NPR Blogs

The Two-Way
1:32 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Mystery Bidder At French Auction Plans To Return Sacred Hopi Items

An anonymous bidder paid $530,000 for 24 Native American items that went on the block this week in Paris. The auction went ahead despite an appeal by the Hopi tribe to cancel the sale of the items it considers sacred. The U.S. Embassy asked for a delay, and the sale was challenged in court — unsuccessfully.

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The Two-Way
12:58 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Sebelius Calls For Review Of HHS Practices That Led To Debacle

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testifies on Capitol Hill on Wednesday. Earlier today, Sebelius announced an inquiry into the agency's launch of the problem-plagued HealthCare.gov site.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 7:14 pm

"The launch of HealthCare.gov was flawed and simply unacceptable."

Those are the words of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, published Wednesday just before she met with people who share those views: members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

With her agency under fire since the website's failed release last month, Sebelius announced an internal inquiry and other steps that will focus on improving the contracting process, project management and employee training.

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The Two-Way
12:58 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

'World Is Watching,' U.S. Diplomat Tells Ukraine

U.S. Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland offered food to pro-European Union activists as she and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, right, walked through Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, on Wednesday. She also offered food to some of the police nearby.
Andrew Kravchenko AP

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 1:39 pm

While Ukrainian riot police have reportedly left Kiev's Independence Square, one of the United States' top diplomats says she has told President Viktor Yanukovych that "what happened last night, what has been happening in security terms here, is absolutely impermissible in a European state, in a democratic state."

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The Two-Way
11:43 am
Wed December 11, 2013

How A Tweet On CBS' Mandela Misstep Sparked A Social Media Flare-Up

One more lesson on the power of social media:

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The Two-Way
11:39 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Lululemon Bets New Leaders Will Help It See Through Woes

Lululemon clothes at a store in Pasadena, Calif.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 12:27 pm

Yoga clothier Lululemon began the year with an embarrassing problem — pants that allowed way too much of women's bottoms to be seen through their sheer fabric.

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The Two-Way
11:13 am
Wed December 11, 2013

U.S. Suspends Some Aid To Syrian Rebels

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 3:53 pm

This story was updated at 12:59 p.m. ET

The U.S. government has suspended all non-lethal aid to the Western-backed military wing of the Syrian opposition.

The suspension, which was announced Wednesday, began on the weekend after Islamist rebel groups seized control of warehouses containing communications equipment and other aid items.

NPR's Deborah Amos, who is in Beirut, filed this story for our Newscast unit:

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The Salt
11:08 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Robots Could Help Farmers Rein In Fertilizer Pollution

Rowbot is designed to fit in between the rows of crops. Moving up and down each row, a fleet of 20 bots could fertilize and monitor the corn crops during the growing season.
Courtesy of Kent Cavender-Bares

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 12:00 pm

Lately, robots have been taking over all kinds of jobs that humans used to do on the farm — from thinning lettuce to harvesting spinach.

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The Two-Way
10:34 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Asiana Pilot Was 'Very Concerned' Before California Crash

The wreckage of Asiana Airlines flight 214 on the runway at San Francisco International Airport last July.
National Transportation Safety Board Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 6:07 am

The pilot of an Asiana Airlines passenger jet that crashed in July at San Francisco International Airport has told investigators he was "very concerned" about trying to land there, The Associated Press writes.

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The Two-Way
9:56 am
Wed December 11, 2013

India's Supreme Court Restores Ban On Gay Sex

A child sitting on the shoulders of an Indian gay rights activist waves a rainbow-colored flag during a protest in New Delhi following a decision Wednesday by the country's top court that a colonial-era law criminalizing homosexuality will remain in effect.
Altaf Qadri AP

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 1:00 pm

India's Supreme Court on Wednesday reversed a landmark lower court ruling that decriminalized homosexual acts, in a decision that is being called a major setback to gay rights in the country.

At issue was an 1861 British colonial-era law that forbids "intercourse against the order of nature." Prosecutions under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code are rare, but are often used by police to harass gays and lesbians.

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The Two-Way
9:35 am
Wed December 11, 2013

'Fake' Sign Language Interpreter Marred Mandela Memorial

As President Obama and other world leaders spoke Tuesday in Johannesburg at a memorial for Nelson Mandela, a man stood nearby and appeared to be doing sign language interpretation. Many in the deaf community are outraged because the man appeared to be faking.
Pedro Ugarte AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 1:52 pm

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Shots - Health News
9:10 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Enrollment Jumps At HealthCare.gov, Though Totals Still Lag

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius' shadow appeared behind the lectern as she spoke about the implementation of the federal health law in Detroit in November.
Paul Sancya AP

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 12:56 pm

Enrollment in the federal government's new health insurance exchange picked up sharply in November, but the number of people signing up for coverage still trails original forecasts. Officials from the Obama administration say they expect the pace of enrollments will continue to increase now that the insurance website is working more smoothly.

Users have until Dec. 23 to sign up for coverage that begins in January.

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The Two-Way
8:19 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Pope Francis Is Person Of The Year, 'Time' Says

Time.com

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 1:02 pm

"For pulling the papacy out of the palace and into the streets, for committing the world's largest faith to confronting its deepest needs and for balancing judgment with mercy, Pope Francis is Time's 2013 Person of the Year."

The magazine adds that:

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The Two-Way
7:25 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Book News: Booksellers' Lawsuit Against Amazon, Publishers Dismissed

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

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The Two-Way
7:03 am
Wed December 11, 2013

As Mandela Lies In State, South Africa Says Goodbye

Graca Machel bids farewell to her husband, Nelson Mandela, whose body lay in state Wednesday at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
Marco Longari AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 1:13 pm

Amid a solemn atmosphere, the body of Nelson Mandela lay in state Wednesday at an amphitheater in South Africa's capital of Pretoria, the exact spot where he was sworn in as the country's first black president in 1994, reconciling a land that had been torn by racial divisions for centuries.

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