NPR News

The AIDS pandemic is almost 30 years old. Sixty million people have been infected with HIV – more than the combined populations of California and New York. Thirty million people have died – about the population of Venezuela. The number of people who will get infected with HIV this year almost equals the population of Chicago.

But all is not gloom and doom.

Americans crammed into trains, planes and automobiles Wednesday for a wave of Thanksgiving travel, but threatened protests at airport security inspection stations didn't appear to be causing problems.

Smoothly flowing security lines and few protests were reported at some of the nation's largest airports.

For example, at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, there were wait times of 10 minutes or less Wednesday morning at the 43 security checkpoints. The airport expects 1.7 million people to move through its gates through the holiday period ending Monday.

North Korea's attack on the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong comes during a difficult period for the isolated regime in Pyongyang.

It is going through a process of political succession, with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il seeking to ensure that his son Kim Jong Un is the country's next leader. At the same time, North Korea is facing new food shortages. In the past, weakness and uncertainty have sparked provocations like the Nov. 23 attack.

A Pre-Emptive Strike?

Sixty million Americans say they plan to shop this holiday weekend.

Black Friday is the traditional start of the holiday shopping season, but lots of retailers began promoting their Black Friday specials weeks ago -- hoping to get an early jump on sales.

And many stores will actually be open on Thanksgiving Day.

Consumers are expected to spend a bit more than last year. But they're doggedly looking for good deals, which are often found online.

Imagine a world where no one has siblings. That's the reality for tens of millions of young urban Chinese, born since the one-child policy was introduced in 1976.

This has led to a cosseted generation of singletons nicknamed the "little emperors."

This week an Illinois fish processor is sending 44,000 pounds of Asian carp back to Asia as food. A small startup in Pearl, Ill., the Big River Fish Company is just one group that sees Asian carp not as a voracious, invasive species, but as a business opportunity.

Asian carp can be huge -- up to 100 pounds -- and they have been feasting on native fish in the Mississippi and Illinois rivers for years. Originally introduced to the United States in the 1970s to eat algae, the carp now threaten the Great Lakes.

China resisted U.S. pressure to condemn North Korea on Wednesday, a day after Pyongyang shelled a South Korea-held island, killing four people and ratcheting tensions on the peninsula to new highs.

Late Wednesday, China issued its first official statement, which was notable for its failure to condemn or even criticize North Korea. Instead, a foreign ministry spokesman urged both Koreas to show calm and restraint, and to engage in talks.

I've almost made peace with the fact that we aren't hauling our kids down to my parents in Florida for Thanksgiving.

Actually, it's my sister Cecily I feel bad about. She's the one I don't keep in touch with enough. She's 39, and -- deep breath -- "developmentally disabled and legally blind." Those jargon-y words give only the barest outline of her experience of navigating the world. And my family's experience, too.

Another Thanksgiving brings another round of traditional foods that can be bland, soggy and, frankly, unappealing. But it's not too late to snap your holiday meal out of the doldrums with a few simple cooking makeovers.

The holiday is full of culinary hurdles, says Chris Kimball, host of America's Test Kitchen on PBS. But he assures that a few recipe redos can help solve perennial problems.

Unlike many men I know, I am not a compulsive clicker-type person when watching television.

However, this fall, on autumn Mondays, I haven't been able to help myself: I keep switching back between two shows, Monday Night Football and Dancing With the Stars –– or MNF and DWTS, as we aficionados know them.

Surely this is the alpha and omega, the ying and yang, the dark and light, the heaven and hell of programming.

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