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Space
5:02 pm
Sun September 21, 2014

Mission To Study Mars' Climate Enters Red Planet's Orbit

In this artist concept provided by NASA, the MAVEN spacecraft approaches Mars on a mission to study its upper atmosphere.
AP

Originally published on Sun September 21, 2014 10:41 pm

This Sunday night, we headed back to Mars: NASA's MAVEN spacecraft fired its six main engines, slowing down enough so it could be captured by the gravity of the red planet and go into orbit.

MAVEN, which stands for Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, is a distinctly un-sexy name for a project as cool as a sojourn to Mars. But whatever it's called, the probe is on a mission that should be of interest to everyone who likes living on Earth.

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World
5:02 pm
Sun September 21, 2014

Ugandan LGBT Activist Recommended For Asylum In U.S.

Ugandan gay-rights activist John Abdallah Wambere, right, embraces attorney Janson Wu, after announcing his application for asylum in May. The U.S. government has now formally recommended Wambere's application for approval.
Josh Reynolds AP

Originally published on Sun September 21, 2014 8:31 pm

This past week, John Abdallah Wambere finally heard the seven words he had been waiting for:

"Your application has been recommended for approval."

Wambere, a prominent Ugandan LGBT-rights activist, had applied for asylum in the United States, due to anti-gay persecution in his home country.

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The Two-Way
5:02 pm
Sun September 21, 2014

Snowden Reveal Makes Israeli Spies' Protest An American Issue

At a cybersecurity conference in Tel Aviv on Sept. 14, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the 43 Unit 8200 refusniks of "baseless slander" which "should be condemned."
Menahem Kahana AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun September 21, 2014 8:31 pm

Last Friday, 43 veteran and reserve members of Israel's secretive spy organization, Unit 8200, claimed they'd been directed to spy on Palestinians for coercion purposes.

The group signed an open letter of protest to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and to the head of the Israeli army, accusing the spy agency of targeting innocent Palestinians and collecting data for political purposes, not national security.

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The Two-Way
4:53 pm
Sun September 21, 2014

Thousands Of Refugees Flee Syria In Chaotic Scene At Turkey's Border

A Syrian family waits near the Turkish-Syrian border after entering Turkey near the town of Sanliurfa Sunday. An estimated 70,000 Syrian Kurds have fled the extremist group the Islamic State this weekend.
Ulas Yunus Tosun EPA /LANDOV

An estimated 70,000 Syrian refugees have fled the violence brought by extremist group ISIS this weekend, choosing to cross into Turkey carrying whatever belongings they can manage.

The rush of predominantly Kurdish refugees came as fighters loyal to ISIS seized dozens of villages in the area. While a U.N. agency reported about 70,000 refugees this weekend, a Turkish official says 100,000 Syrians have come to Turkey for shelter in the past week.

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The Two-Way
3:12 pm
Sun September 21, 2014

Man Caught At White House Is An Army Veteran

Originally published on Sun September 21, 2014 5:10 pm

Omar J. Gonzales, the 42-year-old man who the Secret Service says ran onto the White House grounds and entered a door Friday night, is an Army veteran who served in Iraq and was reportedly a sniper.

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The Two-Way
1:46 pm
Sun September 21, 2014

For Oktoberfest-Goers In Munich, A Parade And A Party

People wearing traditional Bavarian clothes take a break after the Oktoberfest parade in Munich Sunday. Millions of beer drinkers from around the world will visit the Bavarian capital over the next two weeks for the festival.
Michael Dalder Reuters /Landov

Munich kicked off this year's Oktoberfest Saturday, beginning festivities in which the city expects to host 6 million visitors. Today's events included a parade celebrating Bavarian culture – and of course, the rampant consumption of beer, served in a traditional one-liter Mass mug.

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The Two-Way
11:25 am
Sun September 21, 2014

One Year After Kenyan Mall Attack, Few Answers Have Emerged

Survivors and relatives of victims carry Kenya's national flags on the anniversary of last year's deadly attack on the Westgate shopping mall in Kenya's capital of Nairobi.
Thomas Mukoya Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Sun September 21, 2014 5:07 pm

Kenyans are marking the first anniversary of a deadly attack on an upscale shopping mall in Nairobi that sparked a siege and created new uncertainty over the reach of extremist violence in Africa. The attackers were identified as Islamist militants from Somalia, but few other details about the incident have emerged.

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Health Care
11:15 am
Sun September 21, 2014

Which Catholics Offer Birth Control? Look To The Insurers

Sisters of the Servants of Mary from Kansas City, Kan., at a rally in 2012. Catholic employers don't want to offer insurance coverage for contraceptives, but Catholic insurance companies have quietly arranged for coverage for years.
John Hanna AP

The Affordable Care Act requires that most health plans offer birth control to women.

Around the country, Catholic employers have been arguing in court that having anything to do with insurance coverage of contraceptives violates their freedom of religion.

But when the insurance companies themselves are Catholic, contraceptive coverage comes without a hitch.

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Parallels
11:15 am
Sun September 21, 2014

U.S., Iraqi Militias Join In Uneasy Alliance

Members of the Mehdi Army militia, which once fought U.S. forces in Iraq, take part in training in the southern Iraqi city of Basra on June 17. The militia's fighters now find themselves allied with the U.S. against the self-declared Islamic State.
AFP/Getty Images

In the Middle East, alliances have a strange way of shifting. And as the United States again becomes deeply involved in the conflict in Iraq, it's found itself making some strange alliances too.

Militias that used to fights American forces in Iraq are now fighting against the Islamic State — on the same side as the U.S. — and all sides involved have reservations about it.

A decade ago in Sadr City, a sprawling Shiite suburb of Baghdad, the Mehdi Army, led by Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, began to fight bitterly against American forces, calling them occupiers.

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The Two-Way
9:50 am
Sun September 21, 2014

Afghan Presidential Rivals End Dispute — And A Long Election Season

Afghan presidential candidates Abdullah Abdullah, left, and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai shake hands after signing a power-sharing pact in Kabul Sunday. The first vote in the election was held in April; a runoff followed in June.
Wakil Kohsar AFP/Getty Images

Habemus Praesidentem: there's white smoke in Kabul – figuratively speaking.

And like choosing a pope, selecting Afghanistan's new president has been a long and enigmatic process. Candidate registration began on Sept. 16, 2013. The first round of voting was on April 5. The second round on June 14.

And now, on Sept. 21, Afghan election officials announced that Ashraf Ghani is the country's the next president. He'll succeed President Hamid Karzai, who has ruled since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.

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