News Roundup
7:58 am
Thu March 10, 2011

Thursday morning's headlines

Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle of Seattle were killed after the yacht on which they were passengers was hijacked off the coast of Oman. Thirteen men accused of the hijacking have been indicted in a Virginia court. This photo is from 2005.
Courtesy Joe Grande

Making headlines around the Northwest this morning:

  • Pirates in Fatal Yacht Hijacking Indicted
  • Arrest in Spokane MLK Day Bomb Plot
    • State Details Patient Escape from Western State
    • UW-WSU Meet Tonight in Pac-10 Championships


    Indictments in High Seas Hijacking, Murders

    Fourteen men are charged today with the hijacking of a yacht on which four Americans - including a Seattle couple - were shot to death.

    The US Justice Department is holding the 13 Somalis and a man from Yemen in Norfolk, Virginia. They are expected to make a court appearance today, according to The Associated Press.

    Read more
    Law & Justice
    7:57 am
    Thu March 10, 2011

    FBI arrests man with Neo-Nazi ties in Spokane bomb case

    FBI evidence photo of backpack found on a downtown Spokane street corner bench

    The FBI has arrested a man with Neo-Nazi ties in connection with the attempted bombing on Martin Luther King Day in Spokane. Agents arrested the man in rural Stevens County.

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    State Labor Unions
    7:05 am
    Thu March 10, 2011

    Republicans want governor to renegotiate labor contracts

    It's not quite Wisconsin, but Republicans – and a lone Democrat - in Washington are taking a jab at state employee unions. They've introduced legislation to not fund union contracts negotiated by the governor.

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    Record Bin Roulette
    4:35 am
    Thu March 10, 2011

    Hot lead and "Super-Soakers"

    Gun control in action: Super-Soakers
    scorpiusdiamond Flickr

    Sometimes it seems most of life’s problems can be solved with proper application of high velocity projectiles.

    Take the “Chicken Gun”, operated by the US Air Force. It solved the problem of testing bird impacts on airplanes. It was too hard to fly around looking for a flock of birds to fly into, so they invented a cannon to fire freshly killed chickens at expensive airplanes. And in a pinch, it can be used as a weapon. While it might not create smoking craters, it would totally gross out the enemy.

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    2:40 am
    Thu March 10, 2011

    Xbox Kinect sales hit 10 million, setting Guinness World Record

    Microsoft says during its first three months on the market, the Kinect sold at a pace of, on average, more than 130,000 per day.

    Microsoft's Xbox is breaking records in the gaming world. The company says it has already sold 10 million of its newfangled motion-controller device, the Kinect, since the product launched in November.

    That's a world record.

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    K-12 Education
    4:53 pm
    Wed March 9, 2011

    Lettuce shortage hits school lunches in Western Washington

    Kids have a good excuse for not eating salads right now. They've been taken off the school menu in Kent because lettuce is in short supply. Schools in Seattle, Redmond and elsewhere in Western Washington are also scaling back on serving romaine, iceberg and other leaf lettuces.

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    Former Washington Governor
    10:11 am
    Wed March 9, 2011

    Obama nominates Locke as ambassador to China

    President Barack Obama, left, announces that Commerce Sec. Gary Locke, right, will be the next US ambassador to China, in the Diplomatic Room of the White House Wednesday, March, 9, 2011. Locke is replacing Jon Huntsman.
    Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP Photo

     WASHINGTON (AP)     President Barack Obama has nominated Commerce Secretary Gary Locke to be the next U.S. ambassador to China. At a White House appearance Wednesday (Video), Obama credited Locke for expanding exports to China and said he has earned the trust of business leaders.

    The post is one of the most important diplomatic jobs in government. If confirmed by the Senate, Locke would become the first Chinese-American to serve as the envoy to China.

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    Vivian Schiller
    9:58 am
    Wed March 9, 2011

    NPR chief resigns in wake of latest controversy

    NPR CEO Vivian Schiller resigned Wednesday, a move accepted by the board of directors.
    Steven Voss

    NPR President and CEO Vivian Schiller has resigned after NPR's board of directors decided that she could no longer effectively lead the organization.

    This follows yesterday's news that then-NPR fundraiser Ron Schiller (no relation) was videotaped slamming conservatives and questioning whether NPR needs federal funding during a lunch with men posing as members of a Muslim organization (they were working with political activist James O'Keefe on a "sting.")

