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The Two-Way
8:04 am
Sat November 2, 2013

Edward Snowden: 'Speaking The Truth Is Not A Crime'

Edward Snowden, seen during a video interview with The Guardian.
Glenn Greenwald/Laura Poitras EPA/LANDOV

Originally published on Sat November 2, 2013 1:13 pm

Just shortly after Germany showed interest in talking to Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor met with a veteran member of the German parliament.

Hans-Christian Ströbele said Snowden was willing to talk to testify before the parliament about U.S. surveillance, but he first wanted to testify before the American Congress.

The New York Times reports Ströbele brought back a letter from Snowden, which he showed to the press.

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The Salt
5:35 am
Sat November 2, 2013

Mash Donalds? Iranians Copy American Fast-Food Brands

Is that Subway? Middle East analyst Holly Dagres is on a hunt for fast-food lookalikes in Tehran.
Holly Dagres

Originally published on Sat November 2, 2013 2:37 pm

Iran may not love America politically, but Iranians love American food — especially fast food.

With no formal diplomatic relations between the two countries, though, it's rather hard to find a McDonald's or a Pizza Hut. But if you wander through the streets of Tehran, you might find a Pizza Hat or a Mash Donald's.

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Shots - Health News
5:34 am
Sat November 2, 2013

So You Found An Exchange Plan. But Can You Find A Provider?

New York University's Langone Medical Center in New York City is considered in-network for relatively few of the health plans offered in the state marketplace.
Glen Argov Landov

Originally published on Sun November 3, 2013 6:51 am

Consumers shopping for coverage on the new health insurance exchanges have been focused on the lowest-cost options. But some shoppers are trying to determine which plans offer the widest array of doctors and hospitals — and are finding that can be trickier than it sounds.

John Batteiger applied for insurance coverage on the New York state exchange. But after he'd selected a plan, he had second thoughts: He'd forgotten to check if the plan he picked included a hospital near him.

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The Two-Way
5:30 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Appeals Court Sides With Employers On Covering Birth Control

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 6:06 pm

A federal appeals court has sided with the owners of a fruit and vegetable distributor who challenged part of the 2010 health care law requiring employers to provide insurance coverage for birth control. Federal courts have split on the issue, which is the subject of dozens of similar cases.

According to the National Women's Law Center, "a total of 88 lawsuits have been filed" over the issue of contraceptive coverage. Of that number, 63 cases are still pending; the other 25 have been closed.

NPR's Julie Rovner reports for our Newscast unit:

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The Salt
5:30 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Kraft Dims Artificial Orange Glow Of Its Mac And Cheese

Some Kraft Macaroni and Cheese will no longer be so ... orange.
Matt York AP

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 6:35 pm

One of the iconic foods of American childhood is becoming a bit less startlingly orange.

Kraft Foods plans to remove artificial food coloring from mac and cheese products that are marketed for children, starting early next year.

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Shots - Health News
5:19 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Feds To Ease Restrictions On Flexible Spending Accounts

Where did the money for those glasses come from?
iStockphoto.com

The Treasury Department is scrapping the rule that requires people to use or lose the money they set aside each year in accounts to cover health care expenses that are otherwise unreimbursed.

Instead, the department plans to allow people to carry over up to $500 of unused money to the following year, at their employer's discretion. That could start as early as the end of this year.

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The Two-Way
3:52 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Rule Change Allows Rollover For Flexible Spending Accounts

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 4:43 pm

Workers who put money into "use it or lose it" Flexible Spending Accounts each year could benefit from a new Treasury Department rule change letting them roll over up to $500 at the end of each year.

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The Two-Way
3:27 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Pakistani Taliban Chief Killed In U.S. Drone Strike

Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud (left) with his commander Wali-ur Rehman in South Waziristan, in October 2009.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 7:01 pm

The head of the Pakistani Taliban, Hakimullah Mehsud, has been killed in a U.S. drone strike, U.S. and Taliban officials tell NPR and other news organizations.

