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The Two-Way
5:59 am
Tue March 25, 2014

White House To Propose Halting NSA Bulk Collection Of Phone Data

The sign outside the National Security Agency campus in Fort Meade, Md.
Patrick Semansky AP

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 12:42 pm

President Obama is preparing to announce a plan to scrap the government's systematic collection of bulk phone records as part of a far-reaching overhaul of the National Security Agency's controversial electronic surveillance activities.

The New York Times, quoting senior administration officials, reports:

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The Two-Way
5:58 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Obama: Russia Making 'Series Of Calculations' After Crimea

President Obama, accompanied by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, speaks during their joint news conference at the conclusion of the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague on Tuesday.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 11:27 am

(This post was updated at 11:30 a.m. ET.)

President Obama on Tuesday said that he believed that Russia was "still making a series of calculations" regarding any further moves after its annexation of Crimea, but that there was no expectation of dislodging it by force from the Black Sea peninsula.

"What we can bring to bear are the legal arguments, the diplomatic arguments," he said at a joint news conference with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte following a nuclear security summit in The Hague.

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The Salt
5:58 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Can You Open A Bottle Of Wine With A Shoe? Yes, But It Ain't Pretty

My attempt at opening a wine bottle with a tennis shoe.
Maggie Starbard/NPR

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 2:31 pm

There's a rumor swirling around on the Internet: If you have a bottle of wine, but no corkscrew with which to open it, then a shoe will do the trick nicely.

Really?

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The Two-Way
3:49 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Girl Scout Sells Record 18,107 Boxes, Says She Can Move Samoa

Lisa Crigar Ocala Star-Banner/Landov

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 9:42 am

Dough-she-does, for sure.

When it comes to selling Thin Mints, Do-si-dos, Tagalongs and other Girl Scout cookies, all sixth-grader Katie Francis of Oklahoma City can seem to say is let me sell Samoa. (Rimshot!)

KOCO-TV in Oklahoma City shares the story of her sweet success:

"Katie ... a sixth-grader at Hefner Middle School, set a new cookie selling record Sunday night by selling 18,107 boxes [since sales began on Feb. 7].

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All Tech Considered
3:19 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Smartphones And Mealtime: Turn Device-Avoidance Into A Game

One way to avoid checking your phone at mealtime? Stack 'em up in the middle of the table.
iStockPhoto

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 1:16 pm

We are having a running conversation about what's acceptable and what isn't when it comes to checking our smartphones during various situations. My original question had to do with mealtime, in which previously it was considered rude to check your phone during dinner. It appears attitudes are changing around that, but some of you, like me, still prize those quiet moments of reflection without a device to turn to.

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The Two-Way
3:19 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Indiana Becomes First State To Back Out Of Common Core

Mike Pence, in 2011, when he was a congressman.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 9:06 am

With the stroke of Gov. Mike Pence's pen, Indiana became the first state to back off implementing a set of national standards for grade-school education.

The standards, known as Common Core, had been adopted by 45 states, but have lately unleashed a political fight that blurs party lines.

The Indianapolis Star reports Pence signed a law on Monday that requires Indiana to come up with its own academic standards. The Star adds:

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All Tech Considered
3:18 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Does Google Glass Distract Drivers? The Debate Is On

Shane Walker uses Google Glass while driving. His favorite feature is the ability to record his trips and send them to friends.
Aarti Shahani KQED

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 1:54 pm

Shane Walker hops into his Toyota Prius hybrid and puts on his Google Glass. It's a lightweight glasses frame with a tiny computer built into the lens.

Google is at the forefront of a movement in wearable technology, gadgets we put on our bodies to connect us to the Internet, and perhaps nothing embodies that more than Glass. But the eyewear is raising eyebrows outside the high-tech industry. Before Glass even hits stores, lawmakers in several states want to ban it on the roads.

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All Songs Considered
3:18 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Question Of The Week: Does The Death Of An Instrument Break Your Heart?

All Songs Considered Soundcloud Dropbox

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 10:01 am

Few things make us cringe quite like hearing about the untimely death of a musical instrument. A table or an appliance may be swept away by a hurricane, or a set of golf clubs may be mangled by baggage handlers, but they don't hold quite the emotional pull of seeing a crushed guitar or piano. It feels like something living has died.

