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The Two-Way
12:25 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

The Twisty Tale Of The World's Most Expensive Stamp

David Redden of Sotheby's auction house holds a case containing the sole surviving "British Guiana One-Cent Black on Magenta" stamp dating from 1856.
Oli Scarff Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 1:42 pm

Blemished, battered and cut, the "British Guiana One-Cent Black on Magenta" is a stamp with a twisty tale to tell, one that begins in the hands of a young Scottish boy and passes through the hands of a killer.

The 1856 treasure was sold at Sotheby's in New York for $9.5 million on Tuesday to a phone buyer who wished to remain anonymous — the fourth time it has broken the auction record for a single postage stamp.

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The Two-Way
12:23 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

House Panel Grills GM CEO And Investigator Over Switch Recall

Family members of victims of a faulty GM ignition switch lined the rear wall of a congressional hearing with their photos Wednesday.
Cliff Owen AP

Questions about a potential cover-up and an unhealthy corporate culture dominated a congressional hearing today about General Motors' handling of a deadly safety flaw in ignition switches in millions of its cars.

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The Two-Way
10:52 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Washington Redskins' Trademark Registrations Cancelled

Several of the Washington Redskins' trademark registrations have been canceled. The team will appeal the decision.
Nick Wass AP

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 5:25 pm

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has revoked the trademark of the NFL's Washington Redskins, after ruling in a case brought by five Native Americans who say the name disparages them. While the decision could have wide repercussions, it does not require the team to change its name. It is also subject to appeal, which the team has confirmed it will pursue.

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The Two-Way
10:41 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Japan Bans Possession Of Child Pornography

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 12:51 pm

Japan has banned the possession of child pornography, with some notable exceptions: manga, animation and computer graphics.

Parliament's upper house approved the measure Wednesday; the lower house passed the bill last month.

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The Two-Way
9:36 am
Wed June 18, 2014

U.S. Offshore Wind Energy Area Would Nearly Double Under New Plan

The Department of the Interior is proposing a large expansion of U.S. efforts to make energy from offshore winds, with a plan centered off the Massachusetts coast. Here, a 2010 photo shows a sunrise over Nantucket Sound.
Julia Cumes AP

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 11:55 am

A large swath of the Atlantic Ocean could soon be used to generate electricity, as a U.S. agency proposes opening more than 1,000 square miles of ocean to wind energy projects. The area is off the coast of Massachusetts, which has been working on the proposal with federal officials.

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The Two-Way
8:25 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Ukraine's President Announces Plan For Unilateral Cease-Fire

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (far right) attends a graduation ceremony at the National University of Defense of Ukraine in Kiev on Wednesday. In a speech there, the president said he is ordering a cease-fire in the struggle against armed militants.
Gleb Garanich Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 10:58 am

President Petro Poroshenko, whose rise to power in Ukraine coincided with an aggressive crackdown on separatist militants, is calling for a temporary cease-fire by government forces. The break in action would allow the armed opposition to lay down their weapons, Poroshenko says.

The cease-fire will begin in "the next few days," Reuters reports, citing a Ukrainian defense official. The plan was announced during an appearance by Poroshenko at a military academy Wednesday.

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The Two-Way
7:36 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Book News: Author Of Sci-Fi Classic 'Flowers For Algernon' Dies

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 10:57 am

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

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The Two-Way
7:30 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Militants Attack Iraq's Largest Oil Refinery As Sectarian Clashes Spread

An Iraqi boy and other civilians look at the aftermath of a car bomb in Baghdad's Sadr City on Wednesday. The violence in the Shiite district comes as Sunni militants advance in northern Iraq.
Karim Kadim AP

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 11:06 am

The Sunni militant group that has stormed across Iraq invaded the country's largest oil refinery today, hitting it with mortars. The government is using limited air attacks to strike back at ISIS, which now controls large areas of Iraq's north.

"The oil refinery in Beiji has been under siege since the militant fighters of ISIS seized the town of Beiji in their sweep through northern Iraq," NPR's Deborah Amos reports from Irbil, Iraq. "In an offensive at dawn, ISIS fighters attacked the refinery with machine-gun fire and mortars, according to Iraqi security forces."

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The Two-Way
7:12 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Explosion In Nigeria Hits Gathering Of World Cup Fans

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 8:13 pm

An explosion has rocked a northeastern Nigeria town where people had gathered to watch World Cup soccer on television, security officials say.

There were reports of casualties, but it was not immediately clear how many or whether anyone had been killed. Reuters quotes witnesses to the blast at the town of Damaturu, the capital of Yobe state, as saying they saw several trucks carry bodies to a local hospital.

The BBC says:

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