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12:33 pm
Tue December 23, 2014

An Update From New Orleans

Students at KIPP Central City Primary School raise their hands during a social studies class on August 14, 2014 in New Orleans. The school's student body is nearly 100 percent black in a system that is 85 percent black.
Edmund D. Fountain for NPR

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 11:34 pm

NPR Ed is updating readers on some of the top stories we've been following in 2014.

All this year, NPR Ed has been exploring the dramatic changes to the New Orleans school system, where more than nine out of ten children attend charter schools, most run by the state Recovery School District.

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The Salt
12:28 pm
Tue December 23, 2014

Record Number Of Britons Are Using Food Banks

At the We Care food bank in Southeast London, customers pay 1 pound sterling, or about $1.60, for 10 items. The token payment is meant to ease customers' discomfort about having to use the food bank's services.
Ari Shapiro NPR

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 4:26 pm

The United Kingdom is struggling with a situation that may sound familiar to Americans. The economy is expanding, unemployment is dropping, yet growing numbers of people don't have enough food to eat.

Six months ago, Peter Brogan was among those Britons going hungry. He'd lived a comfortable middle-class existence for the first 50 years of his life, with a house, a job and a relationship. Then the relationship fell apart, and so did his life. Between alcoholism and depression, he couldn't keep his head above water.

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The Two-Way
11:47 am
Tue December 23, 2014

FDA Proposes End To Lifetime Ban On Gay Blood Donors

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 12:40 pm

Updated at 1:42 p.m. ET

Men who haven't had sexual contact with other men in a year will be allowed to donate blood under a policy change the Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday it will recommend.

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Goats and Soda
11:47 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Floating Toilets That Clean Themselves Grow On A Lake

During the dry season, human waste makes the water putrid along the floating village of Prek Toal on Tonle Sap Lake.
Courtesy of Taber Hand

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 9:03 am

Imagine you live on a floating lake house. Open air. Chirping crickets. Clear, starry nights. Everything seems great until you need to use the bathroom.

The natural instinct might be to make a deposit in the water. But that wouldn't be safe. Microbes in your feces would contaminate the water and could cause outbreaks of deadly diseases, like cholera.

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The Two-Way
11:00 am
Tue December 23, 2014

'The Interview' To Play In More Than 200 Theaters On Christmas Day

A poster for The Interview. Some theaters now say they will show the comedy, which Sony Pictures had pulled following threats.
Jim Ruymen UPI /Landov

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 6:32 am

Updated at 8:20 p.m. ET

More than 200 theaters will now show The Interview on Christmas Day, a spokesperson for Sony Pictures tells NPR.

Sony had pulled the controversial comedy that centers on a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un after ominous threats were made, allegedly by a group that hacked the studio's emails. The nation's largest theater chains had also said they won't show the movie starring Seth Rogen and James Franco.

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The Two-Way
10:50 am
Tue December 23, 2014

WATCH: Monkey Revives Dying Friend At Indian Train Station

A screengrab of a monkey reviving his friend in Kanpur, India.
YouTube

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 1:50 pm

Monkey see. Monkey do.

A monkey in Kanpur, India, fell unconscious alongside train tracks after walking on a power line. A friend jumped in and used resuscitation techniques not unfamiliar to EMTs [not the biting].

A passenger on the platform captured the whole thing. You can watch what happened here:

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The Salt
9:45 am
Tue December 23, 2014

For Australian Christmas, Everything's Overturned But The Pudding

Australian Christmas today is characterized by gastronomic eclecticism. Many of us have abandoned the old British customs — except for the rich and alcoholic Christmas pudding.
Edward Shaw iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 9:58 am

Americans know Australia as the land Down Under, and one consequence of this geographical flip is that Christmas here falls at the height of summer.

Our 100-degree temperatures aren't exactly conducive to cooking with a hot oven — although early colonists gave it their best shot.

But it wasn't long before Australians began to rebel, ditching the formal dining room for the pleasures of a picnic spread at the beach or a shady glade. Over the years, many of us have abandoned the old British customs altogether.

Except for Christmas pudding.

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The Two-Way
9:41 am
Tue December 23, 2014

New York's Rep. Michael Grimm Pleads Guilty To Tax Charge

Rep. Michael Grimm, seen here after voting in the Staten Island borough of New York City, was indicted on 20 criminal counts earlier this year.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 12:49 pm

Rep. Michael Grimm, the New York Republican who won re-election despite being indicted on 20 criminal counts related to a restaurant he owns, pleaded guilty to one charge of felony tax evasion Tuesday. He'll be sentenced in June; calls for him to leave Congress began Tuesday morning.

Grimm, a former FBI agent who represents Staten Island and south Brooklyn, had previously pleaded not guilty to charges that included mail fraud and perjury.

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The Two-Way
9:39 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Irish Court Weighs Ending Life Support For Brain-Dead Pregnant Woman

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 2:05 pm

Ireland's High Court is hearing a case about a brain-dead woman who has been kept on life support — over the objections of her parents and her partner — so her fetus may have a chance at survival.

