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The Two-Way
12:35 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

China To Boost Defense Spending Amid Regional Tensions

Delegates from China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) march from Tiananmen Square to the Great Hall of the People to attend sessions of National People's Congress and Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference Tuesday in Beijing.
Ng Han Guan AP

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 1:42 pm

China said Wednesday that it plans to increase defense outlays by more than 12 percent, to nearly $132 billion, this year in the face of what a top military official described as increasingly severe security challenges for Beijing.

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Shots - Health News
12:34 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Cities Take The Lead In Regulating Electronic Cigarettes

Electronic cigarettes for sale in Vapeology LA, a store in Los Angeles, are tended by owner John Hartigan.
Reed Saxon AP

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 12:59 pm

Count Los Angeles as the latest big city to say no to electronic cigarettes.

The City Council there voted unanimously on Tuesday to ban use of the devices, which release vaporized nicotine, in almost all public places, including bars, workplaces and beaches.

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Parallels
12:24 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Sanctions On Russia: Why The Europeans May Say Nyet

Ties between Russia and Europe are more than just gas.
Sergei Karpukhin AP

Russia's seizure of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula brought with it threats of U.S. sanctions, but Europe, while condemning President Vladimir Putin's actions, has been more circumspect. Part of the reason: Europe's dependence on Russian money and energy.

"It is a matter of simple economics," Alex Melikishvili, senior Europe/CIS Analyst at IHS Country Risk, said in an email.

He noted that the EU is Russia's main trade partner; bilateral trade is in hundreds of billion of dollars annually, in contrast with much lower U.S.-Russia trade (see chart).

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The Two-Way
12:03 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Ex-IRS Official Invokes 5th Amendment Again, Then Things Get Hot

Former IRS official Lois Lerner raises her hand as she's sworn in Wednesday at the start of a House Oversight & Government Reform Committee hearing. She declined to answer questions posed by Chairman Darrell Issa, invoking her Fifth Amendment right.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 12:34 pm

As she's done before, the woman at the center of the political storm over the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of some conservative groups from 2010 into 2012 invoked her Fifth Amendment right not to answer questions during a brief appearance before a congressional committee on Wednesday.

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The Salt
11:53 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Chipotle Says There's No 'Guacapocalypse' Looming

An employee prepares to make fresh guacamole at a Chipotle restaurant in Hollywood, Calif.
Patrick T. Fallon Bloomberg

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 3:16 pm

Looks like reports of a looming "guacapocalypse" have been vastly overstated.

This morning, guacamole lovers woke to headlines warning that Mexican fast-food chain Chipotle could eventually be forced to drop the dip from its menu, if changing global weather patterns continue to drive volatility in the price of avocados.

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