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Suspected Boko Haram Militants Attack Another Nigerian Town

KPLU News - 2 hours 56 min ago
In the latest attack by the suspected Boko Haram extremists in Nigeria, militants shelled the northeastern city of Maiduguri, Reuters reports quoting witnesses.

The BBC says fierce fighting is reported on the outskirts of Maiduguri, which is "home to tens of thousands of people who have fled the attacks by Boko Haram attacks and was visited on Saturday by President Goodluck Jonathan."

Reuters says:

"The assa

'Walking The Walk' With Students ... And Screaming Fans

KPLU News - 3 hours 1 min ago


Virtual Games Try To Generate Real Empathy For Faraway Conflict

KPLU News - 3 hours 14 min ago


Piece By Piece, Monks Scramble To Preserve Iraq's Christian History

KPLU News - 3 hours 14 min ago
In an unfinished building in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil, displaced Christian children sing a little song about returning to their village. "We're going back," they sing, "to our houses, our land, our church."

Right now, they're living in an open concrete structure. The self-styled Islamic State, or ISIS, took over their home village of Qaraqosh, and the Christians fled in fear, on foot.

They finish their song and applause breaks out from two unlikely figures. One is a beaming Iraqi in white robes, Father Najeeb Michaeel.

President Obama Welcomed To India With A Significant Hug

KPLU News - 7 hours 56 min ago
President Obama has arrived in India for a three-day trip. Upon landing in New Delhi on Sunday, the president and first lady Michelle Obama were greeted by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

'How Do You Tell Your Kids That You Got Alzheimer's?'

KPLU News - Sat, 01/24/2015 - 14:53
This is the first in a series, "Inside Alzheimer's," about the experience of being diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease.

In 2009, 59-year-old Greg O'Brien was a successful journalist and writer living in Cape Cod. He was healthy and happy — he exercised every day, made a good living, spent time with his three children and wife.

But he had also started to notice changes in himself. He was forgetting things, and his judgment sometimes seemed to fail him.

For U.S. And Cuba, A Slow Walk To Re-Establishing Ties

KPLU News - Sat, 01/24/2015 - 14:20
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Patriots' Coach: Team 'Followed Rules' On Inflation Of Footballs

KPLU News - Sat, 01/24/2015 - 13:38
New England Patriots' Head Coach Bill Belichick defended his team and quarterback Tom Brady against accusations of cheating amid the so-called "Deflategate" controversy that erupted last weekend when underinflated footballs were used in

Sound Effect, Episode 3: Rain

KPLU News - Sat, 01/24/2015 - 10:54

"Sound Effect" is a weekly tour of ideas, inspired by the place where we live. The show is hosted by KPLU's Gabriel Spitzer.

Each week's show will explore a different theme. In this week's show, we dive into the rain.

Seattle's Rain Art

KPLU News - Sat, 01/24/2015 - 10:29

When It Rains, Seattle's Hidden Sidewalk Messages Reveal Themselves

KPLU News - Sat, 01/24/2015 - 10:29

Next time you’re walking on a sidewalk in Seattle and it’s raining, look down. You just might see a message reveal itself.

At least that’s the intention of a 21-year-old magician who has created unusual sidewalk art. His stenciled messages are only visible when it’s wet outside.

Read the story and see a map of the artwork on Quirksee.org >>>

Closing Gitmo 'Going To Be Very Difficult,' Hagel Says

KPLU News - Sat, 01/24/2015 - 10:22
President Obama wants to close the prison at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay before leaving office. But his departing defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, told NPR News the job is "going to be very difficult" to complete in that time.

Hagel made that remark in an exit interview Friday, one of only a handful he granted as he prepared to vacate his expansive office at the Pentagon.

When it rains in Seattle, you might see a hidden sidewalk message — if you’re paying attention

Quirksee - Sat, 01/24/2015 - 10:00

Editor’s Note: This story originally ran as part of KPLU’s new show, “Sound Effect,” which airs on Saturdays at 10 a.m. 

Next time you’re walking on a Seattle sidewalk on a rainy day, look down. You just might see a message reveal itself.

At least that’s the intention of Peregrine Church, the 21-year-old magician who has created the unusual art. His stenciled messages are only visible when it’s wet outside.

(Courtesy of Peregrine Church)

Creating moments to jar people out of their routines

I meet the man behind the messages one rainy afternoon in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.

We sit in a shop just a few feet from a sidewalk message that reads, “PROUD TO BE RAINY.” When it’s dry, Church says, the message will disappear. That appeals to the magician in Church, who heads the Society of Collegiate Magicians at the University of Washington though he’s no longer a student there.

Church says his rain messages are part a broader goal to make other people’s lives a little brighter. He’s someone who carries around a red clown nose. When the mood strikes, he says, he just puts it on as he’s walking downtown or riding the bus.

“I just like making people smile, and so I’m happy to sacrifice looking normal for the sake of giving people something to smile about.” Church says.

Church likes to create novel experiences that will jar people out of their routines. But one problem seems to be getting people to even notice.

Through the window of the shop we’re sitting in, we have a perfect view of Church’s “PROUD TO BE RAINY” message, but few people glance down.

“A lot of people are on their phones or in a hurry to cross the street,” he says.

Peregrine Church created this hopscotch board in West Seattle. (Courtesy of Peregrine Church)

Using waterproof spray to hide messages in plain sight

Church got the idea to create his rain-activated messages from a viral video promoting “super hydrophobic coatings” that can be sprayed on anything.

“And the video showed these dramatic shots of like chocolate syrup running off these perfectly white shoes or red wine spilling off things, and all the things were perfectly untouched,” Church says.

