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The Two-Way
12:57 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

With General Assembly Approval, Maryland Poised To Repeal Death Penalty

With a vote today in the House of Delegates, Maryland's General Assembly has approved a bill that abolishes the death penalty in the state.

If signed into law by Gov. Martin O'Malley, which is expected, Maryland will become the 18th state to end capital punishment.

The Baltimore Sun reports:

"The 82-56 vote came after an impassioned debate. The legislation cleared the state Senate last week 27-20.

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The Two-Way
12:34 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

In Response To North Korea And Iran, U.S. Will Beef Up Missile Defenses

Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 3:19 pm

Update at 3:09 p.m. ET. 14 Additional Interceptors:

The United States will deploy 14 additional ground-based missile interceptors (GBIs) to combat the nuclear attack threats from North Korea and Iran, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said today during a press briefing.

"The United States stands firm against aggression," Hagel said.

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The Two-Way
12:33 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

VIDEO: See Comet Pan-STARRS Dragging Its Tail Through Space

Comet PanSTARRS, as viewed by NASA's orbiting STEREO (Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory).
NASA

Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 1:03 pm

Comet Pan-STARRS is putting on a bit of a show for those in the Northern Hemisphere through the end of this month. We're seeing some beautiful photos, such as those taken this week by AFP/Getty's Stan Honda. He pointed his camera skyward near Magdalena, N.M.

The best viewing came earlier this week, but Forbes writes that if you're in the Northern Hemisphere you're not too late to see Pan-STARRS. It offers some tips:

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The Two-Way
11:31 am
Fri March 15, 2013

To Mark 10th Anniversary Of Iraq Invasion, Researchers Assess The Cost

Members of the US Army's Old Guard carry team lift the remains of U.S. Army Specialist Israel Candelaria Mejias from San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico, as his body is returned on a C-17 to the U.S. from Iraq on April 7, 2009.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

Nearly ten years since the United States invaded Iraq, researchers at Brown University are assessing the cost of the war.

The report, from Brown's Watson Institute for International Studies, is comprehensive, taking a look at the direct and indirect costs of war, but from the university's press release, here is bottom line:

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The Two-Way
11:18 am
Fri March 15, 2013

A Peek Into Exoplanet's Atmosphere Offers Clues To How It Was Formed

The 10-meter Keck II (right), a twin of the world's largest optical telescope, was used to study the atmosphere of HR 8799c.
Richard Wainscoat AP

Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 1:06 pm

Scientists peering into the atmosphere of a giant planet 130 light years away believe their findings bolster one theory of how solar systems form.

The planet, orbiting the star HR 8799, is part of a solar system containing at least three other "super-Jupiters" weighing in at between five and 10 times the mass of our own Jupiter. The nearby system features a brash, young 30-million-year-old star (by contrast, our Sun is in midlife at about 4.5 billion years old).

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It's All Politics
11:03 am
Fri March 15, 2013

The Bush Family Checklist

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks to the media after being named chairman of the National Constitution Center's Board of Trustees Dec. 6 in Philadelphia.
William Thomas Cain Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 16, 2013 3:58 am

And the Bushes just keep on coming.

In recent memory, there was George H.W. Bush, 41st president of the United States. Then there was George W. Bush, 43rd president. And now there's John Ellis "Jeb" Bush, who may want to become the 45th president.

Jeb is sending mixed signals: Tonight he is a keynote speaker at a Conservative Political Action Conference dinner, but he has asked that his name be removed from CPAC's 2016 presidential straw poll.

Does Jeb have what it takes to be the next president of the United States?

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Shots - Health News
10:57 am
Fri March 15, 2013

More Patients Keep HIV At Bay Without Antiviral Drugs

An electron micrograph of HIV particles infecting a human T cell. French researchers say they've found 14 patients with so little HIV virus in their blood that the patients have gone into "long-term remission."
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Originally published on Mon March 18, 2013 7:00 am

Just last week AIDS researchers were excited about a Mississippi toddler whose blood has remained free of HIV many months after she stopped getting antiviral drugs – what doctors call a "functional cure."

