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The Two-Way
10:38 am
Sat February 1, 2014

Scout Leaders Who Toppled Ancient Rock Formation Are Charged

A frame grab from a video taken by Dave Hall shows two men cheering after the Boy Scout leaders knocked over an ancient Utah desert rock formation at Goblin Valley State Park.
AP

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 7:49 am

A former Boy Scout leader who toppled an ancient rock formation in Utah's Goblin Valley State Park, and another Scout leader who videotaped the incident, are being charged with criminal mischief.

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The Two-Way
10:38 am
Sat February 1, 2014

Texas Overhauls Textbook Approval To Ease Tensions Over Evolution

Kansas Board of Education members look over language for a science textbook in 2007. The fight over the teaching of evolution has been particularly fierce in Texas, which because of its size influences many textbook publishers.
Charlie Riedel AP

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 9:01 am

The Texas Board of Education, which has long been an ideological battleground for the teaching of evolution, says it will limit the use of citizen review panels and instead give priority to teachers in determining science and history curricula.

Because Texas public schools represent such a large market for textbook publishers, the state has an outsized influence on what is taught in the rest of the country.

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Deceptive Cadence
10:38 am
Sat February 1, 2014

A Holocaust Tale Unfolds On Two Levels

Mieczyslaw Weinberg's opera The Passenger tells the story of an Auschwitz prisoner and a Nazi guard, whose lives continue to interweave after the the war.
Lynn Lane Houston Grand Opera

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 9:00 pm

Composer Dmitri Shostakovich called it a perfect masterpiece without ever having seen it performed. The Passenger, an opera about the Holocaust, was written nearly half a century ago, but was only given its first full performance just three years ago.

Now it's getting its U.S. premiere at the Houston Grand Opera. The opera is based on a story by a Holocaust survivor, with music by Mieczyslaw Weinberg, a composer who lost his entire family in the Nazi death camps.

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All Tech Considered
10:37 am
Sat February 1, 2014

Tech Week: 'Leaky' Angry Birds And Digital Invades Cinemas

Classified documents provided by Edward Snowden showed that the NSA was garnering private user information by piggybacking on "leaky" apps such as Angry Birds that collect data.
Gary He AP

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 4:02 am

After a week of earnings reports and inflammatory comments from a Silicon Valley mogul, we have finally made it through January.

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Parallels
10:37 am
Sat February 1, 2014

Germany's New Defense Minister: More Peacekeeping Missions Welcome

Germany's new defense minister, Ursula von der Leyen, right, chats with German soldiers who have served in Afghanistan, at a training center in Letzlingen on Jan. 28. Von der Leyen has said she would like to see German forces participate more with other European troops in foreign peacekeeping missions.
Thomas Trutschel Photothek via Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 9:00 pm

Many Germans were surprised in December when Ursula von der Leyen was named the country's first female defense minister.

Some people questioned whether a medical doctor with seven children, who championed Germany's generous parental leave policy, was the right choice to shepherd the country's military through the challenges of being a newly minted volunteer force.

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Music Interviews
10:36 am
Sat February 1, 2014

Sam Cooke And The Song That 'Almost Scared Him'

Sam Cooke in 1964, performing on the ABC variety show Shindig! just a few months before his death that December.
ABC Photo Archives Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 3:45 pm

Fifty years ago this week, Sam Cooke strolled into a recording studio, put on a pair of headphones, and laid down the tracks for one of the most important songs of the civil rights era.

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Around the Nation
10:36 am
Sat February 1, 2014

Tainted-Heroin Warnings Blanket Pa. Amid Overdose Deaths

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 7:14 am

Heroin overdoses are a routine part of life in the emergency room, and they're fairly easy to treat. Dr. Bruce MacLeod is used to seeing them at Western Pennsylvania Hospital in Pittsburgh.

But over the past week, West Penn and other area hospitals have seen an increase in the number and severity of opiate overdose cases coming into emergency rooms.

"A number of them came in that had already died, so that's unusual," MacLeod says. "We saw that echo across western Pennsylvania."

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The Two-Way
10:35 am
Sat February 1, 2014

Pollster Says Bridgegate Could Derail Christie White House Bid

David Wildstein, who says Gov. Christie knew about the lane closures as they were happening, speaks during a hearing at the Statehouse in Trenton earlier this month.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 12:42 pm

A deepening scandal over lane closures used to punish a New Jersey mayor who refused to endorse Gov. Chris Christie could damage the moderate Republican's chances for a 2016 presidential run, the director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute tells NPR.

Patrick Murray, in an interview on Weekend Edition Saturday, says that the latest allegations have upped the ante on the brewing "Bridgegate" scandal.

