The Two-Way
7:49 am
Wed July 20, 2011

Taliban: We Were Hacked; Mullah Omar Is Alive

There was a surprising text message sent to reporters in Afghanistan today from a cell phone number that has been used by the Taliban's public relations office, NPR's Quil Lawrence reports from Kabul.

It reported the death of Taliban leader Mullah Omar.

But Taliban spokesmen claim Omar is alive and "told NPR their phones and website had been hacked," Quil says. They "accused western forces of psychological warfare."

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Statewide News
7:39 am
Wed July 20, 2011

Post Office Explores Possible Ohio Consolidation

The struggling U.S. Postal Service says it may combine some of its larger mail sorting centers in Ohio.

The Vindicator newspaper reports the post office will study a possible transfer of its Youngstown mail processing and distribution to facilities in Akron or Cleveland.

The postal service says the consolidation would be a response to a drop in mail volume, due to the economy, and the use of email.

Europe
7:37 am
Wed July 20, 2011

Britain's Cameron Defends Ex-Aide In Tabloid Scandal

British Prime Minister David Cameron made a public admission of regret Wednesday over the phone-hacking crisis during Wednesday's emergency session of the House of Commons.
Parbul AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:38 am

British Prime Minister David Cameron defended a former aide embroiled in a major phone-hacking and bribery scandal but told Parliament on Wednesday that in "20/20 hindsight" he would not have hired the tabloid editor as his communications chief.

In a special session before the House of Commons, Cameron rebuffed catcalls from the opposition to defend Andy Coulson, who is one of nearly a dozen people arrested in an investigation of phone hacking and corruption at the now-shuttered News of the World.

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The Two-Way
7:15 am
Wed July 20, 2011

British Lawmakers Trade Jabs Over Hacking Scandal

There's a remarkable scene playing out right now in the British Parliament, where Prime Minister David Cameron has been laying out a defense of his — and his staff's — actions related to the "hacking scandal" and the leader of the opposition has accused Cameron of ignoring warnings about some of the News Corp. executives hired to work for the government.

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Health
6:30 am
Wed July 20, 2011

Ohio Weather Heat Advisory Continues

This week's stifling heat across Ohio is about to get hotter.

Highs in the low to mid-90s are in Wednesday's forecast throughout the state, with even more sizzling temperatures to come.

The National Weather Service looks for Cincinnati and Columbus to reach 99 degrees on Thursday, while Toledo could soar to 105.

The End Of The Space Shuttle Era
4:15 am
Wed July 20, 2011

So You Want To Be An Astronaut

Zoe McElroy, 11, hopes to get to the Moon or even Mars.
Lisa McElroy

The space shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to land Thursday, bringing the 30-year space shuttle program to its conclusion.

A request on NPR's Facebook page asking people to share their dreams of being an astronaut brought more than 1,000 responses.

In 1970, Trish Dardine was eight and growing up in Long Island, N.Y. She volunteered herself and her dad to join the Apollo 13 mission.

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Media
12:01 am
Wed July 20, 2011

Does British Scandal Risk Murdoch's Hold On Empire?

News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch (right), testifying alongside his son James, said his appearance Tuesday before a British parliamentary inquiry in London was "the most humble day of my life."
Parbul AFP/Getty Images

As News Corp. executives Rupert and James Murdoch gave testimony to members of a parliamentary panel in London on Tuesday, they were also speaking to a different audience: The people who own their company's shares and sit on its board.

From the opening moments, Rupert Murdoch made clear even in crisis that News Corp., while a publicly traded company, is very much propelled by the vision of one man. He interrupted his son James to make the point.

"I'd just like to say one sentence: This is the most humble day in my life," he said.

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Politics
12:01 am
Wed July 20, 2011

Could Gang Of Six Plan End Debt-Ceiling Stalemate?

The House spent all day Wednesday debating GOP legislation requiring a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution before the debt ceiling could be raised. Republicans passed the bill knowing it has little chance of going anywhere in the Democratic-run Senate and also faces a veto threat.

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The End Of The Space Shuttle Era
12:01 am
Wed July 20, 2011

Questions Hang Over NASA's Post-Shuttle Future

Atlantis lifts off from Kennedy Space Center on its final flight on July 8. There are plans for a next-generation space vehicle, but some space experts aren't sure if the vehicle will ever be completed.
Tony Gray and Tom Farrar NASA

The final space shuttle mission means that the 30-year-old shuttle program is about to enter the history books alongside the famous Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs.

And as the end of the shuttle era looms, NASA leaders say they're about to build a new vehicle, one that will let astronauts go exploring deep into space. But some experts doubt that plan will ever get off the ground.

To understand the big question mark hanging over NASA's future, it helps to first turn the clock back to 2004 — the year after the space shuttle Columbia disaster.

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Law
12:01 am
Wed July 20, 2011

Senate Panel To Consider End Of Gay Marriage Ban

There has been a lot for supporters of gay marriage to celebrate this year, including a new law that permits same-sex nuptials in New York.

Back in February, the Justice Department said it would no longer defend the federal law that restricts marriage to heterosexual couples, citing doubts about its constitutionality. This week, the White House said President Obama wants to overturn the law. On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will consider a bill that would do that and — for the first time — give federal benefits to same-sex couples who marry.

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