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Race
4:59 am
Wed December 25, 2013

In Texas, Pancho Claus Steals Spotlight From Santa

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 7:04 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This holiday season there has been some controversy over Santa Claus and race. But in Texas there's a long tradition of redefining St. Nick.

Laura Isensee from member station KUHF in Houston has more.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

LAURA ISENSEE, BYLINE: About 200 children and their families are waiting for someone special at a multicultural center near downtown Houston. He wears a red suit and gives out toys. But his name is not Santa Claus.

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Afghanistan
4:55 am
Wed December 25, 2013

Major Gen. McConville Praises U.S. Forces in Afghanistan

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 7:04 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Now for the 13th year in a row, U.S. troops are spending Christmas in Afghanistan. For the 7,500 of them based in the eastern part of the country, Major General James McConville is providing the closest thing to a visit from Santa.

NPR's Sean Carberry has been traveling with McConville - not by sleigh, but in the air.

(SOUNDBITE OF HELICOPTER ROTOR)

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Religion
4:50 am
Wed December 25, 2013

U.S. Catholics Invigorated By Pope Francis' First Year

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 7:04 pm

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

Pope Francis is celebrating his first Christmas as pope at the Vatican. He's had quite a year. Time Magazine hailed him as the People's Pope when they named him Person of the Year. And this week, NBC called the pope's question: Who am I to judge, the most powerful phrase of the year.

NPR's Nathan Rott went out to see how American Catholics in the pews feel about the new pontiff.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHURCH BELLS)

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NPR Story
4:48 am
Wed December 25, 2013

Las Vegas Poker Player Reunited With Lost $300,000

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 7:04 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And in that brings us to our last word in business on this Christmas morning. It's cold, hard cash.

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NPR Story
4:48 am
Wed December 25, 2013

AmEx Settles With Feds Over Add-On Products

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 11:07 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Now American Express has agreed to a settlement that's worth more than $75 million. This deals with claims that the company misled customers about some of its, quote, "add-on" products.

NPR's Sam Sanders explains.

SAM SANDERS, BYLINE: Banks and finance companies sell safety. Security.

(SOUNDBITE OF AMERICAN EXPRESS AD)

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: But are you too comfortable? These days, crime can happen in a few keystrokes. American Express can help protect you.

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NPR Story
4:48 am
Wed December 25, 2013

Fiennes Brings Dickens To 'Perfect' Life In 'Invisible Woman'

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 9:35 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

OK. Time to hear from our film critic, the Kenneth Turan. He says the works of Charles Dickens have been made into literally hundreds of films and TV episodes, but almost nothing has been done with the great author's life. Until now and the film "The Invisible Woman."

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Sweetness And Light
3:22 am
Wed December 25, 2013

No Rest For Ye Merry NBA Players This Christmas

Benny and the Elevators perform during the game between the NBA's Chicago Bulls and Houston Rockets Dec. 25, 2012. The Bulls are one of 10 NBA teams playing on Christmas Day this year.
David Banks Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 7:04 pm

Holidays have long been made for sports. Football has all but replaced the turkey as the signature of Thanksgiving. For decades, Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day meant stadiums filled for baseball double-headers. It's almost as if games are now an excuse for holidays, rather than the other way around.

So I now wish you a Merry NBA Day! There will be five nationally televised pro basketball games, lasting 13 straight hours, on Wednesday.

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The Salt
3:21 am
Wed December 25, 2013

Why We Hold Tight To Our Family's Holiday Food Traditions

Mark Karney found the recipe for his mother's Hungarian nut roll in a dusty recipe box after she passed away. After lots of experimentation, he figured out how to make it and has revived it as a Christmas tradition.
Courtesy of Mark Karney

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 9:58 am

Around Thanksgiving, The Race Card Project brought us the story of a woman who grew up in a Filipino family but desperately wanted to be anything but Filipino. When Melanie Vanderlipe Ramil was a child, she shied away from her family's traditional meals, including the rice that's a staple in Filipino cooking.

But recently, she's become committed to keeping those food traditions alive.

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Arts & Life
3:20 am
Wed December 25, 2013

Detroit Needs Money. Can A 'Grand Bargain' Save The City's Art?

Gladioli, Claude Monet, ca. 1876, oil on canvas.
Detroit Institute of Arts

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 7:04 pm

Can wealthy art lovers help save Detroit's pension funds — and one of its museums?

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History
3:18 am
Wed December 25, 2013

Writing 'Rudolph': The Original Red-Nosed Manuscript

In 1939, Montgomery Ward in Chicago asked one of its admen to write a story for the department store's own children's book.
Rauner Special Collections Library Dartmouth College

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 11:20 am

Everybody knows Rudolph was the last reindeer to join Santa's crew, but few people know about the department store copywriter who brought his story to the world.

The year was 1939, the Great Depression was waning and a manager at Montgomery Ward in Chicago decided that the store should create its own children's book for the annual holiday promotion.

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Politics
3:17 am
Wed December 25, 2013

How House Speaker Boehner Survived A Roller-Coaster Year

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, after talking to reporters on Capitol Hill this month. House Republicans openly revolted against the speaker several times in 2013.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 7:04 pm

House Speaker John Boehner ends 2013 after quite a roller-coaster ride. The Ohio Republican's year was defined by a rocky relationship with the Tea Party wing of the GOP.

