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The Two-Way
6:49 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

House Approves Budget Deal; Compromise Heads To Senate

House Speaker John Boehner leaves a news conference Thursday, after criticizing conservative groups that he said held too much sway in Republican politics, "pushing our members in places where they don't want to be."
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 6:05 am

The House has approved a bipartisan budget deal to cut around $23 billion from the federal deficit over 10 years while removing the threat of a possible government shutdown until 2015. A shutdown deadline had loomed for Jan. 15.

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 also sets spending levels for the 2014 and 2015 fiscal years, which its backers say will add more stability to both the U.S. economy and the government's operations.

Update at 6:35 p.m. ET: The Vote Tally

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Shots - Health News
5:46 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Why Meningitis That Hit Princeton Is Hard To Beat With Vaccines

Developing a vaccine for meningitis B was tricky. Even the existing vaccine doesn't protect against all B strains.
Josef Muellek iStockphoto.com

There's been a lot of talk about meningitis B lately. That's the type responsible for outbreaks at Princeton and the University of California in Santa Barbara.

And it got us thinking. How come this form of the illness isn't fazed by the vaccines given routinely to most young people in the U.S.?

This week, Princeton is administering an imported vaccine not approved for general use in this country, with special permission from the Food and Drug Administration.

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The Two-Way
5:46 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Kim Jong Un's Uncle, Formerly North Korea's No. 2, Is Executed

A still image taken from North Korea's state-run television footage and released Monday shows Jang Song Thaek being forcibly removed by uniformed personnel from a meeting of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea in Pyongyang.
Yonhap/Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 6:05 am

North Korea has announced that Jang Song Thaek, the uncle of leader Kim Jong Un and formerly the second most powerful man in the country, has been executed after being found guilty of treason by a military tribunal.

"The accused Jang brought together undesirable forces and formed a faction as the boss of a modern day factional group for a long time and thus committed such hideous crime as attempting to overthrow the state," North Korea's official KCNA news agency said.

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The Two-Way
5:38 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Secret U.S. Stealth Drone Flies Out Of The Shadows

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 6:34 pm

In retrospect, it should come as no surprise that this story did not immediately appear on our radar: Last week, Aviation Week reported that the classified RQ-180 stealth drone has begun test flights at Area 51.

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The Two-Way
4:08 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

So Much For The 'Mozart Effect'

Researchers could not find a link between exposure to music and improved IQs in preschoolers.
Dmitry Naumov iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 7:02 pm

Music makes the heart grow fonder, but scientists are not so sure that it boosts IQ.

The Boston Globe notes:

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The Salt
3:26 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Social Supermarkets A 'Win-Win-Win' For Europe's Poor

A customer scans the shelves at Community Shop, the U.K.'s first "social supermarket." The discount grocery stores are growing in popularity across Europe and are open exclusively to those in need.
Courtesy of Community Shop

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 5:57 pm

Somewhere between a food pantry and a traditional grocery store lies an opportunity to help feed those in need.

Enter "social supermarkets," a European model that offers discounted food exclusively to those in poverty. The stores have grown in popularity across the continent, and this week, the U.K. opened its first. Dubbed Community Shop, the store is located in an impoverished former mining town in South Yorkshire.

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The Two-Way
2:50 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Thai Protest Leader Says Heads Of Military, Police To Meet Him

Anti-government protesters react to a speech by former Democrat Party MP and anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban during a large rally near Government House on Tuesday in Bangkok.
Rufus Cox Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 6:24 pm

The leader of massive anti-government protests in Thailand says the chiefs of the country's military branches and police force have agreed to meet and hear him out on "political reforms" — a move likely to spark concern over a possible coup similar to the one that overthrew the prime minister in 2006.

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The Two-Way
2:11 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Probation For Teen Who Killed 4: Here's The Judge's Thinking

The news that a 16-year-old boy from Texas was sentenced this week to 10 years of probation for driving drunk and causing a crash that killed four people has led to many headlines such as this, from Time:

"The Affluenza Defense: Judge Rules Rich Kid's Rich Kid-ness Makes Him Not Liable for Deadly Drunk Driving Accident."

