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Education Dept. Issues Framework For New College Rating System

KPLU News - 1 hour 30 min ago
Beginning next year, colleges and universities will be judged on three broad criteria when it comes to meting out federal financial aid – access, affordability and student outcomes, according to a new "framework" released by the Education Department.

The new rating plan was first announced by President Obama in August 2013, but the framework announced today is only an interim step. Public input is being sought by Feb.

FIFA Votes To Release At Least Some Of The Controversial World Cup Report

KPLU News - 1 hour 36 min ago
Soccer's governing body is sticking to its guns.

FIFA has voted not to revisit the bidding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. It also decided to release, at some later date, at least part of a 430-page confidential report produced by American lawyer Michael Garcia.

Garcia, who had been lobbying for the release of the entire, unedited report, resigned on Thursday.

Some Early Childhood Experiences Shape Adult Life, But Which?

KPLU News - 1 hour 40 min ago
Most of us don't remember our first two or three years of life — but our earliest experiences may stick with us for years and continue to influence us well into adulthood.

Just how they influence us and how much is a question that researchers are still trying to answer.

Thailand Says It Was Unaware Of CIA 'Black Site' On Its Soil

KPLU News - 2 hours 8 min ago
Thailand's prime minister says his government had no knowledge of a secret location inside the country where the CIA is said to have waterboarded top al-Qaida operatives in 2002.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha was responding to the so-called "torture report" released by the Senate Intelligence Committee earlier this month that detailed the treatment of te

Teaching Hospitals Hit Hardest By Medicare Fines For Patient Safety

KPLU News - 2 hours 36 min ago
Medicare has begun punishing 721 hospitals with high rates of infections and other medical errors, cutting payments to half the nation's major teaching hospitals and many institutions that are marquee names.

Intermountain Medical Center in Utah, Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, the Cleveland Clinic, Geisinger Medical Center in Pennsylvania, Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, NYU Langone Medical Center and Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago are all being docked 1 percent of their Medicare payments through next September,

To Finish Up Year, Obama Will Hold A Press Conference

KPLU News - 3 hours 54 min ago
President Obama will close out 2014 with his traditional end-of-year press conference.

The press conference is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m.

Seahawks Vs. Cardinals: A Lot On The Line

KPLU News - 4 hours 27 min ago

Playoff talk is heating up for the Super Bowl champions, the Seahawks. Their biggest game of the season is this Sunday against the first-place Cardinals in Arizona. Kickoff is 5:30.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says there's a lot at stake.

What's Next For Cuba? The Headlines That Tell The Story

KPLU News - 5 hours 17 min ago
Two days after the U.S. and Cuba decided to end a more than 50-year estrangement, the natural question is: What's next?

On Morning Edition, NPR's Michelle Kelemen reports that the process of normalizing diplomatic relations will be pretty straight forward and is likely to be done quickly.

"We can do that via an exchange of letter or notes.

3 Business Best-Sellers Show Inequality Is Now The Hot Topic

KPLU News - 5 hours 24 min ago
Best-selling business books typically tell you how to get rich — either by becoming a better worker or investor, or perhaps by learning the secrets of successful entrepreneurs.

And in 2014, readers could find plenty of books promoting pluck and hard work, such as MONEY Master the Game and The Innovators.

But three books broke the pattern, generating headlines and big sales by focusing on unfair aspects of wealth creation.

A decade ago, unfairness "was an underground topic; no one cared about it," says Branko Milanovic, a

Details On The Administration's New College Ratings System

KPLU News - 5 hours 24 min ago
Today the Education Department released long-awaited details on a plan to hold colleges accountable for their performance on several key indicators, and officials said they'll be seeking public comment on the proposals through February.

"As a nation, we have to make college more accessible and affordable and ensure that all students graduate with a quality education of real value," Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a statement.

The White House previously announced that the plan would tie federal financial aid to colleges' performance as judged by these ratings.

