NPR News

While the HIV/AIDS epidemic no longer looks as menacing as it did in the 1980s and '90s, efforts to stop the spread of the disease have hit a brick wall.

You can hear Harold Lopez-Nussa's training when he plays. The 33-year-old pianist is reluctant to admit the classical influence on his jazz playing, but he's quick to acknowledge that he, like many other great Cuban pianists, was classically trained. "This is the school that we have to learn music in Cuba; it's classical," he says. "I did all my stuff there from 8 years old to 25."

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The Obama administration has issued a sweeping final rule banning smoking in all public housing units nationwide, extending a smoke-free environment to nearly a million units.

A new report from the National Academy of Sciences says it's hard to know how many people in the U.S. actually have food allergies or whether they're on the rise.

Part of the challenge is this: Food allergies are often self-diagnosed and symptoms can be misinterpreted. Sometimes people can't distinguish a food allergy from other conditions such as lactose intolerance or gluten sensitivity, which don't fit the medical definition of an allergy.

As expected, the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday imposed additional sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear program. But the fine print included one punitive measure that caused some head-scratching: a ban on the export of monuments.

Is there really an international market for monuments made in North Korea?

And who's buying them?

Well, yes, there is a market. And some of the most avid customers are African nations and rulers.

In the race for video streaming domination, Netflix surges forward. On Wednesday, Netflix announced and implemented in its latest update, the ability to download TV and movie titles on mobile devices.

It all started with a report of a mountain lion sighting in a city park. That's when police in Gardner, Kan., decided to install trail cameras — but instead of cougars, the cameras captured scenes of costumed people romping in the park, dressed as gorillas and, in one case, a beer-drinking Santa.

The federal ethics watchdog isn't the kind of agency that typically airs its positions on Twitter — let alone in a snarky tone, with exclamation points.

But it's been an all-around weird day at the U.S. Office of Government Ethics.

Gavlebocken, we hardly knew ye. Truly.

Every year for Advent, the town of Gavle, Sweden, builds a giant Christmas goat out of straw. And every year, arsonists do their best to bring it down.

This time, despite high-tech cameras and two security guards, the goat didn't even last a full 24 hours.

There's no shortage of speculation about how the incoming Trump administration, whose appointees so far are staunch abortion opponents, might crack down on access to the procedure.

But reproductive rights groups say the big picture is getting lost: Women in large parts of the country already have limited access to abortion, due to hundreds of Republican-backed laws passed by state legislatures over the past half-decade.

An annual study released by the Brazilian government estimates that the rate of deforestation in the Amazon has increased by 29 percent over last year.

That's the second year in a row that deforestation in the Amazon quickened; last year, the pace rose by about 24 percent.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

If any image haunts TV news, and perhaps our conscience, it's the seemingly ceaseless river of migrants seeking refuge from war, dictatorship and poverty. These desperate souls inspire pity, fear and election-year arguments about whether to offer them welcome or keep them out.

Every year, new words, senses and changes in word usage are added to the American Heritage Dictionary. Here & Now‘s Robin Young finds out some of the additions for 2016 from Executive Editor Steve Kleinedler (@SKleinedler) of the American Heritage Dictionary (@ahdictionary).

Pages