NPR News

Our new boss started work today and if you're interested in what NPR CEO and President Gary Knell is thinking as he settles into the job:

-- He's due on Talk of the Nation just after 2 p.m. ET, and will be answering questions from callers. When we get closer to the time he's scheduled to be on, we'll embed an audio player in this post so that we can stream the conversation. To find a station that broadcasts or streams the show, click here.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said it will consider setting a standard for how much arsenic should be permitted in apple juice after a consumer group found high levels of the carcinogen in samples of apple juice it tested.

The National Weather Service has clocked winds above 90 mph around Centerville, Utah, today — "monster winds" that are blowing with hurricane-force and have overturned semi-trailer rigs, toppled trees and knocked out power, The Salt Lake Tribune reports.

The newspaper adds that:

The number of Americans filing first-time claims for jobless benefits rose by 6,000 last week, to 402,000, the Employment and Training Administration just reported.

They've basically been hovering around that 400,000 mark all year — another sign that while the economy appears to be growing slowly, it isn't advancing fast enough to boost job growth.

The ONE Campaign will be live-streaming at 10 a.m. ET as President Obama, former President Bill Clinton, former President George W. Bush and others take part in a forum on "The Beginning of the End of AIDS" at George Washington University.

It's one of many events marking World AIDS Day.

Charged this week with trying to trade methamphetamine for sex with a man, former Arapahoe County (Colo.) sheriff Patrick Sullivan is now sitting in jail.

More specifically, he's being held in the county's Patrick J. Sullivan Jr. Detention Facility. That's right. It's named after him. His bail has been set at $500,000.

Three days of big gains, including the best day for the Dow Jones industrial average in more than two years, look like they'll be followed today by a bit of a pause in the latest stock market rally on Wall Street.

Next week, leaders of the euro area countries will gather in Brussels in an effort to take a bigger step toward ending the region's sovereign debt crisis. They hope that by agreeing to tougher penalties for countries that break the euro area's budget rules, they can entice the European Central Bank to do more to stem the crisis.

But the question is whether the eurozone countries are willing to give up control of their budgets.

Launching a new company is never easy. But in the beginning, the founders of Web-based marketing firm Bluebox Now felt they were on track. The Seattle startup lined up a large paying customer, had a lot of other great leads and was reasonably confident it would get a sizable amount of outside funding. A lot has happened since then.

The jobless rate has declined a bit in the last year, but among veterans who served in conflict since 2003, it is increasing. The unemployment rate for vets serving since the Iraq war began has risen 1.5 percentage points to more than 12 percent in the past year.

Many veterans say they face a tougher job market than civilians. Tom Tarantino spent a decade in the military, where he served in Iraq and led a platoon. But when he separated from the military in 2007, he spent nearly a year looking for a job.

What A Lack Of AIDS Funding Could Mean For Africa

Nov 30, 2011

The world's largest supporter of AIDS programs has made an ominous announcement: Due to the global financial crisis, it is well short of its fundraising goals.

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria pays for more than half of the world's HIV medicine, and supports hundreds of education and advocacy programs worldwide. With World AIDS Day on Thursday, many are worried about what that means for the future of the war on AIDS.

Keeping Momentum In South Africa

A new survey finds a big disconnect when it comes to fertility. The age women think they can conceive a baby is far different from what their bodies are actually capable of. This poses an increasing problem, as more women wait longer than ever to have children.

Kate Donnellon Nail never imagined she'd have trouble conceiving. For one thing, people always tell the San Francisco musician she looks much younger than her 43 years.

"I work out regularly, I have a personal trainer," she says. "I've been doing yoga for 15 years."

Is NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly Bulletproof?

Nov 30, 2011

New York City is safer than it's been in generations, but there does seem to be an alarming jump in the crime rate inside the New York Police Department.

In the past two months, members of the country's biggest police force have been accused of fixing parking tickets, smuggling guns and even planting drugs on innocent people.

In October, the U.S. attorney in New York, Preet Bharara, charged five current NYPD officers with smuggling what they thought were stolen cigarettes and firearms as part of an FBI sting.

Too many states still inadvertently provide safe havens when it comes to sex trafficking — even when children on the streets bear the consequences. That's the conclusion of a new report released Thursday by the advocacy group Shared Hope International.

The study grades each state on whether it has laws to protect children who are pushed into the sex trade — and to punish the adults who seek out those services. Leaders of the group say there's lots of room for improvement. More than half of the states they examined got grades of D or F.

