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Parallels
3:35 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

What's In A Name? A Lot If You're A Country

Afghan President Hamid Karzai reportedly pulled his representatives out of planned peace talks because of the flag and the nameplate at the Taliban office in Doha, Qatar. Both were legacies of the time the Taliban ruled the country and illustrated how sensitive such symbols can be.
EPA/Landov

A flag and a nameplate: Those seemingly innocuous items were apparently the reason that Afghan President Hamid Karzai abruptly refused to participate in peace talks also involving the Taliban and the U.S.

The flag was the same white flag the Taliban used when they ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001. The nameplate bore the words "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan," the name used by the old Taliban government.

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The Two-Way
3:18 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Gay-Therapy Ministry Shuts Down, Says 'We've Hurt People'

Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, with his wife, Leslie, in a May 2006 photo.
Phelan M. Ebenhack AP

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 5:25 pm

Gay-rights activists have welcomed a decision by a Christian ministry dedicated to "curing" homosexuals to shut its doors, praising the organization's president for his "integrity and authenticity" in offering an apology for the group's actions.

The Orlando, Fla., based Exodus International, which calls itself the oldest and largest Christian ministry dealing with faith and homosexuality, announced Thursday that it would cease its operations.

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The Two-Way
2:53 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Second Reported Miracle Paves Way For Pope John Paul's Sainthood

Cardinal Stanislav Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow and former personal secretary of Pope John Paul II, prays in front of the late pope's tomb at St. Peter's Basilica in 2011, in Vatican City.
Getty Images

It's a miracle, though we're not quite sure of the details yet.

A Vatican official confirms that a committee of theologians has approved a second miracle attributed to Pope John Paul II's posthumous intercession — a sine qua non for sainthood.

Italian media say a Costa Rican woman was cured of a severe brain injury after her family prayed to the memory of the late pope. The Vatican is set to release details in the next week or so.

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Author Interviews
2:50 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

'The Center Holds' Sees Victory For Moderates In Obama's Win

In his new book, The Center Holds, Jonathan Alter looks at President Obama's re-election campaign.
Simon & Schuster

Journalist Jonathan Alter sees the 2012 presidential contest as the most consequential election of recent times. In his new book, The Center Holds, Alter argues that President Obama's re-election prevented the country from veering sharply to the right.

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The Two-Way
2:28 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Amid Turmoil, U.S. Speedskating Chief Resigns

Already on thin ice after months of turmoil and scandal, the executive director of U.S. Speedskating (USS) has resigned.

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Remembrances
2:19 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Gandolfini Through The Eyes Of Those He Worked With

Actor James Gandolfini speaks at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards in January 2013. He died on June 19.
Stephen Lovekin Getty Images

As New Jersey mob boss Tony Soprano on The Sopranos, which ran on HBO from 1999 to 2007, James Gandolfini created a character that helped open television to a new era of great and nuanced acting. When he died in Italy on Wednesday at the age of 51, fans around the world were shocked.

And as Fresh Air's television critic David Bianculli noticed, there was an instant online outpouring that celebrated "what an iconic performance he gave us in terms of television."

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The Two-Way
12:24 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

He's An Impostor, The Navy Says About Cap'n Crunch

Say it ain't so, Cap'n.
Quaker Oats Company PepsiCo

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 12:53 pm

We don't know how, but we missed a major scandal brewing in the Navy for decades. It's important, so even if we're a little late to the story we still wanted to point it out: Cap'n Crunch is an impostor.

The Cap'n was unmasked on June 14 by a food blogger, who noticed the uniform he wears on cereal boxes had the stripes of a commander, not a captain. That is: A captain has four stripes on his sleeve, while a commander has three.

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National Security
12:13 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

At A Texas Base, Battling Army's Top Threat: Suicide

Soldiers approach armored vehicles after a training exercise at Fort Bliss, Texas, in January.
Juan Carlos Llorca AP

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 6:42 pm

Suicide killed more American troops last year than combat in Afghanistan, and that is likely to be the case again this year.

According to the Pentagon, there were at least 349 confirmed suicides in 2012, compared with 310 U.S. combat deaths in Afghanistan in the same period.

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Shots - Health News
12:13 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

PTSD Plagues One In Four Survivors Of Stroke

Insomnia, feeling isolated, and bursts of anger are symptoms of the anxiety disorder known as PTSD.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 7:57 pm

A person having a stroke may not be in a war zone, but his or her life is in danger all the same. That's enough to trigger post-traumatic stress disorder in some stroke survivors, researchers say, with symptoms like panic attacks, nightmares and flashes of anger.

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The Two-Way
11:51 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Justices: Federal Funds Can't Infringe Groups' Free Speech

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 1:02 pm

The Supreme Court has struck down a law mandating that nonprofit organizations adopt a policy opposing prostitution as a condition for receiving federal funds for HIV/AIDS programs abroad, saying such a requirement violated the groups' free-speech rights.

In the 6-2 decision, Chief Justice John Roberts led the majority, with Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Clarence Thomas dissenting. Justice Elena Kagan recused herself.

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