The Two-Way
6:10 am
Thu February 27, 2014

Ukraine Crisis: New Government Takes Shape As Crimea Simmers

Flags fly outside the Crimean parliament building in Simferopol on Thursday during a rally by pro-Russian protesters. Gunmen seized government buildings in the city.
David Mdzinarishvili Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 12:58 pm

  • On the NPR Newscast: Peter Kenyon reports from Kiev
We're adding updates throughout this post as the day continues.

Tensions continue to rise in Ukraine, where months of public protests led last week to the downfall of President Viktor Yanukovych's government. His opponents are now installing pro-Western ministers to replace the pro-Russian leaders who worked for Yanukovych. The interim government is expected to be in charge at least until new elections can be held, perhaps in late May.

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6:18 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

A Think-Twice Proposal for Divorcing Couples

Lead in text: 
A house committee has approved a bill that would require couples with children considering divorce to take a course on the effects of divorce on children.
Feb. 26: Bill Would Require Marriage Program A House committee has approved a bill that would require certain couples who have children and are seeking a divorce to go through an Oklahoma Marriage Initiative program before the divorce is granted. House Bill 2249 by Rep.
Worried about out-of-state influences
4:15 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Rep. Joe Dorman Criticizes Common Core National Standards

Credit Oklahoma State Legislature

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Rep. Joe Dorman is criticizing a set of national educational standards in math and English known as common core.

The Rush Springs Democrat criticized the standards Wednesday as "an unfunded nightmare." Dorman is seeking the Democratic nomination to run against Republican Gov. Mary Fallin.

The standards are part of an initiative of the National Governors Association, which is currently chaired by Fallin. They have been adopted in 45 states, including Oklahoma, but there has been growing opposition to them, especially among conservatives.

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The Two-Way
2:19 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Federal Judge Voids Texas Gay Marriage Ban

Couples Cleopatra De Leon and Nicole Dimetman and Victor Holmes and Mark Phariss speak with reporters outside the U.S. Federal Courthouse in San Antonio earlier this month. The judge in their case ruled Texas' ban on gay marriage unconstitutional Wednesday.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 6:01 am

Saying that a Texas law barring same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and demeans the dignity of homosexuals, a federal judge struck down the law Wednesday. The ruling from U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia doesn't mean gay marriages can be held in Texas, however; he placed a stay on the decision, anticipating an appeal by the state.

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State Capitol
1:27 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Texting-While-Driving Ban Passes Oklahoma House Committee

Credit IntelFreePress / Flickr Creative Commons

An Oklahoma House committee has passed a bill that would prohibit texting, emailing and instant messaging while driving a vehicle.

The House Public Safety Committee voted 8-4 Wednesday and sent the bill to the full House for a vote.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
12:19 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Effort To Allow New Tax On Mining Companies Gains Ground In Oklahoma House

An active aggregate mining operation near Mill Creek, Okla.
Credit Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

This isn’t the first legislative session some Oklahoma lawmakers are pushing for a severance tax for mining limestone and sand, but it’s the first time the idea has gotten this far.

On Monday, the House Appropriations and Budget Committee passed HB1876, which would allow up to a five percent tax on the production of limestone, sand, and other aggregates. It now moves to the full House for consideration.

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State Capitol
11:27 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Senate Panel Approves Tough New Oklahoma Abortion Restrictions

Credit Ben Ramsey / Flickr Creative Commons

A bill to impose strict new state regulations and requirements for abortion providers in Oklahoma has cleared a Senate panel.

The Senate Appropriations Committee voted 19-2 on Wednesday for the bill by Edmond Republican state Sen. Greg Treat. The bill next heads to the full Senate for consideration.

The measure would require the Oklahoma State Board of Health to develop a list of standards for facilities, supplies, equipment and personnel that abortion providers must maintain at all times.

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State Capitol
9:55 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Oklahoma Anti-Gay Business Bill Dead This Session

Credit KellyK / Flickr Creative Commons

The principal sponsor of a bill that would allow business owners in Oklahoma with strongly held religious beliefs to refuse service to gays says his measure is going back for rewrite.

Not only that, Seminole Republican Tom Newell says the measure likely won't be given any further consideration in the current legislative session.

Newell said Tuesday that while he still supports the idea, his bill is being redrafted to prevent "any fiascos like there have been elsewhere."

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The Two-Way
8:54 am
Wed February 26, 2014

North Korea's Still In The Dark, As Photos From Space Show

This image was taken Jan. 30 by astronauts aboard the International Space Station. North Korea is the large dark patch in the middle. The only significant light is from its capital, Pyongyang. The next photo adds reference points.
NASA.gov

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 10:55 am

Pictures really do tell the story about how far behind economically North Korea is compared with its neighbors.

In 2002, as Eyder has said, then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld used a satellite photo to illustrate how in-the-dark the communist nation was.

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Transportation
8:33 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Syrup Spill Snarls Oklahoma City Traffic

Traffic moves along I-44 just west of a syrup spill that shut down one lane of the highway Wednesday morning.
Credit Oklahoma Dept. of Transportation

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says drivers should avoid parts of Interstate 44 in Oklahoma City after a tanker leaked syrup for miles along the roadway.

Crews shut down the right lane of westbound Interstate 44 between Northwest 36th Street and Southwest 89th Street after discovering the spill Wednesday morning. The highway patrol says crews are bringing in sand to help clean up the slippery mess.

Authorities say the tanker was hauling 48,000 gallons of syrup to a Braum's restaurant. Police say the driver apparently drove for miles without noticing the leaking syrup.

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