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The Two-Way
11:05 am
Tue February 12, 2013

Newtown Teacher Among First Lady's State Of The Union Guests

Gun violence. Immigration. Education. The economy. Veterans. Afghanistan. Women in combat. Innovation. Science. Equality. Heroism.

It's safe to say those will themes in Tuesday night's State of the Union address, based on the list the White House has released of the guests who will be sitting with first lady Michelle Obama in the House gallery. Such guests, and the reasons they're there, usually make their way into a president's address.

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Around the Nation
10:53 am
Tue February 12, 2013

Mardi Gras Merriment Beyond Bourbon Street Festivities

A reveler dances with a young girl during the Courir de Mardi Gras in Mamou, La., in 2007.
Josh Noel MCT /Landov

It's Fat Tuesday, the final day of indulgence before the fasting and penance of Lent begins. While the revelry in New Orleans tends to grab the spotlight, you can find some fascinating Mardi Gras traditions elsewhere.

From chasing chickens in Cajun Country to catching MoonPies in Mobile, communities all along the Gulf Coast have their own way of marking Carnival season.

The Fatted Ox

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The Two-Way
10:32 am
Tue February 12, 2013

Hagel Three-Step: Committee Vote; Floor Fight; Then Confirmation?

Former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., who has been nominated to be the next secretary of defense.
Ron Sachs DPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Tue February 12, 2013 3:18 pm

Update at 5:04 p.m. ET. Committee Approves Confirmation:

Voting along party lines, the Senate Armed Services Committee voted to approve the nomination of former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel to be the country's next defense secretary.

The vote was 14 to 11 with Sen. David Vitter, a Republican of Louisiana not casting a vote.

Our Original Post Continues:

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The Two-Way
10:17 am
Tue February 12, 2013

Cruise Ship Triumph Now Being Towed To Alabama; Investigation Announced

Two tugs tow and steer the Carnival Triumph cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico Tuesday. The ship is headed to Mobile, Ala., after an engine room fire on Sunday.
Ensign Chris Shivock U.S. Coast Guard

Originally published on Tue February 12, 2013 1:28 pm

Passengers aboard the cruise ship Triumph, set adrift after an engine fire Sunday, will now wait until Thursday before what was billed as a four-day cruise finally ends, the Carnival cruise ship line says. Strong currents have pushed the ship another 90 miles into the Gulf of Mexico, foiling plans to tow it to Progreso, Mexico.

The news comes as those aboard the ship have been reaching out to loved ones on shore to describe life on the stricken vessel, marked by a lack of air conditioning and ventilation below decks, improvised toilets, and sleeping on the open deck.

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The Two-Way
10:07 am
Tue February 12, 2013

Did The West Misjudge Kim Jong-un?

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (right) claps during a ceremony unveiling statues honoring his grandfather and father, Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, respectively, in Pyongyang last April.
Ed Jones AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 12, 2013 12:35 pm

When the boyish Kim Jong Un assumed power in North Korea barely a year ago after his father's passing, speculation was that he might strike out a more open and less provocative path.

Figuring out what is or isn't going on in North Korea has long been an exercise in reading tea leaves, and no one predicting a thaw in the hard-line hereditary regime did so without qualification.

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