8:33am

Wed December 24, 2014
Code Switch

New Blood Donation Rules Would Still Exclude Many Gay Men

Originally published on Fri December 26, 2014 7:46 am

On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration recommended a change in the discriminatory and unscientific policy that effectively prohibited men who have sex with men from donating blood for life. Those guidelines kept any man who had sex with another man — even just once — since 1977 from donating blood forever.

While gay discrimination has been reduced in so many other areas of life, up until now, there hasn't been enough medical or political will to intervene on the blood ban. That policy perpetuated stigma without improving safety.

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8:23am

Wed December 24, 2014
Parallels

Turkey's President And His 1,100-Room 'White Palace'

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 4:09 pm

Turkey's new presidential palace in the capital, Ankara, has an official price tag of $615 million and more than 1,000 rooms. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Ak Saray, or the White Palace, is not his palace, but that of Turkey. But not everyone is so sure.
Aykut Unlupinar Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

On the outskirts of the Turkish capital, a new landmark looms over what was once Ankara forestland. It's a new presidential palace complex, with at least 1,100 rooms and an official price tag of $615 million — although critics suggest both figures are probably higher.

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7:08am

Wed December 24, 2014
NPR Ed

An Update On For-Profit Colleges

A person walks past an Everest Institute sign in an office building in Silver Spring, Md., on July 8.
Jose Luis Magana AP

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

There was lots of news coming out of the for-profit education sector this year, most of it related to regulatory action.

As we reported earlier,

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7:06am

Wed December 24, 2014
The Two-Way

Jordanian Plane Goes Down Over Syria; Islamic State Captures Pilot

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 1:52 pm

Update at 2:32 p.m.

Jordan's military says one of its pilots has been captured by militants of the Islamic State after his plane crashed in northern Syria.

In a statement, the Jordanian military said the Islamic State "bears responsibility" for the safety of the pilot, identified as Flight Lt. Moaz Youssef al-Kasasbeh.

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7:05am

Wed December 24, 2014
The Two-Way

Former President George H.W. Bush To Remain In Hospital

Originally published on Thu December 25, 2014 2:30 am

In what his staff is calling a precautionary measure, former President George H.W. Bush was taken to a hospital in Houston by ambulance Tuesday night after experiencing shortness of breath.

Bush, 90, is being kept at Houston Methodist Hospital for observation, his staff says.

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6:40am

Wed December 24, 2014
The Two-Way

Police Kill Young Man In Missouri; 'It's Not What People Portray,' Mayor Says

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 11:36 am

Surveillance video shows a scene leading up to a police officer shooting and killing an armed man at a gas station in Berkeley, Mo. The St. Louis County Police Department is investigating the case, in which an 18-year-old man died.
Reuters/Landov

Updated at 12 p.m. ET

Protests over a police killing have returned to the St. Louis area, after a Berkeley, Mo., police officer shot and killed an 18-year-old black man Tuesday night. The authorities say he was armed; the shooting took place shortly after 11 p.m. outside a gas station in the St. Louis suburb that's just 2 miles west of Ferguson.

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5:33am

Wed December 24, 2014
The Salt

Guyanese Christmas Gives A Whole New Meaning To Slow Food

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 9:00 am

Pepperpot, a traditional Guyanese Christmas dish, is basically a stew of aromatics and tough meat parts like shanks, trotters and tails that benefit from a long cooking.
Courtesy of Cynthia Nelson Photography

There are some Christmas foods you make far in advance that just get better and better with age and anticipation. Like British fruitcakes that age into their boozy ripeness, and German gingerbread cookies called lebkuchen that get softer and spicier as they mature.

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2:25am

Wed December 24, 2014
Shots - Health News

Obama Administration Downplays Court Challenge To Health Law

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

Elisa Carrero assists Julian Gauiria, of Paterson, N.J., with enrollment in the health insurance exchange in November. Signups continue to be brisk, health officials say.
Tyson Trish North Jersey/Landov

This time last year, federal officials were scrambling to get as many people enrolled in health insurance through HealthCare.gov as they could before the start of the program on Jan. 1.

Now, with the technical problems mostly fixed, they're facing a different problem: the possibility that the Supreme Court might rule that the subsidies that help people afford coverage are illegal in the 37 states where the federal government is running the program.

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2:24am

Wed December 24, 2014
Sweetness And Light

Deford: It's Hard To Write A Christmas Story About Sport

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 7:02 am

A sculpture at Britannia stadium in the English city of Stoke-on-Trent commemorates the Christmas Truce, a legendary soccer game played between German and British troops in December 1914.
Rui Vieira AP

Several years ago, I wrote a sports Christmas story. It was about a greedy basketball superstar who, imbued with Yuletide cheer, helps save his small-market franchise.

A big-time producer wanted to make a TV movie out of it. So off I went to Hollywood to turn my story into a script and thereby, in keeping with the Christmas spirit, make a killing.

Let me tell you: It's hard to write a Christmas story about sport.

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2:23am

Wed December 24, 2014
Goats and Soda

Christmas In Liberia: Ebola Fears, No Snow, Holiday Spirit

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 7:43 am

A man peddles plastic Christmas trees and lights in downtown Monrovia.
John W. Poole NPR

Ebola has cast a shadow over Liberia, but it can't stop Christmas.

Despite the trauma of the past year, Liberians are trying to have a happy holiday season. Carols are playing on the radio and there's lots of decorating — and painting — going on.

"At a certain time of the year we want our homes to look good," says journalist Siatta Scott Johnson. "It's like a competition in Liberia when it comes to the festive season."

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