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One Montana Town Finds Itself Buckling Beneath The Oil Boom

Oil development is significantly straining communities across the Great Plains. In small Sidney, Mont., a steady stream of big rigs pounds the streets as a rapidly increasing population stretches the town's sewer system to its limit. As Dan Boyce reports, the mayor says the town has nowhere near enough money to pay for all of its infrastructure needs.
NPR

Scarlett Johansson's Middle East Flap ... Over Soda

The American actress has stepped down as a goodwill representative for Oxfam International. She came in for criticism after agreeing to serve as a spokeswoman, and appear in a Super Bowl ad, for an Israeli company that produces at-home soda-makers in the occupied West Bank.
NPR

Small Cinemas Struggle As Film Fades Out Of The Picture

Paramount became the first big studio to distribute a major film in the U.S. only in digital, and others will probably follow. Small cinemas are struggling to raise money for the transition. Despite resistance from some major directors, the end of film is almost upon us.
NPR

New Animation Details What Went Wrong In 2010 Plant Explosion

The video, released by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, outlines the chain of events leading up to the explosion at Tesoro's Anacortes Refinery that killed 7 people.
NPR

Grade Inflation In The Maple Syrup Aisle: Now Everything Is An 'A'

If you like richer, darker, more intense maple syrup, you should pick Grade B. But the idea that B beats A seems counter-intuitive to lots of consumers who are just looking for something sweet to pour on their morning pancakes. So the syrup industry has revamped its grading system.
NPR

Sick Ship Sets Dubious Record For Royal Caribbean

Nearly 700 passengers and crew fell ill aboard the MS Explorer of the Seas — more people than any other cruise ship monitored by the CDC in the past two decades.
NPR

Economy Ended 2013 With Growth Still Strong, Data Suggest

The nation's gross domestic product grew at a 3.2 percent annual rate, according to a preliminary estimate. That's solid growth and follows an even stronger third quarter. But claims for unemployment insurance rose last week.
NPR

New York Looks To Bring Bitcoin Out Of The Shadows

Bitcoin has been tied to the dark side of the Internet, where it's been linked to drug trafficking. But New York's financial regulators say they want to foster innovation and are looking to legitimize the virtual currency by licensing it.
NPR

Drought Forces Calif. Farmers To Cut Back On Planting

In California, agriculture is a $44.7 billion industry and the ongoing drought has many farmers worried. Some already have cut back on planting crops and some banks are withholding loans.
NPR

In Las Vegas, Lawns Are The Biggest Water Waster

Las Vegas depends on Lake Mead for its water and the reservoir is dropping. The city's water officials long ago instituted water conservation measures. Critics say they are not nearly enough.

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