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Planned 4-Day Closure Of State Route 99 Could Snarl Traffic In Downtown Seattle

KPLU News - 5 hours 34 min ago

State transportation officials are warning Seattle drivers to brace themselves for long commutes with a busy stretch of State Route 99 scheduled for closure through the weekend and into early next week.

Crews will shut down both directions of State Route 99 from the West Seattle bridge to just north of Mercer Street late Friday night. Though the Alaskan Way Viaduct will reopen before the Monday morning commute, the Battery Street Tunnel, which is used by as 60,000 cars travel on weekdays, will remain closed until early Wednesday morning.

After The Fire, Heavy Rains Trigger Landslides Near Twisp

KPLU News - 6 hours 9 min ago

Heavy rains near Twisp, Washington have triggered flash floods and landslides on hills and ranches left charred by the Carlton Complex wildfire. Highways have been closed in Okanogan County and traffic has been rerouted.

Hip Hop Community Responds To Ferguson

KPLU News - 6 hours 16 min ago
Following the events in Ferguson, Missouri, singer Lauryn Hill shared a previously unreleased version of her song “Black Rage (sketch),” with the words “Peace for MO.”

In the song, Hill takes the tune from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “My Favorite Things” and reinvents it with lyrics about things that fuel black anger at society.

Chinese Fighter Buzzed U.S. Navy Plane In 'Dangerous Intercept'

KPLU News - 6 hours 17 min ago
Update at 2:20 p.m. ET

A Chinese fighter jet conducted what is being describing as a "dangerous intercept" of a U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon in international waters off the island of Hainan in the South China Sea earlier this week, the Pentagon confirms.

Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said the Chinese fighter's posture was "aggressive and unprofessional," making several passes under and alongside the U.S.

White House: Islamic State Has 'Gained Capacity' In Recent Months

KPLU News - 6 hours 21 min ago
Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes says the beheading of an American journalist by Islamic State militants this week is tantamount to a terrorist attack on the United States and that it comes as the al-Qaida-inspired extremist group has "gained capacity in the last several months."

In response to a question from a reporter at an afternoon briefing, Rhodes said the U.S.

Mass: This Summer, One Of Hottest On Record, Is What Global Warming Feels Like

KPLU News - 7 hours 17 min ago

Keep the sunscreen and swim trunks handy. The clouds are melting away and the forecast predicts another hotter-than-normal weekend with temperatures above the mid-70s that are typical for this time of year.

KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass says we are experiencing one of the hottest summers on record and could soon chart the hottest one in Northwest history.

Amid Legal Pot, Search Continues For Illegal Grows

KPLU News - 8 hours 5 min ago

Legal marijuana grows are just getting started in Washington. But it’s the illegal ones that local, state and federal agents are searching out this month. It’s the annual summer marijuana eradication program.

Washington Supreme Court Sets Standard For Post-Conviction DNA Testing

KPLU News - 8 hours 30 min ago

Washington’s Supreme Court may have just made it easier for prison inmates to try to get their convictions overturned through DNA testing. In a 6-to-3 ruling Thursday, the high court said inmates don’t have to show they’re likely innocent in order to win a post-conviction DNA test.

Coming Soon To A Pole Near You: A Bike That Locks Itself

KPLU News - 8 hours 48 min ago
Cyclists may soon have a convenient way to discourage bike thieves, thanks to new designs that use parts of the bikes themselves as locks. Two projects — one based in Chile, another in Seattle — are promising to provide peace of mind without the fuss of carrying a separate lock.

Like security-minded Transformers, the bikes can be manipulated to use their own parts as a lock. Fans of the approach say that if a thief breaks a lock that's part of the bike itself, it can't be ridden away.

Vision Problems Increase The Risk Of Early Death In Older People

KPLU News - 8 hours 48 min ago
An eye exam may be the ticket to a longer life, researchers say, because good vision is essential for being able to shop, manage money and live independently. And maintaining independence in turn leads to a longer life.

Researchers have known for years that people who have vision problems as they get older are more likely to die sooner than those who still see well.

Eggs, Milk And Ink: Venezuela Wants All Supermarket Shoppers Fingerprinted

KPLU News - 8 hours 49 min ago
Attention Venezuelan shoppers: Please proceed to the supermarket checkout for fingerprinting.

That could be a reality if a plan announced earlier this week by the country's president, Nicolas Maduro, goes into effect.

The purpose? Combating shortages caused by rampant smuggling of subsidized food in Venezuela across the border into neighboring Colombia.

Who Owns A Monkey's Selfie? No One Can, U.S. Says

KPLU News - 8 hours 49 min ago
The question of who owns a striking image taken by a crested black macaque may be closer to being settled, as the U.S. Copyright Office says the photo can't be copyrighted — by the person who owns the camera or by any other entity — because it wasn't taken by a human.

The remarkably photogenic monkey won fans by capturing her own smiling image back in 2011, after a group of macaques in Indonesia appropriated British wildlife photographer David Slater's equipment.

Insurers Refuse To Cover Some Contraceptives, Despite Health Law

KPLU News - 8 hours 50 min ago
How much leeway do employers and insurers have in deciding whether they'll cover contraceptives without charge and in determining which methods make the cut?

Not much, as it turns out, but that hasn't stopped some from trying.

People still write in regularly describing battles they're waging to get birth control coverage they're entitled to under the Affordable Care Act.

In one of those messages recently, a woman said her insurer denied free coverage for the NuvaRing.

Nestle Nudges Its Suppliers To Improve Animal Welfare

KPLU News - 8 hours 50 min ago
Chances are you haven't considered the tail of the cow that made the milk that goes into your Nestle Crunch bar or the cheese in your (Nestle-made) Lean Cuisine frozen dinner.

But as animal welfare groups report, many dairy cows have their tails partially amputated, or docked, to help keep their udders clean.

Seattle's 'Play Streets' Program Turns Public Streets Into Playgrounds For Kids

KPLU News - 13 hours 32 min ago

Three-year-old Kai Semke has all the trappings of a future soccer star: speed, stamina, awesome shorts — and as if that weren't enough, he boasts, "My feet are super-hard, and I kick it super-hard." (Competitors, take note.)

With not much yard at his family's Wallingford home, though, Kai normally lacks a regular space to have a kick. But that's not the case this summer.

Neighbors shut down a residential street a short distance from Kai's home as part of a new city initiative, turning a block of North 39th Street into a temporary soccer pitch — or basketball court, or scooter racetrack, or general public play space — one evening every week this summer.

Looking Good: Huskies Start 2014 Season With New Coach, QB Question

KPLU News - 13 hours 32 min ago

The University of Washington football team opens its 2014 season on Aug. 30 in Hawaii. The Huskies are coming off a successful, 9-4 season last year, and they have a promising new coach. But they also have a bit of a quarterback controversy, says sports commentator Art Thiel.

GAO Finds Bergdahl Prisoner Swap Broke Federal Law

KPLU News - Thu, 08/21/2014 - 16:22

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 - Thu, 08/21/2014 - 16:05

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 - Thu, 08/21/2014 - 14:09
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.