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Golden State Beats Houston, Will Face Cleveland For NBA Title

KPLU News - Wed, 05/27/2015 - 22:02
The Golden State Warriors managed to dominate a stacked Western Conference all season long; with Wednesday night's 104-90 win over the Houston Rockets, they'll get a chance to finish the job in the NBA Finals.

The Warriors got a team-leading 26 points from star point guard Stephen Curry, who had struck his head in a fall in the previous game on Monday. Curry's shot wasn't as accurate as usual, but he made up for it with steals, rebounds and free throws.

After Criticism, Seattle's Proposed Park Smoking Ban Gets A Rewrite

KPLU News - Wed, 05/27/2015 - 17:45

After sharp criticism from advocates for the homeless, the NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union, Seattle's plan to ban smoking in public parks has been softened to reflect concerns it would unfairly target the homeless and minorities.

On The Road To Recovery, Detroit Property Taxes Aren't Helping

KPLU News - Wed, 05/27/2015 - 15:20
With new businesses sprouting up left and right, there's a lot of talk these days about Detroit being on the comeback trail.

A great thing about the city is that it's easy to become a real estate mogul.

Map: Where (And How) The Government Can Execute People

KPLU News - Wed, 05/27/2015 - 15:08
The Nebraska state Legislature voted Wednesday to repeal the death penalty in the state. The 30-19 vote overrides Gov. Pete Ricketts' veto of a law the Legislature passed last week getting rid of the policy.

This makes Nebraska the 19th state in the nation (along with the District of Columbia) to outlaw the death penalty, according to data from the Death Penalty Information Center, a nonprofit organization that studies the policy.

Nebraska Repeals Death Penalty, But U.S. Isn't Quite Ready To Abandon It

KPLU News - Wed, 05/27/2015 - 14:52
Nebraska's Legislature voted Wednesday to abolish the death penalty, overturning Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts' veto. The state's unicameral legislature overwhelmingly approved the measure in a series of three previous votes.

The repeal comes as other states have experienced complications with new lethal-injection cocktails.

Bugs: Not What's For Dinner — Until They're Tastier, Maybe

KPLU News - Wed, 05/27/2015 - 14:44
In the last couple of years, we've detected a faint buzz about crispy crickets and crunchy mealworms. Companies pedaling scorpion lollipops and peanut butter-and-jelly protein bars made with cricket flour have thrust their wares into our hands and mailboxes.

It's truly gotten easier to snack on bugs, should you want to do so.

Rick Santorum Announces Presidential Run

KPLU News - Wed, 05/27/2015 - 14:38
Updated at 5:25 p.m. ET

Republican Rick Santorum, the former senator from Pennsylvania, announced Wednesday that he is running for president.

"Working families don't need another president tied to big government or big money," he said in Cabot, Pa..

For Next President, The Fight Against Extremism Will Hit Closer To Home

KPLU News - Wed, 05/27/2015 - 14:31
As candidates hit the campaign trail, NPR looks at four major issues the next president will face from Day 1 in office.

This week, the FBI arrested a 20-year-old Texas man named Asher Abid Khan on allegations that he intended to join the self-proclaimed Islamic State. He joins more than 60 young American men and women who have been lured to Syria by the group, also known as ISIS.

Tacoma Teachers Decide Against 'One-Day Strike'

KPLU News - Wed, 05/27/2015 - 14:03

Teachers in Tacoma have decided against joining the wave of walkouts that have closed some of Washington's biggest school districts this spring, with the union voting Tuesday to hold an alternate protest.

A Top Medical School Revamps Requirements To Lure English Majors

KPLU News - Wed, 05/27/2015 - 13:45
You can't tell by looking which students at Mount Sinai's school of medicine in New York City were traditional pre-meds as undergraduates and which weren't.

Women Fight Their Way Through Army's Grueling Ranger School

KPLU News - Wed, 05/27/2015 - 13:45
At Georgia's Fort Benning, female soldiers are fighting a two-month battle. Their enemies? Hunger, fatigue, even hallucination. They're fighting their way through the Army's notoriously hard Ranger School, trying to make history by becoming the first women to graduate from it.

It's one of several Pentagon experiments to see how best to move women into ground combat roles. And it's a test that thousands of men before them have failed.

With sharp-tongued instructors looking on, Ranger School students rocket down a zip-line from a 70-foot tower.

