Here are the latest headlines from the WNYC newsroom.
The United States is offering to help, whatever way it can, with security ahead of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, following a pair of deadly suicide bombings. The attacks have sparked fears about the terrorism threat at the February Games. At least 31 people were killed in the separate explosions at a bus and a railway station in Volgograd, which is about 400 miles from Sochi.
Doctors in Grenoble, France, are offering a grim assessment of retired Formula One racing great Michael Schumacher's head injuries. They have no prognosis for Schumacher, following his skiing accident Sunday in the French Alps. He's been placed in a medically induced coma to relieve pressure on his brain. He fell and struck a rock while skiing during a family vacation.
Carmen Fariña, a former teacher and principal, has been selected by Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio as his chancellor of New York City's public schools. She vowed to include more parents in policy decisions, improve teacher development and return the arts, social studies and science to a curriculum that has focused on math and English test preparation under outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Mayor Bloomberg spent $650 million of his own fortune on New York City over the course of his three terms in office, according to The New York Times. That including $30 million to the Metropolitan Museum of Art since 2002. Bloomberg only took a dollar a year as salary.
A number of new laws will soon take effect in New York come January 1st, including the first of three new tax cuts for small businesses, an additional near 10-percent tax cut for manufacturers and the first of three minimum wage increases.
The Department of Sanitation begins its annual Christmas tree collection today. It's asking New Yorkers to bring their trees to the curb as early as possible during the 17-day collection period. Remove tree stands, tinsel, lights, and ornaments, and DO NOT place trees in plastic bags. The trees will be chipped into mulch to be sent to parks, playing fields, and community gardens throughout the city.
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor will lead the countdown to the new year in Times Square this week. Organizers say Sotomayor will push the ceremonial button to start Times Square's famous ball drop. Sotomayor is a native of the Bronx.
Medicaid is expanding in New Jersey, but who will have access? Glitches in the system mean thousands of Medicaid applications haven't been processed. And once residents have insurance, experts are warning of a crisis in supply versus demand. Most New Jersey doctors have said they aren’t accepting any new Medicaid patients.
Dealer sales of AR-15 semi-automatic rifles have ended in New York, nearly a year after passage of the state's new gun law. Arrest data shows that more than one thousand gun possession charges in New York City were boosted from misdemeanors to felonies. 59 people statewide were charged with misdemeanors for possessing large-capacity magazines or having more than seven bullets loaded in a magazine. Both were outlawed by the law passed last January following the school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. A report from the Division of Criminal Justice Services shows only one person charged with the illegal sale or transfer of a gun defined as an assault weapon as of mid-December. The new law tightened that definition to include AR-15s. Owners may keep their older weapons but must register them by April 15th.