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The Two-Way
4:06 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

No-Confidence Vote Ushers In Italy's Youngest-Ever Premier

Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi of Italy's Democratic Party is next in line to be the country's prime minister. Enrico Letta is stepping down after a vote of no confidence.
Alessandra Tarantino AP

Italy's Prime Minister Enrico Letta will step down after his own party launched a no-confidence vote against him, paving the way for the young and popular mayor of Florence to assume the post.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

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The Two-Way
4:03 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

U.K. Warns Scotland: Vote To Secede, Lose Common Currency

A display of T-shirts are seen for sale in a Scottish memorabilia shop in Edinburgh, Scotland, on Jan. 13, 2012. Scotland votes in September on independence, but the U.K. government has warned that freedom will come at a cost: Scotland will lose the pound.
Scott Heppell AP

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 6:06 pm

Scotland, as we've told you previously, is voting later this year on breaking away from the U.K.

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond had said that the new country would retain the pound as its currency and take on a portion of the U.K.'s debt. Britain's message today [Thursday]: Not so fast.

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All Tech Considered
3:24 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

How The Big Cable Deal Could Actually Boost Open-Internet Rules

Comcast is the largest cable company and home Internet service provider in the United States.
Matt Rourke AP

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 7:59 am

An announced $45 billion merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable — the largest and second-largest cable companies in the U.S., respectively — is under scrutiny not just for its massive size but also for its potential impact on Internet use.

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Planet Money
3:15 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

It's Great To Be A Woman In California, Unless You're Hispanic

Wage-gap calculations by the Center for American Progress based on data from the U.S.Census Bureau, 2012 American Community Survey

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 3:54 pm

Here's a conundrum.

The Golden State ranks as the second best place for a woman to achieve economic security, according to 14 key measures. That's according to a study from the Center for American Progress.

Paid family leave? Check!
Great early childhood education? Check!
Paid sick leave? Check!

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Book Reviews
3:09 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Robert Frost's Letters Reveal: He Really Cared What Readers Thought

Courtesy of Belknap Press

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 8:32 am

On July 4, 1913, Robert Frost wrote to his good friend John Bartlett, describing his strengths as a poet: "To be perfectly frank with you I am one of the most notable craftsmen of my time. ... I alone of English writers have consciously set myself to make music out of what I may call the sound of sense."

Frost was 39 years old when he wrote those words. Despite the hubristic and self-assured tone, he had published one book of poetry, A Boy's Will, and was relatively unknown in literary circles.

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Parallels
2:51 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

In Damp Country, Record-Breaking Rains Flood Britain

Priscilla Smithers and her four children have arranged chairs around a few air mattresses to create a space for themselves, after fleeing their home.
Ari Shapiro NPR

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 9:15 am

Parts of England have been underwater for more than six weeks now, since storms began pummeling the west of Great Britain around Christmas. While many of those areas are still submerged, the situation keeps getting worse.

Now the floodwaters are lapping near Windsor Castle, as the Thames overflows its banks. Thousands of people have fled their homes, with more evacuating every day.

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Code Switch
2:46 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Instagram Posts, KKK Rallies And Other Racial Sensitivities

Clarence Thomas is seen in a high school year book photo, circa 1959. He said that people are more sensitive about race now than they were when he lived in segregated Georgia and was the first black student to attend his school.
AP

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 7:21 pm

Earlier this week, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas spoke to an audience at Palm Beach Atlantic University. Thomas, the second black member of the Supreme Court, felt that in one clear aspect of racial and cultural relations in the U.S., we've not moved forward:

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Code Switch
2:39 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

National Puerto Rican Day Parade Reorganizes After Misuse Of Funds

Parade onlookers cheer marchers in last year's National Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York.
Craig Ruttle AP

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 5:32 pm

The National Puerto Rican Day Parade will be marching down New York City's Fifth Avenue under new leadership this year.

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Science
2:37 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Robot Construction Workers Take Their Cues From Termites

Climbing robots, modeled after termites, can be programmed to work together to build tailor-made structures.
[Image courtesy of Eliza Grinnell, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 7:58 pm

Termites can build huge, elaborate mounds that rise up from the ground like insect skyscrapers; scientists have now created little robots that act like termites to build a made-to-order structure.

"Termites are the real masters of construction in the insect world," says Justin Werfel of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. "The largest termite mound on record was 42 feet tall."

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The Two-Way
2:27 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Businesses Scramble To Deliver Valentine's Treats In Snow

Snow falls past a Valentine's Day display inside Lee's Flower & Card Shop in the early morning in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

If those flowers you were expecting fail to show up by Friday, don't be so quick to blame your Valentine. It could just be the weather.

That's not to say that the friendly neighborhood florist isn't planning for the worst — and hoping for the best.

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