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The Two-Way
5:42 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Dow Jones Index Closes Above 16,000 For First Time

For the first time in its history, the Dow Jones industrial average closed above 16,000 points Thursday. The index of 30 stocks touched the mark earlier this week, when a trader was photographed at the New York Stock Exchange.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

The Dow Jones industrial average tacked on 109 points Thursday for a gain of less than 1 percent. But the small rise brought a big milestone, as the industrial index closed above 16,000 for the first time in its history. The index had touched the mark earlier this week but fell short by the day's end.

Today, the Dow closed at 16,009.99.

The historic moment for the benchmark index that tracks 30 leading U.S. companies came on a day that began with positive economic news.

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The Kennedy Assassination, 50 Years Later
5:42 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

In Images: When A Nation Lost A President

President John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline, are greeted by an enthusiastic crowd upon their arrival at Dallas Love Field on Nov. 22, 1963.
AP

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 12:25 pm

A photo gallery of events leading up to and after President John F. Kennedy was killed in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.

It's All Politics
5:16 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

'Nuclear Option' Vote Marks Tectonic Shift In Senate Rules

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada (from left), Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin of Illinois defend the Senate Democrats' vote Thursday to weaken filibusters and make it harder for Republicans to block confirmation of the president's nominees for judges and other top posts.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 7:15 pm

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's move Thursday to make possible the confirmation of presidential nominees with a simple majority marks a tectonic shift in the rules and folkways of the Senate.

Back in 2005, then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist called this idea "the constitutional option" when he came close to invoking it on behalf of the judicial nominees of President George W. Bush.

That sounded a lot more dignified than the name Frist's predecessor, Trent Lott, had used just two years earlier: "the nuclear option."

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

'Catching Fire': The Hunger Games, Now With Real Heat

Effie Trinket taps Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence, right) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) for the Hunger Games arena again β€” but this time the rules are different and the stakes are higher as rebellion brews in Panem.
Murray Close Lionsgate

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 4:10 pm

There's a moment of chilling violence in Catching Fire, the second of four planned movies adapting Suzanne Collins' dystopian Hunger Games novels, a moment in which the difference a director makes becomes immediately clear β€” and one that should give hope to readers who might have felt some disappointment with the first movie.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

A Foray Into The Blood-Soaked 'Cultura' Of Mexico's Cartels

In Narco Cultura, director and photojournalist Shaul Schwarz interrogates the collision of pop culture and Mexico's drug cartels β€” as personified by bands like Los Bukanas de Culiacan (above), who perform narcocorridos, or songs glorifying the drug trade.
Shaul Schwarz Cinedigm

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 3:03 pm

Following police through Mexico's Ciudad JuΓ‘rez β€” reputedly the world's homicide capital β€” the Israeli filmmaker Shaul Schwarz finds mutilated corpses and gutters running with blood. But the resulting documentary, Narco Cultura, is not nearly so vivid as its most gruesome footage.

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It's All Politics
4:48 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

GOP Enraged After Filibuster Vote, But Does It Change Much?

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) speaks to the media on Thursday after passing the so-called nuclear option, which changes the Senate rules to eliminate the use of the filibuster on presidential nominees except those to the Supreme Court.
Jim Lo Scalzo EPA/Landov

The political class was aflame Thursday with outrage (Republicans) and triumph (Democrats) as Senate Democrats voted to hem in the minority party's ability to filibuster most presidential nominees.

By a 52-48 vote, the Democratic-controlled Senate carried out the so-called nuclear option. The leadership will now allow a simple majority of senators to override filibusters on nominations, with the exception of those to the Supreme Court.

Previous precedent, in place since the 1970s, required a 60-vote "supermajority" to end a filibuster.

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National Security
4:45 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Women Pass Marine Training, Clear First Hurdle To Combat Role

Pfc. Katie Gorz (center) served as a squad leader during the training at Camp Geiger, N.C.
Tom Bowman NPR

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 6:54 pm

More than 200 Marines have been training since late September in the pine forests of North Carolina. They've been hiking for miles carrying 87-pound packs and assault rifles, sleeping in the field, attacking mock enemy positions.

And for the first time, women took part in the training. Three of them made it to the end and graduated Thursday morning.

They were there at Camp Geiger to answer the question of whether women have what it takes to become combat infantry Marines.

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Politics
4:45 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

ATF Chief Faces Tough Challenge At Troubled Agency

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Director B. Todd Jones speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Aug. 29.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 6:54 pm

For the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, nothing seems to come easy.

The agency runs at a fraction of the size of its much larger law enforcement counterparts. Under pressure from gun rights groups, it operated without a Senate-confirmed leader for seven years. And its new leader, B. Todd Jones, only narrowly averted a congressional roadblock to win confirmation this summer after serving more than two years as an interim leader.

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NPR Story
4:45 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Homeless Population Shrinks Again, But Unevenly

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 6:54 pm

The number of homeless people in the U.S. has declined for the third straight year. New numbers from the Department of Housing and Urban Development show a large decrease in the number of homeless veterans. Though there are still large numbers of homeless, mainly concentrated in large cities, including New York City and Los Angeles.

NPR Story
4:45 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

'Nasty Piece Of Work' Makes Spy-Turned-PI Work Well

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 6:54 pm

Alan Cheuse reviews Robert Littell's newest novel of a CIA agent turned private investigator, A Nasty Piece of Work.

