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Alaska Air Flight Attendants Frustrated By Slow Contract Talks

KPLU News - 1 hour 45 min ago

Alaska Airlines executives and flight attendants are back at the bargaining table this week with a federal mediator, but the workers say they’re frustrated by the slow pace of contract negotiations which have dragged on for almost three years. 

Union leaders and the company did reach a tentative deal late last year, but members rejected it.

Without NCLB Waiver, Most Wash. Schools Now Failing Despite Steady Test Scores

KPLU News - 1 hour 55 min ago

The impact of Washington's loss of a waiver from the No Child Left Behind Act came into sharper focus Wednesday as nearly nine in 10 of the state's schools officially received failing labels despite little change in students' performance on statewide standardized tests.

Just 260 of the state's nearly 2,200 schools met their required yearly progress goals under the outdated federal law, state officials said as they denounced the impractical standard they say Washington schools must now meet.

ACLU, U.S. Settle Lawsuit On Deportation Of Immigrants

KPLU News - 2 hours 47 min ago
Marta Mendoza, a 47-year-old Mexican woman, had lived in the Los Angeles area illegally for 32 years. There, she raised six children, all U.S. citizens.

In July 2013, Mendoza, who has a history of mental health issues, was arrested for shoplifting at a pharmacy near her home.

At Houses Of Worship, Women Serve Food For A Higher Purpose

KPLU News - 4 hours 5 min ago
Behind the scenes of the feasts and meals at houses of worship, there's almost always an army of women (and a few men) who peel potatoes, stir stews, mash chickpeas, slice onions and make by hand the various breads essential to the central meal. They see this service as their religious calling. Here are a few stories from women in the New York City area.

Buddha's Food Is Simple By Design

Weekly Innovation: A Sad Desk Microwave For Your Sad Desk Lunch

KPLU News - 4 hours 7 min ago
Too busy to walk all the way to the kitchen to heat up a meal? The prototype for the BrainWave desktop microwave is the answer. It's exactly what it sounds like: a phone book-size microwave to heat up your frozen lunch, at your desk.

The BrainWave is controlled through a computer program and connects through a USB port, and if you have a specially packaged meal, an RFID-tagged plastic spoon will let you scan the box and send the meal information to the microwave. This will automatically set the heating time.

The Universe Is Still Dark After All These Years

KPLU News - 4 hours 7 min ago
Well into the 21st century, it is indisputable that we know more about the universe than ever before.

So that we don't get lulled into a false sense of confidence, today I provide a short list of open questions about the cosmos, focusing only on its composition. These are some of the mysteries that keep many fundamental physicists and astronomers busy and hopeful.

We know that 5 percent of the cosmos is filled with "normal" matter, that is, the stuff that we — and stars — are made of, mostly protons and electrons. We see the fraction of normal matter that shines or that reflects light.

Life After Ice Buckets: ALS Group Faces $94 Million Challenge

KPLU News - 4 hours 8 min ago
The ALS ice bucket challenge continues to bring in huge donations this summer for efforts to cure and treat what's commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease. As of today, the viral campaign has raised more than $94 million for the ALS Association.

Before Leaving Afghanistan, U.S. Troops Must Declutter

KPLU News - 4 hours 10 min ago
Sgt. 1st Class Tom Albert is with the Army's 2nd Engineers at the massive Bagram Air Field north of Kabul, and he's overseeing operation Clean Sweep here. It's a huge job, because American troops and equipment are scheduled to be out of Bagram and other bases by the end of the year.

The U.S.

In Fixing Recalled Cars, GM Dealers Hope To Wow Customers

KPLU News - 4 hours 32 min ago
Months after General Motors announced its big ignition switch recall, parts to fix the affected cars are finally arriving in greater numbers at dealerships. That recall was swiftly followed by dozens of other GM recalls for other problems.

The customers now flooding the service bays are presenting dealers both a challenge and an opportunity.

It's summer in Michigan, so there are plenty of other places Kyle Belanger would likely rather be.