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It's All Politics
10:52 am
Fri March 15, 2013

Four Faces Of Conservatism: Possible Directions For The GOP

iStockphoto

Is it the message or its delivery?

That's one of the questions being debated as Republicans — like all parties that have lost a national election — plot their comeback.

Some think they need to take a new tack on issues such as immigration in order to appeal to changing times and demographic changes. Others believe that the GOP's core conservative principles are still political winners, if delivered in a more convincing manner than was the case during last year's presidential race.

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The Two-Way
10:43 am
Fri March 15, 2013

NHL Realignment: New Divisions Drawn To Ease Time Zone Conflicts

A chart depicts the NHL's new divisions, which will take effect when the new season begins later this year. The lineup puts 16 teams in the Eastern Conference, and 14 in the Western.
NHL

The NHL will shuffle its teams before next season, moving from three divisions in each conference to a total of four divisions in the Eastern and Western Conferences. The league's owners approved the plan Thursday; the players' association gave its OK last week.

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The Two-Way
10:27 am
Fri March 15, 2013

Court Says CIA Can't Have It Both Ways On Drones

Don't deny you have documents about drones, court tells the CIA.
Kirsty Wigglesworth AP

Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 12:56 pm

A federal appeals court has rejected an effort by the CIA to deny it has any documents about a U.S. drone program that has killed terrorists overseas, ruling that the agency is stretching the law too far and asking judges "to give their imprimatur to a fiction of deniability that no reasonable person would regard as plausible."

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The Two-Way
10:11 am
Fri March 15, 2013

Man Who Set Fire To Navy Submarine Sentenced To 17 Years

The Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Miami (SSN 755) enters a dry dock to begin an engineered overhaul at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Maine.
Jim Cleveland U.S. Navy

Casey Fury, the civilian employee who set fire to the USS Miami nuclear-powered attack submarine in Maine was sentenced to 17 years in prison, today.

Fury pleaded guilty to two counts of arson, one for the Miami fire, the other for a fire he set weeks later.

Sea Coast Online reports:

"'From the bottom of my heart, I'm truly sorry,' Fury said during his sentencing hearing. 'I can't put into words the remorse I feel. I had no intention of hurting anyone.'"

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Politics
9:52 am
Fri March 15, 2013

CPAC Goes To Washington: Can They Rally And Rebuild?

Originally published on Sun March 17, 2013 7:56 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, you might've been following the long debate over whether this country locks up too many people for too little reason and for too long. It turns out something else interesting is happening that you might not heard about - the racial breakdown of the prison population is changing. More white people, especially more white women, are getting locked up. And we'll find out more about that in a few minutes.

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The Two-Way
9:33 am
Fri March 15, 2013

Construction Crews May Have Found 'Black Plague' Victims In Britain

Archaeologists examine skeletons thought to be from the 14th century that were discovered in an excavation belonging to British rail company, Crossrail.
Crossrail

What can you find underneath a British railroad or parking lot? These days it could be skeletons, and probably a lot of them. Last month, researchers announced the bones of a man discovered underneath a British parking lot were actually King Richard III. Today, a British rail project says some of its staff stumbled upon skeletons of people who may have died of the Black Death nearly 700 years ago, during an outbreak of bubonic plague.

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The Two-Way
9:19 am
Fri March 15, 2013

CDC Confirms 'Extremely Rare' Death From Rabies Transmitted By Transplant

A Maryland man who died two weeks ago contracted rabies "through [an] organ transplantation done more than a year ago," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Friday morning.

The CDC adds that:

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Shots - Health News
8:14 am
Fri March 15, 2013

Power Shift Under Way As Middle Class Expands In Developing World

Brookings Institution

Originally published on Mon March 18, 2013 7:00 am

"The meek shall inherit the earth" — that seems to be the latest message from the United Nations Development Program.

