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Sweetness And Light
1:22 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 5:04 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
1:21 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 7:58 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
1:20 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 5:04 pm

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

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Politics
1:17 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 5:04 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
1:15 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 5:04 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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Middle East
4:34 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

In Little Town Of Bethlehem, U.S. Aid On Display At Christmas Market

A Palestinian family poses for pictures by the creche in Bethlehem's Manger Square.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Sun December 29, 2013 6:15 am

In Bethlehem's Manger Square, Palestinian singer Omar Kamal entertained a crowd of several hundred people this week. Young men met friends; parents snapped pictures of children by a nativity scene next to a giant artificial Christmas tree. A Santa Claus arrived by motorbike.

Bethlehem resident Suhair Issa loves Christmas in her hometown.

"Most people come at night," she says. "They like to drink and eat and buy sweets. It's very nice."

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The Two-Way
4:24 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 5:53 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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All Tech Considered
3:34 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 5:22 pm

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Number Of The Year
3:24 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 6:02 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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The Two-Way
2:59 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 5:56 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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