All Things Considered for Friday, November 29, 2013

The Obama Administration this week announced yet another delay for small businesses seeking to purchase health insurance on the troubled HealthCare.gov website. Ari Shapiro and Julie Rovner discuss how the small business part of the program keeps getting pushed to the end of the administration's priority list.
Ari Shapiro speaks with political commentators, EJ Dionne of the Washington Post and Brookings Institution and David Brooks of The New York Times. They discuss the latest on the HealthCare.gov Website and the discord over reaching a troop agreement between the U.S. and Afghanistan.
Sometimes highway traffic jams up for no apparent reason. There's no accident, and no real reason to step on the brakes — except to avoid hitting the car in front of you. What causes these backups? An MIT scientist thinks he's found a way to prevent these tie-ups.

Hard-Core And Casual Gamers Play In Different Worlds

Among gamers, there's a great schism between the casual players who poke away at their cellphones and hard-core devotees who pound at controllers and keyboards for hours at a time. Game makers are trying hard to target both thriving groups.

Prune Logs? Try Pastilla, One Family's Sweet Tradition

Made from prunes, walnuts, honey and shredded coconut, the bite-sized sweets can be served up with dark chocolate. This recipe, which belonged to a Russian Jewish family living in China, has made its way to a cooking group in Sydney, Australia.

A Killer As A Child, Teenage Assassin Now Free In U.S.

Edgar Lugo admitted to killing several people in Mexico when he was kid, served three years in a Mexico prison and is now freed to live back in the U.S. Ari Shapiro speaks with Richard Fausset, a writer with The Los Angeles Times, about the release of teen assassin Edgar Lugo, who is now 17.
Unlike defendants in criminal trials, defendants in U.S. immigration courts aren't constitutionally entitled to an attorney. But New York City is piloting the nation's first government-funded public defender service for immigrants facing deportation.
Manufacturers in Oregon want to hire high school students. But they don't want the kinds of high school students that colleges are after — the kind who have amazing test scores and will spend hours perfecting essays. They want teenagers who want to paint, weld and work with their hands. The hope is that those teens will turn into enthusiastic workers in an industry where the current workforce is headed toward retirement.
Forecasters expected the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season to be really busy — the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration told Americans to expect between seven and 11 hurricanes. But this year has been one of the quietest on record. Why were the predictions so far off?
A Mormon Bishop in Taylorsville, Utah, went to great lengths last Sunday to teach his congregation a lesson. David Musselman disguised himself as a homeless person and walked around outside before the service. Then, in character, he walked up to the pulpit and asked to deliver remarks. He tells Ari Shapiro what happened next.
Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is one the busiest, most hectic shopping day of the year. But how important is it for retailers and as an indicator of the strength of the holiday shopping season?
Ari Shapiro talks with Wall Street Journal reporter Suzanne Kapner about the fake discounts retailers build into their products during the holiday season.
NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg and surgeon David Reines ran into each other not long after their spouses had passed away. Soon — despite a couple of unforeseen events — the pair realized it was kismet that they had found each other.
Cider is still a small part of the overall alcohol market, but it's growing faster than any other category — and not just the hot mulled stuff that steams up your kitchen. This cider is more like sparkling wine. Some of it is made with the same apple varieties, and in the same style, as the cider bottled by Thomas Jefferson.
Demographers say China needs more children because the country is aging and the workforce is shrinking. But raising kids costs so much these days that many parents are expected to forgo the option of having a second child.
A court has ruled that a social welfare organization that ran a hospital where the mix-up occurred must pay the man about $317,000 for causing him "mental distress by depriving him of an opportunity to gain a higher education." The 60-year-old man is a truck driver. The boy raised in his place by the rich family became the president of a real estate company.
More and more towns are hosting festivals to bring extra money into the area. But these attractions can be disruptive, and one town in Michigan isn't sure it wants any more. Traverse City is looking at new restrictions to cure "festival fatigue," to the dismay of the business community.

A Poet's Advice For Unlikely Partners: Just Dance

Earlier this week, international negotiators agreed on a deal to curb the Iranian nuclear program temporarily. Author Ariel Dorfman offers context to the reactions that have followed. He suggests a book of poetry by the Sufi master Rumi, a fascinating glimpse into the lives and ideas that shape Persian identity.

Finding 'Great Beauty' Amid Rome's Corruptions

The Great Beauty is the latest portrait of the city onscreen, in all its wonder, decadence, sinfulness and ugliness. The film, directed by Paolo Sorrentino, is also Italy's official entry for this year's Academy Awards.
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