"My daughter is dead; the chances of the fetus surviving are minimal, we have been told," the father of the unnamed 20-something-year-old woman told the court today. "I want her to have dignity and be put to rest."

Her father said he was told she had died on Nov. 29.

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Shots - Health News
9:07 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Being Thin Doesn't Spare Asian-Americans From Diabetes Risk

iStockphoto

We know that you can be fat while still fit, but how about skinny and unhealthy? This may be the case for many Asian-Americans who look slim, but actually face a higher risk of diabetes than people belonging to other ethnic groups.

As a result, Asian-Americans should consider getting tested for diabetes at a lower body mass index than previously recommended, according to new guidelines published Tuesday by the American Diabetes Association.

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The Salt
8:57 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Farm Fresh? Natural? Eggs Not Always What They're Cracked Up To Be

Cage-free eggs for sale in 2008 in Knoxville, Tenn.
Joel Kramer/Flickr

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 1:49 pm

You're in the supermarket gathering ingredients for eggnog and a Christmas Bundt cake, and you're staring at a wall of egg cartons. They're plastered with terms that all sound pretty wonderful: All-Natural, Cage-Free, Free-Range, Farm Fresh, Organic, No Hormones, Omega-3. And so on.

And yet the longer you stare at them, the more confused you become. You are tired and hungry, so you just grab the cheapest one — or the one with the most adorable chicken illustration — and head for the checkout line.

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Parallels
8:40 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Kurds Put Their Independence Dreams On Hold

Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighters arrive Saturday in Sinjar in northern Iraq, where they have made gains against the Islamic State. The Kurds were talking about independence this summer, but now appear focused on fighting the Islamic State.
Safin Hamed AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 4:42 pm

Soon after Kurdish peshmerga fighters broke a siege by Islamic State extremists around Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq, Kurdish television reporters arrived to broadcast the riotous celebrations.

This was the largest gain by the Kurds against Islamist militants since August, when Islamic State fighters, also known as ISIS, threatened Irbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Regional Government.

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Goats and Soda
8:36 am
Tue December 23, 2014

In The Village: Wilbur Goes Home

Wilbur Sargunaraj visits a small house with a thatched roof, a medium-sized house and a "gigantic mansion" in his father's village.
Produced by Wilbur Sargunaraj for NPR, John W. Poole and Ben de la Cruz/NPR.

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 10:48 am

If a guy wearing pajama pants and a necktie and sunglasses rang your doorbell and asked to make a video of your home, you'd probably slam the door so fast you'd shatter his lenses.

That's not what happened when Wilbur Sargunaraj went calling on various homeowners in his father's home village in the Tirunelveli district in southern India.

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Shots - Health News
8:31 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Can I Keep My Marketplace Insurance If I Enroll In Medicare?

Sally Elford Getty Images/Ikon Images

We have received a bunch of questions about enrolling in Medicare lately. Here are answers to two that came up recently.

My wife has been automatically re-enrolled in a silver policy on the Oklahoma health insurance marketplace. She will turn 65 and be enrolled in Medicare on May 1, 2015. Can she keep her silver policy when she is enrolled in Medicare? And, if she does, will she automatically lose her premium subsidy? Do we have to cancel the policy or will the insurer do it automatically?

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The Two-Way
8:18 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Keurig Recalls 7 Million Coffee Machines Following Reports Of Burns

Keurig is recalling 7 million Mini Plus Brewing Systems, with the model number K10 (previously identified as B31).
Brian Snyder Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 10:50 am

Keurig, the company that makes the popular single-serve coffee machines, is recalling 7 million Mini Plus Brewing Systems, with the model number K10 (previously identified as B31), the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission announced today.

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The Two-Way
7:53 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Algerian Army Kills Leader Of Group That Beheaded Frenchman

A picture of French tourist and mountain guide Herve Gourdel, 55, who was killed after being kidnapped on Sept. 21 while hiking in Algeria's Djurdjura National Park. The leader of the group that killed Gourdel has been killed in a military attack.
Farouk Batiche AFP/Getty Images

A man who led a group that beheaded a French journalist has been killed in an attack by Algeria's military. Abdelmalek Gouri had been a wanted criminal in Algeria for nearly 20 years. His Islamic State splinter group claimed responsibility for killing hiker Herve Gourdel in September.

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The Two-Way
7:21 am
Tue December 23, 2014

U.S. Economy Grew At A 5 Percent Rate; Dow Surpasses 18,000

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 12:55 pm

The U.S. economy grew at a surprisingly fast 5 percent annual rate in the third quarter of 2014, up sharply from the 3.9 percent of the last revision. The figure blew past the consensus estimate of 4.3 percent put forth by economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.

It's the fastest the U.S. economy has grown in one quarter in more than a decade: The GDP grew at a 6.9 percent pace in the third quarter of 2003.

