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The Two-Way
12:48 pm
Sat October 12, 2013

Senate Democrats Visit Obama; Boehner Says Talks Are Over

Speaker of the House John Boehner leaves after discussing the government shutdown with his fellow Republicans on Capitol Hill Saturday. Boehner reportedly told his colleagues that talks with the White House had ended without a deal.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 12, 2013 6:02 pm

President Obama hosted the Senate's leading Democrats at the White House for more than an hour Saturday afternoon, in a session that came the same day that Majority Leader Harry Reid met with Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell.

No details were available about the Democrats' discussion, which is one of several lines of communication that are aimed at reaching consensus on a budget deal. Earlier Saturday, House Speaker John Boehner said negotiations with the White House were over, after the president rejected the GOP's most recent plan.

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The Two-Way
11:47 am
Sat October 12, 2013

Grand Canyon And Other National Parks Reopen, On States' Dime

Tourists stop on the roadside near Mount Rushmore, after their visit was canceled due to the government shutdown. South Dakota and other states have reached an agreement to fund operations to reopen the parks.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Thanks to agreements between the Department of the Interior and several states, a dozen popular national parks are open again, at least temporarily. The parks range from the Statue of Liberty to the Grand Canyon; the states are paying to keep them open for up to 10 days.

State officials say it's particularly important to have the parks open during the Columbus Day holiday weekend. National Park Service employees began opening some facilities Friday; others will reopen today or Monday.

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The Two-Way
9:46 am
Sat October 12, 2013

Kerry And Karzai Meet To Discuss U.S. Presence In Afghanistan

Ahead of an expected — and repeatedly delayed — news conference, an Afghan worker leaves the area where Secretary of State John Kerry and Afghan President Hamid Karzai were expected to speak Saturday in Kabul.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 12, 2013 11:12 am

The U.S. desire to maintain a military presence in Afghanistan is the subject of talks today in Kabul, where Secretary of State John Kerry is in prolonged discussions with President Hamid Karzai. Most of the U.S. troops would continue training Afghan forces, while another contingent works against terrorist groups.

As for how many Americans would be posted to Afghanistan, NPR's Sean Carberry says a precise number hasn't emerged, but he adds that "through conversations and comments by military officials, the range is about 5,000 to 10,000."

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Fresh Air Weekend
9:03 am
Sat October 12, 2013

Fresh Air Weekend: Tom Hanks, Ben Franklin's Sister, Daniel Radcliffe

Daniel Radcliffe tells Fresh Air that his parents were initially hesitant about letting him play Harry Potter.
Warwick Saint

Originally published on Sat October 12, 2013 11:51 am

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

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The Two-Way
8:41 am
Sat October 12, 2013

Cyclone Phailin Hits India With 120 MPH Winds; Thousands Flee

A man covers himself with a plastic sheet as a shield as he walks to a safer place near Gopalpur in eastern India Saturday. Hundreds of thousands of people living along India's eastern coastline took shelter from the massive powerful cyclone Phailin.
Biswaranjan Rout AP

Originally published on Sat October 12, 2013 3:35 pm

Cyclone Phailin has struck India's east coast in the Bay of Bengal, where more than 500,000 people have evacuated from vulnerable areas along the coast. Phailin reportedly packed sustained winds of more than 120 mph when the eye of the storm hit; strong winds will likely persist for hours to come.

Update at 3:15 p.m. ET:

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Tiny Desk Concerts
8:03 am
Sat October 12, 2013

Valerie June: Tiny Desk Concert

Valerie June performs a Tiny Desk Concert.
NPR

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 6:06 pm

Short of seeing her live and in person, this is the best way to encounter Valerie June's heartfelt sound. Her new album Pushin' Against a Stone is terrific, but when I first heard that voice unadorned, I was hooked. The same may happen to you.

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Author Interviews
7:36 am
Sat October 12, 2013

From Divided States, A 'United' Nation — Thanks To These Men

The Men Who United the States, by Simon Winchester

Originally published on Sat October 12, 2013 10:27 am

The United States is not just a phrase. The country stretches across six time zones, from the Atlantic well into the Pacific. The British settled some regions; the Dutch, Spanish and French settled some others. And we once fought a bloody Civil War, North against South, over the issue of slavery.

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Arts & Life
7:36 am
Sat October 12, 2013

A Traditional Wedding Brings The Polish Highlands To Chicago

Dressed in traditional Polish Highlander garb, guests pile into carriages that will bring them to the church for the official wedding ceremony.
Linda Paul for NPR

Originally published on Sat October 12, 2013 8:05 am

Last weekend, a quiet block on the northwest side of Chicago appeared to be taken over by villagers from the mountains of southern Poland. That's because a Polish Highlander wedding was getting underway. But even before the couple arrived, there was a lot of pomp, circumstance — and moving of cars.

Any time now the bridal party will be arriving and Andy Zieba — father of the bride — is ringing doorbells, asking neighbors if they can please move their cars.

"Excuse me, ma'am? You don't know who's the Honda belong to?" he asks.

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Music
7:36 am
Sat October 12, 2013

RJD2 Explains How He Builds Songs From Scraps

RJD2's new album, More Is Than Isn't, is out now.
Benny Mistak Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat October 12, 2013 2:19 pm

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Shots - Health News
7:36 am
Sat October 12, 2013

Health Insurance Exchanges Suffer Ills Of Geography

Alexandra Dixon is one of 350 "navigators" hired to help people sign up for health insurance in Maryland.
Jenny Gold for NPR

Originally published on Sat October 12, 2013 9:05 am

These first two weeks have been rocky for the state health insurance exchanges. The online marketplaces opened across the country Oct. 1, with computer glitches and staffing shortages.

Even the states that have agreed to run their own exchanges are having a hard time. In states that have not embraced the Affordable Care Act, the federal government is struggling to fill in the gap.

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