NPR Story
4:45 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Sen. Wicker: Senate Democrats Are Opposed To Regular Order

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 6:54 pm

The Senate passed a major change to its filibuster rules Thursday. Now, the minority party can no longer easily block nominees, except for those to the Supreme Court. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid introduced the measure after Republicans had stalled the nominations of three judges to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Robert Siegel talks to Republican Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi about the change. Earlier this year, Wicker helped strike a deal with Democrats to avert the so-called "nuclear option."

NPR Story
4:45 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Senate Democrats Pass 'Nuclear Option' To Cut Confirmation Gridlock

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 6:54 pm

Senate Democrats, furious about Republicans blocking President Obama's judicial and executive branch nominations, took a dramatic and historic step Thursday. They voted to detonate the so-called nuclear option, which will curb filibusters on most nominations, allowing them to be approved by majority vote.

NPR Story
4:45 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Here's What You Need To Know About The Afghan Loya Jirga

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 6:54 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

So just who sits on this Loya Jirga, or grand council, and what power do they have? Thomas Gouttiere has observed Afghan Loya Jirgas in action, in 1964 and 2004. He directs the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Professor Gouttiere, thanks for being with us.

THOMAS GOUTTIERE: It's good to be with you again.

BLOCK: So, 2,500 delegates. We just heard them referred to as elders and other elites. Who are they?

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The Two-Way
4:41 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Number Of Homeless Declines Again, But Gains Aren't Universal

A homeless man sleeps under an American flag blanket on a park bench in New York City. New U.S. data reports a drop in the number of homeless people β€” but not in New York and other states.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

The number of homeless people in the U.S. shrank from 2012 to 2013, according to a large government study that found the number of veterans and others who are homeless declined for the third straight year. But homeless numbers rose in New York and other states, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The study also found that nearly 20 percent of homeless people were in either New York City (11 percent of the U.S. total) or Los Angeles (9 percent).

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Law
4:31 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Personhood In The Womb: A Constitutional Question

iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 4:57 pm

Should a pregnant woman whose behavior has been deemed dangerous to her fetus be legally punished or forced into medical procedures against her will? A study released earlier this year found hundreds of cases across the country where pregnant women were arrested and incarcerated, detained in mental institutions and drug treatment programs, or subject to forced medical interventions, including surgery.

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The Salt
4:15 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Food Stamp Program Doesn't Guarantee Food Security, Study Finds

A sign in a New York City market window advertises the acceptance of food stamps.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Just as the food stamp program has been hit with funding cuts, a small study out of Harvard has found that the program isn't doing enough to ensure that its participants get a complete and nutritious diet.

The researchers wanted to find out how much the benefits provided through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, a critical source of food aid for 47 million needy Americans, improved individuals' food security.

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Deceptive Cadence
3:04 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Hear What Happened At Boston's Symphony Hall After JFK's Assassination

Conductor Erich Leinsdorf has the Boston Symphony Orchestra play the funeral march from Beethoven's Third Symphony after breaking the news of John F. Kennedy's death.
YouTube

Originally published on Sat November 23, 2013 1:43 pm

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The Two-Way
2:34 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Alabama Pardons Scottsboro Boys In 1931 Rape Case

Attorney Samuel Leibowitz, confers with seven of the defendants in the Scottsboro rape case in 1935 in Alabama. Thursday, a judge pardoned the remaining three men who hadn't already been pardoned.
AP

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 5:05 pm

"Today, the Scottsboro Boys have finally received justice."

That was Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley's reaction to a parole board's decision Thursday that brought an end to an eight-decade-old case that came to represent racial injustice in the Deep South.

The parole board unanimously approved a posthumous pardon for Haywood Patterson, Charlie Weems and Andy Wright β€” the three black men who weren't pardoned in the 1931 rape case.

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Deceptive Cadence
2:33 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Consumed By Violence, With Hope For Peace: Britten's 'War Requiem'

Benjamin Britten takes a cup of tea during rehearsals for his War Requiem at Coventry Cathedral, in Coventry, England in May, 1962.
Erich Auerbach Getty Images

Originally published on Sat November 23, 2013 11:18 am

I'm a bit of a cynic when it comes to composer anniversaries but this year, marking 100 years since the birth of Benjamin Britten, has been absolutely fascinating for me. I am now living proof that such centenaries can indeed change the way we look at a composer and provide us with opportunities to explore their breadth and depth. In Britten I have found a new hero, a musically surprising and multi-dimensional citizen of the world.

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Shots - Health News
2:13 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Babies Seem To Know Themselves Soon After Birth

Researchers stroked babies' faces with a paintbrush while they watched the same thing happening to a baby in a video. How long the babies in the experiment watched the screen gave clues to what they were thinking.
Courtesy of Maria Laura Filippetti

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 3:20 pm

Understanding you exist as a person happens a lot sooner than you might think.

A study involving 40 cute, pudgy babies found that they were aware of their bodies β€” and even displayed a sense of ownership of them β€” less than two days after being born.

Both of those qualities are key ingredients in realizing your own existence, says the study's lead author, Maria Laura Filippetti, a doctoral candidate specializing in cognitive development at Birkbeck College, University of London.

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