Questions Remain About How To Use Data From License Plate Scanners

KPLU News - Wed, 05/27/2015 - 13:33
License plate scanners have become a fact of life. They're attached to traffic lights, on police cars — even "repo" staff use them. All those devices have created a torrent of data, raising new concerns about how it's being stored and analyzed.

Bryce Newell's laptop is filled with the comings and goings of Seattle residents. The data comes from the city's license plate scanner, acquired from the police through public disclosure requests. He plugs in a license plate number, uncovering evidence of long-forgotten errands.

"Looks like we have you here on University Way," he says.

Iowa Group Divorces Itself From Controversial Marriage Pledge

KPLU News - Wed, 05/27/2015 - 13:25
Four years ago, pledges were en vogue in the early going of the Republican presidential primary. But a prominent one, that landed some of the candidates in hot water, is being nixed this time around.

The pledge by the Family Leader, a Christian conservative group in Iowa, asked 2012 GOP White House hopefuls to sign a 14-point manifesto which was billed as an anti-same-sex marriage pledge.

In This Test Kitchen, The Secret To A Great Cookbook Is Try, Try Again

KPLU News - Wed, 05/27/2015 - 12:46
Underneath railway arches on a nondescript street in North London, you'll find an old warehouse that's the epicenter of the Ottolenghi food empire.

Jerusalem-born food impresario Yotam Ottolenghi and his business partner, Sami Tamimi, started out over a decade ago with one restaurant in London selling fresh, Middle East-inspired food.

Research Chimps Get Their Day In Court In New York

KPLU News - Wed, 05/27/2015 - 12:11
Two research chimps got their day in court — though they weren't actually present in the courtroom.

Steven Wise, an attorney with the Nonhuman Rights Project, told Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Barbara Jaffe that Hercules and Leo, the 8-year-old research chimps at Stony Brook University on Long Island, are "autonomous and self-determining beings" who should be granted a writ of habeas corpus, which would effectively recognize them as legal persons.

U.S. Finalizes Rules To Protect Rivers, Streams From Pollution

KPLU News - Wed, 05/27/2015 - 11:09
The Obama administration announced new clean water rules today that it says will protect sources of drinking water for 117 million Americans, rules welcomed by environmental groups, but bitterly opposed by congressional Republicans and farm state democrats.

The rules clarify which waterways fall under the Clean Water Act.

President Obama, in a statement released by the White House, said that in recent years:

"Court decisions have led t

Port Will Revisit Plans For A New International Arrivals Facility At Sea-Tac Airport

KPLU News - Wed, 05/27/2015 - 10:46

The port of Seattle and airlines agree – improvements at the airport are needed to handle growing numbers of international passengers. But a central question remains:  who pays for the expansion? 

Traffic at Sea-Tac International Airport has been booming and is expected to keep climbing. But there’s dispute among airlines about how to pay for a new international arrivals facility, which would be a spot for people go through customs and pick up their baggage.

Supreme Court Says Locals Can Make Pill-Makers Pay For Drug Disposal

KPLU News - Wed, 05/27/2015 - 10:43
Many of us have old prescription drugs sitting around in medicine cabinets — so what's the best way to get rid of them?

Some folks simply toss old pills in the garbage, or down the toilet.

Both of those options can lead to medications in the ocean, bays or rivers. Three years ago Alameda County, across the bay from San Francisco, became the first county in the nation to require pharmaceutical manufacturers to pay for safe disposal of prescription drugs.

Scott Walker Says Ultrasounds Are 'Just A Cool Thing'

KPLU News - Wed, 05/27/2015 - 10:02
This post was updated at 1:45 p.m. E.T.

Republican Scott Walker dismissed any controversy over a law he signed in Wisconsin requiring women seeking abortions to get an ultrasound, referring in an interview on a conservative radio show to ultrasounds as "just a cool thing out there."

The Wisconsin governor, who is likely running for president and leading in early state polls, spoke about a range of issues Friday on "The Dana Show," including immigration, the economy and education.

Nebraska Governor's Veto Of Death Penalty Repeal Sets Up Override Vote

KPLU News - Wed, 05/27/2015 - 09:50
Lawmakers in Nebraska will try today to override Gov. Pete Ricketts' veto of their vote to repeal the death penalty in the state.

As we reported Tuesday, Ricketts, a Republican, vetoed the legislation flanked by law enforcement personnel, murder victims' family members and state lawmakers who support capital punishment.