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The Two-Way
8:40 am
Sat December 28, 2013

More Than 1 Million Americans Lose Unemployment Benefits

Job seekers read pamphlets as they wait in line to enter a job fair in San Jose, Calif.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 5:04 pm

About 1.3 million Americans lost their long-term unemployment benefits today. This means anyone who has been out of work and getting benefits for than six months will stop receiving their weekly check.

As The New York Times frames the story, beyond drastically curtailing a safety-net for jobless workers, allowing the benefits to expire sets up a "major political" fight for the coming new year. The paper adds:

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Shots - Health News
8:25 am
Sat December 28, 2013

Despite the Stress, Suicides Don't Spike Over The Holidays

Worth living for: George Bailey, center, played by James Stewart, is reunited with his wife, Mary, played by Donna Reed, and his children in the final scene of Frank Capra's 1946 classic, It's A Wonderful Life.
AP

Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 3:57 pm

In the holiday classic It's a Wonderful Life, a despondent George Bailey considers suicide on Christmas Eve, thinking that he will be worth more dead than alive to his family because of his life insurance. Suicide is widely thought to be an increased risk around the holidays. But there's plenty of data to show that's just not true.

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The Two-Way
10:49 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

Four U.S. Military Personnel Held By Libyan Government Released

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 11:23 pm

Updated 11:14 p.m. EDT

Reuters is reporting that the four American military personnel detained earlier Friday night have been released.

The Reuters report quotes an anonymous U.S. defense official.

More than two years after the fall of Moammar Gadhafi, Libya is plagued by security issues and awash heavy weapons in the hands of militias divided by tribe, ideology and region.

Original Post

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The Two-Way
8:26 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

Federal Jobless Benefits Set To End For More Than 1 Million

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) talks to reporters at the Capitol in Washington, last Thursday. Reid has promised a vote no later than Jan. 7 on a measure to extend jobless benefits for three months.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Federal jobless benefits going to 1.3 million Americans will officially expire on Saturday after Congress failed to extend them before leaving for the holiday.

NPR's Tamara Keith says it "means anyone who has been out of work and getting benefits for more than 6 months will see their weekly checks stop abruptly."

"Advocates point out that without congressional action another 73,000 people will lose benefits each week," she says.

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The Two-Way
6:07 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

Newtown Report Offers Few Insights Into School Shooting

This undated photo released Friday by the Connecticut State Police shows the scene inside Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Conn.
AP

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 7:19 pm

Connecticut State Police have released an exhaustive report on last year's Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, offering some new details on the massacre that left 20 first-graders and six educators dead.

Photographs taken by investigators of the home that 20-year-old shooter Adam Lanza shared with his mother show "numerous rounds of ammunition, gun magazines, shot-up paper targets, gun cases, shooting earplugs and a gun safe with a rifle in it," The Associated Press writes.

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Shots - Health News
5:15 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

When Memories Never Fade, The Past Can Poison The Present

Having a perfect memory can put a strain on relationships, because every slight is remembered.
Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 8:08 am

On Feb. 21, Alexandra Wolff ate steak, mashed potatoes and broccoli for dinner. Later that night, sitting in her room, she spent 20 minutes scanning pictures in InStyle magazine.

She remembers those things, just as she remembers that on Aug. 2 she stopped at Target and bought Raisin Bran; and on April 17 she wore a white button-down shirt; and on Oct. 2 she went to TGI Fridays and spoke to the hostess, who was wearing black leather flats with small bows on them.

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The Salt
4:43 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

Time Is Running Out To Save Florida's Oranges

Ripening fruit in a grove in Plant City, Fla., this month. Florida citrus growers are worried about citrus greening, which causes bacteria to grow on the leaf and fruit, eventually killing the tree.
Chris O'Meara AP

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 7:15 pm

It's not been a good year for Florida's citrus industry. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that, for the second year running, the orange crop is expected to be almost 10 percent lower than the previous year.

The culprit is citrus greening, a disease that has devastated Florida's oranges and grapefruits, and has now begun to spread in Texas and California.

