NPR Blogs

The Two-Way
8:34 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Blues Guitarist Johnny Winter Dies At 70

Legendary blues guitarist Johnny Winter, seen here performing in Valencia in 2008, has died at age 70.
Diego Tuson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 11:08 am

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The Two-Way
8:33 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Microsoft Will Cut As Many As 18,000 Jobs

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 9:23 am

A large layoff is under way at Microsoft, as the technology company says it will cut 13,000 jobs in the next six months. All but 500 of the layoffs are related to the Nokia phone division the company acquired in April. Microsoft says it might shed as many as 18,000 jobs as it restructures itself.

The company says it will complete most of the layoffs by the end of this year, and complete the restructuring by next June.

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The Two-Way
8:02 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Book News: Apple May Pay Consumers $400 Million In E-Book Settlement

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

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The Two-Way
6:51 am
Thu July 17, 2014

A 5-Hour Truce Between Hamas And Israel Ends, And Fighting Begins

A Palestinian municipality worker sweeps the street as a United Nations vehicle drives past a damaged money exchange post. Israel and Hamas took a break from fighting Thursday for humanitarian reasons.
Lefteris Pitarakis AP

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 4:12 pm

This post was updated at 4:10 p.m. ET: Ground Offenses Begin

Israel has sent ground forces into Gaza on Thursday, which we are covering in this post.

Update at 1:15 p.m. ET: Hostilities Resume

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The Two-Way
3:34 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Physicists Crush Diamonds With Giant Laser

Physicists put diamonds at the center of this massive laser, to see what would happen.
Matt Swisher Matt Swisher/LLNL

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 11:09 am

Physicists have used the world's most powerful laser to zap diamonds. The results, they say, could tell us more about the cores of giant planets.

"Diamonds have very special properties, besides being very expensive and used for jewelrey etc.," says Raymond Smith, a researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. "It's the hardest substance known to man."

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The Two-Way
6:52 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Federal Judge Declares Death Penalty Unconstitutional In California

California's death row at San Quentin State Prison is crowded, but the execution chamber has been idle since 2006
Eric Risberg AP

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 7:56 pm

A federal judge has ruled that California's use of the death penalty is dysfunctional and violates the constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney's ruling came in response to an appeal by Ernest Dewayne Jones, who was sentenced to death in Los Angeles in 1995 for the rape and killing of his girlfriend's mother three years earlier.

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The Two-Way
5:46 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

U.S. Sanctions Major Russian Banks And Energy Companies

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk visits forces stationed near the small city of Izyum on Wednesday.
Sergey Bobok AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 8:18 am

President Obama outlined a new package of sanctions against Russian firms and individuals on Wednesday.

"These sanctions are significant but also targeted," Obama said. "Russia will see that its actions in Ukraine have consequences."

The administration targeted large banks, as well as energy and defense firms. The sanctions stopped short of covering entire sectors of the Russian economy.

Obama said they were designed to inflict pain on Russia without harming U.S. companies or the nation's allies.

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The Two-Way
4:54 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Militias Clash At Libyan Airport For Fourth Day

Flames and smoke billow from an airplane at the Tripoli international airport on Wednesday, the fourth day of fighting there
MAHMUD TURKIA AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 10:08 pm

The control tower and 20 aircraft have been damaged by shelling at Libya's main airport in Tripoli as fighting continued there for a fourth day.

"It's a disaster for the country at large," says Dirk Vandewalle, an expert on Libya at Dartmouth College.

Since the revolution that deposed longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, the central government has relied on — and financially supported — militias to help fill the power vacuum.

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The Two-Way
2:39 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Democratic Effort To Override Hobby Lobby Ruling Fails

GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire complained about a Democratic effort to reaffirm a contraceptive mandate at a Tuesday news conference
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 4:34 pm

A Democratic effort to override the Supreme Court's recent ruling on contraceptive coverage failed in the Senate on Wednesday.

Bill sponsors fell four votes short of the 60 votes needed to cut off debate on the measure.

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