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Court Rules Against Families Of Wildland Firefighters Killed In 2003

KPLU News - 1 hour 18 min ago

As temperatures soar and fires blaze across the west, contract firefighters are on the front lines. They make up about 15 percent of the federal ground crews available to battle wildland fires.

But a recent court ruling has made it clear: if they’re killed in the line of duty, their families are not eligible for federal survivor benefits.

Moldova's Winemakers Seize Upon Region's Geopolitical Moment

KPLU News - 3 hours 30 min ago
Consider, for a moment, the misfortunes of winemakers in Moldova, a former Soviet republic in southeastern Europe, tucked in between Ukraine and Romania.

Their country is the poorest in Europe, with a per capita GDP about the same as Honduras. They'd love to sell their product — which has gotten approving nods from foreign critics -- in wealthier countries.

Grocery Chain Workers Want Their CEO Back

KPLU News - 3 hours 52 min ago
If your boss was fired, would you walk off the job in protest?

That's what's happening at the New England grocery store chain Market Basket, which has 25,000 employees. Business at Market Basket stores has slowed to a trickle as workers disrupt operations, stage protests and ask shoppers to stay away.

They say CEO Arthur T. Demoulas treats them well, and they want him reinstated.

Outside the Market Basket store in Somerville, Mass., a dozen workers wave protest signs as cars honk in support.

Gaza's Network Of Tunnels Is A Major Hole In Israel's Defenses

KPLU News - 4 hours 1 min ago
Israeli officials say the country's deadly ground offensive won't end until its soldiers destroy a vast network of Hamas tunnels the militants use to try to attack Jewish communities outside the Gaza Strip.

Three more soldiers died Wednesday when explosives detonated as they uncovered one of those tunnels.

Fed Continues To Scale Back Economic Stimulus

KPLU News - 4 hours 2 min ago
The Federal Reserve announced Wednesday that it will ease up slightly on its efforts to stimulate the economy.

Fed officials said that there is still room for improvement in the labor market, but with the economy growing, they expressed concern that inflation might start ticking up.

Continuing its own recent trend, the Fed announced it will be buying up fewer financial assets. It's on track to end its bond-buying program in October.

Starting in August, the Fed will buy $10 billion worth of mortgage-backed securities a month, which is a cut from $15 billion.

Judge Orders Bank Of America To Pay $1.3 Billion Fine

KPLU News - 4 hours 22 min ago
A federal judge has ordered Bank of America to pay a $1.27 billion fine for fraud perpetrated by Countrywide Financial Corp., a mortgage company the bank acquired in 2008.

Last October, a jury held Bank of America liable for bad loans Countrywide sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as part of its "Hustle" mortgage-lending program as the housing market soured in 2007 and 2008.

In his ruling Wednesday, Federal District Judge Jed Rakoff did not mince

Boeing Will Handle Final Assembly Of 787-10 In South Carolina, Not Washington

KPLU News - 5 hours 33 min ago

Boeing says final assembly of its 787-10 plane, a planned larger version of its "Dreamliner" aircraft, will take place in South Carolina.

The company says the work will be done in North Charleston, South Carolina, because the plane is too large to efficiently transport it from North Charleston to a facility in Washington state. The 787-10 is still being designed and Boeing expects to start final assembly of the first planes in 2017.

'Sharknado 2': Winner And Still Chomp

KPLU News - 5 hours 35 min ago
I personally was responsible for emotionally bullying at least two of my critic friends into attending the poolside screening of Sharknado 2 that took place at the hotel where press tour happened a couple of weeks ago. I make this confession because we must establish the basic understanding that I am merciless when it comes to attempting to con people into watching extraordinarily silly movies. In fact, I tried, when the first Sharknado was on, to goad the NPR morning news meeting into caring about it ("There's this movie tonight!

Should America Keep Its Aging Nuclear Missiles?

KPLU News - 5 hours 41 min ago
Sixty feet beneath western Nebraska, Lt. Raj Bansal sits in front of an ancient-looking computer console used to monitor 10 nuclear missiles.

Everything in this command bunker feels outdated, including the tiny toilet. It's working today, but like a lot of equipment down here, it doesn't always. Bansal points to a drain under the command post.

