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Washington Ferries To Be Back To Normal Saturday

KPLU News - 1 hour 37 min ago

Washington State Ferries hopes to restore service to normal on Saturday on Puget Sound.

Capt. George Capacci says that will be made possible by the return of the ferry Wenatchee, which has been in drydock in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Northwest Farmers Worried About Visa Backup For Legal Migrant Workers

KPLU News - 2 hours 53 sec ago

A breakdown in a U.S. State Department computer system that processes foreign worker visas has sowed major worries at some Northwest orchards.

Those farmers are concerned about getting enough pickers for late summer and fall crops.

CIA Chief Apologizes To Sens. Feinstein, Chambliss Over Computer Intrusion

KPLU News - 2 hours 13 min ago
Ending a contentious and very public spat between two branches of government, Central Intelligence Agency chief John Brennan apologized to Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Sen.

Hospitals Fight Proposed Changes In The Training Of Doctors

KPLU News - 2 hours 13 min ago
An influential report that urges sweeping changes in how the federal government subsidizes the training of doctors has brought out the sharp scalpels of those who would be most immediately affected.

The reaction also raises questions about the sensitive politics involved in redistributing a large pot of money –mostly from Medicare — that now goes disproportionately to teaching hospitals in the U.S. Northeast.

Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area Expansion Bill Clears Key Committee In Congress

KPLU News - 2 hours 56 min ago

A bill that would expand the Alpine Lakes Wilderness area east of Seattle is one step closer to becoming law. For the first time in nearly four years, the proposal has moved forward in the U.S. House.  

As Volunteerism Explodes In Popularity, Who's It Helping Most?

KPLU News - 3 hours 10 min ago
As you plan — or even go — on your summer vacation, think about this: More and more Americans are no longer taking a few weeks off to suntan and sight see abroad. Instead they're working in orphanages, building schools and teaching English.

It's called volunteer tourism or "volunteerism." And it's one of the fastest growing trends in travel today. More than 1.6 million volunteer tourists are spending about $2 billion each year.

But some people who work in the industry are skeptical of volunteerism's rising popularity.

What Somebody's Mummy Can Teach You About Heart Disease

KPLU News - 3 hours 11 min ago
We think of heart disease as a modern scourge, brought on by our sedentary lifestyles and our affinity for fast food.

But a few years ago, a team of researchers discovered something puzzling — CT scans of Egyptian mummies showed signs of hardened, narrow arteries.

How To Order Pizza From A Nuclear Command Bunker

KPLU News - 3 hours 12 min ago
I spent months working with the U.S. Air Force to get access to a remote underground nuclear bunker in Nebraska for our radio series on America's missile forces. There was only one question left to answer before I left.

What did I want for lunch?

The menu provided by the press office was eclectic.

Ferry Delays Almost Everywhere As Fleet Repositioned

KPLU News - 7 hours 30 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 - 7 hours 34 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.