9:03am

Thu December 20, 2012
Top Stories

Gun Sales Spike in Tenn. Following Connecticut Shooting

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — It was likely a record weekend for gun sales in Tennessee.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Kristin Helm said in an email that the agency performed 9,772 background checks over Friday, Saturday and Sunday. That's 500 more than the second biggest weekend on record — Black Friday and the two days that followed in November.

Background checks do not indicate how many guns were actually sold because buyers can purchase more than one gun.

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8:13am

Thu December 20, 2012
The Two-Way

NYSE Being Bought For $8.2B By Atlanta-based IntercontinentalExchange

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 1:34 pm

The floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

The New York Stock Exchange will be acquired by IntercontinentalExchange of Atlanta in a deal valued at about $8.2 billion, the two rivals confirmed Thursday morning.

In matching press releases, they say the sale "combines two leading exchange groups to create a premier global exchange operator diversified across markets including agricultural and energy commodities, credit derivatives, equities and equity derivatives, foreign exchange and interest rates."

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7:48am

Thu December 20, 2012
The Two-Way

Third Quarter Economic Growth Revised Up Again

The best estimate of how quickly the economy was growing in the third quarter has been revised upward again — a sign that as summer turned into fall things were better than first thought.

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7:31am

Thu December 20, 2012
The Two-Way

Blizzard Warnings In Upper Midwest; Possible Tornado In Alabama

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 11:26 am

A snow plow made its way down a county road in Waupun, Wis., earlier today.
Jeffrey Phelps EPA /LANDOV

A winter storm that has brought blizzard conditions to parts of the Upper Midwest from Iowa into Minnesota and Wisconsin has authorities urging folks to stay off the roads and airlines warning of flight delays at Chicago's O'Hare and other airports in the region.

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7:03am

Thu December 20, 2012
The Two-Way

Today's 'Plan B' Vote: Part Of Posturing Or A Push Over The 'Fiscal Cliff?'

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 11:45 am

Alex Wong Getty Images
  • On 'Morning Edition': Mara Liasson and David Greene

With the House set to vote this afternoon on Republicans' "Plan B" for avoiding the so-called fiscal cliff, the questions that have been asked every day for weeks are being asked yet again, with added urgency:

Are we headed over that "cliff" of automatic spending cuts, tax increases and expiring job benefits? Or are President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, closer to a deal than they're letting on in public?

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6:58am

Thu December 20, 2012
Sports

'Bowie Over Jordan': A New Look At The Pick That Still Haunts Portland NBA Fans

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 10:37 am

Sam Bowie of the Portland Trail Blazers shoots over Kareem Abdul-Jabbar of the Los Angeles Lakers during a game circa 1984-1988 at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood, Calif. Bowie's NBA career is the subject of a new ESPN documentary airing Thursday.
Rick Stewart Getty Images

In 1984, the Portland Trail Blazers chose Sam Bowie, a 7-foot-1 center from the University of Kentucky, with the second pick in the college draft. The Chicago Bulls then took Michael Jordan.

The words "Bowie over Jordan" are part of pro basketball lore, and are still a source of pain for many fans of the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers. Bowie's tenure in Portland was marred by leg injuries; Jordan became a legend. ESPN recounts it all in a documentary about Bowie on Thursday night.

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2:28am

Thu December 20, 2012
The Salt

The Paradox And Mystery Of Our Taste For Salt

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 10:37 am

Bali sea salt and a spoonful of Hawaiian red alae salt.
Jim Noelker AP

Salt is one of those dangerously tasty substances. We add the magical crystals of sodium chloride to almost everything that we cook or bake, and according to many public health experts, we add too much.

They want us to cut back, to lower our risk of heart attacks or strokes.

Yet when you really start looking for ways to do this, you run into a paradox and a scientific puzzle.

First, the paradox. Too much salt may kill us, but our bodies need some of it to survive.

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2:25am

Thu December 20, 2012
Europe

In A French Village, Protection From The Apocalypse

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 10:37 am

Doomsayers claim the French village of Bugarach, population 200, will be spared when the world supposedly ends Friday.
Guillaume Horcajuelo EPA /LANDOV

Friday is the last day of a 5,125-year cycle in the Mayan calendar, sparking talk about the possible end of the world. About two years ago, a rumor began circulating on the Internet that the French village of Bugarach, population 200, would be the only place to survive this apocalypse.

But despite many news stories of people flocking to the village, less than two weeks before "doomsday," there was no one on the streets. Houses were shuttered against the cold.

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2:24am

Thu December 20, 2012
The Two-Way

Maya Expert: The 'End Of Times' Is Our Idea, Not The Ancients'

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 3:05 pm

Tourists are seen in front of the "Gran Jaguar" Mayan temple at the Tikal archaeological site in Guatemala, where ceremonies will be held to celebrate the end of the Mayan cycle known as Baktun 13 and the start of the new Maya Era on December 21.
Johan Ordonez AFP/Getty Images

Update at 7 a.m. ET, Dec. 21: We're Still Here.

Our original post continues:

It is Dec. 20, 2012 — and citizens of Earth are panicking, consumed by the idea that the world will end Friday, something they say was predicted by Mayan astronomers. Of course, most people are not panicking, and Maya expert David Stuart says no one should. The calendar, he says, has plenty of room to go.

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2:23am

Thu December 20, 2012
It's All Politics

FAA Pressured To Give E-Readers A Pass During Takeoff, Landing

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 10:37 am

The Federal Aviation Administration is under pressure to allow more widespread use of e-readers on commercial flights — including during takeoff and landing.
iStockphoto.com

As the holiday travel season approaches, the Federal Aviation Administration is under pressure to allow more widespread use of e-readers on commercial flights.

Passengers can now use devices such as Kindles, iPads and Nooks while in flight, but not during takeoffs and landings. The FAA says it is studying the matter, but the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission and a U.S. senator say it's time to act.

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