Their 2013 Human Development Report chronicles the recent, rapid expansion of the middle class in the developing world. It also predicts that over the next two decades growth in the so-called "Global South" will dramatically shift economic and political power away from Europe and North America.

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The Two-Way
8:11 am
Fri March 15, 2013

New Pope Praises Benedict, Asks Cardinals To Evangelize

Pope Francis as he visits the papal residence at the Vatican on Thursday.
Vatican AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 10:43 am

Pope Francis, in his first audience with the cardinals since becoming head of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, praised his predecessor, Benedict XVI, and urged the evangelization of the church's message.

Francis said of Benedict, who served as pontiff for eight years before his historic resignation last month, that he "lit a flame in the depths of our hearts that will continue to burn because it is fueled by his prayers."

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Planet Money
7:58 am
Fri March 15, 2013

A Surprisingly Uncontroversial Program That Gives Money To Poor People

William Thomas Cain Getty Images

Last year, a federal program called the Earned Income Tax Credit took about $60 billion from wealthier Americans and gave it to the working poor. And here's the surprising thing: This redistribution of wealth has been embraced by every president from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama.

"This program worked," says Richard Burkhauser, an economist at Cornell University and the American Enterprise Institute. "And there's not a hell of a lot of these programs where you can see the tremendous change in the behavior of people in exactly the way that all of us hoped it would happen."

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The Two-Way
6:53 am
Fri March 15, 2013

Gasoline Pushed Consumer Prices Up Sharply In February

Handles on a gas pump in Brooklyn.
Jonathan Fickies Landov

Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 8:05 am

Consumer prices jumped 0.7 percent in February from January, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. The increase was fueled by a 9.1 percent surge in gasoline prices. Gas prices alone accounted for about two-thirds of the overall rise, MarketWatch says.

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The Two-Way
6:37 am
Fri March 15, 2013

More Problems Aboard Carnival Cruise Ships

The Carnival Dream docked in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, in December 2010.
Andy Newman AP

Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 11:53 am

For the past month, management at Carnival Cruise Lines has been in a nearly constant state of damage control.

In the past week alone, three of the cruise line's giant floating playgrounds have experienced embarrassing malfunctions that have at least inconvenienced, if not angered, many passengers.

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The Two-Way
6:06 am
Fri March 15, 2013

Son's Coming Out Leads Sen. Portman To Reverse On Same-Sex Marriage

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio.
Justin Lane EPA /Landov

Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 11:40 am

Saying that he has reconsidered the issue in the two years since learning that his son is gay, Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio announced Thursday that he no longer opposes same-sex marriage.

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The Picture Show
5:48 am
Fri March 15, 2013

It's Called 'De-Extinction' — It's Like 'Jurassic Park,' Except It's Real

The bucardo, or Pyrenean ibex, lived high in the Pyrenees until its extinction in 2000. Three years later, researchers attempted to clone Celia, the last bucardo. The clone died minutes after birth. Taxidermic specimen, Regional Government of Aragon, Spain
Robb Kendrick National Geographic

Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 7:30 am

Sorry to disappoint, but science writer Carl Zimmer says we're not going to bring back dinosaurs. But, he says, "science has developed to the point where we can actually talk seriously about possibly bringing back more recently extinct species."

It's called "de-extinction" — and it's Zimmer's cover story for National Geographic's April issue.

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The Two-Way
5:45 am
Fri March 15, 2013

Book News: Geithner Writing 'Behind The Scenes' Story Of The Financial Crisis

Former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's new book promises to give us the inside dope about reaction to the financial crisis.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 7:56 am

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

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The Two-Way
5:28 am
Fri March 15, 2013

'Over A Year Or So' Before Iran Could Develop Nuclear Weapon, Obama Says

President Obama on Wednesday at the Organizing for Action dinner in Washington, D.C.
Aude Guerrucci DPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 5:36 am

Putting a more specific estimate that he has in the past on the issue of how long it might take Iran to develop a nuclear weapon, President Obama has told Israel's Channel 2 TV that it could happen in "over a year or so" if efforts to dissuade Iran do not succeed.

