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Parallels
12:57 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

How Will Afghan Forces Fare As NATO Troops Draw Down?

An Afghan soldier stands guard in the western city of Herat in October. U.S. Maj. Gen. James McConville, who commands coalition forces in eastern Afghanistan, says Afghan forces did hold their ground this year, but "they're not winning by enough that the enemy is willing to stop fighting yet."
Aref Karimi AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 4:54 pm

Shiite Muslims gathered in Kabul last week to celebrate Ashura, one of the holiest days on their religious calendar. Hundreds of shirtless men chanted and flogged themselves with chains tipped with knife-like shards of metal.

In the past, these public Shiite commemorations have become targets of the Taliban and other Islamist extremists. In 2011, a suicide bomber killed 56 Shiites marking Ashura. But this year, security was particularly tight.

Shopkeeper Noor Aga said the celebration was magnificent, and he felt safe.

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The Two-Way
12:53 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Safety Agency Opens Probe Into Tesla Fires

Tesla Motors Chairman and CEO Elon Musk (in driver's seat) and chief designer Franz von Holzhausen (in passenger seat) drive the new Tesla Model S all-electric sedan in Hawthorne, California on March 26, 2009.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it has opened an investigation into battery fires in two Tesla Motors Model S sedans.

The fires — three reports in six weeks — have sparked concern about the safety of the electric cars. The New York Times reports:

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The Two-Way
12:36 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

King Of Thrones: America's Best Restroom Is In Minneapolis

In the Game of Thrones, this is the winner: the fanciful restroom of the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis.
Varsity Theater

Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 3:38 pm

It pays to be unique when you're going for the title of best restroom in the land. Design details are crucial, and so is the choice of materials. It also doesn't hurt if you serve drinks in a commodious chamber. Those are the strengths of the Varsity Theater, a concert hall in Minneapolis that has won America's Best Restroom Contest for 2013.

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The Salt
12:35 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

How To Prepare For Climate Disasters? Artist Says Dehydrate Food

Fan raises egg-laying hens in the yard behind his studio on Staten Island.
Eliza Barclay NPR

Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 4:59 pm

Emergency aid workers are rushing this week to get food aid to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines — just the latest reminder of how vulnerable the food supply can be when disaster hits.

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The Two-Way
12:30 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Typhoon Haiyan's Exact Death Toll May Never Be Known

In Tacloban, the Philippines, graffiti on the side of a grounded ship sends a message out to the world.
David Gilkey NPR

The hard work of getting aid to survivors and accounting for the dead continues in the central and southern Philippines, which was devastated by Typhoon Haiyan on Nov. 8.

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