The Two-Way
12:44 pm
Wed August 17, 2011

Swiss Shoppers Flock To Euro Zone, Boosted By Franc's Surge In Value

After a day of shopping, residents of Geneva get on a bus to head home this past Saturday, carrying 250 euros' worth of groceries they bought at the Carrefour supermarket in Ferney-Voltaire, France.
John Heilprin AP

Originally published on Wed August 17, 2011 2:03 pm

The Swiss franc has emerged as a safe haven currency for investors spooked by economic uncertainty in the U.S. and the European Union's euro zone. In the past year, the franc's value has soared — and now Swiss shoppers are going bargain-hunting in Europe's malls and shops.

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Science
12:10 pm
Wed August 17, 2011

Fresh Allegations Leveled Against Polar Bear Scientist

The polar bear researcher who was suspended from his government job last month has received a new letter from investigators that lays out actions he took that are described as being "highly inappropriate" under the rules that apply to managing federal contracts.

According to the letter, wildlife biologist Charles Monnett told investigators that he assisted a scientist in preparing that scientist's proposal for a government contract. Monnett then served as chair of a committee that reviewed that proposal.

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Economy
12:01 pm
Wed August 17, 2011

Study: Child Poverty Up In 38 States In Past Decade

Nearly 15 million children, or 20 percent of America's juvenile population, were living in poverty in 2009, according to a child welfare study released Wednesday.

More than double that number were in households where no parent had a full-time year-round job, according to the report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which noted that the child poverty rate grew about 18 percent over the past decade.

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Conflict In Libya
11:47 am
Wed August 17, 2011

A Potential Tipping Point In Libya

Rebel fighters celebrate on Aug. 14 after taking partial control of the coastal town of Zawiya, 30 miles west of Tripoli, the capital. If the rebels can establish full control of the town, it would cut Moammar Gadhafi's main link to the outside world.
Bob Strong Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed August 17, 2011 3:46 pm

After weeks with little movement on the battlefront, Libyan rebels fighting Moammar Gadhafi's troops appear to be gaining both territory and momentum.

Rebel leaders are claiming control of parts of Zawiya, a strategically important coastal city some 30 miles to the west of Tripoli, Libya's capital. Firm control of Zawiya would allow the rebels to cut off the government's most important supply line, from Tunisia.

More fighting was reported Wednesday for control of the oil refinery in Zawiya — the last major source of income and fuel for the Gadhafi regime.

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The Two-Way
11:42 am
Wed August 17, 2011

Tests Show 1 In 4 U.S. Students Set For College; Wide Gap For Minorities

Out of the 29 states in which at least 40 percent of graduates took the ACT, only Minnesota had more than half of its students meet at least three college-readiness benchmarks.
ACT

Only 1 in 4 U.S. high school graduates who took the 2011 ACT college entrance exam scored high enough to be deemed ready for college-level courses in all four of the test's subject areas, according to the company that designs the tests.

The college-readiness rating of 25 percent represents a trend of improvement since 2007, when only 23 percent of students met all four benchmarks.

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The Two-Way
11:17 am
Wed August 17, 2011

Happy Feet, The Lost Emperor Penguin, Will Head Home By Month's End

The last time we checked in on Happy Feet, the Emperor Penguin that lost his way and ended up 2,000 miles from home in New Zealand was facing tough odds: He was at the Wellington Zoo, dehydrated and with a belly full of sand.

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Shots - Health Blog
10:44 am
Wed August 17, 2011

What's In A Drug Name? Sometimes, Enough To Cause Mix-Ups

Risperidone (Risperdal), prescribed for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and ropinirole (Requip), used for Parkinson's disease and restless legs syndrome, have strikingly similar labels.
Food and Drug Administration

If a pharmacist heard the name Clindesse (a vaginal antibiotic cream) or Clindets (antibiotic cream for acne) while filling a prescription over the phone, you could see how they might confuse them, especially if one was more familiar. But the patient receiving end of such a mix-up might not be amused.

The government has a system in place to try to keep similar looking and sounding drugs from ending up on the market together. But the pharmaceutical industry has been pushing to kill the system.

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The Two-Way
10:17 am
Wed August 17, 2011

Thieves Hit California Schools; Targeting Animals, Copper Wiring

From California, two stories have emerged today about thieves stealing from schools. In one case, the criminals seemed motivated by selling metal pipes. And in the other, they wanted rare animals.

Two reptiles and a tarantula were stolen from a classroom in Jurupa Valley, elementary school teacher Bonnie Werner says. The thieves broke into Troth Street Elementary and took the prize elements of her collection of lizards, snakes and other animals.

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The Two-Way
10:15 am
Wed August 17, 2011

Inspector General: Army Improperly Tested Body Armor Plates

Captain Michael Blakley, company commander of Battle Co., 1-32 Infantry Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, accompanied by Afghan National Army soldiers leads the patrol at the Mullah Omar mosque in Sangsar village in Kandahar province, the heartland of Taliban in southern Afghanistan.
Romeo Gacad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 17, 2011 11:25 am

A report (PDF) from the Department of Defense's Inspector General details flawed quality assurance inspections of the body armor used by troops to stop bullets. The investigation, which was requested by Congress, looked at seven Army contracts worth $2.5 billion and awarded between 2004 and 2006.

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Economy
10:01 am
Wed August 17, 2011

Rating The Wall Street Ratings Agencies

Frank Partnoy is a law professor at the University of San Diego.
Fergus Greer courtesy of Frank Partnoy

Earlier this month, Standard & Poor's announced that it had downgraded the U.S. credit rating from AAA to AA+, citing political risks and the nation's rising debt burden. It was the first time in history that the U.S. credit rating was lowered.

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