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SPOTLIGHT

1. DROUGHT:

What happens when Asia's 'water tower' dries up?

LIJIANG, China -- After photographing Black Dragon Lake here for eight years, He Jiaxin knows of more places where he can get the lake to mirror the majesty of its surrounding mountains than anyone else. But this year, he has a problem: The lake has disappeared. Since its springs dried up last year, no water has flowed into Black Dragon Lake for more than 400 days. At the same time, hot weather caused a high evaporation rate, turning a large part of the lake into a play yard for children. Similar situations are happening across other parts of Yunnan province, which usually has more rain than half of China's regions.

2. TRANSPORTATION:

As fuel efficiency standards drive gasoline taxes down, who pays to fix the highways?

As the federal Highway Trust Fund inches closer to empty, toll operators are promoting user fees as the solution to America's infrastructure woes. The federal gas tax, which supports the highway fund, hasn't been raised since 1993. Meanwhile, vehicle fuel economy has continued to increase, spurred by market demand and new federal fuel efficiency standards. Collectively, these have kept tax revenue low while the need to repair the nation's aging roadways has increased.

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