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3:47 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Some Turkish Churches Get Makeovers — As Mosques

The fifth century Byzantine Stoudios monastery in Istanbul housed a church and was later turned into a mosque and then a museum before falling into disrepair.
Peter Kenyon NPR

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 8:11 pm

A historically significant but now-crumbling fifth century Byzantine monastery in Istanbul is finally slated for restoration. But for Turkey's dwindling Greek community, the bad news is that the government wants to turn the Stoudios monastery into a mosque.

It's just one of several such conversions of historically Christian sites that the government is considering. And there's even talk that the Hagia Sophia, the most famous Byzantine structure in modern Istanbul, will be reconverted into a mosque.

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The Two-Way
3:35 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

North Korean Leader's Uncle Reportedly Sacked From Top Post

In a photo from July, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (second left) is flanked by top advisers, including his uncle Jang Song Thaek, at far right in white uniform.
Wong Maye-E AP

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 4:24 pm

An uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has reportedly been dismissed from a key post as the vice chairman of the country's National Defense Commission, an assessment by South Korea's intelligence service says.

In addition, two close aides of Jang Song Thaek were reportedly executed for corruption.

Jang, who is married to the sister of late leader Kim Jong Il, is said to have been fired last month. But, according to The Associated Press, purges against Jang have been reported in the past only to find him later back in power, apparently rehabilitated.

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NPR Story
3:21 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

'Giving Tuesday' Follows Record-Breaking Cyber Monday

(givingtuesday.org)

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 4:19 pm

Cyber Monday, the Super Bowl of online sales, broke all records this year, with sales up 19 percent over last year.

Mobile traffic accounted for 13 percent of total site visits, and sales are projected to reach $2 billion for desktop online sales, according to comScore.

But the bonanza isn’t over. Today is “Giving Tuesday.” The movement to create a national day of giving started last year, raising $10 million dollars for more than 2,500 charities nationwide.

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The Two-Way
3:08 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

'This Law Is Working,' Obama Says Of Health Care

While conceding that "more problems may pop up as they always do when you're launching something new," President Obama on Tuesday said the troubled HealthCare.gov website "is working well for the vast majority of users" and his Affordable Care Act "is working and will work into the future."

"We may never satisfy the law's opponents," Obama added during an afternoon event at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building adjacent to the White House. But, he said, "we know the demand [for health insurance] is there and we know the product on these marketplaces is good."

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Parallels
2:56 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

And The Award For Most Corrupt Nation Goes To ...

A young Afghan balloon seller runs toward a customer in Kabul on April 2. Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia are the most-corrupt countries, according to the annual Corruption Perception Index released Tuesday.
Massoud Hossaini AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 3:41 pm

Each year, Transparency International releases its Corruption Perception Index, and this year, like most, the Scandinavian countries and New Zealand were at one end of the spectrum as the least-corrupt nations in the world.

In the category of most-corrupt, there was a three-way tie: Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia.

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The Two-Way
2:28 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Man Killed In Shark Attack Off Maui

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 3:35 pm

Yet another shark attack in Hawaii, this time leading to the death of a man off Maui. It comes just three days after a woman survived a harrowing shark attack on the same side of the island.

The Associated Press reports that a shark bit the dangling foot of Patrick Briney, 57, of Stevenson, Wash., as he fished from a kayak between Maui and Molokini, a small island that is a popular diving and snorkeling spot.

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Parallels
2:28 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

The High Price Egyptians Pay For Opposing Their Rulers

Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood run from tear gas during clashes with riot police near Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya square on Nov. 22.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 7:11 pm

Mohamed Yousef is a tall, handsome practitioner of kung fu. In fact, he's an Egyptian champion who recently won an international competition.

But a month ago, when he collected his gold medal at the championship in Russia, he posed for a picture after putting on a yellow T-shirt with a hand holding up four fingers.

That's the symbol of Rabaa al-Adawiya, the Cairo square where Egyptian security forces opened fire in August on supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. Hundreds were killed, including seven of Yousef's friends.

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The Two-Way
1:50 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Something Cool: A 'Hopscotch Crosswalk' In Baltimore

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 5:07 pm

The most famous crosswalk in the world has to be Abbey Road. But, today, the city of Baltimore unveiled what could be the most entertaining of crosswalks.

The street crossings adjacent to the Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower in downtown are now equipped with four different games of hopscotch. Take a look:

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The Two-Way
1:40 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Dead Mice Update: Tiny Assassins Dropped On Guam Again

Researchers hope Guam's snakes take the bait.
Micha Klootwijk iStockPhoto.com

Dead mice laced with acetaminophen have for the fourth time been dropped from helicopters into trees on Guam in an experiment aimed at killing snakes that have devastated the island's bird population and caused other damage.

No, we haven't been duped by something written by The Onion.

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Shots - Health News
1:34 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Nonprofits Challenge Missouri Licensing Law For Insurance Guides

Nonprofits that are supposed to be helping people figure out their health insurance options are challenging an allegedly restrictive state law.
iStockphoto

In the first lawsuit of its kind, several nonprofit groups that received federal grants to help people sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act are suing the state of Missouri.

The Missouri law requires health insurance helpers called navigators to be licensed by the state, which involves passing an exam and paying a fee.

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