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The Salt
3:18 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Carp(e) Diem: Kentucky Sends Invasive Fish To China

Commercial fisherman Ronnie Hopkins (left) and his assistant, Armondo, catch Asian carp on Lake Barkley, Ky.
Paul Rister AP

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 6:47 pm

The invasive Asian carp has now been found in 12 states and in the Great Lakes watershed, gobbling up native fish, jumping aggressively into boats and reproducing like crazy. Researchers have tried various ways to slow the spread of the fish as it prowls other waterways.

And, so far, efforts to introduce the big, bony fish to American diners haven't caught on. So now a processing plant in Kentucky is trying the latest method of Asian carp disposal: sending them to China.

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Author Interviews
3:17 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

A Homecoming, Minus The Nostalgia, In Cole's Unsparing 'Thief'

Teju Cole is also the author of Open City.
Teju Cole

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 3:46 pm

"Like it or not, America has softened you" — such are the words of welcome to the unnamed narrator of Teju Cole's Every Day Is for the Thief. The young man is on a trip to his home country of Nigeria, and as he visits his family and friends in Lagos, what he finds isn't quite what he expected: He's pressed for bribes at every turn. He tries to reconcile Nigeria's history with the museums that appear to avoid it. He sees the "Yahoo boys" at an Internet cafe, tapping out scam email messages.

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Architecture
3:17 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

In The Face Of Disaster, Pritzker Winner Shigeru Ban Designs Solutions

Cardboard Church, Christchurch, New Zealand.
Stephen Goodenough Photographer Shigeru Ban Architects

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 6:19 pm

Each year the Pritzker Architecture Prize goes to a star architect with a long list of glamorous commissions around the globe. This year's winner is a little different.

Shigeru Ban has designed museums, homes and concert halls. But Ban is best known for a more humble kind of work: The temporary structures he's built for refugees and evacuees all over the world.

Ban may be the only architect in the world who makes buildings out of paper — cardboard paper tubes, to be precise.

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Television
3:17 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Fans Of 'The Good Wife' Rocked By [Spoiler Alert]

Matthew Goode (left) as Finn Polmar and Josh Charles (right) as Will Gardner in Sunday night's episode of CBS's The Good Wife.
CBS

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 3:46 pm

The CBS legal drama The Good Wife centers on smart, attractive Chicago lawyer Alicia Florrick. She's "the good wife" because she stood by her politician husband when he cheated on her.

But the show's most compelling story line has always been between Alicia and another lawyer, Will Gardner. And if you don't want to know what happened in that storyline last night, stop reading NOW.

No, Really: Major Spoiler Ahead

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The Two-Way
3:17 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Putin's Out Of The Club For Now: G-8 Is Back To Being The G-7

President Obama and other leaders met in The Hague. Clockwise from bottom left: European Union Council President Herman Van Rompuy, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, French President Francois Hollande, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and EU President Jose Manuel Barroso.
Sean Gallup Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 7:02 am

Russia's 20 years of having a seat at the table when leaders of the world's most powerful industrialized nations meet came to at least a temporary end.

President Obama and his counterparts from six other major nations announced in The Hague that because of Russia's actions in Crimea, "we will suspend our participation in the G-8."

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Parallels
3:15 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Short On Dollars, Venezuela Tries To Halt Black-Market Trading

Venezuelans line up to buy goods at a store in Caracas on March 10. Protesters have been taking to the streets for weeks over the country's troubled economy and other issues. The government introduced a new foreign currency exchange system on Monday, seeking to stabilize the bolivar, which has lost much of its value against the U.S. dollar.
Leo Ramirez AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 6:45 pm

The Venezuelan capital, Caracas, can be one of the most expensive cities in the world — or one of the cheapest. It all depends on how you exchange your dollars.

At a fast food restaurant in the city recently, a pretty tasty plate of chicken and rice cost me 160 bolivars. At the official exchange rate set by the government, that works out to a little more than $25; at the black market rate, it's just $2.

Needless to say, most anyone who can change money on the black market in Venezuela does so.

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The Two-Way
3:14 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Senate Poised To Approve Ukraine Aid, Russian Sanctions Bill

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 3:12 pm

A measure imposing sanctions on Russia and giving aid to the Ukraine overcame a procedural hurdle in the Senate with a vote of 78-17.

The lopsided vote signals the Senate will likely pass the measure later this week.

Politico reports, however, that whether the measure makes it to President Obama's desk is still up in the air. The Senate measure includes a measure reforming the International Monetary Fund that the House will likely not agree to.

Politico adds:

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