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The Two-Way
4:21 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

Amid Political Chaos, Thailand's Army Chief Won't Rule Out Coup

Anti-government protesters enter a Bangkok stadium where election preparations were underway on Thursday.
Wason Wanichakorn AP

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 5:56 pm

Thailand's army chief on Friday called for calm amid unrest between supporters and opponents of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, but he refused to rule out the possibility of a military coup to restore stability.

Asked whether the army would seize the government for the second time in less than a decade, Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha said: "That door is neither open nor closed ... it will be determined by the situation."

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The Two-Way
2:14 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

Egypt Launches Renewed Crackdown On Muslim Brotherhood

Egyptian riot police run after Muslim Brotherhood members after a demonstration in Cairo's eastern Nasr City district on Friday.
Khaled Desouki AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 2:30 pm

Egyptian security forces carried out widespread arrests of Muslim Brotherhood members just days after the government labeled the group, which supports ousted President Mohammed Morsi, a terrorist organization.

Three people were reported killed in Muslim Brotherhood-led protests and some 265 people were arrested as part of the nationwide crackdown, which came as the political group renewed calls for massive anti-government rallies.

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Monkey See
1:59 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Time Machines, Time Capsules And A Live Studio Audience

NPR

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 5:31 pm

This isn't our first live episode of Pop Culture Happy Hour: Almost exactly a year earlier, we recorded a show in an abandoned bank during an NPR merchandise sale. But this one, recorded Dec. 10 at NPR's Studio One, is the first live show we've recorded on an official studio soundstage, complete with a seated crowd, food and drink for sale, and tickets that had to be purchased in advance.

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The Two-Way
1:57 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

Stories Merge As 'Duck Dynasty' Fans Plan 'Chick-Phil-A' Day

One of Chick-Phil-A-Day's promotional images.
Facebook.com/chickphiladay

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 5:43 pm

Update at 5:40 p.m. ET. A&E Lifts Phil Robertson's Suspension:

A&E announced Friday afternoon that it was reversing its decision to suspend Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson from the show.

A statement from the cable channel says the decision was made after discussions with the Robertson family and "numerous advocacy groups."

Here's our original post ...

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Shots - Health News
1:00 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

Concussions May Increase Alzheimer's Risk, But Only For Some

Researchers have only recently been able to use brain scans to detect Alzheimer's risk factors in living people.
iStockphoto

Doctors have long suspected that head trauma boosts the risk of getting Alzheimer's disease later on, but the evidence on that has been mixed.

But it looks like people who have memory problems and a history of concussion are more likely to have a buildup of plaques in the brain that are a risk factor for Alzheimer's, according to researchers at the Mayo Clinic.

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The Two-Way
12:59 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

Target: Encrypted Data Were Taken, But Not The Key To Unlock

The scene outside a Target store in Brooklyn on Black Friday, Nov. 29.
Eric Thayer Reuters /Landov

Though hackers did obtain "strongly encrypted PIN data" when they got into Target's information systems, the retailer said Friday that sensitive information from customers' debit cards should not be at risk.

Target posted this explanation:

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The Two-Way
12:42 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

Judge Rules That NSA Collection Of Phone Data Is Lawful

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 1:51 pm

A federal judge has ruled that the National Security Agency's bulk gathering of the telephone records of millions of Americans is legal — less than two weeks after another federal judge ruled that the program violated the Constitution.

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The Two-Way
11:37 am
Fri December 27, 2013

PHOTO: Saturn's Holiday Closeup

Saturn, looking something like a hand-painted ornament, in a newly released image from NASA.
NASA.gov

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 1:00 pm

Just before Christmas, NASA released a photo of Saturn that we can't resist posting.

Here's how the space agency describes the image:

"The globe of Saturn, seen here in natural color, is reminiscent of a holiday ornament in this wide-angle view from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. The characteristic hexagonal shape of Saturn's northern jet stream, somewhat yellow here, is visible. At the pole lies a Saturnian version of a high-speed hurricane, eye and all. ...

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