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The Two-Way
9:46 am
Sat October 12, 2013

Kerry And Karzai Meet To Discuss U.S. Presence In Afghanistan

Ahead of an expected — and repeatedly delayed — news conference, an Afghan worker leaves the area where Secretary of State John Kerry and Afghan President Hamid Karzai were expected to speak Saturday in Kabul.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 12, 2013 11:12 am

The U.S. desire to maintain a military presence in Afghanistan is the subject of talks today in Kabul, where Secretary of State John Kerry is in prolonged discussions with President Hamid Karzai. Most of the U.S. troops would continue training Afghan forces, while another contingent works against terrorist groups.

As for how many Americans would be posted to Afghanistan, NPR's Sean Carberry says a precise number hasn't emerged, but he adds that "through conversations and comments by military officials, the range is about 5,000 to 10,000."

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The Two-Way
8:41 am
Sat October 12, 2013

Cyclone Phailin Hits India With 120 MPH Winds; Thousands Flee

A man covers himself with a plastic sheet as a shield as he walks to a safer place near Gopalpur in eastern India Saturday. Hundreds of thousands of people living along India's eastern coastline took shelter from the massive powerful cyclone Phailin.
Biswaranjan Rout AP

Originally published on Sat October 12, 2013 3:35 pm

Cyclone Phailin has struck India's east coast in the Bay of Bengal, where more than 500,000 people have evacuated from vulnerable areas along the coast. Phailin reportedly packed sustained winds of more than 120 mph when the eye of the storm hit; strong winds will likely persist for hours to come.

Update at 3:15 p.m. ET:

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Shots - Health News
7:36 am
Sat October 12, 2013

Health Insurance Exchanges Suffer Ills Of Geography

Alexandra Dixon is one of 350 "navigators" hired to help people sign up for health insurance in Maryland.
Jenny Gold for NPR

Originally published on Sat October 12, 2013 9:05 am

These first two weeks have been rocky for the state health insurance exchanges. The online marketplaces opened across the country Oct. 1, with computer glitches and staffing shortages.

Even the states that have agreed to run their own exchanges are having a hard time. In states that have not embraced the Affordable Care Act, the federal government is struggling to fill in the gap.

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The Salt
6:07 am
Sat October 12, 2013

Women, The 'First Brewers,' Lean Into Craft Beer-Making

Meg Gill is the president and co-founder of Golden Road Brewing in Los Angeles. Her brewery is favored to win awards at the Great American Beer Festival.
Melissa Kuypers NPR

Originally published on Sat October 12, 2013 10:09 am

Thousands of beer aficionados are in Denver this weekend for the Great American Beer Festival. Some 600 breweries from around the country are represented at the marquee event for the craft-brewing industry.

And while this annual competition has long been male-dominated, that's starting to change.

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The Salt
3:54 am
Sat October 12, 2013

Feminist Hulk Smash Shutdown, Rescue Women On Food Aid!

Courtesy Jessica Lawson

Originally published on Sun October 13, 2013 9:09 pm

The government shutdown is frustrating enough for furloughed workers, but for families dependent on federal food assistance, it's infuriating.

Enter the Feminist Hulk.

The Twitter monster is smashing the shutdown's threats to the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Food and Nutrition program, which provides food aid to pregnant women and mothers of young children deemed to be at risk of malnutrition. And she's urging her nearly 74,000 followers to help.

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Shots - Health News
3:53 am
Sat October 12, 2013

More Evidence Against Vitamin D To Build Bones In Middle Age

If only it was as simple as popping a supplement and being set for life. But alas, no.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat October 12, 2013 11:51 am

It's not easy being a wonder vitamin these days. Just when it looks like you're the solution to every health problem, some doctors come along and burst your bubble. Now it's happening to vitamin D.

The supplement has been widely promoted to prevent osteoporosis and fight a host of other ills. But recent studies haven't found much benefit, for bones or for general health.

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The Salt
6:38 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Shutdown Leaves Some Seniors Worried About Their Next Meal

Seniors around the country depend on weekly deliveries of nutritionally balanced food from the USDA's supplemental nutrition program.
tmarvin iStockPhoto.com

Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 7:27 pm

You've no doubt heard of Senior Meals on Wheels preparing hot meals delivered to the elderly. But there's a different meal program that's been put on hold because of the partial government shutdown. It's the USDA's Commodity Supplemental Food Program.

