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GAO Finds Bergdahl Prisoner Swap Broke Federal Law

KPLU News - 6 hours 31 min ago

The Pentagon broke the law when it swapped five members of the Taliban for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl of Idaho, according to the findings of an independent government investigation released Thursday.

The Government Accountability Office says officials should have given Congress 30 days' notice.

Coal Opponents Point To Weak Finances Of Company Behind Proposed Terminals

KPLU News - 6 hours 48 min ago

Oregon regulators’ rejection of a proposed coal export terminal on the Columbia River is just the latest hurdle for the energy company behind it, according to anti-coal activists.

The activists are asking Washington officials to consider Ambre Energy’s finances before allowing a terminal it’s involved in at Longview, Washington. 

Can Quinoa Take Root On The 'Roof Of The World'?

KPLU News - 8 hours 44 min ago
For thousands of years, quinoa barely budged from its home in the Andes. Other crops — corn, potatoes, rice, wheat and sorghum — traveled and colonized the world.

One Woman's 'Pay It Forward' Moment Inspires 11 Hours Of Kindness

KPLU News - 9 hours 30 min ago
At a drive-through Starbucks in St. Petersburg, Fla., a chain of generosity included hundreds of customers. Each customer in the chain chose to "pay it forward," paying for the drink of the customer behind her. Weston Phippen of the Tampa Bay Times wrote about the acts of kindness and offers his take. Copyright 2014 NPR.

When Venus Was Filled With Venusians — 50 Billion Of Them

KPLU News - 10 hours 17 min ago
What a difference 180 years makes.

Back in the 1830s, a Scottish minister and amateur astronomer named Thomas Dick tried to calculate the number of intelligent creatures in the universe. He assumed that all heavenly bodies supported intelligent life, maybe not exactly like us, but similar to us in size and habits of living.

Drawn To Conflict, Journalist James Foley 'Loved Telling These Stories'

KPLU News - 10 hours 17 min ago
During the nearly two years that journalist James Foley was held hostage in Syria, before he was killed by the Islamic State this week, Phil Balboni worked hard to get him released.

Balboni is the co-founder and CEO of the online international news company GlobalPost, which Foley was freelancing for at the time of his capture, in November 2012. Foley also was freelancing for GlobalPost when he was captured in Libya by dictator Moammar Gadhafi's forces, in 2011, and held for 44 days.

The video of Foley's beheading, which was posted Tuesday on YouTube, shows another U.S.

Would A Prize Help Speed Development Of Ebola Treatments?

KPLU News - 10 hours 17 min ago
The human toll of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa is becoming clearer by the day.

UW Study: Despite 'Hiatus' In Rising Temps, Oceans Show Globe Still Warming

KPLU News - 11 hours 52 min ago

Despite widespread concern about global warming, rising air temperatures have actually slowed down dramatically over the past 15 years. This so-called “hiatus” has posed a big puzzle for climate scientists.

Researchers at the University of Washington looked deep into the oceans for answers, and found that despite the surficial evidence, climate change has not stopped. 

Is There Such A Thing As A 'Good Psychopath'?

KPLU News - 11 hours 55 min ago
Oxymoronic, isn't it, the idea of a "good psychopath"?

But in their just published book, The Good Psychopath's Guide to Success, Andy McNab and Kevin Dutton argue that relying on some psychopathic traits can lead to a more successful life.

Andy is a British Special Air Service veteran and novelist; Kevin is an Oxford University psychologist. Kevin studies psychopaths.

Mental Health Meets 'Moneyball' In San Antonio

KPLU News - 11 hours 58 min ago
The jails aren't overflowing in San Antonio anymore. People with serious mental illnesses have a place to go for treatment and the city has saved $10 million a year on. How did it happen?

"You know Brad Pitt in the movie Moneyball?" asks Gilbert Gonzalez, Director for the Bexar County Mental Health Department.

