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SPOTLIGHT

1. BIOFUELS

How the OPEC oil embargo sparked energy independence -- in Brazil

Forty years ago, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries placed an embargo on petroleum, bringing an oil-addled world to its knees. As oil prices quadrupled, the world panicked. In the immediate aftermath, gas stations closed on Sundays. Small, fuel-efficient cars became popular. And Brazil -- a developing country under military dictatorship at the time -- began the push for what has become the most successful biofuel industry in the world.

2. SUPERSTORM SANDY

Nearly one year later, many still focus on surviving

The clock started ticking when the cyclonic winds of Superstorm Sandy slowed to a breeze almost a year ago. In that grim countdown to recovery, many survivors appear to be closer to the beginning than the end. Since the storm's landfall Oct. 29, untold tons of wreckage from splintered homes has been hauled away from the river shores and island beaches of New Jersey towns. But there also are signs of stumbling along the state's saw-toothed shoreline.

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