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The Two-Way
2:10 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Bangladesh Executes Islamist Leader For War Crimes

Bangladeshi activists participate in a rally Thursday in the capital, Dhaka, celebrating the Supreme Court's decision to clear the way for the execution of Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdul Quader Mollah. Mollah was hanged Thursday for crimes committed during the country's 1971 war of independence.
A.M. Ahad AP

Bangladesh has hanged an Islamist leader convicted of committing atrocities in the country's war of independence from Pakistan more than 40 year ago.

Abdul Quader Mollah, a top leader in the Jammat-e-Islami party, was originally scheduled to be hanged Tuesday, but he gained a temporary reprieve pending appeal. The country's Supreme Court denied the appeal on Thursday. Mollah, 65, was hanged at 10:01 p.m. Thursday.

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The Two-Way
1:50 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Rule Allowing In-Flight Phone Calls Clears First FCC Hurdle

A passenger checks his cellphone while boarding a flight in Boston. The Federal Communications Commission is proposing new rules to allow using cellphones for data and voice calls during airline flights.
Matt Slocum AP

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 5:04 pm

Update at 4 p.m. ET: Commissioners Approve Rules Proposal

By a vote of 3-2, the FCC has approved the initial proposal to allow passengers on U.S. flights to use their cellphones for voice calls — something that's been forbidden on U.S. flights. The vote opens the door for further consideration by the commission's five members, as well as comments from the public.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
12:55 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Why We Need More Than Three Genders

iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 3:49 pm

Some of the people who will read this blog post are female, some are male, some are both and some are neither. To all, greetings of the season!

Of the many things I want to celebrate during this annual round of holiday joy, the beauty of human diversity and the pleasure we may take in recognizing it sit near the top of my list.

Yet here's something I've noticed: While the array of gorgeous human skin colors and ethnicities and sexualities is increasingly embraced as a matter of human rights, we are slower to celebrate multiple genders.

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Shots - Health News
12:15 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Scientists Turn To The Crowd In Quest For New Antibiotics

Yes, you could do this at home. Growing bacteria you find in a pile of dirt or a local pond might reveal the next big antibiotic.
Charlotte Raymond Science Source

Could you dig up the next antibiotic in your backyard? Two scientists would like you and, if they're lucky, millions of other people to give it a try.

The researchers hope that lots of do-it-yourself scientists around the world can come up with the next big idea for much-needed drugs.

There are plenty of precedents. Many blockbuster antibiotics were found in soil, where many bacteria produce chemicals to keep rivals out of their territory.

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The Two-Way
11:25 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Hawaiian Official Who Released Obama's Birth Certificate Dies In Crash

Loretta Fuddy, director of Hawaii's Department of Health. She died Wednesday.
Hawaii Department of Health AP

Loretta Fuddy, a Hawaiian health official who in 2011 was briefly in the national spotlight when she verified the authenticity of President Obama's birth certificate and authorized the release of information about it, died Wednesday in the crash of a small plane off the island of Molokai.

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The Two-Way
11:25 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Indian Officials Vow Steps To Overturn Gay Sex Verdict

Protesters in New Delhi rally Wednesday against the Supreme Court's decision to restore a ban on gay sex. On Thursday, the government said it would take steps to address the ruling.
Arkaprava Ghosh Barcroft Media /Landov

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 2:44 pm

We told you Wednesday about India's Supreme Court restoring a colonial-era ban on homosexual acts. The country's government said a day later that it would take urgent steps to overturn the ruling.

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The Two-Way
10:22 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Sriracha Maker Told To Hold Its Sauce For 30 Days

Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 12:14 pm

Already under orders from a court to partially shut down production because of concerns that spicy smells from its Irwindale, Calif., plant are irritating neighbors' eyes, noses and throats, Huy Fong Foods has now been told it can't ship its Sriracha hot sauce until at least 30 days after bottling.

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