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Pro sports becoming more open to paternity leave

Pro sports becoming more open to paternity leave

PATERNITY LEAVE:New York Mets Daniel Murphy (28) at bat in the ninth inning of the baseball game against the Atlanta Braves Wednesday, April 9, in Atlanta. The Braves won the game 4-3. Photo: Associated Press/Todd Kirkland

JON KRAWCZYNSKI, AP Sports Writer

When New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy was criticized on talk radio for spending three days with his family after the birth of his son, teammates, coaches and opponents leapt to his defense.

The four major pro sports leagues in North America are becoming increasingly open to paternity leave as more players express a desire to be with their families when a baby arrives.

Major League Baseball is the only league with a standardized policy written into its rulebook. But the NFL, NBA and NHL have all shown willingness to give their players some time when that day comes.

Players say that kind of compassion is a welcome change from decades ago, when athletes often missed one of life’s biggest moments to stay with their teams.

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Rice replaces ice in India bucket challenge

An Indian school boy eats a midday meal provided free at a government school in Hyderabad, India, Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013. India has offered free midday school meals since the 1960s in an effort to persuade poor parents to send their children to school, a program that reaches some 120 million children. The country now plans to subsidize wheat, rice and cereals for some 800 million people under a $20 billion scheme to cut malnutrition and ease poverty.

The famous "ice bucket" challenge is inspiring thousands of Indians to follow suit, but with a twist - they are replacing ice with rice to help the country's hungry people.