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A Re-Opened Embassy In Havana Could Be A Boon For U.S. Businesses

KPLU News - 3 hours 52 min ago
When Secretary of State John Kerry goes to Havana to raise a flag over the soon to be re-opened embassy this summer, it won't be just an important symbolic moment.

The administration says the U.S. will be able to station more American personnel in Cuba, and that should be a big help in practical terms as more Americans travel to and trade with the Cold War-era foe.

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar says U.S. embassies around the world are promoting American businesses, and she's hoping that once the U.S.

Greek Official: 'Grexit' Would Cost Europe A Trillion Euros

KPLU News - 4 hours 15 min ago
Greece's finance minister has accused his nation's creditors of "terrorism" for trying to "instill fear in people" ahead of a referendum on whether to accept the harsh terms of an international bailout designed to keep Athens in the Eurozone.

Yanis Varoufakis, in an interview with the Spanish daily El Mundo, said that there was too much at stake to kick his country out of Europe's common currency, "As much for Greece as for Europe, I'm sure."

The Greek government, led by a leftist anti-austerity party that

'Chasing Memories' In Their Refugee Camp 40 Years After Fleeing Vietnam

KPLU News - 4 hours 34 min ago
My mother's family fled communism twice.

The first time was from China. Then, after Saigon fell in 1975, they left Vietnam.

My mother, Kuo Nam Lo, was 24 when she spent her first few months in the U.S. at a refugee camp at a military base along a stretch of the Appalachian Mountains in central Pennsylvania.

"I've always wanted to come back here," my mother told me in Cantonese on a recent drive through Fort Indiantown Gap.

Just A Few Important Words About The 'Declaration Of Independence'

KPLU News - 5 hours 5 min ago
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

It's Independence Day. Let's take a break from parades, patriotic songs and pyrotechnics to think about the Declaration of Independence, which was adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776.

The line at the top of this post has the words that are probably most remembered.

LA Police Unit Intervenes To Get Mentally Ill Treatment, Instead Of Jail

KPLU News - 5 hours 5 min ago
The Los Angeles Police Department's mental evaluation unit is the largest mental health policing program of its kind in the nation, with 61 sworn officers and 28 mental health workers from the county.

The unit has become a vital resource for the 10,000-person police force in Los Angeles.

Officer Ted Simola and his colleagues in the unit work with county mental health workers to provide crisis intervention when people with mental illness come into contact with police.

On this day, Simola is working the triag

Greeks Divided Ahead Of Eurozone Vote

KPLU News - 5 hours 5 min ago
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Fuel Is Crucial In The Battle Over Syria

KPLU News - 5 hours 5 min ago
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The White House Invites Tourists To Use Their Cameras

KPLU News - 5 hours 5 min ago
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Paper Finds One-Quarter Of Those Killed By Police Are Mentally Ill

KPLU News - 5 hours 5 min ago
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

A Bird Of Courage And A Bash In Denmark: The July 4 You Didn't Know

KPLU News - 7 hours 13 min ago
Independence Day is typically filled with revelry — many people drink American beer, shoot explosives into the sky and rock red, white and blue apparel that may not be appropriate for everyday wear. It's also a day full of interesting, quirky history that people usually don't talk about between filling their mouths with hot dogs and singing The Star Spangled Banner off-key.

But if you're destined to spend your holiday at, say, a company cookout, here are five things you may not have known about Independence Day that you can use as conversation starters:


Need A Hand? Don't Worry, The Ghanaians Got Your Back

KPLU News - 7 hours 20 min ago
I finally reached the outskirts of my community after a 5-mile, uphill bike ride from the town where I go to buy groceries.

Hot, exhausted and loaded down with rice, bananas and mangoes, I didn't have the energy to go the final few hundred yards to reach the compound where I live.

Luckily, I didn't have to.

From the distance I heard cries of "n be Wumpini lo lo ni." That means "Welcome home my sister Wumpini." (That's my local name; it means God's gift.)