In Michigan's western Kent County alone, more than 1,300 low-income seniors depend on the program. For them, it's a nutrition lifeline: They can't just go to a food pantry for similar assistance.

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The Two-Way
6:27 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Migrant Boats Capsize Off Italy And Near Egypt

An Italian student holds a paper boat reading "How many tombs without names in Lampedusa, No to Bossi Fini" in reference to the recent tragedy near Lampedusa island where at least hundreds of immigrants drowned and the Bossi-Fini anti-immigration law.
Filippo Monteforte AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 7:59 pm

Two separate incidents left dozens of migrants dead, when their boats capsized on Friday.

First, a boat capsized off the Coast of Egypt and 12 migrants died and 116 were rescued. Then, 27 migrants died and 221 were rescued after a boat capsized off the coast of Italy.

Of course, this comes about a week after a similar incident left 339 dead because of a capsized boat near Italy.

The BBC reports on the Egypt accident:

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The Two-Way
4:59 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Peter Higgs Learned About His Nobel From A Former Neighbor

British physicist Peter Higgs.
Fabrice Coffrini AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 6:07 pm

The notoriously shy Peter Higgs learned that he had been awarded the Nobel Prize in physics on Tuesday from a former neighbor.

In a press conference on Friday, the British theoretical physicist said he had tried to skip town on Tuesday, but instead ended up at a restaurant to have beer and soup. The Nobel Prize Committee in Stockholm tried to call Higgs shortly before they made the announcement, but Higgs does not have a cellphone.

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Shots - Health News
4:50 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Why A Peanut Butter Test For Alzheimer's Might Be Too Simple

University of Florida researcher Jennifer Stamps administers the peanut butter sniff test to a volunteer.
Jesse S. Jones University of Florida

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 12:47 pm

Alzheimer's disease can be tough to diagnose, especially early on. Doctors can order brain scans and assay spinal fluids. But existing tests are imperfect and some can be invasive.

So you might understand the appeal of an alternative that researchers at the University of Florida in Gainesville tried. They had asked patients to sniff a dab of peanut butter during a routine test of cranial nerve function. Later, the team wondered if it could help them figure of it someone might be in the early stages of Alzheimer's.

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The Salt
4:06 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

McDonald's President Was Caught Off Guard By Low-Wage, Single Mom

McDonald's USA President Jeff Stratton responds to an employee who burst into an event.
YouTube screengrab

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 12:11 pm

A video of a McDonald's worker confronting the president of the fast-food behemoth has gone viral this week, with the help of a fast-food workers' campaign aimed at raising hourly wages to $15.

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Monkey See
2:46 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

'Glee' Says Goodbye

Glee remembered Cory Monteith in Thursday night's episode, "The Quarterback."
Adam Rose Fox

When Cory Monteith died in July, the fact that it put Glee in a terrible position was certainly the least of the rotten outcomes.

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The Two-Way
2:38 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

'Monstrous' Cyclone Barrels Toward India's East Coast

A woman leaves the Bay of Bengal coast with her children in the Ganjam district of Odisha, India.
Biswaranjan Rout AP

Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 5:47 pm

Here's how the usually restrained meteorologists at the Capital Weather Gang describe the storm that is about to pummel India's east coast:

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The Salt
2:38 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

What's In That Chicken Nugget? Maybe You Don't Want To Know

Chicken Nuggets, from artist Banksy's 2008 installation "The Village Pet Store and Charcoal Grill" in New York City.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 12, 2013 12:19 pm

Chicken nuggets: Call 'em tasty, call 'em crunchy, call 'em quick and convenient. But maybe you shouldn't call them "chicken."

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The Two-Way
1:57 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Air Force Fires Top U.S. Missile Commander

The launch-key mechanism at the deactivated Delta Nine Launch Facility near Wall, S.D., in 2002.
AP

Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 4:20 pm

The Air Force two-star general in charge of the country's land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles has been relieved of his command for what's being described as questionable behavior during a temporary duty assignment.

Maj. Gen. Michael Carey, who led the 20th Air Force, headquartered at Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., has been dismissed, according to a statement issued by the Air Force Global Strike Command.

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