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Antarctic Holiday: A Christmas Feast In The Loneliest Spot On Earth

KPLU News - 1 hour 52 min ago
It was Christmas Eve 2002, at the height of midsummer, when I arrived to take up a year-long job as doctor at Halley base – the most remote research station operated by the British in Antarctica.

As we cruised up to the Caird Coast of Antarctica, a crowd of us stood out on the deck of the supply ship RRS Ernest Shackleton, singing Christmas carols in the 24-hour sunlight, wearing Santa hats and reindeer antlers.

The sky was a depthless blue cupola, the ice threw off a lacquered white sheen.

Long-Awaited Report Could Dictate Next Chapter For Bergdahl

KPLU News - Fri, 12/19/2014 - 16:46

 

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is due to be briefed on a report detailing the disappearance of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

Wall St. Swoons Over Seattle's Juno Therapeutics With Biggest Biotech IPO In Years

KPLU News - Fri, 12/19/2014 - 15:56

A Seattle biotechnology firm is making waves on Wall Street. Juno Therapeutics had a splashy initial public offering Friday, and shares climbed more than 45 percent in its first day of trading.

CEO Says Sony Pictures 'Did Not Capitulate,' Is Exploring Options

KPLU News - Fri, 12/19/2014 - 15:42
On a day when President Obama added his voice to criticisms over the decision to pull the satire The Interview, Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton says the studio "did not capitulate" to hackers, and that its actions have been misunderstood.

Lynton defended his studio in an interview on All Things Considered, saying that Sony still wants an audience to see The Interview — if not in theaters, then by other means.

His remarks came shortly after President Oba

'Rum, Rumba, And Romance': A Book On Cuba's Enduring Mystique

KPLU News - Fri, 12/19/2014 - 15:33
Cuba is dominating the news, following President Obama's announcement that he will begin to normalize relations with the island nation.

For our series This Week's Must-Read, poet and Cuban-American writer Richard Blanco turns to literature for another perspective on this story.

This Week's Must-Read

People often tell me how fascinated they are with Cuba. I'm really dying to go there before it changes, they'll say.

Troubled By Grand Jury Verdicts, Students Request More Time For Exams

KPLU News - Fri, 12/19/2014 - 15:06
"The dog ate my homework?" Try, "I was protesting a grand jury decision," instead.

Students at some top law schools want exam extensions for what they are calling the trauma of the Michael Brown and Eric Garner grand jury decisions.

Obama Says 'James Flacco.' The Internet Says, Thank You

KPLU News - Fri, 12/19/2014 - 14:44

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzA2qudZpBY

The Fate Of The Administration's College Ratings

KPLU News - Fri, 12/19/2014 - 14:04
Today, details of the Obama administration's plan known as the Postsecondary Institutional Ratings System, or PIRS, finally saw the light of day. The idea, in this incarnation, was just under three years old.

The president announced its conception during his State of the Union address in 2012.

"So let me put colleges and universities on notice: If you can't stop tuit

New EPA Standards Label Toxic Coal Ash Non-Hazardous

KPLU News - Fri, 12/19/2014 - 13:50
The Environmental Protection Agency has issued new national standards designated coal ash – a nearly ubiquitous byproduct of coal-fired power plants that contains arsenic and lead – as non-hazardous waste.

NPR's Christopher Joyce reports that coal-fired power plants produce more than 130 million tons of the coal ash each year and they have long stored millions of tons of it in giant ponds.

But many of those ponds have failed in recent years, allowing contaminated water to get into rivers and streams, and ultimately into drinking water.

Environmental groups sued the EPA to designate coal

With A Presidential Vote, Tunisia Seeks A Peaceful Transition

KPLU News - Fri, 12/19/2014 - 13:43
The main boulevard in the capital Tunis is alive with political debate about the two candidates for president in this Sunday's election.

St. Louis Grand Jury Heard Witnesses Who Lied, Prosecutor Says

KPLU News - Fri, 12/19/2014 - 13:40

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRYeRofVo8Q

Apple Responds To BBC On Conditions At Asian iPhone Suppliers

KPLU News - Fri, 12/19/2014 - 12:23
Jeff Williams, Apple's senior vice president for operations, has responded to a BBC report that workers at Asian suppliers for the iPhone 6 are mistreated and overworked, saying he's "deeply offended" by the accusations.

In an email to some 5,000 Apple staff in the United Kingdom, Williams hit back at the British broadcaster's Panorama program, which sent in undercover reporters to observe conditions at the Pegatron factory, near Shanghai, where iPhones are assembled.

The BBC's report "implied that App

Michael Phelps Pleads Guilty To DUI

KPLU News - Fri, 12/19/2014 - 12:02
Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps was sentenced to 18 months' supervised probation today after pleading guilty to drunken driving.

He was arrested in September after leaving a casino in downtown Baltimore. Police documents show that he swerved over a yellow line while going 84 in 45-mph zone. Police say Phelps failed field sobriety tests and registered a 0.14 on a blood-alcohol test. In Maryland, the legal limit is 0.08.

This is the second time Phelps, 29, has been convicted of driving under the influence. His first charge was also in Maryland in 2004.

Pride And Prejudice: For Latinos, Tamales Can Taste Of Both

KPLU News - Fri, 12/19/2014 - 11:31
This Christmas Eve, many Latinos will celebrate the holiday by unwrapping a delicious little present: tamales.

At its essence, a tamale consists of masa (dough made from corn or another starch) that's been wrapped in aromatic leaves, then steamed or boiled. Some come bundled in corn husks, others in plantain, banana or mashan leaves. Some are sweetened with molasses or coconut milk, others spiced with mole or seasoned with achiote.

Instagram Is Now Valued At $35 Billion By Citigroup Analyst

KPLU News - Fri, 12/19/2014 - 11:22
Less than three years after Facebook purchased Instagram for $1 billion, the photo-sharing service is now worth $35 billion, according to an analyst at Citigroup.

Instagram's user base has skyrocketed since the acquisition, in part because of its integration with Facebook but also because the purchase roughly coincided with the release of an Instagram app for Android smartphones.

Earlier this month, Instagram announced that it surpassed 300 million users.

The hefty valuation was included along with Citigrou

At Last, I Meet My Microbes

KPLU News - Fri, 12/19/2014 - 11:00
A veritable jungle of organisms is helping keep each of us alive. But we've been rather negligent hosts. For starters, we don't even know who has shown up for the party.

When I signed myself, my husband, our dog and my mother up for the American Gut Project to have our gut microbes analyzed last year, I had no idea what the results would turn up.

Live: Obama's Year-End News Conference

KPLU News - Fri, 12/19/2014 - 10:31

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzA2qudZpBY

Judge To Hear Arguments Against Florist Who Declined Service To Gay Couple

KPLU News - Fri, 12/19/2014 - 10:28

 

A closely-watched court case dealing with whether religious business-owners must provide services to gay couples is headed to oral arguments Friday in Kennewick, Washington.

Barronelle Stutzman said she was following her religious convictions in 2013 when she declined to do the flower arrangements for a gay couple’s wedding.

The state of Washington said she was violating state consumer protection laws.

Giant Filter From Richland Treating Leaking Radioactive Water In Japan

KPLU News - Fri, 12/19/2014 - 10:22

 

An environmental cleanup company with engineering headquarters in Richland, Washington has just flown its second water treatment system to Japan with a massive plane.

It’s intended to treat thousands of gallons of radioactive water leaking from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant.

Obama Says Sony Should Not Have Pulled Film Over Hacking

KPLU News - Fri, 12/19/2014 - 09:09
Updated at 2:25 p.m.