It got him thinking about using the waterproof spray to write or draw something on a sidewalk. The part of the concrete he sprays stays dry and light-colored in the rain, but everything else gets darker as it gets wet. The contrast creates the image.

‘Nice to have something counteract’ the rain

In the past year, Church has stenciled giant raindrops and the words “STAY DRY OUT THERE” near a bus stop in West Seattle. You can see the phrase “WORRY is a MISUSE of the IMAGINATION” on a sidewalk in Belltown. Another says, “ATTENTION: GROUND IS NOW LAVA.” Dry spots are depicted nearby so you can jump to safety.

Church describes another one in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood: “There’s like a lilypad pond with all these lilypads and frogs hopping between them.”

The artist himself doesn’t actually like the rain. But, he says, if you’re trying to cheer people up, you can’t very well do it when they’re already happy.

“On a sunny day, I’ll smile no matter what. Everything just seems brighter and better, and most people in Seattle are like that,” Church says. But when it’s rainy and people are somber, he says it’s “nice to have something to counteract that.”

Messages only for smiles; no commercial ads

(Courtesy of Peregrine Church)

Church says he’ll never use his rain works for commercial purposes, no stenciling “happy hour 4 to 6” on the sidewalk, for example. He says we’re already bombarded with too many of those sorts of messages.

He makes a point of telling me the sprays he use are non-toxic, biodegradable and won’t make the sidewalk slippery.

Still, a young guy with a spray can out at night can attract suspicion. One time, he had his stencil on the sidewalk, spray in hand and was just about to begin when he heard a voice from behind him.

“I heard someone say, ‘You are not going to do that.’ And I turned around and there was this woman with this appalled look on her face,” Church says.

Once he convinced her that he wasn’t a graffiti tagger, that he was spraying on a work of art that would only be seen when it rained, her demeanor changed.

“She’s like, ‘Oh, that’s really cool. Carry on.”’ Church says.

But is it legal?

But Church hasn’t gotten official permission to lay down his stencils. I wonder if it’s legal, and my question takes me to the sidewalk division of the Seattle’s Department of Transportation. There, I meet Jennifer Wieland, who manages Seattle’s public space program.

I’m surprised by her answer.

She tells me the artwork is legal as long as it’s temporary, which it is since the messages come and go, and isn’t commercial. What’s more, she embraces the idea. She sees it as part of the city’s efforts to make neighborhoods more vibrant.

“We are really doing things that entice people to enjoy our public spaces differently, so this is very much in line with the kind of things we’d like to see,” Wieland says.

Seeing what’s beneath our feet

The challenge for Church remains getting people to see what he has created for them. He jokes about stenciling a message that says, “Thanks for being observant.”

Finally, just before I’m about to leave, he’s rewarded. A woman sees his “PROUND TO BE RAINY” message.

“Yeah, she looked at it. Cool,” he says.

Maybe, he speculates, it made her day.

 Map of Church’s hidden art:

First Attempt To Lift AirAsia Fuselage Fails

KPLU News - Sat, 01/24/2015 - 09:12
A first attempt to lift the fuselage of the crashed AirAsia Airbus A320 to the surface of the Java Sea failed today, according to officials.

The BBC reports that "ropes around the fuselage snapped."

According to the BBC:

"[Seven] metres (22ft) from the surface, strong currents and the sharp edges of the emergency door of the aircraft cut the rope connecting the bag to the fuselage.

"Navy Rear Admiral Widodo, who is overseeing the operation from a nearby ship, told the BBC divers had to pad the sharp edges with rub

Foe Of 'Fiscal Waterboarding' Leads As Greek Election Nears

KPLU News - Sat, 01/24/2015 - 09:00
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Facebook Aims To Weed Fakes From Your News Feed

KPLU News - Sat, 01/24/2015 - 09:00
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Video Purports To Show Beheaded Japanese Hostage

KPLU News - Sat, 01/24/2015 - 07:13
Updated at 11:50 a.m. ET

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called the purported beheading of Japanese hostage by captors of the self-declared Islamic State "outrageous and unacceptable" after a video surfaced showing what appears to be one hostage holding a photo of his decapitated fellow abductee.

"This is an outrageous and unacceptable act of violence," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters as he arrived at his office after midnight for an emergency, according to Reuters.

Ukraine Rebel Leader Claims New Attack On Mariupol

KPLU News - Sat, 01/24/2015 - 05:59
Updated at 10:15 a.m. ET

A main leader of Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine reportedly says the separatists have launched an attack on the port city of Mariupol, where rocket fire killed at least 15 people in an open-air market and residential area.

"Today an offensive was launched on Mariupol.

Obama To Cut Short India Visit For Stop In Saudi Arabia

KPLU News - Sat, 01/24/2015 - 05:10
President Obama will cut short a trip to India to make room on his itinerary to visit Saudi Arabia to pay respects to the late King Abdullah who died on Friday.

Obama was scheduled to arrive in New Delhi on Sunday and spend three days in India at the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a trip that was to have included a visit to the Taj Mahal.

But the White House says the president will skip the last day of his visit when he was to have stopped at the famous monument in Agra.

'What Do I Do?' For Sexual Assault Survivors, An App Has All The Answers

KPLU News - Sat, 01/24/2015 - 04:59
Maya Weinstein is now a happy, bubbly junior at the George Washington University. But she says that two years ago, just a few weeks after she arrived on campus as a freshman, she was sexually assaulted by a fellow student.

"It was one of those 'acquaintance rape' things that people forget about, even though they are way more common," she says.

As Hurricane Sandy passed over the Washington area, she and her friends went to an off-campus party. Upon returning, she ran into an older student she knew from around campus.