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The Two-Way
9:36 am
Sat December 20, 2014

4 Gitmo Prisoners Released For Return To Afghanistan

The entrance to Camp 5 and Camp 6 at the U.S. military's Guantanamo Bay detention center at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba, in a photograph taken earlier this year.
Ben Fox AP

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 9:52 am

Updated at 10:45 a.m. ET

The United States has released four Afghan detainees from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, who were returned to Afghanistan — the latest in a series of releases of inmates in recent weeks.

Reuters says: "The men were flown to Kabul overnight aboard a U.S. military plane and released to Afghan authorities, the first such transfer of its kind to the war-torn country since 2009, a U.S. official said."

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The Two-Way
8:48 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Russia Says It Won't 'Cave In' To New Western Sanctions

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks in front of the map of the Russian Federation, with Crimea on the left of the map, during his annual news conference in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday. The Kremlin has responded angrily to the latest round of U.S.-EU sanctions over the annexation of Crimea.
Alexei Druzhinin AP

Russia, battered by the falling price of oil, its chief export, and a tumbling ruble, lashed out against the U.S. and EU for new sanctions that President Vladimir Putin says already account for "25 to 30 percent" of his country's eroding currency.

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The Two-Way
7:40 am
Sat December 20, 2014

North Korea Has An Interesting Offer. And Another Threat

A banner for The Interview is posted outside Arclight Cinemas, in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles on Wednesday. The theatrical release of the film has been cancelled following cyber attacks and threats believed to originate in North Korea.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 8:18 am

North Korea, which denies that it had anything to do with a hack against Sony Pictures Entertainment, now wants to help the U.S. root out the real culprit. But true to form for Pyongyang, the dubious offer comes tinged with a threat of "serious" consequences should Washington decline.

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The Two-Way
6:50 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Supreme Court Clears Way For Same-Sex Marriages In Florida

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 8:07 pm

Rejecting a request by Florida's attorney general to maintain a judge's stay that would have kept same-sex couples from marrying in the state, the Supreme Court cleared the way for gay marriages to be held in Florida next month.

The stay stems from a ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle, who said in August that Florida's 2008 ban is unconstitutional.

As has happened with many similar cases, Judge Hinkle issued a stay on his own ruling that Florida's ban was illegal, to give the state time to appeal. That stay is set to expire at the end of the day on Jan. 5.

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The Two-Way
5:45 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

CEO Says Sony Pictures 'Did Not Capitulate,' Is Exploring Options

Responding to criticism over the handling of The Interview, Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton says his studio "very much wanted to keep the picture in release."
DAVID MCNEW Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 6:33 pm

On a day when President Obama added his voice to criticisms over the decision to pull the satire The Interview, Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton says the studio "did not capitulate" to hackers, and that its actions have been misunderstood.

Lynton defended his studio in an interview on All Things Considered, saying that Sony still wants an audience to see The Interview — if not in theaters, then by other means.

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The Two-Way
4:49 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Obama Says 'James Flacco.' The Internet Says, Thank You

Actor James Franco (left), seen here with The Interview co-star Seth Rogen, was called "James Flacco" by President Obama Friday. Afterward, the jokes poured in.
Getty Images

It was an honest mistake. But when President Obama meant to talk about James Franco and instead said "James Flacco" — on a Friday marking the full-on start of the holidays, no less — the slip was eagerly received by people on Twitter and elsewhere.

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The Two-Way
3:50 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

New EPA Standards Label Toxic Coal Ash Non-Hazardous

Smoke rises from the Colstrip Steam Electric Station, a coal burning power plant in in Colstrip, Mont., in September. New EPA guidelines treat toxic coal ash from such plants much the same as common household garbage.
Matt Brown AP

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 4:50 pm

The Environmental Protection Agency has issued new national standards designating coal ash – a nearly ubiquitous byproduct of coal-fired power plants that contains arsenic and lead – as non-hazardous waste.

NPR's Christopher Joyce reports that coal-fired power plants produce more than 130 million tons of the coal ash each year and they have long stored millions of tons of it in giant ponds.

But many of those ponds have failed in recent years, allowing contaminated water to get into rivers and streams, and ultimately into drinking water.

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The Two-Way
3:40 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

St. Louis Grand Jury Heard Witnesses Who Lied, Prosecutor Says

"I didn't want to fire things up," St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch says of his silence since announcing the grand jury's decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown.
Pool Getty Images

Some witnesses were clearly lying when they spoke to a grand jury about the August police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., according to St. Louis County prosecuting attorney Robert McCulloch. In an interview about the case Friday, the prosecutor says he won't seek perjury charges.

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The Two-Way
2:23 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Apple Responds To BBC On Conditions At Asian iPhone Suppliers

People walk near several buildings of a Pegatron factory in Shanghai, China, in July 2013. Pegatron is a supplier for Apple products.
Eugene Hoshiko AP

Jeff Williams, Apple's senior vice president for operations, has responded to a BBC report that workers at Asian suppliers for the iPhone 6 are mistreated and overworked, saying he's "deeply offended" by the accusations.

In an email to some 5,000 Apple staff in the United Kingdom, Williams hit back at the British broadcaster's Panorama program, which sent in undercover reporters to observe conditions at the Pegatron factory, near Shanghai, where iPhones are assembled.

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The Two-Way
2:02 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Michael Phelps Pleads Guilty To DUI

Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps was sentenced to 18 months' supervised probation today after pleading guilty to drunken driving.

He was arrested in September after leaving a casino in downtown Baltimore. Police documents show that he swerved over a yellow line while going 84 in 45-mph zone. Police say Phelps failed field sobriety tests and registered a 0.14 on a blood-alcohol test. In Maryland, the legal limit is 0.08.

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