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Afghanistan
4:31 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Kabul's Roads, Paved With Good Intentions

Afghan laborers work on a roads project last month in Kabul. A huge project to fix the city's roads and sewers is causing huge headaches.
Daniel Berehulak Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 12:00 am

Sometimes, you don't have to go far to find a story. For the past few months, just stepping outside NPR's Kabul office has been a drama.

The neighborhood is in the midst of a major road and sewer renovation project. It's just one of many such projects that is badly needed in Kabul and elsewhere in the country.

But as is often the case, the pace and quality of the work has been uneven. And residents aren't so sure whether the final product will be worth the months of gridlock, power outages and business interruption.

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NPR Story
4:20 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

AAA Says New Ethanol-Gas Blend Could Hurt Cars

Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 5:50 pm

AAA has warned against potential damage that a new blend of gasoline could do to some engines. And the warning has started a fight over renewable fuels and the future of what we put in our gas tanks.

The fuel is called E15 — named for the percentage of ethanol in the blend. Most of the gas that's sold in the U.S. has about 10 percent ethanol in it.

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Shots - Health News
4:11 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

The Perilous Politics Of The Health Insurance Tax Break

MIT health economist Jonathan Gruber, who explained the ins and outs of health overhaul in a comic book, says that excluding the value of health insurance from federal taxes is a terrible idea, at least from an economist's point of view.
Macmillan

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 5:50 pm

There's not much in health care that economists agree on. But one of the few things that bring them together is the idea that excluding the value of health insurance from federal taxes is nuts.

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The Two-Way
4:00 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

The First Book Printed In British North America And A Church's Decision To Sell It

Jeff Makholm holds the Bay Psalm Book.
Monica Brady-Myerov WBUR

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 10:34 am

This past Sunday, the Old South Church in Boston made a decision that cuts to the heart of not only the congregation's history, but to the very beginning of this country's founding.

With an overwhelming 271 to 34 vote, the church decided to give its board the power to sell one copy of the Bay Psalm Book, the first book ever printed in British North America.

Only 11 of the original 1,600 copies of the book printed in Cambridge in 1640 remain. And of those, the church owns two.

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Music Reviews
3:44 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Two Malian Guitar Greats, Gone But Still Wailing

Malian guitarist Lobi Traore died in 2010, at just 49. His last album is called Bwati Kono.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 5:50 pm

Back in 1985, a young Malian named Zani Diabate became one of the first African musicians to release a successful album in Europe. He was soon crowded out by a flood of superstar African singers, but for anyone who experienced Diabate's rocking guitar tone and edgy African phrasing, the sound is unforgettable.

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It's All Politics
3:36 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

For Tea Party Activists In Florida, The Health Care Battle Goes On

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 5:50 pm

President Obama's re-election sent a message to state capitals: The war over the president's health care overhaul is finished.

Even in Florida, where Republican leaders led the legal battle against Obamacare, there's recognition now that the state has to act fast to comply with the new law.

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Shots - Health News
3:36 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Computerized Health Records Breed Digital Discontent For Some Doctors

Electronic medical records can have drawbacks, too.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 5:50 pm

Two years and $8.4 billion into the government's effort to get doctors to take their practices digital, some unintended consequences are starting to emerge.

One is a lot of unhappy doctors. In a big survey by Medscape, an online site for doctors, 38 percent of the doctors polled said they were unhappy with their electronic medical records system.

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Business
3:22 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Netflix Gets Disney Movies Ahead Of Pay TV Channels

A promotional image for the Netflix Just for Kids portal. The new deal announced with Disney is the first time that one of Hollywood's major studios has sold the coveted rights to Netflix Inc. instead of a premium TV network.
Netflix

Netflix's video subscription service has trumped pay-TV channels and grabbed the rights to show Disney movies shortly after they finish their runs in theaters.

The multiyear licensing agreement announced Tuesday represents a breakthrough for Netflix as it tries to add more recent movies to a popular service that streams video over high-speed Internet connections.

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Deceptive Cadence
3:02 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Alisa Weilerstein Plays Elgar: Exploring Music With An Intense Past

Cellist Alisa Weilerstein
Jamie Jung Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 9:26 am

British composer Edward Elgar wrote his cello concerto in 1919 — soon after the end of World War I — and it's suffused with the dark weight of that war.

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The Salt
2:13 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

A Hidden Hanukkah Tale Of A Woman, An Army And Some Killer Cheese

This Hanukkah lamp, made in Italy in the 19th century, depicts Judith holding a sword in one hand and the severed head of Holofernes in the other.
The Jewish Museum, New York / Art Resource, NY

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 8:11 am

At Hanukkah, many Jewish families celebrate with foods such as latkes and donuts that are fried in oil. The tradition honors the story of the miracle that occurred when a one-day supply of oil burned for eight days inside a temple under siege by the enemy .

Some Jews also eat dishes like kugel, cheesecake or rugelah that all share one ingredient — cheese. But how did cheese make it onto the holiday menu?

It starts (as many of these tales do) with a woman. This woman was Judith.

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