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SPOTLIGHT

1. RISK

Big insurers are brought into discussions on how to protect NYC against future storms

Some of the world's leading insurance companies assembled in a room on Wall Street this fall to hear the opening pitch for a massive undertaking, constructing a chain of coastal barriers to defend the New York City region from future flooding. The ambitious vision differs from the $14 billion system completed recently by the federal government to protect New Orleans from hurricanes that might mimic Katrina. The East Coast project, a potential network of walls, gates and dunes, would be financed largely by corporations.

2. CITIES

Small-town Republicans tout solutions to global climate change despite national party's resistance

On May 4, 2007, an EF5 tornado wiped out 95 percent of Greensburg, Kan., and killed 11 people. About 1,500 people lived in this tiny central Kansas town before the storm, but the population subsequently crashed by two-thirds amid the rubble. But the storm effectively left the town a blank slate, and as residents trickled back in, they agreed to rebuild as a sustainable city, living within their available resources and reducing their impact on climate change.

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