All Things Considered for February 16, 2012
Feb 16, 2012 — The good news for doctors: a nearly 28 percent cut in Medicare reimbursements likely won't take effect March 1. The bad news: the deal isn't permanent and a cut could be about 32 percent next year. That's leaving doctors who treat medicare patients in a continued state of uncertainty.
Feb 16, 2012 — The current controversy over insurance coverage of contraceptives is the latest chapter in the long and often bitter history of conflicts between the right to follow one's conscience and the demands of society.
Feb 16, 2012 — All the Republican presidential candidates still in the race have been hit with glitter by protesters. The first glitter bomber says it's a "harmless but sensational way to bring attention to serious issues," but others have called it assault.
Feb 16, 2012 — Congressional negotiators have finally finished the details on a deal to extend the payroll tax holiday through the end of the year. A final vote may take place Friday or Saturday.
Feb 16, 2012 — The first phase of the trial for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is scheduled to begin on Feb. 27. Billions of dollars are at stake for BP, the other companies involved, and the states, companies and individuals harmed by the disaster. Negotiations between all parties are continuing and some observers believe the case could be settled before opening arguments even begin.
Feb 16, 2012 — The Chinese dissident and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo may be imprisoned, but his voice will not be silenced. His recent writings and poems have been collected in No Enemies, No Hatred.
Feb 16, 2012 — Job opportunities are still scarce, but so is self-confidence for some potential employees. Many lose faith in their abilities when they lose a job, and getting back to work can cause a lot of anxiety.
Feb 16, 2012 — There's a noticeable streak of Mormon libertarianism in the West, and the Ron Paul campaign has actively courted that vote. While Republican Mitt Romney retains strong support among many of his faith, others see their religion more in line with a much smaller-government approach to politics.
Feb 16, 2012 — Last weekend, Mitt Romney narrowly defeated Ron Paul in the Maine caucuses. But rural Washington County, considered a Paul stronghold by his supporters, delayed its caucus until this Saturday because of bad weather. Even though the state party will not revise the straw poll total, Paul's supporters are defiant.
Feb 16, 2012 — The Taliban has strongly denied it has begun peace talks with the Afghan government and the US. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said talks among the Taliban, US and Afghan officials have already begun in the Gulf state of Qatar, but it hasn't been confirmed. Taliban media spokesmen have long maintained there will be no peace talks with what they call the "puppet" government in Kabul. Karzai is holding talks Thursday in Islamabad with leaders of Pakistan and Iran, discussing prospects for negotiations with the Taliban. NPR's Kabul bureau chief, Quil Lawrence, talks with Robert Siegel about the news.