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The Two-Way
7:30 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

New York City Extends Smoking Ban To E-Cigarettes

Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

New York's City Council has approved extending the city's strict smoking ban to include electronic cigarettes, which emit a vapor.

The measure was pushed by outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg and backed by public health advocates in the city. It comes just weeks after New York became the first major city to raise the age for buying tobacco to 21.

Earlier this month, New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said that "more research is needed on electronic cigarettes," but that "waiting to act could jeopardize the progress we have made over the last few years."

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All Tech Considered
6:03 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Outdated Magnetic Strips: How U.S. Credit Card Security Lags

The U.K., Canada and other countries have been using more secure chip credit cards for years now. Why hasn't the U.S. caught up?
Martin Keene PA Photos/Landov

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 1:47 pm

Criminals may have stolen information from 40 million credit and debit cards used at Target. A possible weakness? The magnetic stripe on credit cards — which fraudsters can pull credit card numbers and expiration dates from to make counterfeit cards.

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Politics
5:57 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

President Obama's Rocky Year Falls Far Short Of Ambitions

By many standards, President Obama had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 6:52 pm

President Obama heads to Hawaii on Friday. He goes there for Christmas every year and always talks about how good it is to get away from Washington. This year, that's likely to be especially true.

It's been a rough year for the president, starting with the very first hours of 2013.

One year ago, when the ball dropped on Times Square and people sang "Auld Lang Syne," Obama was supposed to be in Honolulu. Instead, he was in Washington as the country went over the so-called fiscal cliff.

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All Tech Considered
5:44 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

A City Turns To Lettuce Fields To Grow High-Tech Startups

A lettuce thinner created by an agricultural tech startup uses cameras and sensors to thin lettuce rows. Salinas, Calif., has hired a venture capital fund to help it attract other high-tech agricultural companies to the area.
Courtesy of Foothill Packing Inc.

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 8:46 pm

Salinas is just one hour south of California's Silicon Valley, but generations behind when it comes to technology. Many of its sprawling lettuce farms are stuck in the era of rakes and hoes.

City officials are hoping to change that — and also spur some job growth — by investing in high-tech agriculture.

At Taylor Farms in Salinas, Andrew Fernandez, the company's vice president of product, is stepping on heads of crunchy romaine lettuce, making his way over to a very big tractor. It's a water jet knife machine, and it's on the cutting edge of lettuce farming technology.

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Around the Nation
5:42 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Once A Mighty Bomber, A B-52 Meets Its End In The Desert

A view of a B-52 about to have its tail section cut at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Ariz.
Ted Robbins NPR

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 6:16 pm

A relic of the Cold War met its end on Thursday. The Air Force destroyed the last B-52 bomber required under the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia.

A crew used a circular saw to cut through the plane's aluminum skin, the tail section separating from the fuselage with a loud thunk and officially rendering the bomber useless.

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The Record
5:09 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Feminists Everywhere React To Beyonce's Latest

The audience at Beyonce's Dec. 3 performance at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Larry Busacca/PW WireImage for Parkwood Entertainment

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 7:20 pm

617,000. That's how many copies of her self-titled album Beyonce sold in three days last week, after she dropped it without warning. As fans and critics have dug in, debates about the messages and images within it are roiling. Is Beyonce, the sexy pop goddess who has performed at two inaugurations, also this generation's highest-profile feminist? I spoke to six people who identify as feminists — all of whom feel differently about Beyonce — to find out how a pop album no one was ready for is capping off a year of think pieces and Twitter skirmishes.

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The Two-Way
5:07 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Dennis Rodman In North Korea 'To Open Doors For America'

Former U.S. basketball superstar Dennis Rodman arrives in Pyongyang on Thursday.
Kyodo/Landov

Dennis Rodman arrived in North Korea on Thursday for his third visit this year to the hard-line Stalinist country, saying he will train the country's national basketball team and see his "friend," leader Kim Jong Un.

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Shots - Health News
5:07 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Poll: Americans Favor Age Restrictions On Morning-After Pill

Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 4:50 pm

Emergency contraception has been embroiled in controversy pretty much from the start.

But this year the legal wrangling over who can buy the Plan B One-Step morning-after pill without a prescription came to an end. A federal judge in New York ruled in April that the morning-after pill also had to be made available over the counter to girls 16 and under.

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The Two-Way
5:06 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Dozens Hurt In Ceiling Collapse At London's Apollo Theatre

A rescue operation is underway at the Apollo Theatre in London after part of the roof collapsed during a performance, trapping people inside.
Leon Neal AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 7:17 pm

(This post was updated at 6:00 p.m. ET)

London's emergency services personnel say 88 people have been injured, several of them seriously, in the collapse of part of the ceiling at the Apollo Theatre in central London during an evening performance. Officials say there have been no fatalities.

Emergency services officials tell news agencies that seven of those are seriously hurt. The BBC quotes a spokesman for the theater as saying 720 theatergoers were in attendance at the time of the collapse.

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Monkey See
5:02 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Infectious Collections: Stories And Poems To Convert Any Reader

Nishant Choksi

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 8:57 am

This post is for everyone who passes right by the poetry section; all the bookish types who haven't read a short story since graduation. We know you're out there — and you're not alone.

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