All Things Considered

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Michele Norris & Robert Siegal
Melissa Block
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3:28pm

Wed May 29, 2013
Parallels

In China, Customer Service And Efficiency Begin To Blossom

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 6:56 pm

A couple waits for a high-speed train in the Chinese city of Qinhuangdao. Modern infrastructure and the expanding private sector have greatly increased efficiency and customer service in many parts of Chinese life.
Ed Jones AFP/Getty Images

China's infamous bureaucracy has bedeviled people for ages, but in recent years, daily life in some major Chinese cities has become far more efficient.

For instance, when I worked in Beijing in the 1990s, many reporters had drivers. It wasn't because they didn't drive, but because they needed someone to deal with China's crippling bureaucracy.

I had a man named Old Zhao, who would drive around for days to pay our office bills at various government utility offices. Zhao would sit in line for hours, often only to be abused by functionaries.

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3:10pm

Wed May 29, 2013
Media

Two Newspapers Battle It Out For The New Orleans Market

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 1:26 pm

Free introductory copies of the Baton Rouge Advocate's new New Orleans edition are seen next to copies of The Times-Picayune at Lakeside News in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie in September. The Baton Rouge newspaper started its own daily edition to try to fill the void left when The Times-Picayune scaled back its print edition to three days a week.
Gerald Herbert AP

Last year when New Orleans' main paper, The Times-Picayune, laid off dozens of newspaper employees and cut its circulation to three times a week, residents were shocked.

Sharron Morrow and her friends had bonded over the morning paper at a local coffee shop for the past 20 years.

"I've stopped my subscription, and I mourn the paper almost every day," she says.

Shifting Media Players

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2:40pm

Wed May 29, 2013
The Salt

Cooking With Cicadas: No Weirder Than Eating Cheese?

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 6:18 pm

Cicada: It's what's for dinner?
Sean Bush AP

You knew this one was coming.

Earlier this month, we told you about a U.N. report that makes the case for insects to improve global food security: They're cheap, plentiful and environmentally sustainable. Now, the coming of the 17-year cicadas provides East Coast Americans, for whom bug eating is considered novel at best, with an opportunity to try local insect cuisine.

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2:21pm

Wed May 29, 2013
Business

What's Under Youngstown May Help What's On Top

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 6:18 pm

By leasing land for drilling, city leaders in Youngstown, Ohio, hope to generate funds to demolish vacant buildings.
M.L. Schultze for NPR

A century ago, when fiery steel mills were roaring to life in Youngstown, Ohio, builders were racing to put up homes, storefronts, barbershops and more.

Today, many of those buildings sit empty and rotting. With the mills mostly gone and the population down 60 percent from 1960, to just 67,000, the city needs millions of dollars to tear down roughly 4,000 vacant structures.

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12:35pm

Wed May 29, 2013
Asia

For China's Youth, A Life Of 'Darkness Outside The Night'

Originally published on Sat July 20, 2013 3:48 pm

A small, child-like creature in a cone hat peers into a toy shop, happy at the sight of a snow globe, in a vignette called "Tininess" in Darkness Outside the Night, a graphic novel illustrated by Xie Peng. Find out what happens in the excerpt below.
Xie Peng and Duncan Jepson, with permission to reproduce the panels from Tabella Publishing LLP

Xie Peng, a 36-year-old Chinese graphic novelist, spent six years working on his first book, Darkness Outside the Night. It's been praised by China's first Nobel laureate for literature, Mo Yan, as inspiring people on how to deal with life.

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