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The Two-Way
1:29 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

As Pope Visit Nears, Cuba Detains Dissidents, Mexican Cartel Calls For Truce

In this Feb. 29, 2012 photo, people riding on a bus pass a banner of Pope Benedict XVI on the wall of a church in Leon, Mexico.
Dario Lopez-Mills AP

Pope Benedict XVI is set to begin his tour to Mexico and Cuba on Friday. It will mark the pope's first visit to Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America.

With his visit, there have been two interesting developments:

-- First comes news that over the weekend, the Knights Templars Cartel in Mexico called for a temporary halt in the violence while the pope is in town.

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The Two-Way
12:45 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

Ahead Of Another 'Key' Primary, Romney Leads Illinois Polls

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in Springfield, Ill., today.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

This week the action in the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination is in Illinois, which holds its primary Tuesday.

In advance of that contest, Public Policy Polling is out with a new survey that it says shows "Mitt Romney is headed for a blowout victory." It has the former Massachusetts governor ahead of former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum 45 percent to 30 percent (with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Rep. Ron Paul trailing far behind).

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Middle East
12:39 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

New Sanction Severely Limits Iran's Global Commerce

Iran has been denied access to the worldwide messaging system used to arrange money transfers, a move that is expected to affect Iran's oil exports and economy. The South Pars gas field in Assalouyeh, Iran, is shown here in 2010.
Vahid Salemi AP

Originally published on Mon March 19, 2012 2:16 pm

Iran has faced international sanctions for more than three decades, which have hurt, but never crippled its economy.

Now, a new move by a relatively obscure financial institution in Europe could make it much more difficult for Iran to do basic things crucial to its economy, such as selling oil and obtaining hard currency.

As of Saturday, many Iranian banks, including the Central Bank, have been refused access to a worldwide financial messaging system that's used to arrange transfers of money.

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The Two-Way
12:05 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

Reports: Peyton Manning Headed To The Denver Broncos

Peyton Manning, who may soon trade that Colts blue for Broncos red.
Rob Carr Getty Images

Peyton Manning, one of the two or three best quarterbacks in recent years and one of the greatest ever, is close to signing a contract to play for the NFL's Denver Broncos, according to multiple reports.

ESPN's Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter say the deal is done "barring a snag during intensified contract negotiations" between the team and Manning's agent, Tom Condon. They cite "multiple sources."

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Europe
12:03 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

Young Russian Politician Fights From The Bottom Up

Maxim Motin, 28, was elected to a municipal council in Pechatniki, his working class district in Moscow.
Martha Wexler NPR

Russians continue to take to the streets to air their grievances against the government of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. But now, after Putin's election this month to a six-year term as president, the crowds number only in the hundreds — not the tens of thousands that turned out before the vote.

In the words of writer Boris Akunin, a popular speaker at the earlier rallies: "The civic movement has entered a new phase. The first phase, romantic and euphoric, is over."

Now is the time, Akunin says, for power to develop from the bottom up.

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