
2:38 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

'Monstrous' Cyclone Barrels Toward India's East Coast

A woman leaves the Bay of Bengal coast with her children in the Ganjam district of Odisha, India.
Biswaranjan Rout AP

Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 5:47 pm

Here's how the usually restrained meteorologists at the Capital Weather Gang describe the storm that is about to pummel India's east coast:

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The Two-Way
1:57 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Air Force Fires Top U.S. Missile Commander

The launch-key mechanism at the deactivated Delta Nine Launch Facility near Wall, S.D., in 2002.
AP

Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 4:20 pm

The Air Force two-star general in charge of the country's land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles has been relieved of his command for what's being described as questionable behavior during a temporary duty assignment.

Maj. Gen. Michael Carey, who led the 20th Air Force, headquartered at Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., has been dismissed, according to a statement issued by the Air Force Global Strike Command.

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The Two-Way
1:25 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

At Urban Summit, A Feeling Of 'The Feds Can't, But We Can'

Political theorist and author Benjamin R. Barber (left) spoke at the CityLab summit this week in New York. He is proposing the formation of a "World Parliament of Mayors."
Courtesy of The Atlantic

Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 3:19 pm

The partial government shutdown was part of the buzz this week at an international gathering of mayors, city planners and urban experts in New York City.

Passing mentions of the U.S. government during several seminars at the CityLab conference sent knowing chuckles rolling through the audience. As in: "Those guys? They're closed for business! At least we're still on the job."

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The Two-Way
12:56 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Some States Allowed To Reopen National Parks — And Foot The Bill

Dawn at Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park is a favorite moment for photographers from all over the world. They'll soon be able to return to the park, given Utah's deal with the Interior Department to fund park operations.
Courtesy of Wanda Gayle

Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 8:16 pm

"This is a godsend!" exclaimed Utah Gov. Gary Herbert late Thursday night, as he signed an agreement with the Department of the Interior to use state funds to reopen eight national park areas in his state for at least 10 days.

The Republican governor wasted no time in wiring $1.67 million to Washington overnight so that some of the areas can open as early as today. Rangers and other National Park Service employees will staff the parks as usual.

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The Two-Way
11:09 am
Fri October 11, 2013

Report: Syrian Rebels Executed Pro-Regime Villagers

Rebel fighters from the Al-Ezz bin Abdul Salam Brigade train at an undisclosed location near the al-Turkman mountains in Latakia province, Syria, in April.
Miguel Medina AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 12:59 pm

Human Rights Watch has accused Islamist Syrian rebels of slaughtering nearly 200 unarmed civilians belonging to the minority Alawite sect and kidnapping hundreds more during an offensive against pro-regime villages.

The New York-based group issued a 105-page report on Friday outlining the atrocities it says were committed on Aug. 4 in more than a dozen villages in Latakia province.

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