The Two-Way
8:26 am
Wed February 15, 2012

As Crackdown Continues, Syria's Assad Calls For Constitutional Referendum

Civilians flee from fighting on Tuesday, after Syrian army tanks enter the northwestern city of Idlib, Syria.
Anonymous AP

As government forces continued to shell the cities of Homs and Hama, Syrian President Bashar Assad announced his country would hold a referendum on a new constitution on Feb. 26.

According to the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), the state's official news outlet, the new constitution would end the Baath party's monopoly on power. SANA added:

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The Two-Way
7:57 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Malachy, The Pekingese, Becomes Top Dog In The Land

Malachy, a Pekingese, won best in show at the 136th annual Westminster Kennel Club dog show in New York on Tuesday.
Seth Wenig AP

He took on competition that was much bigger and much faster, but in the end the judges decided Malachy, a Pekingese with a long mop of fur framing his funny little pushed-in face, was the top dog in the land and gave him top honors at the Westminster Kennel Club show in New York.

The New York Times describes his win thus:

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The Two-Way
7:25 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Prison Fire Kills More Than 200 Inmates In Honduras

A woman cries after she was informed of the death of her son, who was jailed at the National Prison compound in Comayagua, Honduras.
Orlando Sierra AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 12:15 pm

A fire that swept through a prison in Honduras overnight has resulted in death of more than 300 people.

The AP reports that number was given by Lucy Marder, chief of forensic medicine for the prosecutors' office, during a press conference.

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The Two-Way
7:02 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Iran's Ahmadinejad Will Announce 'Key Nuclear Achievements'

Despite international pressure, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad listens to a technician during a visit to the Natanz Uranium Enrichment Facility, 200 miles south of the capital, Tehran, in 2008.
Iranian President's Office AP

Iranian State TV reported yesterday that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will make an announcement about "key nuclear achievements," today.

Quoting the official news agency, The New York Times reports that Ahmadinejad will likely "proclaim that a new uranium enrichment plant built inside a mountain near the holy city of Qum was 'fully operational.'"

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Politics
4:00 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Congress May Skip Payroll Tax Showdown This Time

Congress appears to have avoided another showdown over the payroll tax reduction that has been pumping billions of dollars back into the economy. There may even be a deal ahead on jobless benefits and payments to Medicare doctors.

The last time Congress extended the payroll tax holiday was in December, when it passed a two-month extension tied to two other measures. One extended unemployment benefits, and the second fixed a formula by which Medicare doctors are paid. The Medicare fix would stop big cuts in reimbursements for doctors.

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Asia
3:00 am
Wed February 15, 2012

For China's Likely Premier, A Western Influence

Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang, shown here delivering a speech at a Canada-China business forum in Beijing, on Feb. 9, 2012, is expected to become the country's next premier. In contrast to most other Chinese leaders, Li speaks English and has had considerable exposure to Western ideas.
Diego Azubel AP

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 1:31 pm

Third of three parts

The man who's expected to become China's president next year, Xi Jinping, is considered a princeling, the son of a prominent Chinese political figure. But the man who's likely to become premier, Li Keqiang, comes from very different stock.

The son of a minor party official, Li worked as a farmer for four years, before studying law at university.

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The Salt
12:01 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Coming Soon To Your Grocery Aisle: Organic Food From Europe

Edgar Jaime (right) and his brother Jose Luis unload organic vegetables from their farm in Santa Monica, Calif. Now that U.S. and European organic standards are equivalent, more American organic farmers will be able to export to Europe.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 7:46 pm

If you buy organic products, your options may be about to expand. The U.S. and the European Union are announcing that they will soon treat each other's organic standards as equivalent. In other words, if it's organic here, it's also organic in Europe, and vice versa. Organic food companies are cheering because their potential markets just doubled.

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Middle East
12:01 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Syrian Activists Live Stream Their Revolution

Activists say this image, taken from a video uploaded to YouTube, shows Syrians outside a field hospital in Homs last week.
AFP/Getty Images

Syrian troops have fired rockets and mortars at neighborhoods in the city of Homs that have most fiercely resisted the government throughout the uprising.

Mainstream journalists are barred from entering Homs, so a team of activists decided to record the offensive themselves. The activists positioned their cameras atop buildings in the city. Each morning the view is blue sky, a minaret, a sea of rooftops. Then come the booms.

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Governing
12:01 am
Wed February 15, 2012

N.H. Lawmakers Consider Rolling Back Gay Marriage

Couples Gretchen Grappone and Rose Wiant (left). and Wendy Waterstrat and Holly Henshaw hold hands before their civil union, in front of the Statehouse in Concord, N.H., on Jan. 1, 2008.
Steven Senne AP

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 1:31 pm

As several states debate measures to legalize gay marriage, New Hampshire is considering a repeal of its same-sex marriage law. The repeal has the backing of some top leaders in the GOP-controlled Legislature. But rescinding rights is never easy, particularly in a state that takes its liberties seriously.

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Media
12:01 am
Wed February 15, 2012

The Ad Council: 70 Years Of Good Advice

If you've listened to the radio, turned on the TV or seen any billboards, these tag lines are probably pretty familiar:

"Loose lips sink ships."

"Only you can prevent forest fires."

"A mind is a terrible thing to waste."

"Take a bite out of crime."

They're just a few of the many ads created by the Ad Council, a nonprofit organization that was founded in the 1940s by the leaders of the advertising industry and President Franklin Roosevelt.

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