'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner Takes To The Big Screen

KPLU News - 11 hours 58 min ago
Writer, director and producer Matthew Weiner has won numerous Emmys for his work on the hit television shows “Mad Men” and “The Sopranos.” Now, for the first time, he’s bringing his talents to the big screen, with the film “Are You Here?” which Weiner wrote and directed.

The movie centers on the close — and bizarre — friendship between two men: Steve, played by Owen Wilson, and Ben, played by Zach Galifianakis.

California Drought Has Wild Salmon Competing With Almonds For Water

KPLU News - 11 hours 58 min ago
The ongoing California drought has pitted wild salmon against farmers in a fight for water.

EPA Says Idaho Must Clean Up The Air In The Silver Valley

KPLU News - 13 hours 8 min ago

The Environmental Protection Agency has given the state of Idaho notice that a corner of the Idaho panhandle isn't meeting stricter new air quality standards. The agency intends to change that by forcing the state to reduce what are called “fine particulates” in the air.

One likely target will be pollution from wood burning. Wood stoves and outdoor burning are major contributors to air pollution throughout the Northwest, including Idaho's Silver Valley.

Farm Stays And Urban Adventures In New Zealand

KPLU News - 17 hours 53 min ago

It could be argued that New Zealand bears at least a mild resemblance to the Pacific Northwest. It’s got rugged terrain, lush vegetation and, of course, plenty of water nearby. But that’s where the similarities end.

“When it’s dark and cold, and gray and depressing here, it’s absolutely stunning and sunny there,” said KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley.

Its placement in the southern hemisphere makes Seattle’s winter the perfect opportunity to enjoy a New Zealand summer.

Amid Public Outcry, Seattle Schools Announces Changes To Handling Of Sex Assault Allegations

KPLU News - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 22:15

Amid a fresh wave of public frustration over Seattle Public Schools' response to a 2012 incident on a Garfield High School trip, district officials outlined a plan for addressing future allegations of sexual violence against students.

The parents of a former Garfield High School student say district administrators failed in their legal duty to investigate their daughter's allegations that a fellow student sexually assaulted her during the school trip two years ago.

But at Wednesday's school board meeting, as a dozen protesters decried the district's handling of the case, interim superintendent Larry Nyland pledged the district would do better. He said district officials have undergone new training and implemented new procedures for handling "critical incidents."

Following Judge's Ruling, Changes On The Way For No-Fly List

KPLU News - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 15:51

Changes are coming to the federal government's no-fly list, but it’s not yet clear what those changes will be.

It all stems from a ruling this summer by a federal judge in Portland. One of the plaintiffs was turned away from a flight after an airline agent said he was on the no-fly list. The man sued after he couldn't even get the government to confirm whether he was on the list, much less why.

Cantwell Takes Aim At Gender Gap In Access To Business Loans

KPLU News - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 15:23

Women entrepreneurs aren’t getting the same access to business loans as their male counterparts nationwide, and a new report shows the gender gap is even bigger in Washington.

Women own about 30 percent of American businesses, but get just 13 percent of the dollars lent by the federal Small Business Administration. In Washington, it’s just 11 percent, according to a new report commissioned by a U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, chaired by Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash. 

Seattle Mayor Promises Better Facilities, More Accountability With New Park District

KPLU News - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 15:14

As the city of Seattle prepares to put in place its new voter-approved park district, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray says citizens can expect both better facilities and more accountability. 

Parsing The Rulebook To A Police Officer's Use Of Force

KPLU News - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 15:12
More than a week now from the police shooting in Ferguson, Mo., it's worth asking: Ideally, what should happen with a police officer stops someone in the street? To find out about police best practices, Robert Siegel speaks with Charles Ramsey, Philadelphia's police commissioner. Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Beheading Video Sets Off Debate Over How — Or Whether — To Portray It

KPLU News - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 15:12
A video that shows an American journalist being beheaded by extremist militants has sparked outrage, along with arguments over whether the images should be restricted online.

On one side of the issue are those who believe the images give publicity to the Islamic State, the Sunni group that killed James Foley, an American who had been held captive since 2012.