Staring Down Famine, Agencies Hesitate To Use F-Word In South Sudan

KPLU News - 4 hours 33 min ago
The UN is expected to announce in mid-September what experts have predicted for months: that parts of South Sudan are either in, or hurtling inevitably, towards famine. The "famine" label will bring an influx of aid from foreign countries — but why do donor organizations wait for that F-word before getting involved? Copyright 2014 NPR.

The Life Of The Man Who Died Fighting For ISIS

KPLU News - 4 hours 34 min ago
Douglas McAuthur McCain was a U.S. citizen raised in Minnesota. He also just earned a dubious distinction, as the first American to die in Syria fighting for the extremist group that calls itself the Islamic State. For more on McCain, Robert Siegel speaks with Michael Schmidt of The New York Times. Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

It's Not Whisky, But Everyone In Scotland Drinks It By The Bottle

KPLU News - 5 hours 25 min ago
For a visitor to Scotland, it can be difficult to understand the local passion for a neon orange soda that locals call "the brew." The drink is Irn Bru (pronounced "iron brew").

You can find it from McDonald's to corner stores and pubs across Scotland. It is such a powerful force that it may even outsell Coca-Cola here — making it one of the few places on the globe where Coke isn't the leading brand.

"This stuff runs in my blood," says Chris Young, as he walks through downtown Glasgow carrying a bottle.

Perhaps he's not a fair sample, though, since he is actually drinking the stuff.

Lifetime Promises To Bring Out The 'Strong Black Woman' In White Women

KPLU News - 5 hours 48 min ago
Lifetime's new show Girlfriend Intervention is not subtle about its message.

Hate-Crime Convictions In Amish Beard-Cutting Case Thrown Out

KPLU News - 7 hours 11 min ago
An appeals court in Cincinnati has overturned the hate-crime convictions of 16 Amish who cut the beards and hair of their fellow Amish.

"When all is said and done, considerable evidence supported the defendants' theory that interpersonal and intra-family disagreements, not the victims' religious beliefs, sparked the attacks," the 6th U.S.

Lizards And Worms Should Not Be On The School Lunch Menu

KPLU News - 7 hours 13 min ago
Rice and lentils was the free lunch on Aug. 22 at the Government Model Senior Secondary school in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh.

Teachers took a look at the meal.

They found worms.

Lunch was not served. Seven hundred students reportedly went home hungry after their school day.

India's free school lunch program is the largest in the world.

As Cease-Fire Takes Hold, Big Question In Gaza Becomes What's Next

KPLU News - 7 hours 14 min ago
Some semblance of normal life returned to Gaza on Wednesday.

The day after Hamas and Israel accepted an open-ended cease-fire, Palestinians returned to their homes, markets opened and bulldozers began clearing the rubble, while in Israel, the sirens warning of rockets fell silent.

Naturally, Palestinians, Israelis and the world started looking toward the future and began asking a tough question: What's next?

Iraqi Christian Village: From Sanctuary To Ghost Town In 2 Months

KPLU News - 8 hours 3 min ago
The northern Iraqi village of Al-Qoush was humming with activity — and some jitters — when NPR visited back in June.

Book News: Calif. Law Calls For Textbooks To Teach Significance Of Obama's Election

KPLU News - 8 hours 18 min ago
The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

  • California history textbooks will now be asked to cover "the significance of President Barack Obama's election," under a law signed this week by Gov. Jerry Brown.

'Lock In': A Cop Story For Robot Lovers, A Robot Story For Cop Lovers

KPLU News - 8 hours 19 min ago
When I'm reading for fun and not sitting up in my ivory tower reviewing books for NPR, I generally gravitate toward two kinds of stories: science fiction and procedurals. In both cases, I like my books grimy and lived-in. I have no love for utopias, shiny spaceships where nothing is ever broken, or Teflon detectives who don't come with baggage. If there isn't a bullet hole in someone or something before the story starts, there'd better be one put there within the first couple of pages.

But crossing those streams — creating a science fiction procedural — is almost always a bad idea.

Science Crowns Mozzarella The King Of Pizza Cheese

KPLU News - 8 hours 19 min ago
Any way you slice it, Americans are obsessed with pizza. One in eight of us are noshing it on any given day, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And the average American consumes pizza about 39 times a year, according to the NPD Group, a market research firm.