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Middle East
5:05 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Qatari Poet Sentenced To Life In Prison For Writing

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

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Last week in the country of Qatar, a poet was sentenced to life in prison. That was the punishment for writing verse that the country's ruler found insulting. The poet's name is Mohammed Ajami, and his poem skewered governments across the region. At one point, it declared: We are all Tunisia in the face of the repressive elite.

Well, commentator Andrei Codrescu says this case shows a brazen bit of hypocrisy.

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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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Business
4:28 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Menards Can't Hire Enough Hands In Booming N.D.

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

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

North Dakota has the lowest unemployment rate in the country, fueled by a booming oil economy. In fact, it's been so hard to find workers in Minot, North Dakota, in the north central part of the state, that one big box store is flying them in from Wisconsin. Dan Feldner of the Minot Daily News joins me to talk about it. And Dan, we're talking about the home improvement retailer Menards. The headquarters is in Au Claire, Wisconsin.

How many workers are they going to be flying in?

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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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