The Two-Way
9:19 am
Tue November 5, 2013

Book News: Mozambican Writer Wins Neustadt Prize, 'America's Nobel'

Mia Couto received the Camoes Prize, the most important literary award for the Portuguese language, in June.
Francisco Seco AP

Originally published on Tue November 5, 2013 6:17 am

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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The Two-Way
8:48 am
Tue November 5, 2013

Bangladesh Sentences 152 Soldiers To Die Over Mutiny

A Bangladeshi border guard cries inside a prison van as he leaves a special court after a verdict in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Tuesday. The court sentenced 152 people to death for a 2009 mutiny by disgruntled border guards who killed dozens of military commanders during a brutal, two-day uprising.
A.M. Ahad AP

Originally published on Tue November 5, 2013 7:44 am

A court in Bangladesh has handed down the death penalty for 152 soldiers in connection with a mutiny by border guards in 2009.

The Associated Press says that "the sentences followed a mass trial involving 846 defendants — a process criticized by a human rights group who said it was not credible and that at least 47 suspects died in custody."

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Report Cards On Schools
6:29 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Fallin Says Educator Criticism Could Affect Next Year's School Funding

Gov. Mary Fallin
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Gov. Mary Fallin says criticism from educators of Oklahoma'  A-F grading of schools is unproductive and could affect funding for public  schools next year. 

Fallin spokesman Alex Weintz told the Tulsa World that  the criticism cripples Fallin's ability to make the case to the public and to lawmakers that increased funding can help improve schools and student performance.   

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Growing Prison Population
4:29 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Department Of Corrections Looking For Increase In Budget

Credit Asianz / Flickr.com

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections is seeking an additional $31.5 million in next year's budget to help manage the state's growing prison population.

With the increase, the agency is seeking about $495 million in funding for fiscal year 2015. The department says the money would be used to pay for a growing number of offenders who are placed in private prisons.

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It's All Politics
2:36 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Employment Non-Discrimination Act Passes First Senate Hurdle

Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., at a 2011 news conference on Capitol Hill. On Monday, Heller announced his support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Mon November 4, 2013 5:59 pm

Update at 6:47 p.m. Senate Passes Bill:

With a vote of 61-30, the Senate voted to move forward on legislation that would prohibit workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The vote Monday opens the floor to debate on the bill and the Senate is expected to schedule a full vote by week's end.

Our original post continues:

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Politics and Government
1:20 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Fallin Touts 'New Minimum' At New Mexico Summit

Gov. Mary Fallin during her 2013 State of the State address.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin says education is the "new minimum" for economic success.

Fallin was in Santa Fe, N.M., Monday for a summit to discuss connecting education with the workforce.

Fallin said the number of well-paying jobs that required a high school education or less has fallen from 80 percent about 50 years ago to 35 percent today. She said the new minimum for well-paying jobs is a two-year or four-year college degree or a certificate in the field in which a person wishes to work.

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Oklahoma Voices
11:29 am
Mon November 4, 2013

Media Plays Part In U.S. Political Polarization

Thomas Patterson

The political polarization of the United States continues to capture the attention of politicians and political observers. University of Oklahoma President David Boren calls the problem, “one of the most serious threats to America’s influence at home and abroad.”

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Abortion
9:58 am
Mon November 4, 2013

UPDATE: Supreme Court Denies Oklahoma Appeal On Drug-Induced Abortions

Oklahoma is among five states, the others are Arizona, North Dakota, Ohio and Texas, that have sought to restrict medical abortions by limiting or banning off-label uses of drugs.
Credit Ben Ramsey / Flickr Creative Commons

Editor's Note: Post updated at 1:15 p.m. to reflect Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt's comments.

The Supreme Court has rejected Oklahoma's bid to revive a state law that the Oklahoma Supreme Court said would effectively ban all drug-induced abortions.

Oklahoma's Republican Attorney General Scott Pruitt is criticizing the Oklahoma Supreme Court for its interpretation.

The justices did not comment Monday in dismissing the state's appeal of the Oklahoma high court ruling that struck down the law last year.

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Early Childhood
8:34 am
Mon November 4, 2013

Oklahoma's Children From Low Income Families Failing To Attend Quality Pre-K

Credit Annie E. Casey Foundation

A new study says nearly two-thirds of Oklahoma's kids from low-income families did not attend a preschool program from 2009-2011.

The Kids Count report on the first eight years of education was released Monday by the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation that advocates for investing in the early years of a child's life.

The report also found that more than half of Oklahoma's kids from birth to eight years old were living in low-income households last year.

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Shots - Health News
7:05 am
Mon November 4, 2013

Exploring The Invisible Universe That Lives On Us — And In Us

Benjamin Arthur for NPR

Originally published on Tue November 5, 2013 2:28 pm

The next time you look in a mirror, think about this: In many ways you're more microbe than human. There are 10 times more cells from microorganisms like bacteria and fungi in and on our bodies than there are human cells.

Scientists increasingly think that these microorganisms have a huge influence on our health. Without them, our bodies don't seem to do as well. We don't seem to be as healthy and might actually get sick more often.

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