The year started for Boehner with an attempt to strip him of his speakership — and ended with some of the same people who had tried to oust him singing his praises.

In January, a vote that should have been routine turned suspenseful as a number of Tea Party-allied Republicans voted against Boehner or didn't vote at all.

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U.S. Commutes: The Way We Get To Work
3:15 am
Wed December 25, 2013

What's In Store For Commuting's Future? (Hint: There's Hope)

Imagine if the road ahead includes driverless cars.
Jiha Hwang Illustration from The Car in 2035: Mobility Planning for the Near Future is courtesy of the Civic Projects Foundation

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 7:04 pm

If you want to look into the future of commuting, you need only go to the graduate transportation program at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif.

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Music Interviews
2:03 am
Wed December 25, 2013

Harold Bradley: The Guitarist Of Nashville Past

Guitarist Harold Bradley attends the Special Merit Awards and Nominee Reception on Jan. 30, 2010, in Los Angeles.
Rick Diamond WireImage

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 7:04 pm

Some of Nashville's most classic songs — Roy Orbison's "Only the Lonely," Loretta Lynn's "Coal Miner's Daughter," Tammy Wynette's "Stand by Your Man" and

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The Two-Way
6:24 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

Pope Francis Preaches Message Of Love At Christmas Eve Mass

Pope Francis blesses the crowd at the Christmas Eve Mass at St. Peter's Basilica, on Tuesday at the Vatican.
Filippo Monteforte AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 7:53 pm

In his first Christmas Eve Mass as pontiff, Pope Francis spoke of Jesus as an infant in keeping with the first months of his papacy that have been dedicated to the most vulnerable in society.

Speaking at St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Francis noted that the first to learn of the birth of Christ were shepherds, who were considered "among the last, the outcast."

"You are immense, and you made yourself small," he said of Jesus. "You are rich, and you made yourself poor; you are all-powerful and you made yourself vulnerable."

The Associated Press writes:

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Number Of The Year
5:53 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

Beyond Cuteness: Scientists Deliver A Panda Baby Boom

(Clockwise, from left) Yuanzai, Mei Huan, Happy Leopard, Mei Lun, Xing Bao and Bao Bao — six of the 49 pandas born in captivity in 2013.
(Clockwise, from left) Xinhua/Landov; Courtesy of Zoo Atlanta; Animal Press/Barcroft Media/Landov; Courtesy of Zoo Atlanta; EPA/Sergio Barrenechea/Landov; Abby Wood/UPI/Landov

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 8:02 pm

This year, Zoo Vienna welcomed Fu Bao, or "Happy Leopard." Madrid celebrated the birth of Xing Bao, or "Star Treasure." And in Washington, D.C., the arrival of Bao Bao, or "Precious Treasure," had panda fans glued to panda cams.

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All Tech Considered
5:52 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

Holiday Innovation: Tweet At Your Christmas Tree To Light It Up

Maker and Make magazine contributor Jeff Highsmith created this miniature Twitter-connected LED Christmas tree last year as part of the CheerLights project.
Courtesy of Jeff Highsmith

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 7:22 pm

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The Two-Way
4:59 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

First-Class Postage Rate Will Rise To 49 Cents Next Month

A customer places first-class stamps on envelopes at a U.S. Post Office in San Jose, Calif. It'll cost another 3 cents to send a first-class letter starting on Jan. 26.
Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 7:56 pm

You'll soon need some 3-cent stamps to go with those 46-cent ones.

Regulators on Tuesday authorized the increase, and beginning Jan. 26, it'll cost 49 cents to send a first-class letter. Bulk rate mail, periodicals and package service rates will go up 6 percent, The Associated Press says.

Regulators rejected a request to make the price hike permanent and say instead that it will last no longer than two years, by which time the U.S. Postal Service should have recouped $2.8 billion in losses.

The AP says:

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The Record
4:57 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

A Rational Conversation: Darren Davis Of Clear Channel On New Christmas Songs

Our alternate headline: Why Nobody Will Ever Top Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You."
YouTube

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World Cafe
4:37 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

Latin Roots: Christmas Music With A Cuban Twist

The late Celia Cruz's version of "Jingle Bells" is featured on Tuesday's Latin Roots playlist.
Courtesy of the artist

The first of a two-part Latin Roots Christmas series begins Tuesday with Judy Cantor-Navas of Billboard magazine. In conversation with host David Dye, the Latin-music expert discusses the distinction between Cuban Christmas music made before and after the Revolution.


Latin Roots on World Cafe is made possible by a grant from The Wyncote Foundation.

Africa
4:35 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

Fighting In South Sudan Eases As U.N. Finds Mass Graves

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 8:02 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The military conflict in South Sudan in Africa appears to be easing. The government says its army has retaken the city of Bor, which had been in rebel hands for more than a week. And a dusk-to-dawn curfew in the capital Juba has been lifted, allowing people to attend Christmas Eve services. But there is also more grim news to report.

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