Update at 10:30 a.m. ET: Dow Tops 18,000 For First Time

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The Two-Way
6:29 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Orangutan Declared To Have Basic Legal Rights In Argentina

Sandra, an orangutan owned by the Buenos Aires Zoo, was given the right to leave the zoo after a court ruled she was entitled to more desirable living conditions.
Juan Mabromata AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 7:48 am

In what may be a first, an appeals court in Argentina has recognized a nonhuman as having basic legal rights. A Buenos Aires judge ruled in favor of advocates who are calling for more freedom for a 28-year-old orangutan who was born in a zoo.

The advocacy group filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus on the orangutan's behalf, which would require proof of a justified detention.

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All Tech Considered
5:44 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Is Sony Hack Really 'The Worst' In U.S. History, As CEO Claims?

Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton says the computer hacking against his company is "the worst cyberattack in U.S. history." Experts say other attacks have affected more people.
David McNew Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 4:54 pm

The CEO of Sony Pictures has been saying that the cyberattack against his company is "the worst cyberattack in U.S. history." And you can see where he's coming from. An entire feature film got canned — at least for now. And his corporate networks were so damaged, Sony workers had to revert to using fax machines to communicate. That said, "the worst" is a big claim.

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Remembrances
5:28 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Singer Joe Cocker Dies Of Lung Cancer At 70

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This morning we are remembering a man and a voice.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS")

JOE COCKER: (Singing) A little help from my friends...

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Monkey See
5:03 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Videos Of Ray Rice, Eric Garner Among Biggest Media Moments Of 2014

Protesters in Boston during a December demonstration against the deaths of two unarmed black men at the hands of white police officers in New York City and Ferguson, Mo.
Charles Krupa AP

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 11:08 am

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Europe
4:58 am
Tue December 23, 2014

The Woman Who Mistook A Hat For A Parrot

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 5:28 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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Around the Nation
4:58 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Christmas Tree And Menorah Conrolled By Tweets

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 5:28 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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Arts & Life
3:05 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Time For A Holiday Favorite: 'Santaland Diaries'

Philip Game Getty Images/Lonely Planet Image

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 9:14 am

You might not expect "Santa's Helper" to be a career-altering gig, but for David Sedaris, it changed everything. The writer and humorist spent a season working at Macy's as a department store elf. He described his short tenure as Crumpet the Elf in "The Santaland Diaries," an essay that he read on Morning Edition in 1992.

Instantly, a classic was born. Sedaris' reading has become an NPR holiday tradition. Click the "Listen" link above to hear Sedaris read his story.

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Business
3:05 am
Tue December 23, 2014

A Year Later, Delivery Services Up Their Holiday Game

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 3:12 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Well, here's an idea for a lampooning December movie - it's the holidays and shipping companies can't get their act together. They disappoint millions of customers because they can't deliver gifts on time.

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Around the Nation
3:05 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Murder Of 2 NYPD Officers Widens Rift Between Mayor, Police Union

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 5:28 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Politics
3:05 am
Tue December 23, 2014

As Head Of Armed Services Committee, McCain Gets A Bigger Bullhorn

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 5:28 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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Movie Reviews
1:31 am
Tue December 23, 2014

A Vital Chapter Of American History On Film In 'Selma'

David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr. and Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King in the new movie Selma.
Paramount Pictures

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 1:47 pm

It's hard to believe, but there has never been a major motion picture that centers on one of this country's most iconic figures: Martin Luther King Jr. But that's about to change, with Selma, which opens Christmas Day.

The film explores the tumult and the tactics of the civil rights movement, from King's tense relationship with President Lyndon Johnson to the battle for voting rights for black Americans — a battle that reached a climax on Bloody Sunday, March 7, 1965, as state police beat peaceful protesters trying to march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala.

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Shots - Health News
1:29 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Baby Thrives Once 3-D-Printed Windpipe Helps Him Breathe

Jake and Natalie Peterson and their son Garrett in October 2014.
Courtesy of Brittany Jacox

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 2:20 pm

Garrett Peterson was born in 2012 with a defective windpipe. It would periodically just collapse, because the cartilage was so soft, and he'd stop breathing. This would happen every day — sometimes multiple times a day.

"It was really awful to have to watch him go through his episodes," says his father, Jake Peterson of Layton, Utah. "He'd be fine and then all of a sudden start turning blue. It was just like watching your child suffocate over and over again."

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Parallels
1:27 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Reporter Offers Free Cab Rides For Stories From 'Streets Of Shanghai'

NPR reporter Frank Langfitt and one of his "customers," a biotech worker, whom he drove to a self-help conference in Shanghai's sprawling Pudong District.
NPR

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 8:30 am

Editor's Note: NPR Shanghai correspondent Frank Langfitt once drove a taxi as a summer job. He decided to do it again, this time offering free rides around Shanghai in exchange for stories about one of the world's most dynamic cities. This is the first in an occasional series.

I've been working on an unusual reporting project this fall in Shanghai. I picked up a car and have been driving around the city offering people free rides.

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