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The Two-Way
9:50 am
Tue December 11, 2012

Michigan Lawmakers Poised To Pass Right-to-Work Bill, Outraging Union Protesters

Union members from around the country rallied outside the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing as lawmakers voted on the right-to-work legislation.
Bill Pugliano Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 9:06 pm

Update at 6:00 p.m. ET:

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has signed into law two controversial "right-to-work" bills passed earlier Tuesday by the state's House. This officially makes Michigan the 24th right-to-work state in the nation.

The two bills give both public and private employees so-called right-to-work protections — controversial pieces of legislation that have sparked protests in and around the state capitol in Lansing.

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The Two-Way
9:09 am
Tue December 11, 2012

Today's Three Stories To Read About The 'Fiscal Cliff'

President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, at the White House on Nov. 16.
Toby Jorrin AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 12:18 pm

As we've said now several times, "the White House and congressional leaders continue to talk about taxes, spending cuts and how to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff that arrives at midnight Dec. 31 — when Bush-era tax cuts are set to expire and automatic spending cuts are set to go into effect."

As NPR and others cover the story, we're pointing to interesting reports and analyses. Here are some of the latest.

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The Two-Way
8:06 am
Tue December 11, 2012

Syrian Defector: Assad Will Use Chemical Weapons If He's Desperate

Syrian President Bashar Assad in 2009.
Louai Beshara AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 2:25 pm

If Syrian President Bashar Assad gets desperate enough he will use chemical weapons against his own people, the former chief of staff for that country's chemical weapons tells NPR's Deborah Amos.

Maj. Gen. Adnan Sillu, who defected in July and is now in Turkey, is convinced that if rebel forces close in on Damascus, Assad will order the use of mustard gas, sarin or other chemicals in a "last desperate act," Deb reported today on Morning Edition.

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Economy
5:28 am
Tue December 11, 2012

What Happens If We Fall Off The 'Fiscal Cliff'?

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 10:55 am

Lines of communication remain open in an effort to avert the automatic tax hikes and spending cuts known as the "fiscal cliff," according to the White House and House Speaker John Boehner.

If no deal is reached between now and the end of the year, would the consequences be that drastic?

To answer that question, let's imagine it's January and the nation has gone off the "fiscal cliff." You don't really feel any different and things don't look different, either. That's because, according to former congressional budget staffer Stan Collender, the cliff isn't really a cliff.

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Shots - Health News
3:18 am
Tue December 11, 2012

Feds Say 'No' To Partial Medicaid Expansion

Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe speaks about expanding Medicaid during a speech to the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce in Little Rock, Ark., on Nov. 14. The federal government hasn't set a deadline for states to decide on their Medicaid expansion plans.
Danny Johnston AP

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 10:55 am

The Affordable Care Act, as passed by Congress in 2010, assumed that every low-income person would have access to health insurance starting in 2014.

That's when about 17 million Americans — mostly unmarried healthy adults with incomes up to 133 percent of poverty, or about $15,000 a year — would gain access to Medicaid.

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Around the Nation
3:17 am
Tue December 11, 2012

Detroit Tries To Stave Off State Takeover Of Finances

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing delivers his State of the City address on March 7. If Bing and the City Council can't agree on a plan to reduce the city's budget deficit, state officials are poised to take away their power over Detroit's finances.
Carlos Osorio AP

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 10:55 am

Detroit officials face a tough vote Tuesday as they try to keep their city from going over its own "fiscal cliff." If the mayor and City Council cannot agree on a plan to reduce the city's budget deficit, state officials are poised to take away their power and assume total control over Detroit's finances.

It's been a continuing vicious cycle: Detroit's population exodus, lost tax revenue and chronic mismanagement have left the city burning through cash to the point where the state of Michigan has to provide funding to help the city meet payroll for the next few months.

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World
3:16 am
Tue December 11, 2012

Russian Scandal Hints At Larger Political Battle

Russian President Vladimir Putin and former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, who was recently fired, review military officers on Moscow's Red Square in May. Putin's decision to sack Serdyukov has touched off widespread speculation on the motive.
Alexei Druzhinin AP

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 10:33 am

Russia is in the middle of a blazing tabloid-style scandal that features a bejeweled blonde, a luxury love nest, and an alleged scam worth more than $200 million.

But that's not where some Kremlin watchers are putting their attention. They see the scandal as just the visible fallout from a vicious backroom fight among Russia's ruling elite.

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The Two-Way
6:09 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

U.S. To Add Syrian Rebel Group To Terror List

The U.S. is adding a Syrian rebel group to its list of foreign terrorist organizations, a move meant to marginalize extremists who are among the groups working to oust President Bashar Assad.

NPR's Michele Kelemen reported on the move to add Jabhat al-Nusra to the list. Here's what she told our Newscast unit:

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It's All Politics
5:55 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

DeMint And Heritage: Playing Off Each Other's Strengths

Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., talks on the phone in his Capitol Hill office on Dec. 6, the day he announced he will resign from the Senate and lead the Heritage Foundation.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 10, 2012 8:44 pm

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National Security
5:24 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

The World In 2030: Asia Rises, The West Declines

The National Intelligence Council's Global Trends 2030 report predicts that by the year 2030, a majority of the world's population will be out of poverty.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon December 10, 2012 8:44 pm

By the year 2030, for the first time in history, a majority of the world's population will be out of poverty. Middle classes will be the most important social and economic sector. Asia will enjoy the global power status it last had in the Middle Ages, while the 350-year rise of the West will be largely reversed. Global leadership may be shared, and the world is likely to be democratizing.

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