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Simon Says
10:35 am
Sat February 1, 2014

Opera Star Renee Fleming Brings Grace To The Super Bowl

Opera singer Renee Fleming will sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" live on Sunday night.
Larry Busacca Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 9:00 pm

Who knows who'll win the Super Bowl tomorrow, but history will be made before the coin toss.

Renee Fleming will sing the national anthem at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. She is the first opera star to be asked, and it seems so utterly fitting, both for the first Super Bowl to be played within view of the towers of New York, and in the 200th anniversary year of the national anthem.

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The Two-Way
10:34 am
Sat February 1, 2014

Gunfire, Explosions Rock Thai Capital Ahead Of Polls

Anti-government protesters run as an explosion takes place near their vehicle during a gunfight between supporters and opponents of Thailand's government near Laksi district office in Bangkok on Saturday.
Nir Elias Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 8:33 am

An hour-long gun battle erupted in the Thai capital of Bangkok on Saturday, a day ahead of parliamentary elections opposed by anti-government activists were to take place.

The opposition is seeking the ouster of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, whose Pheu Thai Party won overwhelmingly in 2011 elections. They have boycotted the polls and threatened to disrupted them in a bid to replace Yingluck's government with an unelected council.

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Economy
5:24 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

After Overcoming Early Obstacles, Yellen Assumes Fed's Top Job

Janet Yellen smiles as President Obama announces her nomination for Federal Reserve chairwoman on Oct. 9.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 4:51 pm

Ben Bernanke hands over the reins at the Federal Reserve to Janet Yellen on Friday. The Fed's vice chairwoman will be the first female ever to lead the nation's central bank. It's a position many view as the second most powerful in the country.

The world of central banking is largely a man's world. But Yellen has been undeterred by such barriers since she was in high school in Brooklyn. Charlie Saydah, a former classmate, says she was probably the smartest kid in the class. Yellen was "clearly smart, and she was smart among a lot of smart kids," he says.

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The Salt
2:39 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Southern Fishermen Cash In On Asia's Taste For Jellyfish

Cannonball jellyfish soak up the sun on a South Carolina beach. Fishermen are now pursuing the pest that used to clog their shrimping nets.
Courtesy of Steven Giese

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 2:39 pm

On the Southeast coast of the U.S., jellyfish have earned a lengthy rap sheet for stinging beachgoers and getting tangled in shrimpers' nets. But lately, the tides have turned for shrimping, and some fishermen in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida are reaping profits from their local pests, the cannonball jellyfish, or "jellyballs."

"The shrimp season [of 2013] was the worst ever in history here," says Howell Boone, a shrimp trawler in Darien, Ga."The jellyfish industry has been about the best thing that's happened to us."

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Health
2:39 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Sidelined By Brain Injury, Ex-NFL Player Copes With 'Desperation'

Sean Morey, then with the Arizona Cardinals, celebrates after blocking a punt against the Seattle Seahawks in 2007. Morey, who suffers from post-concussion syndrome, retired from the NFL in 2010 on the advice of doctors.
Stephen Dunn Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 4:51 pm

The home of Sean Morey bears the impressive signposts of his 10-year career in the NFL: a Vince Lombardi trophy for his Super Bowl championship with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2006. A hefty Super Bowl ring. A framed photograph showing Morey in midair, launching himself like a missile to block a punt. With that play in 2008, his Arizona Cardinals became the only team in NFL history to win a game in overtime with a blocked punt.

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The Two-Way
2:03 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Christie Knew Of Lane Closures, Former Port Official Claims

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie listens during a Jan. 9 news conference in which he denied any knowledge of lane closings on the George Washington Bridge when they occurred in September.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 3:30 pm

The New York Times reports that a former Port Authority official says "evidence exists" that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie knew about politically motivated lane closings on the George Washington Bridge as they were happening.

The assertion contradicts earlier statements by Christie, who has said that he was "embarrassed and humiliated" when he found out that the lane closures were politically motivated instead of, as he'd been led to believe, part of a traffic study.

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It's All Politics
2:03 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

After 3-Day Retreat, GOP Battle Plan Still Only An Outline

Speaker of the House John Boehner (right) speaks during the leadership press conference at the House Republican Issues Conference in Cambridge, Md., on Thursday. Friday's press conference, on the last day of the retreat, was canceled.
JIm Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 5:19 pm

House Republicans headed back to Washington on Friday from a resort along the frozen waters of the Chesapeake Bay. They were there for a three-day retreat aimed at mapping out a legislative strategy for this midterm election year.

One of the most pressing issues they face is the need next month for Congress to raise the nation's debt limit. GOP lawmakers seem leery of another debt ceiling showdown, and their leaders are pushing to act on immigration this year.

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