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Hundreds of people, perhaps thousands, have been killed in those nations in recent days in clashes between groups. Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., is in the Central African Republic to try to convince the sides to put down their guns.

After a decade of kicking the ball down the road, Congress appears ready to repeal its payment formula for Medicare and replace it with a whole new system. This time, doctors would be paid according to the quality of results they produce, rather than the number of services they provide.

It's a cross between Secret Santa and Make-a-Wish. For more than 20 years, ordinary Brazilians have read letters addressed to Santa that end up at their local post office and helped fulfill those wishes. The Father Christmas Project helps about half a million kids, some of whom ask for basic things like food and beds.

Upwardly mobile consumers in China and Korea also are buying lots of fur, and "not necessarily your grandmother's old mink coat," says an observer. U.S. and Canadian trappers are flush; animal welfare advocates are concerned.

Young professionals "co-living" in San Francisco-area mansions say they're doing more than cutting costs and promoting sustainability — they're building communities, and tech-powered social networking makes it easier.

Sarah Ramirez left a high-prestige career to bring California's bounty of unsellable fruit to food banks in the state's Central Valley. Her grassroots organization is trying to address a regional conundrum: While many area farms end up with imperfect fruit that can't be sold to supermarkets, local farmworkers struggle to afford fresh produce.

Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee are pressing for the release of a so-called torture report on Bush-era interrogation practices. But there are several hurdles to clear before portions of the report might become declassified.

Sophie Varon loves to shop. The store Forever 21 is her weakness. And lately, she's been wondering if her shopping habit has become a shopping problem.

When a Kenyan women was diagnosed with HIV, she thought it meant the end of her marriage and her hopes to have children. But with the help of HIV therapy, Benta Odeny not only protects her husband from the virus, but she also has a healthy, HIV-negative daughter.

Reports show former Major League Baseball player Ryan Freel, who took his own life last year, suffered from a degenerative brain disease. Injuries like that are usually associated with the hard knocks of football. Host Michel Martin talks with sports writer Pablo Torre about the prevalence of brain injuries in other sports.

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