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Ferry Delays Almost Everywhere As Fleet Repositioned

KPLU News - 1 hour 24 min ago

There are big delays on the Washington state ferries, just about anywhere you go this week. The fleet has been redistributed to make up for some out-of-service vessels, and that’s having ripple effects nearly system-wide.

Some examples:

Why You Should Take Your Hobbies With You On Vacation

KPLU News - 1 hour 28 min ago

Traveling, whether around the globe or across the state, doesn’t have to be all about food, lodging and tourist attractions. KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley says it also can be about trying familiar things in new places.

First of all, this advice isn’t for everybody. If you want to see the sights, lounge around the pool or the beach, or spend the day in museums, by all means, go for it. Those are great things to do on vacation.

But for travelers who enjoy blending in, and almost becoming a local, bringing your hobbies along on vacation can be worthwhile.

Unions Sue City Leaders, Hoping To Give Seattle Voters A Second Early Ed. Option

KPLU News - Wed, 07/30/2014 - 22:51

Seattle voters might not have to choose between the two early childhood education programs slated for the November ballot despite city leaders' warnings that the two questions are incompatible and contradictory.

Union leaders backing Initiative 107, a ballot initiative that would hike wages and mandate training for the Seattle's 4,000 early childhood workers, filed a lawsuit Wednesday seeking to allow voters to give separate up-or-down votes on their measure as well as on a second, city-backed proposal to create a preschool pilot program.

Court Rules Against Families Of Wildland Firefighters Killed In 2003

KPLU News - Wed, 07/30/2014 - 16:59

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 - Wed, 07/30/2014 - 14:47
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 - Wed, 07/30/2014 - 14:24
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 - Wed, 07/30/2014 - 14:16
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 - Wed, 07/30/2014 - 14:15
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 - Wed, 07/30/2014 - 13:55
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 - Wed, 07/30/2014 - 12:44

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 - Wed, 07/30/2014 - 12:42
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 - Wed, 07/30/2014 - 12:35
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 - Wed, 07/30/2014 - 11:41
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 - Wed, 07/30/2014 - 11:02
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 - Wed, 07/30/2014 - 11:01


Problem Drinking In Midlife Linked To Memory Trouble Later

KPLU News - Wed, 07/30/2014 - 11:00
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 - Wed, 07/30/2014 - 09:58
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 - Wed, 07/30/2014 - 09:51

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 - Wed, 07/30/2014 - 09:42
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 - Wed, 07/30/2014 - 09:36

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.