The Two-Way
2:55 pm
Thu September 29, 2011

China Launches 'Heavenly Palace-1' Into Space; Takes Step Toward Station

With a nighttime liftoff from a launch pad on the edge of the Gobi Desert, China today put its unmanned Tiangong-1 ("Heavenly Palace-1") module into orbit and started a decade-long project aimed at constructing its own space station.

The module will "conduct surveys of Chinese farmland using special cameras, along with experiments involving growing crystals in zero gravity," The Associated Press says. Then, in coming years:

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Middle East
2:53 pm
Thu September 29, 2011

In Saudi Arabia, Only Men Vote, And Not Often

Saudi men wait to cast their votes in municipal elections in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Thursday. Turnout appeared to be low. King Abdullah says that women will be allowed to vote in the next municipal elections, in 2015.
Hassan Ammar AP

Originally published on Thu September 29, 2011 8:16 pm

In Saudi Arabia, where King Abdullah has the only vote that really counts, elections are still a novelty.

Municipal elections on Thursday marked just the third ballot in the kingdom's history. Only men could vote in polls to fill half the seats on some 300 municipal councils. The other half are appointed by the government.

Even before the polls closed, Saudi officials declared the election a success. But turnout appeared low at many voting stations, including in the capital, Riyadh.

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Middle East
2:50 pm
Thu September 29, 2011

Americans Seek Answers As New Egypt Emerges

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shakes hands with Egypt's Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr during a joint press conference in Washington on Wednesday. Amr sought to assure the U.S. that Egypt is moving toward democracy.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

As Egypt tries to figure out a path forward following its revolution, the country's foreign minister was in Washington this week attempting to reassure the Obama administration that all is going well.

For the Americans, the two big issues are the status of Egypt's elections and the state of Egypt's relations with Israel. There are unanswered questions on both fronts.

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The Two-Way
2:10 pm
Thu September 29, 2011

Bank Of America's $5 Per Month Debit Card Fee Is Sign Of The Times

Using one of these is starting to cost more.
iStock

Bank of America is next year going to start charging most holders of its debit cards $5 a month if they use them to make purchases. It's the biggest sign so far of how new bank regulations are going to mean big changes for the millions of customers who have come to rely on cards that are tied to their checking accounts — and don't rack up potentially huge interest bills.

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Around the Nation
1:48 pm
Thu September 29, 2011

Dozens Arrested In Drug Raid At Pa. Boeing Plant

More than three dozen people have been charged in a prescription drug sweep that included a raid on a Boeing plant near Philadelphia that makes military helicopters.

The arrests happened Thursday morning at the 5,400-employee plant in Ridley Park.

Federal authorities say 37 people were charged with illegal distribution of a prescription drug. All but one is an employee or former employee of the plant.

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The Two-Way
1:15 pm
Thu September 29, 2011

Germany's OK Of Bailout Means Europe Can Continue To 'Muddle Through'

Word that Germany's parliament today "approved a plan to expand the power of a European bailout fund for troubled countries that use the euro," doesn't mean the crisis across the Atlantic is over, our colleague Jacob Goldstein writes over at the Planet Money blog.

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The Two-Way
12:30 pm
Thu September 29, 2011

Capitol Hill Police Not Amused By Tweets From 'The Onion'

J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Thu September 29, 2011 12:36 pm

A fake story and a series of tweets this morning by the satirical folks at The Onion "reported" that members of Congress had taken schoolchildren hostage inside the Capitol Building.

Officials at the U.S. Capitol Police don't find any of it funny.

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Planet Money
12:23 pm
Thu September 29, 2011

Germany Approves A Bailout That's Way Too Small To Solve Europe's Problems

By a wide majority, Germany's parliament just agreed to expand Europe's bailout fund. This sounds like a big deal: Germany's rescuing Europe!

But Germany isn't rescuing Europe. It's just signing off on a bailout plan that Europe's leaders agreed to months ago — a plan that clearly won't be enough to solve Europe's problems.

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It's All Politics
12:04 pm
Thu September 29, 2011

Romney Withstands Perry Surge To Retake GOP Lead In National Poll

Mitt Romney may be back on track to the Republican presidential nomination.

It's still early and nothing is certain, of course. But the signs are that Romney has resumed what seemed, until a few weeks ago, his steady march towards becoming his party's standard bearer against President Obama in the 2012 presidential race.

If that Obama-Romney race should happen, by the way, Harvard Law School couldn't lose since it would be the first time two of its graduates faced each other as major-party nominees for the White House.

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Afghanistan
12:01 pm
Thu September 29, 2011

Deadly Insurgents With Ties To U.S. Dollars

Originally published on Thu September 29, 2011 2:08 pm

Last week, Adm. Mike Mullen, the departing head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, sat in front of Congress, where he described the Haqqani Network as a "veritable arm of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency."

The militant group has long been considered one of the most dangerous insurgent forces in the decade-long war in Afghanistan. Their estimated 5,000 to 15,000 fighters, led by militant Jalaluddin Haqqani, roam the mountainous region between Pakistan and Afghanistan, where they carry out deadly roadside bomb attacks, kidnappings and extortion plots.

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