The president also said that while he wants to resolve the issue diplomatically, he is keeping "all options on the table."

For its part, Iran has long said its nuclear program is only aimed a peaceful uses for that energy source.

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Author Interviews
4:50 am
Fri March 15, 2013

'Bankers' New Clothes' Leave Too Little Skin In The Game

At a hearing in Washington on March 6, Attorney General Eric Holder admitted to senators why it has been hard to go after big bank executives:

"It does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy. And I think that is a function of the fact that some of these institutions have become too large."

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NPR Story
3:44 am
Fri March 15, 2013

Vladimir Putin Hobknobs With ... Steven Seagal

Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 4:44 am

First, Russian President Vladimir Putin granted citizenship to French actor Gerard Depardieu. Now, Putin is hobnobbing with the actor Steven Seagal. The star of Under Siege toured a new sports facility with Putin, who used the occasion to call for reviving a Soviet-era fitness program in which kids threw javelins, learned to ski and fired guns.

NPR Story
3:41 am
Fri March 15, 2013

106-Year-Old Woman Finally Gets Her High School Diploma

Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 4:42 am

Reba Williams of Columbus, Ohio, finished her last class back in 1925. But the 106-year-old didn't receive her high school diploma until Wednesday. Her daughter told the Mansfield News-Journal that young Reba, who was a good student for all 12 years, was headstrong. She refused to read a book assigned by her teacher that she'd already read and didn't like.

National Security
3:12 am
Fri March 15, 2013

Is All The Talk About Cyberwarfare Just Hype?

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says the danger of a devastating cyberattack is the No. 1 threat facing the U.S. He made the assessment Tuesday on Capitol Hill before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on worldwide threats.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 8:00 am

U.S. government pronouncements about the danger of a major cyberattack can be confusing. The director of national intelligence, James Clapper, and the head of the U.S. military's Cyber Command, Army Gen. Keith Alexander, delivered mixed messages this week while testifying on Capitol Hill.

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Energy
3:12 am
Fri March 15, 2013

Could Tapping Undersea Methane Lead To A New Gas Boom?

This photo from a Kyodo News helicopter shows a flame of natural gas from a Japanese deep-sea drilling ship on Tuesday. This successful extraction of methane from the seafloor was a world first.
Kyodo Landov

Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 8:38 am

The new boom in natural gas from shale has changed the energy economy of the United States. But there's another giant reservoir of natural gas that lies under the ocean floor that, theoretically, could dwarf the shale boom.

No one had tapped this gas from the seabed until this week, when Japanese engineers pulled some up through a well from under the Pacific. The gas at issue here is called methane hydrate. Methane is natural gas; hydrate means there's water in it. In this case, the molecules of gas are trapped inside a sort of cage of water molecules.

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The Salt
3:12 am
Fri March 15, 2013

A Daily Habit Of Green Tea Or Coffee Cuts Stroke Risk

Japanese women drink green tea during an outdoor tea ceremony in Kobe, Japan. Making the brew a daily habit may be protective against stroke.
Buddhika Weerasinghe Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 18, 2013 1:58 pm

Whether it's green tea that warms you up, or coffee that gives you that morning lift, a new study finds both can help cut the risk of suffering a stroke.

The study, published in the American Heart Association journal Stroke, included 82,369 men and women in Japan.

Researchers found that the more green tea a person drank, the more it reduced the risk of suffering a stroke.

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Law
3:12 am
Fri March 15, 2013

50 Years After Key Case, Problems Defending The Poor Persist

Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 4:50 am

Next week marks the 50th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision in which the justices unanimously ruled that defendants facing substantial jail time deserved legal representation in state courts, even if they couldn't afford to pay for it.

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