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The Two-Way
8:48 am
Sun February 17, 2013

Pope Blesses Faithful At Vatican For First Time Since Resignation Announcement

Pope Benedict XVI acknowledges a cheering crowd of faithful and pilgrims during the Angelus prayer from the window of his apartments at the Vatican on Sunday.
Domenico Stinellis AP

Pope Benedict XVI blessed tens of thousands of cheering faithful Sunday for the first time since he announced his resignation last week.

NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reported on the event for our Newscast unit. Here's what she said:

"Under hazy skies, St. Peter's Square was packed with pilgrims, tourists and curiosity seekers.

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Around the Nation
5:21 am
Sun February 17, 2013

'Time And Casualties': Gen. Dempsey On Cost Of Sequester

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testifies before a Senate panel in Washington last Tuesday on the looming cuts to the defense budget.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Sun February 17, 2013 12:28 pm

It's been about a year and a half since Gen. Martin Dempsey left his job as chief of staff of the Army and became President Obama's top military adviser as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Dempsey is now responsible for reshaping the U.S. military after 10 years of war, which means scaling the forces down. At the same time, he's fighting to stave off across-the-board cuts to the defense budget — the so called sequester — that could happen in a couple weeks if Congress fails to reach some kind of budget deal.

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Afghanistan
5:20 am
Sun February 17, 2013

Searching For Ibrahim

Ibrahim Gumus was 16 when he ran away from his home in Turkey to join al-Qaida. This is the photo his father — who traveled to Afghanistan to try and find him — carries in his wallet.
Courtesy of Farhettin Gumus

Originally published on Sun February 17, 2013 6:23 am

Over the years, al-Qaida has recruited young men in the Arab world, Africa and Central Asia, including Afghanistan. The group has also had some success in luring followers from Turkey.

Last month, Fahrettin Gumus, a retired security guard from Turkey's northwestern province of Bursa, went to Afghanistan in search of his son, who he had last heard from three years earlier.

The small-framed 57-year old says he often worried about his son Ibrahim, but he never through he'd go through with his plan to join al-Qaida.

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U.S.
5:13 am
Sun February 17, 2013

Rethinking The U.S. Presidency: 3 Alternative Realities

President Woodrow Wilson meets with his first Cabinet, circa 1912. Should Cabinets have a more central role in a president's decision making?
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Did you pay attention to the State of the Union Address? Were you struck by the countless complexities President Obama has to deal with? The economy. The national budget and deficit. Health care. Tax reform. Education. Jobs. Energy. Climate change. The national infrastructure. Immigration. Gun violence and on and on and on.

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The Two-Way
5:09 am
Sun February 17, 2013

Winning The Battle Remotely: New Medal Awards Evolving Warfare

Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announces a new medal that recognizes combat contributions made far from the battlefield.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun February 17, 2013 6:13 am

  • NPR's Tom Bowman On Importance Of Medals
  • Predator Pilots Engage in Remote Control Combat

To get the newest military medal, you don't have to have been on the front lines. In fact, you could work very, very far from any combat.

The Distinguished Warfare Medal, announced by outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Wednesday, would recognize drone operators and those engaged in cyberattacks who haven't put themselves in harm's way.

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Religion
5:03 pm
Sat February 16, 2013

From The Inner City: Leading A New Generation Of Muslim Americans

Nashashibi runs the Inner-City Muslim Action Network in Chicago.
Terrence Antonio James MCT /Landov

This summer on the South Side of Chicago, thousands are expected to gather for an outdoor festival sponsored by the Inner-City Muslim Action Network, or IMAN.

The festival, Takin' It to the Streets, attracts well-known musicians, like hip-hop artist Mos Def in 2010 and Chicago native Lupe Fiasco. The goal of the festival's organizers is to promote cooperation between the city's residents, regardless of their backgrounds.

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Business
4:47 pm
Sat February 16, 2013

High-Speed Rail Buzz Overpowers Daily Chug Of Freight Trains

A Union Pacific freight train passes over a grade crossing in Elmhurst, Ill.
Tim Boyle Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 7:12 pm

From the steam engine to visions of a national high-speed rail system, railroads have made their mark on American culture.

In his first term, President Obama promised to create a national system of high-speed rail, though he was scarcely the first politician to have done so. The January 2010 stimulus bill allocated $8 billion for high-speed rail projects, but Congress rejected federal funding for it.

In his State of the Union address on Tuesday, the president reiterated the goal of having passenger rail rise again.

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The Two-Way
1:00 pm
Sat February 16, 2013

Florida's Great Python Challenge Is Over; Not Many Are Caught

Bill Booth stretches out a dead Burmese python caught during Florida's "Python Challenge" on Jan. 19.
Wilfredo Lee AP

After all the hoopla and news of people buying tools to catch Burmese pythons invading Florida, the state's monthlong hunt for them is over. Hunters caught 68 pythons. That's right, 68, according to The Associated Press, even though 1,600 people signed up with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission to search for them.

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Movie Interviews
12:23 pm
Sat February 16, 2013

'Argo': What Really Happened In Tehran? A CIA Agent Remembers

Ben Affleck played CIA agent Tony Mendez in Argo. The real Mendez says the movie is mostly spot on, even if the rescue at the end wasn't quite what the film depicts.
Claire Folger

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 6:43 pm

The movie Argo, up for seven Oscars at this year's Academy Awards, is based on the true story of the CIA rescue of Americans in Tehran during the 1979 hostage crisis. Missing from most of the coverage of this movie? The actual guy who ran the mission, played by Ben Affleck in the movie.

Movie aficionados — and historians — know that the movie sticks pretty close to what really happened during the Iranian Revolution. In 1980, a CIA agent named Tony Mendez sneaked into Iran and spirited away six American diplomats who were hiding with Canadians.

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It's All Politics
11:59 am
Sat February 16, 2013

College Republicans Offer GOP Advice For Winning Over Their Generation

Ohio State College Republicans await Mitt Romney's son, Craig, who canvassed with them in Columbus last October.
Courtesy College Republicans at The Ohio State University

During President Obama's State of the Union address this week, 14 members of the College Republicans at Ohio State University gathered in a meeting room at their student union on campus in Columbus, Ohio.

The president's speech, which they watched on a giant flat-screen TV, was punctuated with groans, rebuttal, criticisms and sarcasm from this young audience. These students worked hard, to no avail, to deliver the much prized battleground state of Ohio to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

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