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11:43 am
Sat December 14, 2013

Tornado Victims Find Snapshots Of Solace In Far-Flung Photos

Darin Repp found this photo in a forest preserve in the southwest Chicago suburbs, about 100 miles from where they came from in Washington, Ill. Overall, he's found about 80 photos and has been able to return 35 of them. This one coincidentally belonged to a close friend of his cousins in Washington.
Courtesy of Darin Repp

The tornado on Nov. 17 missed the house of Darin Repp's cousins in Washington, Ill. But less than a half-mile away, it flattened rows of homes, uprooted trees and flung cars around the neighborhood like a child with a temper tantrum.

In the following days, Repp noticed posts on Facebook about people finding — and returning — photos that belonged to Washington residents. Eager to help his cousins' community, he drove out to a forest preserve along the storm's path.

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The Two-Way
10:44 am
Sat December 14, 2013

Mega Millions Jackpot Grows To $550 Million

A customer buys Mega Millions lottery tickets at a 7-Eleven store on Friday in Chicago, Illinois.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 14, 2013 12:28 pm

Because no one matched all six numbers on Friday, the Mega Millions jackpot jumped to $550 million for Tuesday's drawing.

It's possible that the second largest pot in the history of the Mega Millions will eventually make a run for the all-time record of $656 million, which was split by three players on March 30, 2012.

NBC News reports:

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The Two-Way
8:58 am
Sat December 14, 2013

A Year After Shooting, Bells Toll In Newtown

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama take a moment of silence in honor of the Newtown shooting victims on the one year anniversary of the tragedy.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

As a steady snow blanketed Newtown, this morning, the bells at St. Rose of Lima church tolled 26 times. After each, a name was read.

It was an intimate acknowledgment of the 20 children and six educators who were killed by a gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School one year ago today.

The town asked for privacy and decided not to have any formal remembrance services.

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, meanwhile, lit 26 candles at the Map Room of the White House. After all the votives were lit, they paused for a moment of silence.

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Parallels
8:36 am
Sat December 14, 2013

Africa Wanders From Mandela's Path To Democracy

Nelson Mandela casts his vote during South Africa's first all-race elections in 1994. Mandela's example led to more democracy across Africa, although overall political freedom has declined on the continent in the last five years.
John Parkin AP

Originally published on Sat December 14, 2013 1:27 pm

When Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990, Africa's record on democracy was abysmal. One stark fact summed it up: Not a single African leader had ever lost his job at the ballot box in the three decades since African countries began receiving independence around 1960.

But with Mandela leading the way, South Africa became the most prominent example of the emerging democracies and open elections that spread across the continent in the 1990s.

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The Two-Way
8:33 am
Sat December 14, 2013

Rape Accusation Still Shadows Heisman Finalist

Florida State University quarterback Jameis Winston faced an accusation of rape, but the state of Florida decided not to press charges following an investigation.
Julio Cortez AP

Originally published on Sat December 14, 2013 1:22 pm

On Saturday night, there's a very good chance Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston will win the Heisman Trophy, awarded each year to the best college football player in the country.

For Winston, family, friends, teammates and Seminole fans, undoubtedly it'll be a shining moment, but a discordant note continues to run through this tale of football glory.

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The Two-Way
7:44 am
Sat December 14, 2013

IN PICTURES: Mandela's Journey Home

A military aircraft carrying the body of former South African President Nelson Mandela departs from Waterkloof military airbase for the Eastern Cape on Saturday in Pretoria, South Africa.
Oli Scarff Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 14, 2013 8:47 pm

On the final leg of 10 days of mourning, Nelson Mandela's body was flown from the seat of government in Pretoria to his ancestral hometown of Quno on Saturday.

"A guard of honor carried his casket from the hearse onto the transport plane that flew the late South African statesman home to the Eastern Cape for burial on Sunday," NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton tells our Newscast unit from Johannesburg. "The two-hour flight was preceded by a moving memorial, organized by his governing ANC Party."

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The Two-Way
6:26 am
Sat December 14, 2013

State TV: Chinese Spacecraft Makes Soft Landing On The Moon

Staff members make preparations for Chang'e-3's soft-landing on the moon at the Aerospace Control Center in Beijing, on Saturday.
Li Xin Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Sat December 14, 2013 7:01 am

A Chinese spacecraft made a soft landing on the surface of the moon on Saturday, China's state television is reporting.

Televised images showed the control room at the Aerospace Control Center in Beijing erupted into applause at about 8:10 a.m. ET. Almost immediately, the lander started to deploy its solar panels and began running a systems check.

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Politics
5:23 am
Sat December 14, 2013

White House Hires A Crisis Manager, Easing Democratic Worries

John Podesta was Bill Clinton's White House chief of staff from 1998 to 2001, helping the president survive impeachment.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 10:31 pm

It's not big enough to be called a shakeup, but the new hire announced this week at the White House is important: John Podesta will come on board in January as a counselor to the president.

Podesta is a Democratic wise man, the founder of the Center for American Progress, a policy and personnel incubator for Democratic administrations, and he just started a new think tank on income inequality — the problem President Obama says will animate his second term.

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Politics
5:23 am
Sat December 14, 2013

Senate Takes a Break After 48-Hour Debate

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky heads to the Senate floor to vote on Friday.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 10:31 pm

After pulling two consecutive all-nighters, a bleary-eyed Senate is taking a breather on Saturday.

The fractious 48-hour session that ended Friday was fallout from a decision that the chamber's ruling Democrats made last month to move stalled nominees.

This week's session was the first since Democrats detonated the "nuclear option" and eliminated the GOP minority's ability to filibuster most nominations.

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Around the Nation
5:23 am
Sat December 14, 2013

A Common Story: Bullet's Trajectory Interrupts Child's Path

Ka'nard Allen, twice a victim of gun violence, started at a new this fall in New Orleans. Administrators say he's just like any other fifth-grader, despite all the adversity he's faced in his life.
Keith O'Brien for NPR

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 10:31 pm

Murders are down in New Orleans this year, bucking a national trend. Still, gun violence remains a problem — and children can't escape it. They're left with scars both physical and emotional.

What happens after the bullets stop flying? How does a child get up after being gunned down?

One boy's story shows the tragedy of gun violence and a community's efforts to heal its victims.

Caught In The Crossfire

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