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In U.S., Santa Claus has many faces, races

Posted 12/20/2013 in National

In Atlanta, children of many races share their Christmas wish lists with a black Santa Claus. In Houston, Santa dons a red zoot suit and dances to jazz as he hands out gifts in Mexican-American neighborhoods.

Figure skating champ Boitano says he's gay

Posted 12/20/2013 in National

Olympic figure skating champion Brian Boitano came out Thursday, two days after he was named to the U.S. delegation for Sochi along with openly gay athletes Billie Jean King and Caitlin Cahow.

'Duck Dynasty' fans react to Robertson's hiatus

Posted 12/20/2013 in National

When the A&E network suspended "Duck Dynasty" patriarch Phil Robertson for disparaging gay people, it may have followed a time-honored TV tradition of quickly silencing a star who, for better or worse, speaks his mind. But in doing so it also ruffled the feathers of possibly millions of fans of its most popular show.

Rodman holds tryouts for Pyongyang game

Posted 12/20/2013 in National

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman held tryouts Friday for a North Korean team to face a dozen NBA veterans in an exhibition game on leader Kim Jong Un's birthday next month -- though he hasn't convinced all the players on the American team that it's safe to come to Pyongyang.

 

Obama commutes sentences for 8 drug convictions

Posted 12/20/2013 in National

President Barack Obama on Thursday commuted the sentences of eight people he said were serving unduly harsh drug sentences in the most expansive use yet of his power to free inmates.

 

 

Options set for those lacking new health coverage

Posted 12/20/2013 in National

People whose existing health care insurance has been canceled because of the Affordable Care Act will not be hit with tax penalties for failing to line up new coverage as required under the law.

 

 

Pa. pastor appeals defrocking over gay wedding

Posted 12/20/2013 in National

A United Methodist pastor defrocked for officiating at his son's same-sex wedding has appealed the decision, a move that offered the latest evidence of a split in the nation's largest mainline Protestant denomination and came as yet another state legalized gay marriage.

 

 

White House greets budget deal with caution, hope

Posted 12/19/2013 in National

There were no champagne corks popping at the White House after Congress passed a two-year budget deal, no declarations of a new era of cooperation in President Barack Obama's second term.

 

 

Advisory panel recommends more oversight for NSA

Posted 12/19/2013 in National

If President Barack Obama follows even half of the recommendations urged by his advisory panel, the National Security Agency would significantly change the way it does business.

 

 

Insurers allow more time to pay under health law

Posted 12/19/2013 in National

Consumers anxious over tight insurance deadlines and lingering computer problems during the holidays will get extra time to pay their premiums under President Barack Obama's health care law, insurers announced Wednesday.

 

 

Higher blood pressure threshold OK in older adults

Posted 12/19/2013 in National

Many older adults with high blood pressure can be treated less aggressively, which could mean taking fewer pills to get it under control, according to new treatment guidelines from an expert panel. But not all experts are on board with the advice -- including the federal agency that appointed the group.

 

 

Fewer deportations big issue for Asians, Hispanics

Posted 12/19/2013 in National

With immigration legislation stalled in Congress, Hispanics and Asian-Americans say getting relief from deportations is more important for many of the 11 million immigrants here illegally than creating a pathway to U.S. citizenship, a new study finds.

 

 

Ex-EPA official sentenced to 32 months for theft

Posted 12/19/2013 in National

A judge has sentenced a former high-ranking official with the Environmental Protection Agency to 32 months in prison for stealing from the agency by failing to show up for work -- while falsely claiming to be working for the CIA.

 

 

U.S. attorney: Diplomat treated very well

Posted 12/19/2013 in National

A federal prosecutor ventured into the tense relationship between the U.S. and India on Wednesday, defending the arrest and strip-search of an Indian diplomat held on visa charges and saying she was treated very well, even given coffee and offered food while detained.

 

 

Hero guide dog assured good home after subway rescue

Posted 12/19/2013 in National

The guide dog that leaped onto subway tracks after his blind owner lost consciousness and fell off a station platform is assured a loving home after his retirement.

 

Tooth Fairy a walk in park over Elf on the Shelf

Posted 12/19/2013 in National

Carly Kerby, a mom of four girls, doesn't have the greatest track record as the Tooth Fairy, but it was another family tradition that nearly did her in: The Elf on the Shelf.

 

FedEx CEO says drones unlikely to make big impact

Posted 12/19/2013 in National

The CEO of FedEx doesn't see drones taking over the package delivery business anytime soon.

 

 

'Mary Poppins' among 25 films to be preserved

Posted 12/19/2013 in National

Just in time for a new movie about the making of "Mary Poppins," the 1964 Disney classic starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke has been selected for preservation at the Library of Congress so future generations of Americans can see it.

 

 

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