"At some point, sewage has flooded this bottom area," he says. "It smells awful."

For decades, the United States has kept hundreds of nuclear-armed missiles on alert.

Women Defy Turkey's Deputy PM, Who Said Women Shouldn't Laugh In Public

KPLU News - 6 hours 36 min ago
Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç stirred some controversy on Monday, when during an Eid el-Fitr speech, he said chaste women should not laugh in public.

"Chastity is so important," Arınç said, according to the Hurriyet Daily News. "It is not only a name. It is an ornament for both women and men. [She] will have chasteness. Man will have it, too. He will not be a womanizer. He will be bound to his wife. He will love his children.

Pop-Up Books Make Environmental Science Easy-Peasy For Kids

KPLU News - 7 hours 15 min ago
For the average school kid, weighty, wonky topics like conservation, climate change and the circular economy might sound off-putting, if not downright dull. Yet Christiane Dorion has sold millions of children's books about these very concepts.

The trick? She never mentions them. "You can teach anything to children if you pitch it at the right level and use the right words," said the U.K.-based author.

Dorion distills hefty environmental concepts into bite-sized, kid-friendly explanations.

Some Loyal Foursquare Users Are Checking Out After Swarm Spinoff

KPLU News - 7 hours 16 min ago


Problem Drinking In Midlife Linked To Memory Trouble Later

KPLU News - 7 hours 16 min ago
To ward off big memory problems in your 70s and beyond you may want to cork the bottle more often now.

In a study of 6,500 people published this week, adults with a midlife history of drinking problems were more than twice as likely as those without alcohol problems to suffer severe memory impairment decades later.

Researchers from the University of Exeter Medical School, in Exeter, England, analyzed the records of more than 6,542 American adults who had been tracked f

No End In Sight? No Problem!

KPLU News - 8 hours 19 min ago
Last week, I came across George Johnson's piece for The New York Times, "Beyond Energy, Matter, Time and Space," where he writes, in his usually engaging style, about two recent books with opposite viewpoints concerning what we can and cannot know of the world.

On the one hand, we find philosopher Thomas Nagel, and the arguments from his 2012 book Mind and Cosmos.

How Twitter Amplified An NRA Lobbyist's Comments About Anti-Gun Jews

KPLU News - 8 hours 26 min ago

Supporters of a Washington gun control measure on the November ballot may have just gotten a mid-summer boost. They’re capitalizing on an audio recording that recently surfaced.

The hard-to-understand audio recording first appeared on the left-wing blog “Horses Ass.” The blog’s author said the audio is of NRA lobbyist Brian Judy speaking recently to a pro-gun group. Judy questioned Jewish people who are anti-guns.

UCLA Floods As Water Main Break Dumps Up To 10 Million Gallons

KPLU News - 8 hours 35 min ago
A 90-year-old water main broke near the University of California, Los Angeles, on Tuesday, spilling 8 million to 10 million gallons of water.

As The Los Angeles Times explains, officials are facing some tough questions this morning because it took them about four hours to figure out which valve needed to be closed.

Pierce County Becomes First In Northwest To Approve 'In God We Trust' Motto Display

KPLU News - 8 hours 40 min ago

A divided county council in Pierce County, Washington Tuesday voted to display the motto "In God We Trust" in its chambers, becoming the first jurisdiction in the Northwest to take part in a national campaign to feature the motto.

But the approval came with a twist.

WATCH: Video Shows Women Narrowly Escape Death On Railroad Tracks

KPLU News - 8 hours 51 min ago


Inslee Touring Wash. Sites That Show Costs Of Climate Change

KPLU News - 13 hours 17 min ago

Gov. Jay Inslee took a walk Tuesday through King County’s wastewater facility in Discovery Park on Tuesday as part of his tour of sites affected by climate change. 

To Bee Or Not To Bee: That Is The Question For Nancy Leson

KPLU News - 13 hours 17 min ago

Nancy Leson's got a brand new bag, and it's full of bees.

In a recent Seattle Times piece about backyard beekeeping, she expressed interest in keeping bees in her backyard. In this week's "Food for Thought" I suggested that she leave them where they always were — in her bonnet. Ms. Leson begged to differ.