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Fewer Students Pass Washington's New, Harder Statewide Test — But It Could've Been Worse

KPLU News - 3 hours 44 min ago

Fewer Washington students passed a new, harder statewide standardized test this year — but the exam didn't trip up as many kids as some had feared.

For instance, roughly 58 percent of fifth graders earned "proficient" English scores in their first year taking the new Smarter Balanced tests, according to early results state officials released Thursday.Compare that with 72 percent of last year's fifth graders who passed the state's old benchmark reading exam, the MSP.

Virginia's Pamunkey Tribe Granted Federal Recognition

KPLU News - 3 hours 54 min ago
The federal government Thursday granted recognition to the Pamunkey Indian tribe of Virginia.

White House: We Have A Beef With GMO Regulations

KPLU News - 4 hours 20 min ago
The U.S. government's system for regulating the products of biotechnology, including GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, was born in 1986, and it has been controversial from the start.

Small Donors Fueled Sanders' $15 Million Fundraising Haul

KPLU News - 4 hours 25 min ago
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, running in the Democratic presidential primaries, has raised about $15 million, his campaign said Thursday.

His campaign emphasized the grass-roots strength of his fundraising: 250,000 donors making nearly 400,000 contributions of $250 or less.

The numbers come from a quarterly disclosure report being filed at the Federal Election Commission, and are measured from when Sanders launched his campaign April 30.

The maximum legal contribution to a presidential candidate is $2,700.

Yes, There Really Is A Town In Liberia Called 'Smell No Taste'

KPLU News - 4 hours 59 min ago


Maria Leaves Sesame Street After 44 Years On The Block

KPLU News - 5 hours 2 min ago


New Rules Could Create A New Class Of Overtime Workers

KPLU News - 5 hours 9 min ago
As President Obama promised, a new rule would make 5 million more Americans eligible for overtime pay.

Many workers say it's a welcome change.

In Secular French Schools, One Group Wants To Talk Religion

KPLU News - 5 hours 20 min ago
For the past several years, the group Coexister has been going into secular French schools to break down religious stereotypes in the classroom.

Since January's attacks on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket, the demand for their interventions has skyrocketed.

"We used to get two requests a week, but now it's two a day," says Radia Bakkouch, a 23-year-old graduate st

5 Things You Should Know About Jim Webb

KPLU News - 5 hours 32 min ago




So Far, So Good For The Economy. But What About The Second Half?

KPLU News - 5 hours 48 min ago
Maybe it seems like just yesterday that you were storing away your holiday decorations.

Maybe it actually was yesterday because life gets busy and tasks get put off, and before you know it, half the year is over and you're scrambling to catch up.

So in case you have been too busy to pay close attention, here's what we now know about the just-ended half of this year's economy:

On Friday, the Labor Department provided another reasonably upbeat monthly jobs report — good enough to make 2015 a winner so far for workers.

In Data Breach, Reluctance To Point The Finger At China

KPLU News - 5 hours 50 min ago
Adm. Michael Rogers is among the American officials most likely to know which country perpetrated the Office of Personnel Management's massive data breach, possibly the biggest hack ever of the U.S. government. He's not only director of the National Security Agency, but also heads the U.S.

Coping While Black: A Season Of Traumatic News Takes A Psychological Toll

KPLU News - 5 hours 51 min ago
Can racism cause post-traumatic stress?

ISIS Reportedly Destroys Ancient Statue In Captured City Of Palmyra

KPLU News - 6 hours 9 min ago
The self-declared Islamic State has released photos purportedly of its fighters destroying an ancient artifact in the Syrian city of Palmyra weeks after the Islamist extremists captured the city.

A "priceless" 2,000-year-old statue of a lion dating from the city's Roman heritage is seen being smashed in what Syrian antiquities director Maamoun Abdelkarim tells Agence-France Press is "the most serious crime [ISIS has] committed against Palmyra's heritage."

The ancient city

Checking DNA Against Elephants Hints At How Mammoths Got Woolly

KPLU News - 6 hours 20 min ago
Scientists say they've found a bit of DNA in woolly mammoths that could help explain how these huge beasts were so well-adapted to live in the cold of the last ice age.

Woolly mammoths had long shaggy fur, small tails and ears to minimize frostbite, and a lot of fat to help stay warm as they roamed the tundra over 12,000 years ago.

"They have this weird hump on their back, which is thought to be something like a camel hump — sort of a fat deposit that stored water and energy for the cold, dark winters," says Vincent Ly

Do Organic Farmers Need Special Seeds And Money To Breed Them?

KPLU News - 7 hours 17 min ago
Rearranging veggie genes is big business, and we're not even talking about biotechnology. Private companies and university researchers spend hundreds of millions of dollars every year breeding better genetic varieties of food crops.

But organic farmers say those programs have a big blind spot when it comes to figuring out which new varieties are truly better.

Don't Get Your Kids' Genes Sequenced Just To Keep Up

KPLU News - 7 hours 23 min ago
You can now order genetic tests off the Internet and get your child's genome sequenced for less than the cost of a new car. The question is, should you?

Almost certainly not, according to the American Society for Human Genetics, which released a position paper Thursday intended to give parents some help navigating the dizzying world of genetic tests.

"This is something that we don't think is ready for prime time for kids," says Dr.

Former Sen. Jim Webb Announces Run For Democratic Nomination

KPLU News - 7 hours 35 min ago
Former U.S. Sen. Jim Webb has become the fifth Democrat to announce he is seeking the party's nomination for president.

"[Our] country needs a fresh approach to solving the problems that confront us and too often unnecessarily divide us," Webb said in a statement. "We need to shake the hold of these shadow elites on our political process."

Webb, 69, joins former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and former Rhode Island Gov.

Afghan Court Commutes Death Sentences In Mob Killing Of Woman

KPLU News - 8 hours 35 sec ago
An appeals court in Afghanistan has overturned the death sentences handed to four men who were part of a mob that attacked and killed a 28-year-old woman falsely accused of burning the Quran.

As NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reported in May, the woman, Farkhunda, who like many Afghans goes by one name, was falsely accused by a mullah and his supporters in Kabul of burning Islam's holy book.

How Salt + Car Battery = Clean Water

KPLU News - 8 hours 35 sec ago
It's easy to take clean, safe water for granted. It just flow out of taps continuously — even in drought-ridden California.

But for hundreds of millions of people around the world clean water is a luxury. In many places, even patients in hospitals and kids at school don't have water that's safe to drink.

Now, an unlikely partnership of an outdoor equipment manufacturer and a global health NGO is trying to change that.

They've engineered a clever device that can make chlorine from just water, salt and a car battery.

Taiwan Airliner's Black Box Shows Pilot May Have Shut Off Wrong Engine

KPLU News - 8 hours 39 min ago