Occupy Wall Street protesters have been removed by police from public spaces in Los Angeles and Philadelphia this week. Some cities still have active 24-hour protests in place, though earlier this month the original Occupy encampment — on Wall Street — was also shut down.

Now activists in New York and elsewhere are talking about the movement's next phase, including the degree to which Occupy activists should get involved in the 2012 election.

A high-stakes gamble is playing out in Miami, where a Malaysian developer, the Genting Group, plans to spend more than $3 billion to build what it touts as the world's largest casino.

And that's just the opening bid. Other big names in the gaming industry have joined an effort to persuade Florida to approve what are being called "destination casinos."

But there are many opponents to expanding gambling in the state, including religious groups, hotels and restaurants, and The Walt Disney Co.

For Iranian-Americans, Sanctions Can Be A Minefield

Nov 30, 2011

At the beginning of last year, Mahmoud Reza Banki's future looked bright. He was a senior associate at the prestigious consulting firm McKinsey and Co., and had been accepted to the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.

But Banki, 35, was arrested in January 2010 and charged with accepting large money transfers from Iran that violated U.S. sanctions against that country.

This upcoming weekend, a team of German explosive experts and members of the army are scheduled to defuse an unexploded bomb found in the city of Koblenz in Germany. The bomb — with 3,000 pounds of explosives — is a remnant of World War II that emerged in the Rhine River because of low water levels.

As if that wasn't curious enough, authorities ordered half of the city's residents — 45,000 people — to leave, while they get the job done.

Der Spiegel reports:

Keeping off the pounds is tough at any age. Now seniors are getting a helping hand from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which has announced that it will cover screening and counseling for obesity as a free preventive service for Medicare beneficiaries.

Coverage is effective immediately.

Iran has been dealing with economic sanctions for years, but the country could soon face measures tougher than anything it has encountered before: Legislation moving through the U.S. Congress would target the central bank of Iran, with the likely effect of severely limiting Iran's oil exports.

Such sanctions would almost certainly damage Iran's economy. The challenge would be to make sure other countries are not hurt as well, given the fragile state of the global economy and the tight global oil market.

We've heard a lot about Solyndra, a solar panel maker that went bankrupt despite lots of federal subsidies. But on Wednesday, a solar installation company and one of the country's biggest banks announced a billion-dollar project to put solar systems on the roofs of military housing. And they're doing it without the kind of federal help Solyndra got.

When SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive came up with a plan to put solar on the rooftops of military housing around the country, he was sure he'd need federal backing to get loans for such a big project.

For the past few years, the travel site Expedia has conducted a survey about the world's vacation habits and like in years past, this year's survey found that the United States is one of the countries that gives its workers fewer vacation days and one of the countries in which workers leave the most number of vacation days unused.

CNN Money reports:

The U.S. economy is experiencing its strongest across-the-board growth of the year, as private companies hire more people, some manufacturers expand and the stock market surges on a plan to ease Europe's financial crisis. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 490 points Wednesday, an increase of more than 4 percent.

But analysts say the economy isn't growing robustly enough to lower unemployment, stem government layoffs or revive a housing market that remains extremely weak.

Newt Gingrich traveled across South Carolina this week appearing at a number of town-hall-style meetings where he talked to voters and answered questions — mostly the same questions at every stop. He talked about the improving the economy, creating a new immigration policy, repealing President Obama's health care reform plan and transforming Washington.

This is a pretty heartbreaking story: An 80-year-old man donated a suit to a Goodwill store in western Illinois. The problem is that he didn't realize until it was too late that his $13,000 life savings were in the suit's pocket.

The AP reports:

Can you say blip?

Apparently that's what last month's all-time low popularity numbers were for President Obama's health overhaul law, according to this month's tracking poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Overall, the federal Affordable Care Act still remains slightly more unpopular (44 percent) than popular (37 percent), but that's down from last month's 51-34 split.

That headline is pretty spectacular, but the software researcher Trevor Eckhart found in his HTC Android phone does just that. Eckhart posted a video on YouTube on Monday showing how the software works:

The Justice Department says the man who shot and wounded President Ronald Reagan in 1981 still poses a threat to public safety.

Prosecutors are fighting an effort by John Hinckley to win more freedom from a mental hospital where he's been confined for decades.

During a hearing in Washington, the prosecutors said the government has been watching Hinckley.

Secret Service agents followed Hinckley last summer, when he said he was going to the movies during visits to his mother's home in Williamsburg, Va.

Pages