When Nonprofit Hospitals Sue Their Patients

KPLU News - 7 hours 24 min ago
On the eastern edge of St. Joseph, Mo., lies the small city's only hospital, a landmark of modern brick and glass buildings. Everyone in town knows Heartland Regional Medical Center — many residents gave birth to their children here. Many rush here when they get hurt or sick.

And there's another reason everyone knows this place: Thousands of people around St. Joseph have been sued by the hospital and had their wages seized to pay for medical bills.

For An Island Trapped In The '50s, An Instant Digital Revolution

KPLU News - 8 hours 24 min ago
This week's historic agreement between the U.S. and Cuba to reinstate diplomatic relations after decades of silence could launch a digital revolution in the island nation.

According to the White House, only 5 percent of Cubans have access to the open Internet, comparable to North Korea. As part of the deal, that could change overnight.

Status Check

Maribel Fonseca a teacher in Miramar, Cuba, has never seen the Internet.

7 Miles Beneath The Sea's Surface: Who Goes There?

KPLU News - 8 hours 25 min ago
A ship full of marine scientists is floating over the deepest part of the world: the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench.

The Eye-Opening Saga Of Walter And Margaret Keane, Now On Screen

KPLU News - 8 hours 26 min ago
It's a story almost too strange to be true: Throughout much of the 1960s and 70s, the wistful, wide-eyed children of painter Walter Keane were absolutely everywhere.

Paintings and posters of the big-eyed waifs, often in rags, their hair unkempt, brought fame and fortune to the charming, smooth-talking artist — along with widespread critical disdain.

The Administration's College Ratings: How It Looks On Campus

KPLU News - 8 hours 28 min ago
It's late afternoon. Most classes at Randolph College are done for the day but students have begun gathering in the lobby of the elegant, century-old main hall.

A student taps on a piano while he and four classmates wait for their philosophy professor.

Wall Street Very Excited About Seattle Biotech Company Juno's IPO

KPLU News - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 21:39

The Northwest business that has investors buzzing right now is the Seattle biotech company Juno Therapeutics. It’s going public Friday morning and hopes the IPO will raise more than $200 million. It will trade on the Nasdaq under JUNO.

Juno Therapeutics specializes in immunotherapies to treat leukemia and lymphoma. This involves taking a person’s T-cells, the ones that fight infections in our bodies, and reengineering them to become stronger.

Seattle Police To Get New Dark Blue Uniforms

KPLU News - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 21:08

Seattle police will soon have new uniforms and a pilot project on body cameras is about to begin.

The two-tone light and dark blue uniform will be replaced with a solid dark blue outfit, which will also bear an updated patch.

Garfield High School Staff Maneuvers To Keep Teacher In Their Building

KPLU News - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 17:08

Garfield High School's administration submitted a staffing plan to Seattle Public Schools Thursday that's strategically designed to prevent a teacher from moving out of the building for the second half of the school year, according to a leader of the school's PTSA.

District officials had asked the school's administrators to identify the equivalent of one full-time teacher who would move to another school at the end of the first semester. They said Garfield High School's final enrollment numbers came in well short of predicted levels and the teacher is needed elsewhere.

But instead of identifying one teacher, Garfield High School PTSA co-president Kirk Wohlers said the school named five teachers who could each leave the school for one class period each.

No Fracking In New York? That's OK With Pennsylvania

KPLU News - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 14:43
Pennsylvania's fracking boom has led to record-breaking natural gas production, but its neighbor, New York, announced Wednesday it was banning the practice. Industry and environmental groups say New York's decision could be good for Pennsylvania.

New York's ban comes six years after the state placed a temporary moratorium on fracking to study the gas drilling technique.

Northwest Exporters Eye New Opportunities In Cuba

KPLU News - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 14:30


Northwest farmers and orchardists are among the potential beneficiaries if the U.S. and Cuba normalize their relationship and the trade embargo ends.

They're among many still trying to sort out what President Obama's announcement Wednesday of changes in Cuba policy could mean for them.