    Vivian Schiller quickly condemned Ron Schiller's comments, and he moved up an already-announced decision to leave NPR and resigned effective immediately.

    But Ron Schiller's gaffe followed last fall's dismissal of NPR political analyst Juan Williams, for which Vivian Schiller came under harsh criticism and NPR's top news executive, Ellen Weiss, resigned.

    Read More

    Army Investigation
    9:00 am
    Wed March 9, 2011

    Army probe finds no deliberate mistreatment of Oregon Guard troops

    "Very disappointing." That's how Oregon Senator Ron Wyden describes a series of Army investigations into the treatment of injured Oregon National Guard soldiers last year. Those inquires conclude the Oregon troops were not treated as second class soldiers at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

    Read more
    K-12 Education
    8:43 am
    Wed March 9, 2011

    Get to know interim Seattle schools superintendent Susan Enfield

    Interim Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Susan Enfield on her 3rd day on the job, March 7, 2011.
    Charla Bear KPLU

    Most people know very little about the new head of Seattle Public Schools. After Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson was fired over financial irregularities last week, the school board named Susan Enfield interim superintendent. Enfield had only been with the district for a year and a half as Chief Academic Officer. KPLU education reporter Charla Bear sat down with her to find out what she brings to Seattle schools besides an impressive resume...and dozens of rubber duckies.

    Read more
    8:30 am
    Wed March 9, 2011

    Starbucks unveils logo, celebrates 40 years

    Starbucks baristas and employees at corporate headquarters celebrate new logo with CEO Howard Schultz on March 8, 2011.

    In 40 years it went from a tiny store near Pike Place Market to a global brand, recognized around the world.  Starbucks is celebrating its  anniversary with a new, simplified logo that doesn’t have the word "Starbucks" or "coffee" on it. 

    On Tuesday, a band played and hundreds of employees gathered and cheered as the logo was unveiled at Starbucks headquarters in Seattle.  CEO Howard Schultz told the crowd there were many doubters in the beginning who didn’t think Starbucks could ever go beyond the West Coast. "But they were wrong," he said.

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    Food for Thought
    5:14 am
    Wed March 9, 2011

    John Pizzarelli's box lunch serenade

    The man just can't stop entertaining

    The only difference between John Pizzarelli and a real ham is...

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    Medical safety
    7:04 pm
    Tue March 8, 2011

    Rating hospitals based on number of errors

    Thousands of people are still dying unnecessarily in America's hospitals, according to a new set of quality ratings.  That’s despite a decade of attention to preventing errors. 

    More than 20,000 hospital deaths should have been prevented, just among Medicare patients (people over the age of 65), according to a report from Health Grades Inc. of Denver.

    Hospitals in Washington as a group are about average in terms of their error rates.

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    5:05 pm
    Tue March 8, 2011

    Murder, car thefts at historic lows in Seattle

    Seattle Police Department Sgt. Sean Whitcomb holds a sign meant to be placed in cars to deter thieves.
    Paula Wissel

    The homicide rate in Seattle is at its lowest level since 1958.  Most other major crime is down as well.

    Murder, rape, robbery and other violent crime was down 9 percent in 2010 compared to 2009. The 2010 crime statistics were released Tuesday by the Seattle Police Department. As KPLU reported, the  Seattle Police Department has also released a report showing that the use of force by officers is rare and below the national average.

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    Arts & Culture
    1:35 pm
    Tue March 8, 2011

    Interview with poet, author and playwright Dr. Maya Angelou

    Dr. Maya Angelou receives the nation's highest civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom, from President Barack Obama, Feb. 15, 2011, in Washington, D.C.
    AP Photo

    One of America's most prominent living poets is coming to Seattle. Dr. Maya Angelou is the author of a groundbreaking memoire published in 1970, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. It describes how she overcame racism and trauma growing up in the South. 

    Dr. Angelou is now 83, and recently received the highest civilian honor in the land, the Medal of Freedom, from President Barack Obama. 

    KPLU's Bellamy Pailthorp spoke with her and asked, first of all, how she came to write her first work of prose. (Click on the audio "play" arrow at the top of this post to hear KPLU's interview).

    Dr. Angelou will speak at Seattle's Paramount Theatre on Monday, March 14th, in an appearance at 7:30 p.m.

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