"We confirm with great sorrow that our esteemed leader was martyred in a drone attack," a senior Taliban commander was quoted by Reuters as saying.

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The Two-Way
2:23 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Germany Offers Third Gender Option On Birth Certificates

Germany will allow parents to choose a third indeterminate option for newborn babies, under a new law that takes effect Friday.
Deshakalyan Chowdhury AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 3:14 pm

A German law takes effect today that establishes a third gender option for parents filling out birth certificates for newborn babies. They can choose "indeterminate" if the child shows both male and female characteristics.

The parents will make that choice by leaving the boxes for male and female genders blank. The new law is meant to avoid the need to label an intersex baby as male or female before the child is old enough to decide.

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The Two-Way
1:31 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

One Officer Dead, Several Shot By Gunman At LA Airport

Police officers stand near an unidentified weapon in Terminal 3 of the Los Angeles International Airport on Friday. Officials said a gunman who opened fire in the terminal was wounded in a shootout with police and taken into custody.
AP

Originally published on Sat November 2, 2013 12:33 am

(Click here to jump to our latest updates.)

A lone gunman walked into one of the nation's busiest airports Friday in Los Angeles and opened fire with an assault rifle, killing at least one transportation security officer and wounding another, police and TSA officials say.

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Shots - Health News
1:31 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Sorry, Red Sox, Heavy Stubble Beats Beards For Attractiveness

Hey man, that's sensitive: Mike Napoli of the Boston Red Sox pulls teammate Jonny Gomes' beard after hitting a three-run homer in Game 4 of the 2013 World Series in St. Louis.
Jamie Squire Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 4, 2013 4:02 pm

When Mike Napoli got up to bat in Game 6 of the World Series, my first thought was, "Oh my goodness, that beard is awful." But after the Red Sox's first baseman laid off a few bad pitches, I started liking the hair on his chin.

All that got me thinking about beards.

Sometime during evolution women lost their facial hair. This strong difference between the sexes implies that facial furriness, or the lack thereof, has played a role in how we picked our partners, at least at one point in human history.

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The Salt
1:29 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

A Spice Buyer On Why Pepper Is Dirty, And How It Gets Clean

Pepper is the spice most commonly contaminated with salmonella and other pathogens.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue November 5, 2013 10:40 am

This week's news that the Food and Drug Administration found that 12 percent of spices imported to the U.S. are contaminated was a little disheartening.

As the FDA reported, all kinds of nasty stuff hitch a ride with spices into the country — from insects to animal excrement to pathogens. The agency looked closely at pepper and sesame seeds, but says this is an issue with lots of other spices, too.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
1:13 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

The Smarter You Are, The Stupider You Are

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon November 4, 2013 9:14 am

Education is necessary if democracy is to flourish. What good is the free flow of information if people can't make sense of it? How can you vote your own interests if you don't understand the consequences of policy choices? How can you know what's best for you or your community?

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The Two-Way
12:40 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Are Low Early Enrollment Nos. A Repeat Of Mass. Experience?

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 1:48 pm

News outlets are all over this story today:

Documents released by a congressional committee reveal just how few people successfully enrolled in health insurance plans on the troubled HealthCare.gov website in early days after its Oct. 1 launch. (That summary is courtesy of our colleagues on the NPR Newscast Desk.)

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The Two-Way
12:29 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Man Behind Oregon's Famous Exploding Whale Dies

A report by KATU-TV on officials' decision to blow up an 8-ton dead whale on an Oregon beach in 1970 went on to become an early viral video. The highway engineer who led the operation died this week.
YouTube

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 1:37 pm

Oregon highway engineer George Thornton, who in 1970 led an operation to blow up a dead beached whale with half a ton of dynamite, died this week at age 84. Thornton's decision resulted in a foul shower of whale blubber; video of the event has resurfaced periodically, often leading viewers to declare the whole thing a hoax.

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