Soon a crowd of children swarmed me, deftly pulling bags off my bike to balance on their heads and literally pushing my bike home as

Debt Crisis Puts The Squeeze On Greece's Banks

KPLU News - Fri, 07/03/2015 - 14:25
As they rapidly run out of cash, Greece's banks could hardly be in a more precarious position.

For months, as this crisis has intensified people have been slowly withdrawing their money. The banks have been able to do business only because of emergency loans from the European Central Bank.

But when Greece missed a payment to the International Monetary Fund this week, the ECB decided not to lend any more money.

"That puts the Greek banks in a tremendous squeeze.

On The Rebound, Panthers Prowl Expanding Swath Of Land In Florida

KPLU News - Fri, 07/03/2015 - 14:25
In Florida, the official state animal triggers mixed feelings. The Florida panther has been on the endangered species list for nearly 50 years. From a low point in the 1970s when there were only about 20 panthers in the wild, the species has rebounded.

Now, nearly 200 range throughout southwest Florida. And some officials, ranchers and hunters in the state say that may be about enough.

Florida panthers are a subspecies of the cougar or mountain lion.

#NPRreads: The 'Grexit,' Video Games And Fleeing The Rwandan Genocide

KPLU News - Fri, 07/03/2015 - 13:20
#NPRreads is a weekly feature on Twitter and on The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers throughout our newsroom share pieces that have kept them reading.

A Conservative Firebrand From The Start, Ted Cruz Always Had A Plan

KPLU News - Fri, 07/03/2015 - 13:03
This story is part of NPR's series Journey Home. We're going to the places presidential candidates call home and finding out what those places tell us about how they see the world.

Boldness comes more naturally to Ted Cruz than compromise. Barely through his first year in the Senate, the Texas Republican bucked his party leaders and became the public face of a government shutdown while standing up for conservative ideals.

Pilot In Solar-Powered Plane Sets Aviation Record

KPLU News - Fri, 07/03/2015 - 11:18
A sun-powered airplane has landed in Hawaii after a five-day journey from Japan that smashed the previous record of 76 hours for the longest duration nonstop solo flight.

Pilot André Borschberg set the Solar Impulse 2 down on the tarmac at Kalaeloa Airport outside Honolulu after flying for 120 hours from Nagoya, his team reports.

As The Two-Way's Bill Chappell wrote last week, the Ja

Parts Of Social-Sharing Site Reddit Go Dark In Apparent User Revolt

KPLU News - Fri, 07/03/2015 - 09:22
An Internet insurrection is taking place on Reddit, where moderators have shut down many of the social sharing site's most popular sections in an apparent protest over the dismissal of Victoria Taylor.

Taylor was a key figure in Reddit's extremely popular r/IAmA (Ask Me Anything) section, which brought in celebrities of all stripes — from actors to musicians and even President Obama — to answer questions submitted from the vast community.

Iceland's Pirate Party Wins Repeal Of Blasphemy Law

KPLU News - Fri, 07/03/2015 - 09:22
Iceland's minority Pirate Party has its first major legislative victory — repealing a 75-year-old blasphemy law that made it a crime to "ridicule or insult" the teachings of a legally recognized religious community.

The law, established in 1940, came under fire after the Jan.

Dirty Fireworks, Cloudy Skies Typically Herald The True Start Of Summer In The Northwest

KPLU News - Fri, 07/03/2015 - 09:03

Inevitably, fireworks start going off in the first week of July, even before the Independence Day holiday has begun. 

They’re not just loud, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass, they’re dirty.

“We often see a spike at the air quality measuring stations of very small particles (of pollutants,)” Mass said.

He notes there is typically a gigantic jump in levels measured on the 4th of July later in the day.

“And some places it’s the worst air of the year,” he said.

Aetna Announces $37 Billion Merger With Health Insurance Rival Humana

KPLU News - Fri, 07/03/2015 - 08:11
In what could prove the largest-ever merger in the insurance industry, Aetna has announced a $37 billion deal to acquire rival Humana.

The agreement, announced by the Hartford, Conn.-based Aetna, "would bolster Aetna's presence in the state- and federally funded Medicaid program and Tricare coverage for military personnel and their families," according to The Associated Press.

Word of the cash and stock agreement comes a day after